Could the Occupy Movement Gain Better Exposure By Paying It Forward?

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One day at work, a coworker asked me what was going on near the City Hall in Los Angeles where there was a tent city growing. I replied, “What do you mean?” I had not been watching local news, and I quickly completed a search on the internet. To my surprised, I learned that it was the Occupy Movement (Movement), which is an organized protest that has started in many cities to voice its disapproval of economic inequality, particularly the protesters’ unhappiness toward America’s top one percent. In Los Angeles, the Occupy Movement has grown into street parades and protests blocking streets and freeways, requiring numerous helicopters to hover in downtown Los Angeles.

The Movement differs from City to City; however, the common theme seems to be some type of disruption to show discontent. In Oakland, the Movement chose to set fires on buildings and vandalize businesses with spray-paint. In Los Angeles, they are blocking traffic. In Wall Street, one Occupy demonstrator while protesting even had the idea to file a trademark on the term “Occupy Wall Street.”

I believe that the Occupy Movement fails to gain anyone’s sympathy and for the most part is ignored except for media sensationalism. The Movement’s energy has been completely wasted. What the Movement could have done is apply the “Pay It Forward” concept to gain support.

“Pay it forward” is a concept involving random act of kindness. The idea has been around since Benjamin Franklin. According to Wikipedia, there is a evidence of a letter from Benjamin Franklin to Benjamin Webb regarding the idea of paying it forward. “Pay It Forward” theory is alive and well. My mother-in-law recently went to celebrate a relative’s birthday at a teppanyaki style Japanese restaurant like Benihana with a couple of other relatives and shared a table with a two other customers. When it was time to pay for their share of the lunch, my mother-in-law learned that the other two customers who left earlier picked up the tab for the entire eating station. This was truly a “pay it forward” moment.

I have experienced it at a toll booth where we were told by the toll booth attendant that the driver in a car ahead of us paid for our toll. Recently, I gave a coworker who recently signed up to take the California bar examination my husband’s set of bar examination books because a friend of mine lent me her set about two decades ago.

If I could talk to the people behind the Movement, I would tell them to come up with different “Pay It Forward” actions to show that the Movement is comprised of kind-hearted people. In Los Angeles, the Movement could meet but also collect canned food for food shelters, or women with long hair can donate their hair for cancer patients. If the Movement continues to Thanksgiving, they could volunteer at some missions serving the poor the festive meals. They could team up with Heal the Bay and clean the beaches. The Movement needs to know that there is no value in its current disturbance.

Do You Think That The Occupy Movement Is Making A Difference?

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Have You Ever Paid It Forward?

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Comments 10 comments

Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

I think you're misunderstanding the whole occupy movement. That's understandable, since the media has been unkind at best and libelous at worst. I've been involved with "Occupy" since the beginning, and there are no arsonists, vandals or anarchists among them. They are decent people with legitimate concerns. Since they are living outdoors, the homeless are welcome to eat at their pantry. And as far as gaining sympathy, the movement is growing constantly. So please don't let media bias fool you. These are not crazies, and protesting is what this country was bulit on, as far back as the protests against the Stamp Act, and the Boston Tea Party in the colonial days.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 5 years ago

I think the movement is getting noticed but not necessarily the way Occupy desires. What it's going to prove in the long run will be interesting. I agree with you in that they could find other avenues to voice their concerns. And where is their belief and purpose stated for all to see? That would help.


formosangirl profile image

formosangirl 5 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Hi Robwrite. I much appreciate your feedback. What I don't understand is that the protests in Los Angeles are moving onto streets, blocking the flow of freeways and roads. How should my two coworkers who were 45 minutes late to do their job protecting the United States supposed to feel? I am standing at the bus stop, and I see helicopters hovering above me. The helicopters were so loud that it sounded like Vietnam War movies. I learned this not through bias media but firsthand experience of myself and my colleagues. I saw a stream of police motorcycles and cars driving toward the vicinity of the helicopters during evening rush hour in the financial district of Los Angeles, not very close to City Hall where tent city once was. How are the commuters in downtown Los Angeles supposed to be sympathetic when the traffic was intentionally gridlocked during rush hours? I don't think the top 1% commute to their jobs and have minimum hours that they must work per day.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

The thing is, the helicopters, police barricades and blocked-off streets are the result of the staggering over-reaction of local law enforcement. The protesters don't have helicopters, police cars or motorcycles. In New York, the police blocked off a street near Zuccotti park and set up a watch tower. It was completely unnecessary. Yesterday there was a row of cops in riot gear blocking off 5th avenue. Near Union Square, they stopped traffic to allow a line of police cycles to get through.

The protesters don't have any motivation to stop traffic or delay people. That's all due to a huge over-reaction by law enforcement.


formosangirl profile image

formosangirl 5 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Teaches12345, thanks for your comment. Generally, when there is a strike, employees are asking for something. I am not sure what the different protesters are asking for in each city. Yes, they do not trust the government. I don't trust the local government. How can the City Administration overspend? I am with the Federal Government and when I travel, I have to turn in all of my hotel receipts, airfare stubs, bus stubs, taxi stubs before I can be reimbursed. You can only travel when you have travel authorization. So, how can any city overspend?


formosangirl profile image

formosangirl 5 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Hi Robwrite. I am not close to the tent city near city hall and yet we have those helicopters above us. And the tent city is not near the freeway, and yet my colleagues said it was the Occupy Movement. So, why is the commotion only around rush hours and why today?

Do the protesters have goals that are attainable through protest?


HomesbytheBeach profile image

HomesbytheBeach 5 years ago from Redondo Beach, California

A thoughtful observation. I wrote an article on a different way to gain positive results (and potentially response) by organizing everyone into positive, forward thinking companies. It seems to me that most of the people who are "out there" are the ones who may need a new job the most. If they had a decent job, they would not be able to (have the desire) devote the bulk of the day camping out and protesting. There are many positive things that groups that large could accomplish.


formosangirl profile image

formosangirl 5 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Thank you, HomesbytheBeach. When I was in D.C., I had a friend who told me that her friend, a son of a U.S. senator, took a crack house in the danger side of Capitol Hill and turned it into a pizza restaurant and gave inner city kids an opportunity to learn a skill and be gainfully employed. I am sure that it required some money. I do not know if any corporation who be willing to invest in human resources using protesters from the Occupy Movement. But then would these people in the Occupy Movement want a simple restaurant job or are they bitter that they cannot find a job equivalent to what they had.


cynthia 3 years ago

well i believe that two wrongs can not make a right, there are better ways to go about their protest demonstration without causing more harm, it will potray negatively of what they aim to achieve,....for example here in Nigeria, during our school riot championed by the students union goverment at university of Nigeria (Nsukka campus)though we were heard but not in the way we wanted...maybe you can try these link for more enquiry..www.unn.edu.ng..tnx


formosangirl profile image

formosangirl 3 years ago from Los Angeles Author

cynthia, thanks for your comment. Every day when I am on my commuter bus I am reminded that the drivers are having their benefits cut and they are trying to voice their disapproval by organizing a strike. Of course we would be the big losers in the situation. We cannot rie in peace. In all of the instances where people protest, it is rare that they see the result that they sought.

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