By Felicia Taraczkozy, Assistant online editor
Since Sep. 17, hundreds of thousands of protestors from more than 1,500 cities across the globe, with over 100 in the U.S., have initiated a movement they call Occupy.
The demonstration that started it all is Occupy Wall Street, a group of just a few hundred protestors in Liberty Square aiming to shut down Wall Street. The protestors refer to themselves as the 99 percent, and claim they are opposed to the 1 percent who possess the most wealth.
Essentially, the group in New York started out protesting capitalism. They say they are against big banks and global corporations and the role they believe Wall Street is playing in one of the worst economic recessions in American history.
Since just a few short days after the first demonstrators appeared in Manhattan’s financial district, T-shirts, coffee mugs and other merchandise branded with slogans and logos such as “99 percent” and “Occupy” has found its way to protests all over the country. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office says the influx of applications wanting exclusive commercial rights to the movement’s most well-known and recognized slogans has sprung up in the last few months.
So people who are leaving their jobs and families to sleep in tents and hold signs in protest of the “rich and greedy” capitalists are now capitalizing on the event? How ironic.
Statistics show that roughly 10 percent of the protestors nationwide are college students.
“Occupy” protests are coming to college campuses across the country as students recognize tuition is rising and the value of education is decreasing.
Occupy College, now consisting of at least 90 college and university campuses, includes many Ivy League universities. Harvard University, largely funded by a huge endowment from the Harvard Corporation, has joined the movement.
Although Harvard began promoting socioeconomic diversity in recent years, the university is still the second wealthiest nonprofit institution in the world, only behind the Catholic Church. The protests transpiring in Harvard Yard are only open to students, staff and faculty showing university identification. Harvard police are standing guard throughout the demonstration to ensure students’ safety.
Only admitting 6.2 percent of applicants for the 2011–2012 school year, Harvard is not exactly a true representation of the 99 percent. Many are the sons and daughters of the 1-percent wealthy, who occupiers are reportedly protesting against.
Incidents such as protestors against capitalism now capitalizing on their own protests and Harvard’s wealthy students protesting corporations many of their families hold a share of seem to be weakening their message.
Many cities, including Oakland and New York, are going to desperate measures to shut down the tent-city demonstrations to keep their citizens safe. Crime, injuries and deaths are occurring at these Occupy protests all over the country.
Modeling after the political demonstrations that splattered the Middle East this spring and summer, Occupy Wall Street protestors started with a clear and defined goal. They believe their voices will be heard and they can be agents of change.