Occupy Wall Street: An Important Event Ignored by the Media

Michael Moore inspires the protesters

A young, female protester gets arrested

Why is the media ignoring the Occupy Wall Street Protest?

You probably can't tell by the news media, but for the last few weeks, a major protest has been going on in lower Manhattan. From the coverage (or lack thereof) it's been getting, it probably doesn't seen like much on TV. You have to be there. In person, it's an epic event! And it's an important one, too.

For over three weeks now, protesters who call themselves "the other 99%" (As opposed to the richest One Percent who control most of the country's money) have been living outdoors in New York's financial district. They march, chant, protest and even camp out. They are railing against the corporate greed and social inequality that has left America in such a financial mess.

The protesters, who are headquartered (so to speak) in Zuccotti Park near Wall Street (Which is more of a plaza than a park), eat donated food, live in tents or sleep on the sidewalk in sleeping bags, collect donations for provisions and keep their laptops running with a portable gas-powered generator. They have their own website and even their own newsletter, the "Occupy Wall Street Journal". It's all very organized and impressive in it's resourcefulness. Considering how organically it all evolved and taking into account that no one knew how long it would last, this is a very impressive sit-in. Or perhaps its a 'sit-out'.

The event started out small, with about 2,000 people and was mostly ignored by the media. It appeared to be losing steam until the now-infamous footage (shown many times on TV and on the web) of a police supervisor spraying mace into the faces of female protesters, without any apparent justification. This was a turning-point in the protest and suddenly support began to grow for the fledgling movement. Thousands more have shown up since to offer their support. Most come and go, with only those original core members living in the plaza. But daily, many thousands of protesters line the streets of the financial district in solidarity. The movement is still growing with no sign of an ending in sight.

Last Saturday, the "Other 99%" were joined by the United Way's annual March Against Poverty over the Brooklyn Bridge. The mass of marchers were warned to stay on the pedestrian walkway, although some strayed out onto the car road and blocked traffic. The marchers claimed that the crowd was bigger than they anticipated and they couldn't all fit on the path. Some claimed they weren't aware that the road was off limits to them. By the end of the day, 700 protesters were arrested and given citations for disturbing the peace and then released. A class action suit against NY Mayor Bloomberg and the police department has been filed for the mass arrests.

Other related protests against Wall Street have sprung up all over the country; San Fransisco, LA, Chicago, Albuquerque and other locations have joined in, making this a national event.

The Transit Workers Union and United Steel Workers have come out in support of the protesters. Several celebrities have also shown up in support, including Michael Moore, Susan Sarandon and Mark Ruffalo. They hope that their celebrity status will bring more media interest.

In a speech to the crowd, Moore compared the obsessive greed of the Top One Percent to kleptomania. "They weren't satisfied with tens of billions. They had to have hundreds of billions". He also said to the crowd "They're trying to destroy our democracy and turn it into a Kleptocracy."

Recently, the media coverage has been increasing. Due to celebrities like Moore and the confrontations with the police, attention regarding the event has grown. Keith Olberman has recently devoted a whole show on Current TV to the event.

There are lots of clever signs, including one with a picture of Washington, Lincoln and Franklin on their respective bills of currency, and the slogan "When did their ideals become our oppression?" And one of my favorites was the catchphrase from the film V for Vendetta that said, "People shouldn't be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of the people!"

Most of the core protesters are 20-something college graduates who are worried about how they can pay down their oppressive, crippling student debt. However, many of the people who are joining the marches are older. (I was one.)

The protesters have a laudable goal in wanting to end class warfare and make things more equitable between the "haves" and "have-nots" in this country. However, they lack a cohesive message. They are railing against the unfairness of a financial system which needs to be overhauled but they seem to have no specific suggestions or demands. What the movement needs is a powerful, eloquent leader like Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi, to be the mouthpiece for Occupy Wall Street.

