Clear goals of Occupy Wall St.

Posted: October 30, 2011

Kevin Cox

has worked in communications in Philadelphia since graduating from Boston University in 2007

Keith Cox

is a software and information-products entrepreneur from Philadelphia, and Kevin's father

We find it interesting to see how many commentators, pro and con, suggest that the Occupy Wall Street movement lacks clear goals or focus. Spend a few hours talking to these folks, as we have, and you'll know that the movement's goals are pretty darn clear:

Goal 1: Put a human face on the tens of millions of average Americans from every social, political, and economic strata who have had to put on hold plans to have a job, form a family, own a home, and live a normal life as the result of the dysfunctional mess that the United States has become. Occupy Wall Street is a way to let people across the country know that they are not alone in their struggles.

Goal 2: Spotlight that the industrial-scale financial fraud at the core of the modern financial-services industry is a major source of this mess, and - because the entire political and legal system has been bought off - virtually nobody is being held to account. Just as we have the right to defend ourselves when we are being mugged, Americans have the right to defend ourselves from corporations that exploit our markets while moving jobs overseas or that evade taxes while using our roads, schools, and other public infrastructure.

Goal 3: Point out that no partisan "10 Point Plan" will solve the mess we're in. The profound changes that we need will require the hard, slow work of rebuilding popular consensus by engaging with ideas from every point in the political and social spectrum. Wall Street and big corporate interests love never-ending political paralysis precisely because it leaves them free to cold-bloodedly strip the country bare.

You can agree with Occupy Wall Street, or not. But for those who are having a hard time getting it, as Upton Sinclair observed, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."


E-mail the writers at kcphila@gmail.com and keith_cox@comcast.net.

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