Sunday, November 27, 2011

Connecting Via Social Media to get Responses

I messaged people that I went to high school with, and a former co-worker, on Facebook to get their opinion of OWS: the following are their responses to my question.
I chose the method of Facebook to connect with people because I assumed the majority of the world check Facebook more often than other means of communication. 
This is all unedited, and raw material. 

Hey XXX, 
I hope that you're having a great final year at XXX. I'm writing a paper on the Occupy Wall Street movement and I was wondering if you could answer some questions for me? 
I was wondering if you could give me your opinion of this movement, and how it affects you? And how do the Politics that OWS claim to fight against affect you? Also, do you think that there will be a change outcome from the OWS efforts? And lastly, What would you like to see happen with OWS (either positive or negative)?
Thank you!
November 8th, 2011
Hey P.J.
so I am not very good about checking my facebook so sorry it took so long to respond, I hope I didn't mess up the research for a paper! What do I think of this movement...well it's silly. The general public has no idea what they are fighting against, some say capitalism, some say for the 99% to obtain the returns stolen from them, and others say the exploitation of the public by the privileged few which has been reciprocated since the dawn of civilization. I think its no coincidence there is high percentage of participants that are unemployed. No revolution can be lead by the mindless masses without violence, and I will never support the use of such. First the public must educate themselves in order to change the system they exist in, and no government will provide that for them because it is costly and may cause questioning (just look at our public school system). So how does it effect me, well it irritates me that our stupidity is shoved in my face with every flick of the channel, but it does in fact lower the publics faith in the system we all exist in which if persisted long enough and amplified enough may serve as a catalyst for change, but watching the interviews of the participants, I doubt it (for those in the know recognize those who are not).
Philosophically however, I do like the idea of ending the federal reserve. I don't know if the participants know what they mean when they say it, or they just regurgitate a catchy phrase like "end the fed". The federal reserve literally solely causes inflation and amplifies returns for the large banks due to the entire idea of a trickle down theory. This is undeserved returns given to the privileged few for no other reason besides they always have. I think the creation of the fed is as sketchy as the fed itself is harmful and I hope in our life we see this resolved. 
On top of this I agree that the public should not have to pay for the bailouts of corporations that were run poorly. That is the whole point of a lassie faire free market system is to allow poor companies to collapse and the well run companies to rise. I believe the best government is that which governs least and the market should work itself out, companies (no matter how big) should never be held up by the hand of the government, it is the public that holds both of these up. 
What I would like to see is intelligently crafted action. What if all of those people at the rally's ran to the bank and withdrew all of their cash and held it in their mattress. Granted this wouldn't be that much relative to the wealth the entire country possess, but remember most of that 1% holds their money abroad (actually up to 13 trillion dollars worth of the top 1%'s wealth is held abroad to avoid taxes) and thus having this bank run would cause many of these banks to fall. Then I would like to see the public vote according to their beliefs and not what they are sold. Politicians only exist to obtain votes so they have no heart or soul, that is the public's job to keep it alive and we havn't for decades. 
In short I believed we are screwed haha... Our youth is mindless, our government is socialist (and by the way I am not just saying Obama because GWB was the most socialist president we have had since FDR between his no child left behind, medicare, and cut taxes, he raised the debt by trillions, in fact the medicare bill he passed has cost the public more than triple what the entire war has costed), and we are owned by China. We need to innovate and become more productive, no sit on our asses asking for change. Someone needs to read a history book or a ghandi quote for we must be the change we want to see in the world, and if we are doing that presently we want mindless, lazy, free riders, who work for nothing they take, and our end will materialize right before our eyes...
like I said sorry for the delay and sorry if this is a bit gloomy or ridiculous haha tell me what you think? Hope all is well and thanks for asking me I really enjoyed answering, you know I love shit like this! (I havn't changed that much) haha

