page 4 • tuesday, november 1, 2011
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ccupy Ra leigh, which developed as a response to the Occupy Wall Street protests that began in mid-September and expanded through November, espouses policies which would greatly benefit many citizens if implemented. However, the organization is far from any degree of achievement. Viktor Novak, an Occupy member, said everyone who attends Occupy protests has a different reason for attending. Some are against tax rates of the wealthy, some are present because the world isn’t being ‘green’ enough and some simply appear because they are unemployed, unhappy and ultimately disillusioned. The exact purpose of Occupy remains unknown because every member complains of different issues and alternative methods to remedying these issues. However, what holds these people together is the general view that there is something wrong with current society and the general way things are going, and something needs to change. On Oct. 15, members of Occupy Raleigh conducted a protest which resulted in the arrest of 19 protestors due to an expired permit. However, Occupy members refuse to back down. Novak said they are currently planning for their next course of action and many members are hopeful about the direction of Occupy. However, it is unclear what the next course of action will be. There was some movement to consolidate forces across the nation and protest at a singular location, though this measure will probably do nothing but tempt federal force — tear gas or bullets — in retaliation. According to Novak, Oct. 15 displayed early elements of class consciousness, the realization of one’s own rank in the social hierarchy which eventually leads to action in self-interest. These elements of class consciousness were evident in the last protest when protestors expressed grievances like the disgusting sum of money held by the top one percent of the population. Right now, there is no doubt
Occupy Raleigh is far from revolution. However, rebellion is exactly what the beginning of class consciousness will lead to. Right now, Occupy is relatively nonviolent. But sooner or later violence will be initiated, either by the police or by an Occupy member. The Raleigh police force already showed a certain degree of force in their arrests last Saturday. If the protests continue to grow, the police may resort to a more aggressive physical presence. However, Occupy is far from a rebellion at its current stage. If Occupy ever wants to truly accomplish anything and really make a statement, it needs to solidify what exactly its grievances are, a nd more i mportantly, what the government should do about them. Novak described Occupy as a giant discussion board, with people shouting their opinions on the current situation and throwing out general statements of how things should and can be better. If this is the case, Occupy is far from any direction in which it wants to go. The movement clearly has potential. If the various Occupy sub-movements become more organized and consolidate, the movement would garner a huge presence. However, mere numbers do not make a rebellion successful. The ideological basis exists, but the ideal society doesn’t work. Time and time a g a i n t he society has failed—see Russia, or even ancient Rome. Occupy members should be aware of the fact that even if the bourgeoisie give into all their demands, the class antagonisms will not
“Time and time again the society has failed.”
uring my fall break, I traveled to New York to see what “Occupy Wall Street” was about. I stayed there from Wednesday to Monday, sleeping in a park and working at the “OWS in Spanish” table. While volunteering there, I witnessed a very different system of organization from anything I have seen before. Basically, as people saw things needing to be done, they set out recruiting the people needed to do the tasks, without someone telling them to do it. The people themselves motivate each other to take the initiative and get things done. The park has slowly become a small village and some of the people working there refer to themselves as “Occupiers.” As ongoing concerns have been identified, working groups have come together to address them. For example, a nearby McDonald’s allowed us to use their bathroom. So I suggested to the outreach committee that we should make a thank-you sign for them. We went to the art committee to get an awesome design, and then walked around and had people sign it. We then took the sign and some bathroom supplies over to McDonald’s. All it took was four people working together, who’d never met before. This method of organization allows the movement to include new members and have their voices heard just as easily as older members. Not having a single leader mea ns we might take longer to act a nd ma ke decisions, but we are able to take the time to achieve our goals. We are all dedicated to continue for as long as we need to get the job done. An Occupier I spoke to gave me a great analogy for how this is unfolding. This is like a person who has an addiction. First, he or she has to admit to a problem and then has to identify it. Only then can that person figure out how to fix it. As a nation, we have to admit we have a problem. Then we can work on identifying it, and then start fixing it. I don’t
“We want everyone to give their input...”
be remedied. As long as this country is based on the ideals of the American Dream, class will exist and there will be constant struggles between the poor and the rich. Occupy needs to define its demands and reduce these to something feasible to accomplish. Then Occupy needs to point its force in the direction of achieving those demands and focus on nothing else. Occupy has potential if it can convey what exactly it wants to people who can make it happen.
