The Daily Pennsylvanian’s coverage of the “Occupy Philadelphia” protest felt incomplete to me because it ignores the group’s motives, which are essential to the story. The only information I could gather about the movement is that “social and economic inequalities are concerns” and they want to “[affect] change in the way our political system is structured.”
Maybe it’s not the DP‘s fault as much as the group’s general lack of direction. When I went to its website, the closest I could find to a mission statement was a series of “demands” ranging from ending capital punishment to ending joblessness and war. While this kind of all-encompassing thought gave us the 1960s peace movement, which certainly had no clear agenda but made a huge socio-political difference, it was also a hallmark of the 1968 Paris protests — and we all know how that turned out. Alright, maybe not. Suffice to say they didn’t go well.
Don’t get me wrong, if this were a focused effort I’d be on the front lines; this is the kind of leftist, youth-centered national organization I’ve been waiting on for over a year. Hopefully, the recent endorsements from labor unions like the United Steelworkers and the Transport Workers Union of America will steer the Occupy movement in the right direction. Nonetheless, we need to change the protest paradigm that thinks standing around, yelling general statements like “We’re the 99 percent” and hoping to get maced will accomplish something. Right now, this is not our Arab Spring. But it can be.