OWS Synthesis Homework

As I continued my quest for research regarding the Occupy Wall Street movement, I came across two articles that complimented each other extremely well. I decided to include them as part of my homework, because I too had their questions in mind.

In a Los Angeles Times article Can Occupy Wall Street be more talk, teach-ins and tents, I author David Horsey presents a valid point. Where does the future of Occupy Wall Street lay? Horsey begins the article by questioning his audience,

“Is the Occupy Wall Street movement going to transform America or dither and disappear?”

He suggests that perhaps if the “army of activists” remained more focused rather than blatantly pleading for political attention, than their creative gestures would speak louder. Horsey admits the presence of the protesters has not gone unheard, but what he would like to know is…exactly how long is this going to last. He writes,

“Last fall, at the height of the protests that began in New York’s Zuccotti Park and sprang up in city after city, all the way to Oakland, Occupy Wall Street seized the attention of the nation and, for the first time in a couple of years, shifted the terms of debate from the tea party’s obsession with big, bad government to the 99-to-1 split of wealth in the country.”

It is evident that the protesters have the ability to shift this country’s one- track mind. Horsey finds these outspoken defenders capable of raising significant questions, but he concludes that they are far from substantiating their ability to change America. A recent article published by The Economist, Occupy Wall Street and the media,Talking about a revolution, A fascinating and unwieldy movement in search of a narrative proposes a similar thought.

“But maxims aside, the movement has always struggled to explain its agenda to the world. That has much to do with its anti-hierarchical structure: no central authority, no single ideology, no unified set of demands.”

This article’s view for instance, attempts to provide an explanation as to why confusion continues to surround OWS. What this author is really saying is that perhaps we are unclear of what the protesters want, because they too do not know what they want. With no clear direction it is nearly impossible to determine how the job will get done. My point is not that the protesters are not successful, clearly they are if they were able to swing the focus of politicians, but how is it then, that we know exactly who the protesters are, we know exactly where they are, we are familiar with what they want, but yet we cannot come to an agreement on how they are going to go about changing America? Unless they propose how they see the country changing instead of just saying there must be modifications to the government, media, and the rights of citizens than how can the country transform. The politicians are not outwardly going to implement law and alter policies because a group of people (even if they are the vast majority) says so. I question Horsey’s original thought with my own, do the protesters of Occupy Wall Street foresee change for America stemming from their own arguments, or are their uproars a plead for internal political negotiations?

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One thought on “OWS Synthesis Homework

  1. This is a good start to a synthesis, Hillary. I love that you are choosing fresh sources, too, like Horsey’s 4/5/12 piece in the LA Times. I also like how you’ve formatted the quotations here. It’s consistent with a blogging platform and, perhaps more importantly, makes it readable! I can also see that you are using Horsey and this essay from the Economist to build a case — to compare and establish a pattern that folks think OWS isn’t articulate enough. There are a few points where the synthesis could be improved or at least condensed. For example, before you introduce the first Horsey quote, you say “but what he would like to know is…exactly how long is this going to last. He writes,…” but the quote that follows doesn’t question the lasting power of the movement. It praises it, actually. It’s a difficult transition for the reader. But your synthesis does lead me (as an admitted liberal, sympathetic reader to the OWS cause) to wonder if the terms these journalists set for success — the fact that specific demands must be articulated — are an indication that the media doesn’t understand activism. In other words, I wonder if there are other sources out there — perhaps more theoretical ones — that might question the criteria by which these writers judge the movement. What if the movement is an abstract argument. Is that okay? Is it effective? Just a thought…

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