Occupy Wall Street S17: As Black Monday Protest Celebrates One Year Anniversary, Movement Must Grow Up

Happy Occu-versary! September 17 signals the one-year anniversary of the Robin Hood-esque movement fighting corporate corruption, big business, and the 1% of those holding 99% of the wealth. To kick off the splashy occasion, there will be a weekend-long bash, OWS-style, called S-17.

The activities started on September 15, or S-15. Things kick-off where they began in the financial district of New York City. Events include teach-ins and general occupations with a scheduled concert Sunday featuring Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello in Foley Square.

S-17 started with a bang with several arrests of OWS participants already made Saturday in New York. However, “Black Monday,” as it is being touted by OWS, promises to be the culmination of the celebration, with protesters planning to help disrupt Wall Street through various sit-ins.

When OWS first started, it sparked some intensive conversations about economic disparity in this country on a never-before-seen level. This grassroots movement has been very good about inspiring the younger generation of U.S. citizens who haven’t had to fight for their rights.

They’ve also made waves supporting various factions including those opposed to NYC’s controversial “Stop-And-Frisk” policy, to the Chicago Teacher’s Union, currently on strike due to negotiations of what teacher’s deemed an inadequate contract, leaving Chicago’s school children with nowhere to go.

“We are the 99%,” is the mantra, and while wanting to “end the entanglement of big business and the government” may be the goal, many wonder how much closer the movement is to achieving such a big goal, especially when the initial public interest has significantly died down. In addition to that, many wonder how much of a dent OWS could make simply by practicing random sit-ins and without having a real leader.

In an article with the New York Times, Jay-Z, who previously received backlash over his attempt to capitalize on OWS through his clothing line, talked about the things he still needed clarification on concerning OWS.

"What's the thing on the wall, what are you fighting for?" he asked. "I'm not going to a park and picnic, I have no idea what to do, I don't know what the fight is about. What do we want, do you know?"

His quote speaks to the core of the problem many find with OWS. There seems to be a lack of quantitative and qualitative goals and strategy in place to achieve what OWS desperately wants to fight for; the dismantlement of the 1 percent.

The chances of this group attempting to create tangible change through policy-reform or legislature seems unlikely, as OWS supports neither of the prominent parties in the United States, Republican or Democrat. According to OWS, both are simply carrying out the agenda of the 1 percent.

That kind of reasoning reminds me of the person who doesn’t vote because “the election’s rigged” or “it’s a contest between the lesser of two evils.” Whatever your excuses are, you still should vote. It’s almost as if the OWS movement doesn’t set tangible goals because it doesn’t want you to measure its efficacy, just be impressed by its boldness and flair.

Last year around this time, I worried if OWS would be occupying my Wal-Mart while I’m trying to take advantage of low-low savings. This year, I want to take OWS seriously. I want to because it is time to fight, to be bold enough to take a stance against greed, corruption, and I want to support those standing against unfair policies like Stop-And-Frisk and the CTU for standing up for air-conditioning in classrooms and the rehire of laid-off teachers.

But, I can’t take you seriously OWS if you refuse to grow up. Get some attainable goals, influence some policy-making, and stop running around like a teenager. It’s time to grow up.

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KJ Jackson

Writer with a criminal justice background. Hip-hop is my friend. Movies are my passion.

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