On my way to lunch today, I went past the Occupy Chicago protest at Lasalle and Jackson across the street from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. There were protesters with signs, some drumming on large 55 gallon plastic drums, a few on the ground drawing signs, but overall there were not that many of them. Around 1pm today, there were about 30 protesters. There were almost as many journalists, camera men and photographers there to cover them. Ironically, one of the protester’s signs read “Don’t Believe the Biased Media Coverage,” as he was being videoed for broadcast.
They have a good supply of art supplies, blankets, fresh fruit, coffee ond other donated food, but for a city of 3 million, the handful of protesters didn’t seem to have the momentum to change anything. I am a student of the 80’s and the hot subject at my school at the time was South African Apartheid and protests against American corporations that had investments and operations in South Africa. A tent city grew on the quad of the Univesity of Illinois and the kids camped out there for months. There were more kids at my college camping out each night than I saw today in downtown Chicago. It was a clear message, get out of South Africa and it was supported by musicians, actors and politicians.
I am sympathetic to the Occupy cause. I am not wealthy, have no health insurance and only social security as a retirement plan. I have trouble seeing the message or statement that these protests represent
It’s a generic-The Fed Is Bad/Banks Are Evil and Thieving/Wall Street Gambled and Lost Our Wealth/Jail the Bankers message. While it may be true, it is not at all well defined or represented by these protesters and furthermore any demands or solutions for these problems are less clearly stated. It comes off as an our economy sucks-anti wealth protest and that is what I saw in the faces of the Chicago Board of Trade employees walking by across the street on the lunch breaks. I assume that the pedestrians had jobs and most likely well paying ones. Their houses and investments have lost value, but their income remains high. They are not intersted in social change as they think they will be the ones to pay for it.
The movement needs a goal, a specific goal that can be accomplished. It needs a spokesman and a clear message. It will help tremendously, because a goal can be accomplished and people will join the movement. Right now they are beating their drums and marching in circles