The lack of leadership is due to the fact that the movement evolved organically and was formed as a collective voice for change. There is some semblance of hierarchy, but there are no clear leaders or spokes-people. But perhaps a clear message with specific demands is not strictly necessary. Maybe the fact that thousands of people around the country are massing in protest is enough to begin the process of change. Now that the media is finally paying attention, this could be the beginning of a catalyst for financial reform in this country and a move toward equality between the top and the "other 99%".

* * *

Attached is a review of Michael Moores' film "Capitalism: a Love Story", which deals with the same topic that the movement is protesting.

CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY ****(4 Stars)

Capitalism: A Love Story:Michael Moore is back and up to his old tricks again, playing the rabble-rouser conscience of America. His latest effort is possibly his timeliest, examining our capitalist system at a time when the system seems to be failing us.

Love him or hate him, Moore is a lightning rod for discussion and this is definitely a topic that needs to be discussed. Despite his famously left-wing leanings, the film is bi-partisan in assigning blame, accusing every administration since Reagan (including Clinton) for allowing the corporate coup of America.

The film starts with a montage of people robbing banks and then switches to interviews with people who have been robbed by banks. We see hard working people who are temporarily down on their luck losing their homes because of skyrocketing mortgage rates, high health insurance premiums and other fees that the poor can't afford to pay. One family is ousted from their home without the requisite 30 days notice and had nowhere to go. Another family ended up living in the back of a truck.

There's a funny scene where modern American is compared to ancient Rome (complete with footage from an old movie about the Roman Empire) highlighting the ever growing disparity between rich and poor. Rome was also called a democracy.

Moore exposes some little known but highly infuriating corporate practices such as "Dead Peasant Insurance". Basically, it means that a big corporation surreptitiously takes out a big life insurance policy on an employee who has a higher than average chance of dying (Due to a dangerous occupation or poor health or age or some other reason) and if the person dies, the company can collect a large fee without informing the late employee's family or sharing the insurance money. One policy netted a company over a million dollars. The reaction of the widow when she heard about the "Dead Peasant" policy was heart wrenching.

Another bit of maddening information is the confusing concept of Derivatives, which makes the mortgages of American homeowners into collateral in a reckless gamble regarding whether or not the homeowner will fail. Its amazing how much of Wall Street and Capitalism is based on gambling.

Moore shows us some scenes of life in the fifties when the American dream seemed genuine and the system worked for the people instead of the other way around. Michael Moore pinpoints the Ronald Reagan administration as the beginning of the corporate coup, calling Reagan a corporate spokesman. The deregulations of the Regan era certainly played a part in setting up the current climate.

Naturally, there are the trade-mark Moore stunts, like surrounding the AIG building with police tape and trying to make a citizen's arrest on the board of directors, but the film works best when it touches on the real issues of whether our rights are being adequately served by the current corporate controlled capitalist system. The scene where Moore and his father visit the site of the GM plant where his father had once worked making spark plugs for over 30 years is very effective.

The most effective moment is when we view some previously unseen tapes of FDR asking for a second bill of rights to be initiated, guaranteeing that every American has a right to a job, a place to live, education and health insurance. FDR was in ill health when he instituted this idea and would be dead within a year of his speech so he never managed to accomplish this laudable goal. American life would have been substantially different over the last few decades if he'd succeeded.

The film covers ground that Moore had warned us about years ago in his early films "Roger & Me" and "the Big One". Although Moore seems to be calling for a revolution, its unlikely that change is coming. As the film points out, the public has been very willing to accept this system on the belief that any one of them might become one of the rich upper class themselves. Self interest is the foundation for Capitalism but it shouldn't be for a democracy.

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Comments 35 comments

gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 4 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

Excellent hub. I did not know about this event until this past Sunday. Even though I believe in success and earning monies, I wholeheartedly support these protesters. They have the courage to protest the runaway greed of Wall Street executives.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi gmwilliams; I support them, too. I marched along with them. I think they would agree that everyone has a right to make money. The message is that 1% of the population shouldn't control most of the money and have such influence over the government.

And it just goes to show that the media isn't paying much attention to this major event, since you hadn't even heard of it until sunday.

