Occupy Wall Street
May 5, 2013
“Occupy Wall Street is a leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%. We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants” (“OccupyWallStreet”).The Occupy Wall Street protests were started by one simple email. A magazine called Adbusters sent an email to its 90,000 member list with the hashtag #OccupyWallStreet and a date of September 17. News of the protest could be found on websites and a twitter member named US Day of Rage started endorsing it and promoting it. Their “belief” as you may call it, was to take the United States back to a “nonhierarchical, egalitarian, consensus-driven process-the purest kind of democracy” (Schneider, 2011). The most significant part of this movement was that it was a contradiction of everything Wall Street represents to America-a hold of US politics and society by the interest of the wealthy, a government for the corporations. Initially there was the thought that a single demand would be good enough for the movement and that the occupation would be able to put enough pressure on the government and the people that this one important single demand would be changed. However, the movement could never agree on that one single demand, there were just too many changes that needed to be made. After weeks of meetings, September 17th arrived. The Occupy was hoping for a crowd of 20,000 but the numbers were closer to 2,000. A plan was made to meet at Zuccotti Park and everyone trickled that way (Schneider, 2011). And so it began….
“The Occupy Wall Street movements and climate action movements stand on the same moral ground and affirm the same moral principles: It’s wrong to wreck the world. It’s wrong to wreck the health and hopes of others” (Moore, 2011). Their belief was that when an economic system is based on the ideas of a few powerful people and that economic system forces people to be burdened with other’s priveliedge and to pay the price at the expense of their health and children, then that system is immoral. It is also immoral when that same economic system threatens the lives of people on earth by disrupting the planetary cycles of Earth in the name of money. The movement believes that the entire world is interconnected and interdependent and that by damaging any part of this, no matter how big or small, it undermines society as a whole. Every single person on Earth, no matter how rich or how poor, has a duty to “honor affirmative obligations of justice and compassion to present and future generations of all beings” (Moore, 2011). Occupy protestors argued about class, about how the gap between the rich and the poor was widening, and how instead of the middle class being pushed upwards they were being pushed downwards to the poor.
There are many different ethical theories. Utilitarianism in simple terms basically means that they focus on the consequence of an action in deciding what is right and wrong. They believe that an act is morally right if it causes happiness for the greatest number of people (Sterling, 2012). A person that believes in Utilitarianism believes that people are all individuals and that society is the end result of individual choices. In the end though, society can’t be reduced to individuals making rational decisions because the way individuals understand reality is socially constructed. I believe that the Occupy Wall Street movement represents collective representations of agreed upon realities-the bail out, the financial crisis that our economy is in, etc. Furthermore, Kantian Ethics believe that if an act is done for the sake of duty then it is morally ok, because it...
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