Guest column: OWS is more than that

Karch Marhofer

In response to Ms. Lee’s article calling the Occupy Wall Street protestors “whiners.” I keep re-reading Ms. Lee’s limited perspective thinking, “Wow, where do I begin?”

First, she is simply incorrect in saying that the protestors are mostly young an unemployed. If there is only one conclusion that various observers seem to have it common, it’s that this statement is simply not true. Most media outlets have noted that Occupy Wall Street is surprisingly composed of young, old, all skin colors, both sexes, lefts and rights, all religions and even atheist.

Second, by basing her opinion on the lack of a “cohesive aim” Ms. Lee misses the point entirely and it is clear that the true lack here is an in depth exploration of the movement. It’s not that there’s a lot of unemployment, that’s only a symptom.

Now before I go further, I agree with the foundation of Ms. Lee’s attitude. I too believe that one ought to work hard and pull themselves up by the bootstraps. I hold true that the 99% are just as responsible for our condition as the 1%. The 1% did not become the 1% without the 99% investing in them. We shopped at Wal-Mart, made Facebooks, bought SUVs, demanded more electricity etc. But that’s not the end of it. If we can see ourselves as we are now, we can begin to become the change we wish to see. The People, Corporations, Politics, and Media are all problematic factors of our condition. If I only have one belief, it’s that the People, being creators of the other factors, ultimately have the most power. The People will be the solution.

What Lee fails to see is that is exactly what Occupy Wall Street is trying to manifest. They are people who realize that our political system is no longer elected: It is bought. Lee, like many others right now, criticizes by arguing implications of “that’s just the way the world is.” Well, I can think of about 100 ways just off the top of my head of “just the way it could be,” all of which extinguish my patience for “just the way it is.” The “competitive world” that Lee and others tout drives the interest for profit that has come to usurp the assurance that basic human needs are available. What need do we have of our government if such an assurance is not met?

I’ve dug for information; I’ve followed; I’ve been to Occupy Cleveland and I continue despite my own critiques and witness to a certain amount of naiveté. I doubt Ms. Lee has done the same. In fact I would doubt she’s even ever talked to a farmer, teacher or factory worker. It’s these critiques that are helping the movement to evolve. If, Ms. Jessica Lee, you take the time to contribute in this way, you may find yourself properly schooled in a reality far removed from your UCLA textbook.

Occupy Wall Street is NOT a forum for “whiners.” It is a calling to all those who know the reality of injustice from experience. It is a declaration to our institutions that if they do not begin to serve the interest of the People, the People will begin to cancel their subscriptions to them. And the scholar in me does not know where this movement is heading, but the anarchist in me is ecstatic at the chaos of that fact. Occupy Wall Street is the People rising, so I say let the People rise. It is confronting the struggle, so I say let the struggle be known. It is a calling; let it be heard.