Living In America: The Occupy Movement: What Is That?


A couple of weeks ago, a few hundred young people found their way to Wall Street (the financial capital of the world) New York. It was the beginning of what has now become the ‘Occupy Movement’. When they gathered for the first time, they were a loosely formed group with as many different views as there were in the group. But they had one common grouse. They had had it with Corporate America. They are fed up with the rich getting richer and the poor losing jobs everyday.

Because the group lacked basic cohesion many of us thought it would be a passing phase. Why would anyone camp out in the streets with no planned agenda and hope to make an impact on New York. This is New York, New York. A town that is so great it was named ‘twice’. No patience for sluggers, sleepers, slow coaches, life always on the fast lane. Home to the wealthiest, home to corporate America, empire state building, Rockefeller plaza, Broadway, Madison square, and Times Square.

A city that never sleeps. New York is he only place I know in the western world where taxi drivers actually yell at pedestrians to get off the road. That’s after honking at you and giving you rude hand gestures.  Everyone in the city is there to make it. You know, just like Lagos. Fake it until you make it. The stakes are very high. That’s New York for you.

So the ‘occupy movement’ came calling on this city of high rollers a few weeks ago. Honestly it was not part of breaking news. Day by day more people joined in the movement. Although their message was still fragmented, Washington started taking notice. It became uncomfortable with all the attention the ‘occupiers’ were getting. It looked like they had something important to say, some facts that the majority of the people did not know about the new minority.

This new minority is a bunch of people who won more than everybody else. It now became public knowledge that only 1% of the American population was millionaires. This small population controlled the wealth of the entire nation.  This 1% owned more than the rest 99%. Incredible. This is supposed to be ‘America. God’s own country where the streets are paved with gold. The country that people play the lottery to get an immigrant visa. This could not be happening. The only super power in the world? No way.

With unemployment riding high at 9.1%, the occupy movement just could take it any more. They were going to camp out on Wall Street until something happens, until something is done, until someone takes notice. Now the number has increased. To crown it the unions have joined in and the movement is spreading.

The occupy movement is spreading. It is all over America. It is now crossing borders and no one can tell how this is going to end. They have now developed their own signs and lingo. So when the movement arrives a city, it takes the name of that city. We now have occupy Atlanta. They came on board a few days ago and are causing a few people sleepless nights.

But till now I cannot say for sure what the movement wants to achieve. There are different people in it for different reasons. Someone actually said she joined the protest because she has never been part of a protest all her 47 years on this earth. That of course is not to trivialize the issues at stake. Just to point out the different opinions.

What is trivial at this point is the fight among the republican candidates who are on the campaign trail to get their party nomination.  It looks like these candidates are out to gut each other. They argue over the most absurd things. It should be noted that the majority of the republicans are Christians who have a very strong view about their Christianity.

Most are against gay rights; they are pro-choice and most importantly want Obama out of office come 2012. But the path of the campaign is creating wild waves of trivia. Last week a strong supporter of Rick Perry said that Mormonism is a cult. That has created all kinds of brouhaha because one of the front runners, Dick Romney is a Mormon.

Of course everybody has an opinion on the issue either for or against. You would think that the emphasis would be on how they would get the country out of recession and create jobs for the millions of people who are currently unemployed.

Not too long ago the argument was Obamacare. Not what Obama was doing with Obamacare but which one of them the candidates supports the programme. They seem to forget that they should be focusing on what they will do that Obama is not doing, so that people will vote them in.

Now the latest is the 999 proposal of Henry Cain which Michelle Bachman has equated to 666 if turned upside down. All in all, the race to get the nomination as the Presidential candidate for the Republican Party gets more interesting as the days go by. We are watching this space.

So while the Republican candidates are still groping in the dark on how to move their campaigns forward, the Occupy Movement is growing in momentum. Watch this space.

Wikina wrote from the United States.

Ada Wikina