Occupy Chicago, for those of you that don't know, is the local branch of Occupy Wall Street (OWS), a global movement against corporate greed based out of New York. The movement has its merits. The primary one being it brought people together in protest against corporate greed. Each chapter takes on its own goals in addition to those of OWS. People have varying opinions on the movement. Some are valid. Some are just ignorance. Let's explore reasons to support and not support the local Occupy chapter here in Chicago.
- Open Membership- Anyone, and they mean anyone can join the movement as long as you are against corporate greed. Unemployed college graduates can join. So can pensioners. And everyone in between.
- Specific Chicago Goals- Occupy Chicago really made it about Chicago. The involvement in the protests against the mental health clinic closures was a very Chicago-centric problem that they decided to tackle. They became involved in the school closure debate, and are expected to become involved in the Chicago Teachers' Union possible strike this coming year.
- Flexible Meeting Times- Looking at the twitter feed, Occupy Chicago meets many times after 5 p.m. and on the weekends. Those that work a standard work week can attend these meetings too. They also meet multiple times a week and broadcast on U-Stream their general assembly meetings so people can get caught up on past meetings or attend them virtually.
- Willing to Help out Other Movements/Organizations- The Chicago Spring event was a great example of this positive attribute of Occupy Chicago. They organized different local organizations around Chicago to come together on April 7, 2012 and show that Chicago is a united city and that all these causes are interrelated and should be fighting together.
- Spread too Thin- Corporate greed affects everything, and that means that Occupy must take on more and more issues from school closings to mental health clinics to foreclosures and back to the original antagonist, bankers. (This is also the fault of people not joining the movement, but I will explain that later.)
- Leaderless- They prefer the term movement of leaders rather than leaderless movement, but it's really the latter since any decision they do come to is lackluster in appeal since so much input went into making it. How does that saying go, "A camel is a horse made in committee." They could be making some beautiful horses instead of some weird camels if they just accepted that movements need leaders.
- Too Liberal a Culture- Regular people refer to themselves as liberal, but when it comes to the people that make up the Occupy movement they are almost a different hyper breed of liberal that people are afraid of being associated with. Many people hate corporate greed, but few are concerned about being vegan and riding your bike around town. Occupy needs to have corporate greed be the focus once again and not this hyper liberal culture.
- Willingness to March Without a Permit- One thing movements tend to forget is that only a small amount of people can afford to get arrested for a cause. That doesn't mean they care less, but they have responsibilities. A single parent of four can't afford to get arrested during a permit-less march. A middle class unemployed white college graduate can. Being this flippant about their target audience's legal concerns keeps the movement tied to one end of the spectrum with only middle class white college graduates out there on the streets when it needs to be everybody.
What do you guys think? Are you guys for or against the Occupy Movement? Share some of your thoughts in the comments.
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