Thanks for reading,

Rob


the bunco squad profile image

the bunco squad 4 years ago from Savannah GA

Awesome hub,

It’s funny that the so called liberally biased media didn’t pick up on this sooner. Yet Fox News and its hacks have been reporting it as a bunch of hippies who haven’t taken a bath and don’t have any real agenda. It’s also sad that it takes the near ruin of a country before people finally rise up.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Bunco squad; It was strange how the media ignored this. As you say, only Fox news talked about it, and have painted the protesters as some Woodstock-like drugged-out hippies. Fox News has campared them to Nazis and inferred that they will eventually become violent. But what else would you expect from their "fair and balanced" reporting.

Thanks for commenting,

Rob


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 4 years ago

I saw the mace story on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He did a whole skit on it. The mace story did air a lot in Canada.


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Here in Toronto, the media outlets have put-out a few news stories on the protest in Manhattan. I am also happy to let you know that "Occupy Toronto" is planned for the 15th of this month so, in about a week and a half we will be on the streets too. "Occupy Calgary" is also being planned as well as other demonstrations in other major Canadian cities.

The ball is rolling and it will only pick-up more speed and momentum from now on! Thank you for writing this and all the best!


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 4 years ago

Mr. Happy-I expect there is to be one in Vancouver too.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Flora; I missed the John Stewart show with the mace skit, but at least he's bringing attention to it, even in a humorous way.

Thanks for stopping by,

Rob


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Mr. Happy. It's great to see that this is becoming an international movement. I heard an interview yesterday on Keith Olberman's show that there are some protests being planned in European cities. This is an amzing thing. It started with 2,000 people in Manhattan and it's going world-wide.

Thanks for reading.

Rob


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

It's good to hear about the Vancouver protest, Flora. It's great to see how this is growing so quickly. Who would have imagined it would snowball so much in less than a month? There's a big march planned today, which will coincide with a student walk-out from local colleges. The students are going to join the march to protest their sky-high tuitions. I plan to be there.

Rob


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 4 years ago from London, UK

I saw a little bit of Coverage on Sky News but you are right, the coverage is not much. I hope they achieve their objective.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Lady E. I hope they do, too. They've got momentum. Let's see how far it goes.

Rob


REALfoodie profile image

REALfoodie 4 years ago from Florence, Italy and WORLDWIDE

You are NOT being ignored in Europe!

We get daily updates on TV and in print, so know that the world is watching and supporting the movement 100%!!! It's about time that Americans stood up to the crooks on Wall St. and the greedy, selfish rich who don't care about anyone else but themselves.

Bravissimi!


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 4 years ago

There is another protest in Vancouver because for some reason (what could there be?) someone thought that we would be interested in hearing Dick Chaney speak to us like Bill Clinton has. ummm. no.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Realfoodie; That's good to know. The whole world should be paying attention to this. I was there marching today so maybe I'll be on TV in Europe. It's an amazing feeling being there.

Thanks for the comments,

Rob


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Flora. So Mr. Haliburton is speaking in Canada. No wonder there's a protest planned.


Xenonlit profile image

Xenonlit 4 years ago

They can't completely ignore it now, but they are trying very hard to shove the whole thing into a corner.

The corporate overlords must be putting on a lot of pressure. Thank God for Twitter and Facebook.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Xenolit; The big corporations do own the networks, so they naturally don't want the networks covering this. But this is growing beyond their ability to dismiss it.

Thanks for reading,

Rob


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 4 years ago from Virginia

Very well done....I was pretty much only vaguely aware of the protest....so I greatly appreciate you providing this information....I am not sure how the cause will solve the problems....it will be interesting to hear their ideas that will correct the situations....I not sure Michael Moore is the best spokesman for this cause....as he is probably if not in the 1% pretty close to it....I read a report that says he has lots of money tied up in investments in companies he says are evil....yet he is getting reach by investing in those very same companies.....great hub...very interesting and informative.


shea duane profile image

shea duane 4 years ago from new jersey

Great, great hub!


