Occupy Wall Street is desperate for events that give it media-worthy content.
In some cases, it’s hardly worth saying that Occupy Wall Street’s content is newsworthy. For example, the clips we’ve all seen about students being pepper sprayed at UC Davis are hardly truthful. More on that in a second.
In multiple bids to create content and keep their video streaming efforts alive, the Occupy Wall Street movement is planning several protests for the coming weeks. Do the protests they’re planning mean they’re coming up with an agenda or manifesto?
Let’s have a look at a couple of the issues occupying OWS, an Occupy Wall Street manifesto from the Los Angeles Times, and wrap up with what really happened at UC Davis.
Dec 6 – National Day of Protest – Foreclosures
As much as foreclosures are a bad thing, what exactly is OWS protesting?
Yes, all the crooked lenders, bankers, and advisors should be locked up. Sub-prime mortgages were an insane product to begin with. Offering them to people without jobs, no collateral, and no real hope of being able to carry the mortgage after renewal, was diabolical.
We won’t even get started on the issue of foreclosures due to medical debt. That’s a whole separate article.
But what about the people who accepted the sub-prime mortgages? They had to be smoking some pretty magical stuff before signing on the dotted line.
At the very least, every person currently in trouble because they accepted a sub-prime mortgage should have their butt kicked up around their shoulders.
Which is less reasonable:
- Accepting a mortgage with no hope of repaying it
- Accepting the equal of a mortgage as a teenager with small prospect of repaying it
As a carpenter, I consistently advise teenagers to pursue a trade before pursuing a degree.
Becoming a tradesman takes five years – an apprenticeship. You get paid to learn, and when you choose to go to college you’ll get Life Credits for your experience. That alone can shorten the process by a full year.
Then there’s the money you earn while learning to be a tradesman. Even paying for rent and groceries is going to leave you with enough to pay for the first couple of years in college. And you’ll always have a job each summer and on weekends to keep earning money. Not a bad deal.
And you never have to worry about being out of a job. Even in an economy like this, good tradespeople are in demand. One of my clients is hiring mechanics as I write this.
The Occupy Wall Street movement wants media attention, yet is strangely unwilling to take responsibility for the message.
In a recent article in the New York Times, Justin Wedes (a former Brooklyn science teacher who helps manage the @occupywallstnyc Twitter account) says, “We are not trying to control the message. People are getting on board with the message of the 99 percent and they are sharing their stories and we have engagement from all over the world.”
Maybe I’m missing something, but that makes OWS seem like a global pity party. Let’s all whine about how bad we have it, and maybe it’ll magically get better. You have to wonder what would happen if all the OWS activists started putting their efforts into something creative and constructive.
In an effort to give them some direction, the Los Angeles Times has published a manifesto for the Occupy Wall Street movement. Even if the movement never adopts this particular manifesto, it did a lot to help me understand what OWS might be about.
Too bad I had to learn from the LA Times instead of the people with the message.
Pepper Spray at UC Davis
As it happens, the manifesto from the LA Times also mentions the pepper spray incident at UC Davis. And I promised to come back to this.
There’s a significantly longer video available on YouTube that shows the entire incident.
The video is about 15 minutes long. It starts at the beginning – when police are telling protestors they must leave the area or be arrested. The video even gives you the URLs for other videos that provide additional information or other views of what happened.
When you see the whole incident, it’s interesting to watch students detaining police and refusing to allow them to leave. It’s only after repeated warnings that the police finally pepper sprayed the students in an attempt to leave.
That’s just a slightly different story than the OWS movement has put forward.
It seems the Occupy Wall Street movement has shifted its attention from protesting to staying in the limelight.
Some of the volunteers have occupied a dilapidated building in the Bushwick area of Brooklyn. They’re establishing a TV studio in the building and plan to deliver regular broadcasts to “provide real-time perspective,” says Vlad Teichber.
According to the New York Times, their ambition is to serve as the main portal for aggregating and curating video content about the movement from all over the world. How long can it be before they start asking for donations to support their efforts?
On the other hand, perhaps it will develop into a business and become the first capitalist creation of the Occupy Wall Street movement.