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friends and family. At an occupation, we can meet other people who we may or may not agree with and share our concerns. A lot of times, it turns out we have a lot more in common than we originally thought. Do individual Occupiers know what they want? Absolutely. Does the movement as a whole know exactly what it wants? Not yet. But this is slowly and thoughtfully being worked out, as people talk to one another and share information, viewpoints and opinions. Because of demographics and the way social connec-
tions work, the movement has been depicted as a more liberal movement. However, the idea is to include as many different political opinions as possible. By bringing many different ideas to the table, we are more likely to find effective ones with widespread support. If you haven’t been to Occupy Raleigh and you feel the call, come by. We have general assemblies at noon and 6:30 pm every day in front of the capitol. We have an Occupy NCSU to reach out to students here in the university. On Nov. 3, we are planning for students of N.C. State and other schools around the area to participate in a general assembly, and meet some of the people at Occupy Raleigh. We can all agree we have a problem. Now we need to come together to identify it and to fix it.
Police, occupiers and citizens pay a price
Organize the occupation hey “aim to continue our activism indefinitely in support of the 99 percent of Americans without a seven-figure income,” but who are they aiming this movement toward? What do they hope to accomplish? What are their demands? Those protesting in the Occupy Raleigh, Wall Street, Atlanta, etc. ask for social change, and those observing the protest ask for what? The various Occupy movements, which have been spreading like wild fire across the nation, have very explicit causes they’re fighting for; however, the desired end result of these protests have yet to be articulated. This movement has aimed their protest at multiple bodies: Wall Street, corporations and the government, but there has not been a direct list of what they hope to achieve from these protests and who is supposed to change it. Movements like those for civil and women’s rights may have started out just as unorganized and misguided as the ones today. The ones from the past had the organization needed to back a specific cause, but the ones today do not yet have that support. The Occupy movement is merely a group making misdirected pleas for social change. While the movement has the much-needed support to incite such change, the lack of organization will only lead to protestors’ dismay.
imagine there are many people in America right now who would disagree that there’s a problem. What we need to work on now is identifying it. It’s no use for 50 percent of the country to say, “’Here’s how we’ll fix this problem,” when the other 50 percent is saying, “You’re looking at the wrong problem.” We want everyone to give their input, so we can become aware of what we should ultimately focus on. One of the goals of these occupations is to create a place locally where people from different backgrounds can come together and discuss their issues. Right now, politics is not polite conversation, so we only get to hear the opinions of the people on TV instead of those of our
The unsigned editorial is the opinion of the members of Technician’s editorial board, excluding the news department, and is the responsibility of the editor-in-chief.
Story By Will Brooks
The need for organization is evident; when many of those protesting are not able to define what they want or their desired results, how are corporations or the government supposed to change? They can’t. Exercising one’s right to protest is built into our constitution; however it is imperative to have some sort of goal, whether good or bad. Without such an objective it is merely a group of people with no motivation other than to complain. The movement also is without leaders who are willing to speak on their behalf. No one knows what they want or how they can get it, so no one is stepping out of the crowd to help prompt the change along. Even the previously-mentioned movements there were distinct leaders speaking for the cause. Without such a figure, or figures, the movement can only go so far—where it is now. The intentions of the movement are strong and have the potential to impact our nation’s government and history through massive social change, but they need to either get their act together and be serious or stop wasting people’s time.
s protesters continue to occupy a section of land in front of the State Capitol, fees for police supervision continue to add up. A statement by Jim Sughrue, director of public affairs for the Raleigh Police Department, said the cost of officers monitoring protesters is $1,500 per day. The cost to the department was approximately $26,300 during the opening weekend of protests. Austin Moss, an Occupy protester and former student, explained that though police officers were put in place to keep peace, it is a matter that is out of protesters’ hands. “We have not asked them to be here,” Moss said. “It is not a request of ours that has ever been put out.” Moss explained that police officers were not complaining about protests, and in some cases, police officers had come to protect protesters while off duty and in uniform. “Every single time that we have talked to a police officer that I know of, we have been met with nothing but cordial remarks and friendliness,” Moss said. Occupier Lynn Dupree said police officers are not getting paid overtime and they are fulfilling normal police duties.
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“Whenever any group assembles, it costs the city money, whether it is a kid’s activity, whether it is a religious function or whether it is a huge Christmas parade,” Dupree said: “I’m not a Christian but I have to pay for that anyway.” “The police are a service that we provide to all of our citizens. We are no less deserving than any other civic group,” Dupree said. Though there have been no cases of reported violence by or towards Occupy Raleigh, police officers have arrested 28 protesters since protests began Oct. 15. On Thursday, Gov. Bev Perdue requested protesters to keep the sidewalk in front of the State Capitol passable. “The action does not require those gathered on the sidewalk to leave,” Perdue said in a published statement. Perdue said boxes and chairs used by protesters had made it difficult for others to use the sidewalk. According to Chief of Capitol Police Scott Hunter, the sidewalk was not passable at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday. Eight of those reported to be blocking the sidewalk were arrested and charged
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