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 4 years ago from London, UK

Robwrite, this is a brilliant hub. The details I never knew. One thing, you don't ask why the meadia doesn't cover it? I bet you enything they are underorder. Ask because they not cover it? They sitll think it all goes away quietly. All the top are filling there pockets or better lorries. Today the Bnk of England warned us that there is another crash on the way. The nerve and how can they foresee this? Amazing. A few years ago one of these socalled finanzier ""forecast"" that there will be another hard time up till the middle of 2015 and the 2016 will the economy improve again. Isn't amazing how they know yers ahead. He even said that it would worse than the last """credit Crunch""". I think we all should storm the Citadel. This brainless box we got here at the moment was saying at his party conference that people should get their debt down and it is up to the people to sort them out. It makes you throw up. He made £6billion last year. Gosh he should be run out of town.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi cogerson; the 99 percenters (as they like to be called) don't claim to have the answers to the problem. The point of the protest is to shake the majority out of their complacency and stir up the hornet's nest. Basically, they want the whole country to start saying "I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it any more!" In a sense, its just a call not to take it lying down any more.

I don't know how much money Michael Moore has and it's possible he's being a hypocrite. But right now, there is no leader for the movement, so anyone who can get the media listening is welcome by the 99 percenters.

Thanks for reading,

Rob


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Thanks, shea. Glad you liked it.

Rob


Pinkchic18 profile image

Pinkchic18 4 years ago from Minnesota

I've heard a little about it but didn't know the whole situation. Thanks for sharing this and keeping us posted.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Always a pleasure to hear from you, Pink.

Take care,

Rob


publicprivacy profile image

publicprivacy 4 years ago

Brilliant hub. It's nice to see people talking about this event.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Thanks. I definitely feel the word needs to spread.


Timmy Octavian profile image

Timmy Octavian 4 years ago

Great Hub...I am totally for people rising up and marching for change. I will be interesting to see what all pans out.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Timmy; I'm also very interested to see where it all leads.

Thanks for reading.

Rob


progressivist profile image

progressivist 4 years ago

I disagree with you on the value of leaders or a message. (I've written about this aspect in a hub of my own.) Basically, I believe the protesters have the right idea. The people who did wrong know who they are, and with continuous public pressure, may be forced to step forwards and do the right thing. I have supported my own local Occupy movement and what I have found in the media coverage is that they will interview the people out there and show those with little or no education, who are just out there because they are frustrated and feel the need for change, without bothering to show the protesters who are well-informed and well-spoken, because, of course, that doesn't make for entertainment.


Jimmy London 4 years ago

It has not had much coverage on English media, I suppose this is because they are not really showing any footage of the St Paulson cathedral protest which has been going on now for over a month.

The last report I hear: was from ITV thermal imaging cameras from helicopters saying that even though there are lots of tents set up, at night time hardly any of the tents are not occupied!

But as we all know just to stay during the day at this protest and others around the world, that's just the kind of support we need, every one should try and make that extra effort and support the 99.

I will be attending St Pauls over the weekend, I do hope this continues to grow, then it will have a snow ball effect!


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

progressivist; the media does like to pick and chose what it covers regarding the Occupy Movement, especially the Murdock media. Recently, Murdock's NY Post got a picture of two people getting into a scuffle at the Wall Street protest, and put it on the front page with headline "Animals". How do they call that journalism?

Rob


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Jimmy; I also hope it continues to grow and grow. I'm not sure what's going to happen here in NY now that winter is approaching. It can get pretty cold here in NY in January and February. I don't know if the movement will last until Spring but I'm rooting for them.

Rob


Xenonlit profile image

Xenonlit 4 years ago

Wow, things have changed so vastly and so rapidly in the past few days. I just found this article and it should get more readers who want to see the history of the movement.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Xenonlit; Glad you found this. There have been a lot of new developments since I wrote this. I just wrote a new one today (Nov. 16.)

Rob

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