What is it you want again?
Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.
By Katie Maze
Occupy Wall Street movements began fervently in September of 2011, uniting the middle class in major cities throughout the country and eventually the world.
Founded by the liberal uprising organization Adbusters, the goal was to “end the monied corruption of our democracy,” according to their website. Not surprisingly, thousands of Americans united to protest corporate greed, which they believe to be the downfall of America’s shaky economy.
As the weeks roll on, however, occupiers are steadily losing sight of why they gathered in the first place.
The reality of this overly propagated camping trip revealed itself to UMHB in late September as The Bells staff traveled south to cover the local movement at Austin City Hall. Disappointment is an understatement of the emotion felt when the stench of pot, urine and body odor greeted the staff upon stepping out of the vehicle and onto their turf.
Jake, a 20-year-old college student, admitted that he hadn’t been to class in over a week just so he could hang out at the city hall to eat the free pizza provided by the local rally leaders.
This public arena has become a squatting ground for hobos, the unemployed, those with responsibilities to neglect and young college students. Thousands have been allowed to lounge around in public spaces for weeks on end, experiencing only the tyranny of polite legal notices asking them to think about vacating.
Frankly, it’s insulting to hear young college students, like Jake, compare this propagated bellyache to the earnestly inspiring civil rights movement of the ‘50s and ‘60s.
In January 2012, Occupy Austin entered its third month of protests but has begun to dwindle due to lack of support, enthusiasm and interest from others in the community.
So far, however, occupiers have little more to show than a large sign collection and intricate monuments with clever references to games like Monopoly in which Rich Uncle Pennybags is seen broke and weeping because the one percent stole his $200 before he could pass go.
If the Occupy Wall Street movement wants success or, at the least, respect, it is essential for these leaders to define the message their followers are sending. In the civil rights movement, the message stood unmistakably bold: Equal rights for ALL. And still the question that begs to be asked: Why are there thousands of hobos cluttering the nation’s “Wall Streets”?