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A Closer Look at OWS Protests: The 1%

The Voice of Russia, a Russian international broad-casting station, responded to the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protests gaining worldwide popularity and momentum with “…the ‘Arab Spring’ was just a beginning of an ‘American Fall.’” Who are all of these protestors and what do they stand for?

Amanda Fairbanks of the Huffington Post estimated that students “from nearly 150 college campuses across the country will participate” in the OWS protests as of late October. Along with the mass of college students, union members have also joined OWS movements.

Members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) support the protests on their website,, and have a comprehensive list of all the OWS protest locations across the United States and Canada.

Aggravated Americans have carried signs and camped out along Wall Street and other major locations in cities across the United States for over a month. However, some alarming consistencies have begun to appear among the OWS protests that criticize crucial facets of the American way of life.

Homemade posters calling for political and economic ideologies like socialism, communism, and even Maoism appeared on scene from OWS New York to OWS Los Angeles. Guest speakers like Alex Callinicos (professor of European Studies at King’s College London, editor of the International Socialism journal, and author of An Anti-Capitalist Manifesto) and Arturo Cambron of the Communist Party USA have given multiple presentations at OWS protests in which they demonize capitalism and promote ideologies America has fought wars to eliminate from the global community.

More support for OWS protests has come from the leaders of the American Progressive Party. SEIU’s Stephen Lerner, a prominent member of the American Progressive Party, stated at the Chicago Progressive Conference in March 2011 that he was collaborating with others to plan “a week of civil disobedience to destabilize the folks that are in power.” Lerner went on to say that, ultimately, his goal for the movement was to “collapse the American system.”

The OWS protestors have shown tremendous courage and unity by standing for what they believe in and capturing the support of thousands of people. However, we must be careful as a nation to be aware of what they are protesting.

We must pay attention and point out the posters promoting socialism, the guest speakers demonizing capitalism, and protestors like Stephen Lerner who are openly trying to “collapse the American system.”

Another point we must monitor is the potential violence that could erupt at any time during OWS protests. As of late October, over 1,000 arrests have been made, according to the NYPD, for a variety of reasons including assaulting police officers and resisting arrest. In comparison, the Tea Party movement has held nearly 1,000 rallies nationwide and only one protestor was arrested.

In an interview with Keith Olbermann on day six of the OWS protests, Michael Moore ensured that “Occupy Wall Street will only get bigger.” As future leaders of this country, we must understand what we are supporting if we support the OWS movement.

Despite our political beliefs, we must understand that the promotion of ideologies that America has fought to avoid is becoming more and more popular among OWS protests. If protestors like Stephen Lerner reach their goals of collapsing the American system, we will all be hurt by its consequences.


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