Editorial: What is the Occupy Movement?

Turn on the news and the first thing many viewers see is coverage of the Occupy Movement; whether it is violence and tear gas in Oakland, Cali., arrests in Richmond, Va. or minor incidents over structure permits right here in Charlottesville, there are a myriad of perspectives to be heard. But, seeing these events unfold through the omnipresent blue hum of a television set provides little insight into, and indeed even obscures, the reality of the situation.

Just what is the Occupy Movement? The concept is difficult to express concisely, due to the mercurial nature of the protest, but is essentially a collective of members representing the “99 Percent,” or the vast majority of Americans who are not considered “rich” and feel their voice has be underrepresented.

This all stems from the original Occupy Wall St. movement, which describes itself on the official website, occupywallst.org, as 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% [sic] that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1% [sic]. 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.”

In the Forum’s hometown of Charlottesville, the Occupy Movement has situated itself in Lee Park, adjacent to the Downtown Mall. Here, multiple tents have been set up, including a kitchen area, as well as portable toilets and a fire pit. Residents should not be alarmed, however, as the city’s fire department has deemed it legal.

Still, Occupation has not been without its incidents. Earlier this month, a structure that served as a makeshift library for the protesters was dismantled under order from the city and an alcohol-related arrest involving three homeless men and two underage girls caused local controversy. It was later reported by Charlottesville media outlets that those arrested were unaffiliated with the Occupy group and the group has, in fact, cooperated fully with both the city and the police department.

In the spirit of full disclosure, this reporter is a participant in the Occupy Movement. There is a lot of contention surrounding these protests, and questions have arisen, both locally and in other cities, as to their integrity or purpose. Further, city and state governments have been accused of showing favoritism towards the Occupy Movement over the Tea Party. The validity of these claims is for the reader, not this reporter, to decide.

The purpose of this article has been to inform and not to sway one’s opinion in any direction. More information is readily available on occupycville.org, occupywallst.org, as well as several online news outlets. Readers are encouraged to peruse multiple sources to get a better understanding of the Occupy Movement from multiple angles. Those interested can attend one of the Occupy Charlottesville General Assembly meetings on Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Sunday at 6 p.m. in Lee Park. A General Forum is also held on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Short URL: http://www.piedmontforum.com/?p=2088

Posted by on Nov 3 2011. Filed under From the Forum, News, Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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