November 5, 2011
Second, this is going to be bad, or perhaps it reflects more on the general population as a whole and you can use my data (depending on how many people you asked and if they are honest), but I absolutely hate politics. It's part of the reason why I left the city  
That said, and the fact that I'm so incredibly busy that I dont have time to know what those people are doing or why, I have no answer for you. 
As far as how does what they are doing affect me, it always seems like it's the vocal minority that gets heard and "gets things done". Having a government background, we know that you are never going to be able to please ALL of the people with anything - there are always at least two sides to everything, if not more. But I think politicians are put in a position where they have to do something when you have people making a lot of noise about something. 
I also think that if they were going to do something, it would have happened by now - I don't know how long OWS has been going on, but I know it's been a while....eventually these people are going to have to go back to work; they're going to get tired (maybe not - who knows!). 
This country was founded on freedom of speech, and government for the people by the people. However, it seems the people are not involved in any of the decisions being made in Washington. I think it's absurd that something like the healthcare reform didn't go to vote when it directly affects the people in such a profound way. I feel that most politicians don't care about the populace at all. 
How does this all relate back to OWS? Again, I think the vocal minority are the only ones who are heard. They are the ones who seem to be able to get things done, because the politicians want to shut them up. So whatever they stand for (Like I said, I don't know enough about what they are upset about and protesting) might make changes in their favor, which changes things for me for the better or the worse. More power to them for caring about something so much that they have been out there doing this for such a long time, and for being relatively peaceful in most places of the country. 
Make sense? 
October 16, 2011 
Hey PJ,
Honestly, the Occupy Wallstreet movement hasn't really affected all of us that much. At SMU we're fairly far from downtown and all that business, and mostly just focused on our own little bubble. I think the general attitude towards it here is fairly disapproving. This is a school driven by a very strong business program with a lot of very successful financial trustees/donors/alumni, so the general feeling is that the protest is fairly unproductive, and just a real hinderance. Kind of a what the heck do they hope to accomplish by disturbing the peace kind of thing.
October 11, 2011
Hi PJ,
Nice to hear from you after so long. Many people at BU have gotten involved with the protests. As you've probably heard there have been a number of peaceful protests in Boston over the past week. Many have been around the financial district and Newberry St (our upscale shopping area). These protests have been orderly and relatively quiet. 
However, yesterday (Monday, Oct 10) many BU students decided to get involved with the Occupy Boston protests. They left BU's Marsh Plaza and headed towards downtown Boston. Many people were arrested including the legal advisor of the protests who is now countersuing the city. To my knowledge no one was brutalized or beat by law enforcement like I have seen in several videos from Wall Street protests.
On a personal note I am not involved in any of the protests. I do understand and empathize with the majority of what is being said by the protesters. The fundamental unfairness of the US political and economic system is evident and rampant. That being said I feel as though these protests are doing little than showing our political and financial leaders that although there is a great feeling of disenfranchisement and resentment towards those on the top, while never giving any concrete changes they would like to see implemented. A political movement needs many things to be successful, leadership, set goals and detailed steps to have their policies implemented into the current political and economic system. As far as I can tell the Occupy movement comes up short on all three accounts.
Many of my friends and myself would like to see these protests manifest themselves into less of an abstract dissatisfaction and into a political movement. But until someone takes leadership of the movement and concrete goals are announced with policies to go along with them I and many other BU students will probably remain on the sidelines.
I hope that helps. It became a bit of a rant. If you have any more questions please let me know. I hope all is well. Good luck on your article.
Zak Pollack


