‘Occupy Together’ needs more concrete goals

“I’m a 21-year-old student. My family and I just got evicted from our home because our combined income was not enough to make rent. I have since took another job and still live paycheck to paycheck despite working 80-90 hours a week school. My family and I now live in different places. I am the 99 percent.”

“I was laid off to be hired back as a contractor so THE COMPANY wouldn’t have to pay health care insurance or payroll taxes. ‘It’s only temporary’ they said … more than 2 years ago. I am the 99 percent. Occupy Together.”

These are the voices of “Occupy Wall Street,” submitted to the We Are the 99 Percent” Tumblr, that has been fueling much of the outcry that started with a few people camping out on the streets of New York City — a “protest for American Revolution.”

It started out as mostly young people, protesting their student loans and lack of employment. In the past three weeks, the crowd has snowballed; people from all different age groups protesting social and economic justice.

Rallying around the city with loud voices and a painful cynicism, the protestors have been carrying signs that say “No Banker Left Behind,” “I am the 99 percent,” “I don’t have a lobbyist” and “Wall Street is our street.”

The movement still doesn’t have one clear goal, with various groups of people protesting various causes. Their strength is their voice, which has grown considerably since a long list of unions and celebrities have donated their support. Even Lupe Fiasco asked an Assembly Hall audience last Friday to support the protest, because “we need to support the truth.”

I have to admit, I was more than skeptical about what a protest with no clear direction, albeit a unified voice, could accomplish.

Wall Street could care less about these protesters; these aren’t their customers. Aside from having no clear aim, directing your protest at a group of people who could give a hoot isn’t going to accomplish much.

The banks aren’t going anywhere, so what exactly do these protesters think they’re going to accomplish? I’m taking them seriously enough, in fact I don’t think many of us are.

The fact remains, though, that while the protesters aren’t asking for any one thing, they all seem to agree that corporate greed needs to end. There seems to be a unanimous understanding that there needs to be tax reform, more financial regulation and more support for students, educators and the jobless.

Perhaps this movement is a little shy of being the liberal movement’s new Tea Party. Whether that’s positive and something that can make a difference in Washington, D.C., remains to be seen.

Either way, the protesters claim they’re speaking for 99 percent of the American people, and I think it would be unwise for both Wall Street and the government to ignore their voice.

These people may not be willing to camp out in sleeping bags and tents forever, but they’re also running out of places to go — and their voices aren’t going to get any quieter.

That being said, it would be better if the protestors chose to adopt more unified concrete demands.

At this point, while they have strength in numbers the protesters have little more than a bunch of signs, and an audience that isn’t really listening.

_Nishat is a senior in LAS._