Opinion: Occupy movement in need of self-reevaluation

Kevin Griffin

Abbi Pittman

Kevin GriffinA year ago this week, the Occupy Wall Street movement emerged and asserted itself as a great populist challenge to America’s corrupt and unjust economic system.

Today, this movement, which set such high goals for itself, seems to be confused about what it stands for.

Despite a great passion behind the movement, Occupy had fewer participants in this year’s protests than last year. There also seemed to be less enthusiasm.

Perhaps the most important reason for this is the lack of a cohesive message.

To date (despite some attempts), Occupy Wall Street has not presented America with any clear manifesto or statement of principles for the whole movement.

And whatever vague statements of purpose it have made were much better articulated in 2011.

Last year’s protests at least appeared to be unified around some ideal of reforming Wall Street and reclaiming dignity and security for the middle and lower classes.

This year, the presence of activists for other causes such as environmentalism and social reform further blurred the movement’s overall message.

Though much of the original tone from 2011 still remains, the lack of an actual proposal to fixing the problems Occupy is protesting poses a question of the movement’s credibility.

Occupy has great potential. Its greatest success, however, has been raising awareness of itself.

Yes, people know about Occupy Wall Street. What they are less clear of is what it stands for.

But now that Occupy is back in the media’s spotlight, it needs to begin working to hold onto this attention by expressing a clear goal, potential policies and, most importantly, ways of achieving them.

Occupy Wall Street deserves to survive as a movement, but survival requires evolution.

Griffin, a freshman Journalism major from Madison, is an opinion writer.