Occupying opinion

Over the weekend a friend said that the current “Occupy” protesters should go and “occupy” some employment. While his attempts at humour were questionable, his comments were fairly typical of the Australian population.

The movement has also been criticised for a lack of clarity in telling us what it stands for. TV news reports at the time of the Melbourne protests added fuel to this fire by airing snippets of protesters who didn’t clearly state their aim.

Consequently, many of us didn’t fully understand what was actually happening. There had been a communication break down somewhere along the way. The movement began as “Occupy Wall St” in the famous New York financial district on 17 September 2011. It then spread across the US and internationally and at the last count, it had reached 1,500 cities across the world.

The Occupy Wall St website says the movement “aims to expose how the richest 1 per cent of people are writing the rules of an unfair global economy”. So they are “fighting back against the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process, and the role of Wall Street in creating an economic collapse that has caused the greatest recession in generations”.

I’ll never claim to be an expert in political or economic matters but I believe the cause is worthy. After all, I’m part of the remaining 99 per cent. I’d like to see some power returned to the majority. And yet many of the comments heard on the street and found on website forums either reflect that of my friend’s, or still question what the movement actually stands for.

Occupy Melbourne “is a proclamation of solidarity with the millions of people occupying cities around the world right now. They and we seek economic, political and social change that will lead to a more just and equitable society. We are the 99 per cent”.

While this may seem a little broad and abstract, surely it is something worth standing up for? And if they want to stand, then we should let them be heard. What about you? Do you feel the “Occupy” movement is important? Do the protesters deserve to be heard?

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