Submitted by: M. Martino
If you were to visit Manhattan’s Zucotti Park last Saturday, you would find yourself surrounded by hundreds of young people, as they camped out in sleeping bags or prepared signs for picketing the following morning.
Hours earlier, police had fired tear gas into crowds of protestors in Rome, as hundreds of black-clad anarchists rampaged through the streets. Through these images may appear entirely opposed, they are in fact two sides of the same coin: the distressingly diverse phenomenon that is Occupy Wall Street.
The movement began a month ago, as New York protesters denounced economic inequality and corporate corruption. Simple enough, but as the movement has grown, it continues to lose the power it has to eventually institute its goals, because no one knows what those goals are. If you were to survey the Zucotti Park protestors as to exactly what they hoped to achieve, answers would range from equalizing federal taxes to slightly broader goals, such as ending world hunger.
With this level of division among the protesters, I wonder what they can possibly hope to achieve. Without a specific list of common aims, the Occupy Wall Street movement is doomed to failure, as an already skeptical government and Wall Street elite will have little reason to pay attention to a group lacking a concrete agenda and crippled by factionalism.
Worse, foreign groups have latched onto the movement, using it to further their own diverse agendas. While some work in solidarity with their American counterparts, others are far off the mark, and extremist groups could give the protests a social stigma they cannot endure. Occupy Wall Street needs to find and present their “one demand,” or reconcile themselves with the fact that they will leave Zucotti Park, be it weeks or a months from now, without changing anything.