Letter to the editor
Posted November 21, 2011 at 9:36 pm in Opinion
Occupy strikes misunderstood
In recent weeks, sparks have flown within the USC community around the Occupy movement. As the temperature rises, it becomes vital to discuss the controversial issues that have surfaced. To ensure the productivity of this discussion, however, we must first address a few misconceptions regarding the movement.
Foremost, as delineated on the Occupy Wall Street website, the purpose of the movement is to fight âback against the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process…â and âto expose how the richest 1 percent of people are writing the rules of an unfair global economy.â
Though it would be easy to simply blame the federal government, the Occupy movement takes a more complex look at a system made up of both private enterprise lobbyists and Washington policy makers.
Members of the Occupy movement speak against this multifaceted system that allows the wealthiest to become wealthier, while their taxes sink and national public interests drown in the wake of personal incentives.
Additionally, the movement has renounced party affiliation, and it has seen opposition on both liberal and conservative stages. Much more could be said about Occupyâs fundamentals, but for the sake of brevity, those who wish to comment on the movement are encouraged to read through the website before making statements to praise or critique it.
It is important to keep in mind that every great movement in history has been ridden with factions and controversy. That said, movements are not defined by their most radical components; they are defined by their larger uniting messages.
The Civil Rights movement in the â50s and â60s included some individuals with extreme, regressive perspectives.
Today, we do not remember these movements as âracistâ or âmisandrist.â We remember them as having fought for racial and gender equality, and applaud their brave efforts.
The same perspective must be applied when discussing Occupy, as it stems from a hugely diverse group of people from every echelon of society, including the aforementioned 1 percent.
We acknowledge and condemn any anti-Semitic statements, including the few made among the crowds. The Wall Street protests as a whole are not anti-Semitic, and the bigotry of a few individuals does not define a movement.
Occupy continues to represent the modern fight for equal opportunity and better representation by government.
Finally, we must address the issue of political discourse in our community. Language is powerful and when speech is weighted more with slander than substance, it stifles effective dialogue. Voters are continually dissatisfied with the partisan bickering in our political system.
Furthermore, little is achieved, whether in Congress or on campus, through shame-oriented dialogue. As such, perhaps we should all remind ourselves of the importance of solidarity. Consider the example of the Trojan Family.
As one of the most diverse universities in the nation, our thriving, supportive and ever-expanding network is a cornerstone of our success. This extends to our wonderfully diverse set of political ideologies.
In the spirit of the Trojan Family, we must remember that every person who takes a stand for their views is doing so with the common incentive to improve themselves and their community. Letâs take care with our language and remain diligent in creating healthy forums for political dialogue.
In so doing, the USC community at large will no doubt contribute to the greater efforts to shape the American political system as a less hostile, more thoughtful and more productive democracy.
Keep calm and fight on!
President, USC College Democrats