Understanding the Occupiers

English: Protest signs outside of Occupy Boston.

Image via Wikipedia

Though it started months ago, and no longer makes daily headlines on the major news networks, the Occupy Movement is still plugging away. Tenaciously spreading its anti-capitalist mantra to anyone who cares to listen. This movement has been applauded in the media as a great social movement, but how great has it really been? Just what has truly been accomplished that will benefit the whole of society? To get a better handle on the kind of people who are, or  have participated in an Occupy protest, I have a few questions I would like to ask. I would appreciate a direct response to these questions from anyone who is or has participated in an Occupy protest for more than a week.

  1. Are you currently employed? If so, how did you get the time off from work to participate in this protest? If no, are you actively seeking employment? If so, how are you conducting a job search while  attending the protest?
  2. If not employed, are you a student? If so, how are you managing to attend class and keep up with your homework while attending the protest?  What is your grade point average?
  3. Do you own a home or rent?  If so, how are you paying your mortgage, or rent and utilities while you are attending the protest?  If not, where were you living before you encamped at the protest?  Did you have to contribute financially in any way,  in order to live there?  Will you be able to return there when you are through protesting?
  4. Other than student loans or education grants, are you receiving any form of government assistance?  If so what kind?
  5. Do you depend on your parents for any kind of financial support?  (To include trust funds)
  6. Are you married?  If so, are both of you attending the protest?
  7. Do you have any children?
  8. What visible positive effects can be seen in this community due to the presence of this protest?
  9. Are you old enough to vote? If so, are you planning on voting in the presidential election?
  10. Do you now, or have you ever owned any kind of business?

It will be interesting and probably surprising to see the answers to these questions.  I’ll put the results in a future post.

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8 responses

  1. Somethings happening but you don’t know what it is do you mrs jones….

    1. middleagedhousewife | Reply

      Perhaps you would care to enlighten me. Be the way you did not answer any of the questions I posed. You passed up an excellent chance to give us an accurate perception of the Occupy movement.

  2. Madam, you will not gain an understanding by trying to follow it on the internets. The intent of your questions is an obvious ploy to get something more to criticize. No one with any serious interest in the occupy movement is going to care whether individuals are married for example. What does that tell you? I’m just going to guess that about 50% of the protesters are married, but no one is out there taking a poll on the matter. How does that make any difference to your entrenched world view?

    The point of my initial comment is to say, if you have to ask, you’ll never quite understand. If you really want to know, you have to go there and talk to the people to figure it out. I’m going to follow your post just to see if there are any fools who want to fill out your survey…

    1. middleagedhousewife | Reply

      LTP, As I’m sure you are aware,there are a lot of people out there who view the occupy protesters as young, idealistic, entitlement driven, individuals who have no sense of responsibility. Now I will concede that this isn’t a scientific poll or study. The questions I posed all relate to personal responsibility. They are an opportunity to confirm or dispel the stereotype.

      1. I think the movement is different things to different people. Sounds like you are getting clued into the fact that its stereotype that you are stuck on.

        Everyone knows something is wrong in our nation. There is no agreement in congress and greater society how to fix it and unless things start getting fixed, there will be more. There is teeny capital investment taking place in the US. Things are still really slow in the market. Financial woes are at the root of it all.

        1. middleagedhousewife | Reply

          LTP, I absolutely agree with your concise and accurate description of the problems in our country. What I really see in the occupiers are college age and young adults who are truly frightened for their future. They are having to face the stark reality that they won’t be walking off campus into six figure jobs, their education has left them with few skills, and the government safety net they thought they could count on is now uncertain. Because they are young and lack life experience, they are unable to define just exactly what their grievances are, so, like you said, the movement has become different things for different people. Because of this, and the over the top behavior of some of the groups,the occupy movement has been very affective at getting noticed, but not very effective at suggesting solutions. Gaining attention is not necessarily the same thing as gaining support. So far the only solution they seem to offer is to have the government act as “Robin Hood” and redistribute the wealth. Looking to the government for the solution will never be effective because big government IS the problem. There are many small businesses that have the capital to expand, but they are afraid that pending regulations will cause expansion to be unprofitable. If small businesses can’t make a profit, then they can’t hire. There are no quick or painless solutions to our economic problems. Until our government becomes solvent again, every American is going to have to face a future of lower wages, fewer benefits, and we will have to become less dependent on government entitlements.

