This letter to the editor concerns the editorial “‘Occupying’ won’t get you anywhere” printed in Vol. 100, No. 16 issue of the Optimist published Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2011.
Everybody is a critic. In a movement as large and widespread as Occupy Wall Street, the people who oppose the 99 are doing it for infantile reasons: “lack of organization or clear direction.” The Optimist’s statement that this should all be done “through normal government” misunderstands the social movement process. The Civil Rights movement started with lunch counter sit-ins and bus rides. Resistance to Vietnam was run by a bunch of hippies sitting on the lawns of various state universities. All began “unorganized;” all had their critics. A movement doesn’t begin by “working through government channels;” it begins with mobilization.
Occupy Wall Street has over 20 lawyers working with them, so obviously they aren’t entirely unorganized. Pretending to oppose a movement because of its “lack of organization” is the same irresponsible action of the segregationists of the 50’s and 60’s. I would encourage future journalists not to be that reactionary force in history.
OWS is a movement that asks for various things, but the consensus is corporate civic duty. Asking corporations to pay the same amount in taxes that the other 99% of Americans do is not an outrageous request. Last year, GE received a 3.4 billion dollar rebate on its 5 billion in taxable revenue. That left only 1.6 billion in taxable revenue. This is not responsible corporate response, now that corporations are considered “persons” (thank you Citizen’s United), I expect them to pay the same percentage in taxes as the rest of us, and not give bailout money to CEO’s as “bonuses” for their failures in the market.
I’m disappointed that this reaction is coming from a media outlet that contains journalists hoping to expose future injustices. We shouldn’t be the naysayers of society: they usually lose out. If you disagree that corporations should pay for the roads they use, the schools in which their employees are educated, or the police/fire/military officers that protect them, fine, but don’t belittle the efforts of the other Americans seeking a real change: change that will manifest in policy in due time, but is now the beginning of something huge.