November 26, 2011
My overall opinion on the movement is negative. The movement is devoid of any legitimate form of leadership or organization. The movement’s point is quite clear by now, but nothing is going to be accomplished by having these people camp out and make a mockery of the right to assembly. Their mission has to be substantially reframed. While I appreciate the hardships many of the protestors are going through, these protests are not productive and are frankly embarrassing. Economic inequality is not isolated to Wall Street and I do not believe Wall Street ultimately is the sole cause of their plight. Wall Street represents a convenient symbol to point blame at, but camping out in Zuccotti Park for weeks on end in deplorable conditions will accomplish nothing. It’s a problem that extends far beyond the scope of Wall Street. If the jobs they’re trying to get rid of in NY – the people that work in finance, which is a crucial part of the U.S. economy – go away, we won’t have any money to pay municipal employees or clean the parks they are soiling. At this point, the protests have cost the NYPD nearly $2 million in on-duty overtime. Those that shout loudest don’t necessarily need to be heard. One of my major problems with the movement is that someone who is demonstrating will often make rash demands, but will not necessarily provide any answers to address the issues they are protesting. It’s significantly affecting the quality of life in the areas in which they are protesting and it’s become a farce in my opinion. It's lost any genuine meaning - it seems as if people just want to be there to say they "were there." If they want to change America, they should form a massive voter registration drive and put up their own candidates. I don’t see how you can change America by protesting in a park. You change the political order by voting and putting up candidates who can make a difference. They should channel this energy and rather protest the politicians in Congress who refuse to raise taxes on the richest 1% while they allow spending cuts to go into effect that further hinder the economic prosperity of the 99%. If they continue on their current path, I don’t envision the movement having any positive political ramifications. I never thought I would agree with Newt Gingrich and it may sound coarse, but I feel it’s time for these people to go home, take a bath, and get a job. 

Robert Giachetti - UPenn
November 8, 2011
1. What do you identify as the main cause and goals of the Occupy Wall Street movement?
Occupy Wall street is a movement by citizens of the United States who are tired of the daily corruption and underhandedness of the Government and "big shakers" in the financial arenas of the American world.
2. Do you believe this movement will be able to reach its goals? Please explain why or why not. 
Though I think this movement has legitimate ideas to draw attention to- ultimately I doubt it will work. The reasons I believe this movement will not work is regardless of who is on top (for example if the 99%ers did topple the corruption pyramid) there will always be corruption. With great power comes great responsibility which for the average person becomes a kraken that is almost impossible to wrestle with. For examples of this you can look to many of the most corrupt governments or the majority of insurgencies in the world, most of which were started with pure intentions and ideas of liberation.- say these 99% did take back wallstreet. They would have no idea how to run the market on a global scale. Furthermore, as this movement grows I feel it will lose focus. There are many things for Americans to be upset about and they will slowly be intergrated into this revolution. America is not in a place it was in 1968. There will never be a movement of the people with as much conviction as that year in history, and the government has put in place laws and regulations that strangle such a widespread movement. Occupy Wall Street as a movement plans on using Arab Spring tactics, tactics which people will ultimately give up on. I am proud of the movement as a Libertarian, but ultimately I believe it will fizzle. This movement just hit the one month mark so it hasn't really been around long enough to see if it has much staying power.
3. What do you believe inspired this movement to begin at the time it did?
I believe that this movement was inspired by the average american recognizing the corruption of our goverment and realizing just how untruthful and corrupt we as a "leading nation." People have conculded that the existing political process is failing. All you need to do is look at who pays for what politicians ads. I feel the movement is inspired by how suffocated the American people feel.  The movement is a rejection of power of the economic elite etc...the bourgeoisie(in the marxist sense), possibly.
4. What sort of impact do you envision the Occupy Wall Street movement will have?
I do not know the impact that OWS movement will have, I feel it is too early to tell. I hope that it will have some impact instead of the actual movement itself becoming corrupted and fading away.
5. In a brief statement, how would you describe this movement?
 look at question 2.
6. Do you support the movement? (i.e., What are your feelings about it?). Please explain.
I would support this movement, but sometimes it is hard to understand why people who obviously are part of the system are trying to rebel against what they themselves buy into. 
7. What critique (if any) can you offer about the movement?
The critique I would offer the Occupy Wall Street movement is to look towards history. For example,  Coxey's Army in 1894 and the Bonus army in 1932. Specifically, I would look at the economic climate that these movements took place in and the success they had...if any.  The more relevant of these two events would probably be Coxey's army which fizzled out much the way I would predict OWS will.
Ellie Bryant - SBC

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