Today was Day 13 of the Occupy Wall Steet protests. Thousands have taken part, including several famous faces. What do they want? According to their website:
Occupy Wall Street is leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%.
Main Street Venting Blues deals with many of these issues. In our interview with The Story, we were asked about this song as a modern-day protest song. The comparison makes sense, but the big difference that I see between social anger during the Vietnam War and today is that back then there was a clear goal: ending the Vietnam War. Today, what is the unifying goal? Is there one?
This memorable poster for the Occupy Wall Street event is clear in stating that there is no single unifying demand or movement behind the protests. If they were primarily concerned with changing the legal structure or opposing the bailouts, it would make more sense to be protesting the White House, Congress, or even the Federal Reserve. These organizations make the rules and decide where to allocate bailout and stimulus funds. For decision-making, the buck stops there.
Perhaps the protesters themselves are unsure as to what precisely they are protesting. That there is a general sense of anger is indisputable and understandable. But when dealing with such a complex crisis as the Great Recession, actor identity and motivation are hard to parse.
Is anyone on the ground in NYC that wants to share what they see?