  3. Okay, I’ll bite. First of all, let me clarify that I am pretty right wing… so much so that I start to come up again on the other horizon. I did attend an Occupy protest and continue to support in spirit any protest against the elite ripping off our country and destroying our economy. I don’t have a problem with capitalism, entrepreneurism, or anything like that. I have a problem with the top echelon of people getting rich by playing games with money without actually doing anything productive or contributing to society and destroying the value of our currency and sending our economy into a nonstop downward spiral. Now to the questions:

    Are you currently employed? If so, how did you get the time off from work to participate in this protest? If no, are you actively seeking employment? If so, how are you conducting a job search while attending the protest?

    >>>At the time I attended I was self employed. I still own my own business now, but don’t manage it actively. Being a small business owner, by the way, is really fricken hard. I became a small business owner because it turned out that having a college degree doesn’t help one get a job. Not able to find a job and not wanting to work for minimum wage, I made my own opportunities. And I get penalised for it like crazy at tax time, believe me.

    If not employed, are you a student? If so, how are you managing to attend class and keep up with your homework while attending the protest? What is your grade point average?

    >>>No, I graduated several years ago with a 3.9 GPA and $25,000 in debt.

    Do you own a home or rent? If so, how are you paying your mortgage, or rent and utilities while you are attending the protest? If not, where were you living before you encamped at the protest? Did you have to contribute financially in any way, in order to live there? Will you be able to return there when you are through protesting?

    >>> I never camped out. I now own a home, but at the time, I was renting. Bills only need to be paid once a month, so no major time conflict there.

    Other than student loans or education grants, are you receiving any form of government assistance? If so what kind?

    >>> I have never received any kind of welfare or other assistance.

    Do you depend on your parents for any kind of financial support? (To include trust funds)

    >>> Nope. Their policy is to kick us kids out of the house with nothing and tell us to boot strap it. Some of us have fared better than others, but we all got pretty much the same treatment. I never asked them for any assistance, either.

    Are you married? If so, are both of you attending the protest?

    >>> At the time I went, I was not.

    Do you have any children?

    >>> I would like to have them someday and I would like to be able to afford to provide for them and raise them in a world where they can grow up and someday provide for their own families.

    What visible positive effects can be seen in this community due to the presence of this protest?

    >>> Couldn’t say, as I’m no longer in the city where I attended the protest.

    Are you old enough to vote? If so, are you planning on voting in the presidential election?

    >>> Yes I am old enough, but I don’t vote anymore because I don’t feel any politician accurately represents my views and I’m disgusted with all the corruption and lying. I am, however, politically active in other ways.

    Do you now, or have you ever owned any kind of business?

    >>> Yes, I do currently.

    The stereotype of Occupiers being lazy leftists is not entirely inaccurate. A lot of them are. Many of them are just protesting some vague concept of “the system”, whatever that is. But the one I went to had a pretty good mix of people from all walks of life, including a lot of Tea Party activists. I think most people are just sick of being ripped off and lied to. I think young people especially, myself included, feel like a lot of doors are closed to us. We went to university because we were told our whole lives that it was the only way we could make a living and then we graduate into a recession where there are no jobs and we’re lucky to be able to get the same kind of jobs we had in high school. A lot of peers had to move back with their parents. We’re all buried under crushing debt that we were told was so totally worth it. I count myself lucky to have met a man who is able to provide for us, but before I met him, I always figured that home ownership was totally out of reach and that there was no way I’d ever be able to afford to have children because it was such a struggle just paying the few minimal bills that I had every month.

    I mentioned that being a business owner is hard. I started up a very lean business which I finded entirely out of my own pocket. It’s still a young business and it’s still loss making. Despite that fact that it is loss making and my income in 2010 was under $22k gross, I still pay a 35% tax rate because I’m self employed. Saving 35 cents on the dollar is impossible when you live on so little and when tax time comes around, I end up owing thousands of dollars that I just flat out don’t have and can’t get. It’s a nightmare. It makes it impossible to hire anyone or expand the business. Very difficult to get ahead as a new small business owner, especially when you can’t get even a small loan. And as a business owner, I don’t get any benefits. I worked 7 days a week, had no vacation, no sick days, no health benefits, nothing. And while I felt lucky compared to my peers, I don’t think that barely making ends meet should count as lucky. When my parents were my age, they already had real jobs with benefits, two kids, and their own home. I don’t think there is anything wrong with younger people wanting those same things and wondering why circumstances are now preventing them from going after it.

    1. middleagedhousewife | Reply

      HWDU Thank you for your reply. That was just the kind of response I was hoping for. I was sure that there were people at the protests that didn’t fit the stereotype, those whose serious concerns were overshadowed by the some embarrassing shenanigans. I’m curious about something. I’m assuming you kept your American citizenship when you moved. If you wanted to vote, how would you go about doing it?

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