What are We Occupying Now

What are We Occupying Now?
An article, written by Samantha Gross, appearing on Yahoo News Sat, March 17, 2012 stated “Protesters marking the six-month anniversary since the start of the Occupy movement were taken into custody by police officers.” The protest was organized Saturday, 17 March, 2012. The article went on to say 73 people were arrested on that Saturday. The next evening, Channel 7 Eyewitness News reported on the same event, stating that the demonstrators had locked arms and sat in the middle of Zuccotti Park, near Wall Street, after police announced on a bullhorn at around 11:30 p.m. Saturday night that the park was closed. The police formed a human ring around the park to keep more protesters from entering, then arrested all those who were inside the park. The activities of that Saturday seem to indicate that the O.W.S. movement is alive again after an involuntary hiatus they when the protestors were evicted from Zuccotti Park on November 15, 2011. From mid-September to mid-November, 2011, the world was looking at the O.W.S. demonstrators through the eyes of the media. Many questions occupied the public minds about the origins of the movement, such as what is their agenda and who is sponsoring them?
According to the website OccupyWallst.org, the official start of the movement began on September 17, 2011 in Liberty Square in Manhattan’s Financial District, and has spread to over 100 cities in the United States. It states that there are coordinated activities in over 1,500 cities globally. Adbusters Media Foundation, a Canadian activist group that prints a magazine Adbusters coined the slogan “We are the 99%”, organized and led the initial O.W.S. march. In his article Michael Greenberg stated that the protests are against economic and social inequality, greed, corruption and undue influence of corporations on government, especially the financial services. “We are the 99%,” is the headline that is used to indicate the widening chasm between the wealthiest 1% and the rest of the population in the United States. Their sign reads, “This is not a protest. This is an affirmation of the vitality and idealism erupting from underneath the AMERICAN NIGHTMARE.” Other signs read “Jobs, Justice, Education”, “End Student Debt”, “Reinstate Glass-Steagall, Make Corporate Lobbying Illegal.” They also chanted, “We need to overthrow the investors, not the government. Wall Street is the enemy of humanity.”
Protesters of the movement are mostly young, because of the social networks that are used to promote protests. As the group grew older protesters also became involved. The Baruch College School of Public Affairs published a demographic study of the diversity of age, gender, profession, race and religion. It found that one third were older than 35, half were employed full-time, and 13% were unemployed. Various religious faiths that have been represented at protests include Christians, Muslims, Jews. A small percent are atheists. Professions include schoolteachers, professors, sculptors, ex-servicemen, musicians, writers etc. The Ethnic breakdown from the survey was Whites 75%, Hispanic 6.5%, Asian 3%, African Americans 2% and others (5).
The initial location for the protest organized by Adbuster was 1 Chase Plaza, site of the Wall Street iconic Charging Bull statue. Police learned of this and fenced off the location to prevent anyone from assembling. The protesters then decided to move to Zuccotti Park. The park was private property so police could only force protesters to leave when requested to do so by the property owners. The park itself became a symbol of the protest and also the central location for protestors in New York. Sleeping tents, a soup kitchen, a library, and a medical station were erected. Having so many people from different backgrounds living together is a recipe for disaster. Soon after, several major problems appeared such as allegations of sexual assault, a rape, a few robberies, stolen personal properties, fire hazards, and a major problem with sanitation. The park owners involved the police and court, and on 15 November, 2011 they were able to evict the protestors.
Since the loss of the park, Occupy Wall Street has lost its momentum. I’d rarely read or viewed any news about the protest until my professor, Nancy Agabian, informed me that on 29 February, 2012 there was to be a symposium on Occupy Wall Street at the Rosenthal Library on Queens College campus. The location was changed to the Science Building room 206. I entered the lecture hall and was greeted by my classmate Andrea and directed to help myself to the free pizza. I was just in time for the opening remarks by Dr Grace, who introduced the first presenter, Mr. Lany Castle, who is leading Occupy Bronx. Mr. Castle is one of the original Occupy Wall Street organizers and is still actively participating in protests. He explained that his current focus is on Occupy Bronx and their activities. Occupy Bronx focuses mostly on the youths and building a relationship with the police in order to take back crime ridden areas of the Bronx. They also focus on working with community organizations in areas that they can be of assistance. He mentioned areas that they are exploring, such as poverty, homelessness, youth programs, etc. He closed by reiterating that Occupy Bronx is a branch of Occupy Wall Street and the struggle goes on.
The second presenter was Mr. Mombus Suliki. He and explained that he is a community activist and works with various organizations: Occupy Bronx, Occupy Queens, Occupy Wall Street and a few other smaller community based organizations. His overall objective is to help these organizations become relevant so that eventually they can make a difference. He believes that protests should be organized from the community outwards so they can have legitimacy. This way, the message can be coordinated to highlight the main issues. He spoke about the sacrifices that are needed to change our situation and, in effect, change the world, so that our children can have a future.
The third presenter, Mr. Michael Primo, is a full time community activist who is one of the original organizers of Occupy Wall Street. He spoke about his entry into the protest movement and how he became involved in Occupy Wall Street. He explained some misconceptions about Occupy Wall Street and why they don’t have a fixed goal. He said that at the core, the Occupy movement is a value based proposition. He used the octopus as an analogy, explaining that the head represents Occupy Wall Street and the tentacles are the different issues involved but still connected to the whole. The symposium ended with a question and answer session about the current status of Occupy Wall Street. Mr. Primo explained that the Occupy movement is currently regrouping, and is actively debating their next moves. From what I read and learned at the symposium, I think the heart of the movement was removed when it was evicted from Zuccotti Park. The fact that the original representatives are stating at this symposium that they have moved on to other projects supports this theory. The lack of finance and not having a structure with clearly defined objectives works against luring supporters which the movement greatly needs in order to move forward.
On Saturday, 17 March, 2012 protesters gathered and marched through the financial district of lower Manhattan, chanting and waving flags. They marched to the steps of the Federal Hall National Memorial which is very close to the New York Stock Exchange and stopped at the statue of George Washington they danced and chanted, “We are unstoppable.” In the evening they ended their march at Zuccotti Park. A protestor Stacy Hessler carried a sign that reads, “Spring is coming.” She said it refers to the Arab Spring and to the spring season in general. She said, “I believe that now spring is here, the crowds will return to carry on the Occupy Wall Street protests. I firmly believe in the movement because it has highlighted many issues that people are talking about, which is the start of change.” This recent march by the movement was an effort to revitalize life in what was a vibrant effort witnessed by the world maybe too little, too late. The thunderous voices that called the world’s attention to the oppression of the masses by the few are just a whisper now. Many are hoping that they can reorganize and present a structured, united and cohesive front, with a list of issues to exert pressure on the politicians who will in turn have to respond. Such responses might be the catalyst for change.

Works Cited

Channel 7 Eyewitness News. 18 March. 2012. 7 p.m. newscast.

Gross, Samantha. Occupy Wall Street Celebrates 6 Months. Samantha Gross, 2012. Web. 18
March. 2012.

Greenberg, Michael. “Zuccotti Park: What Future.” The New York Review of Books. December 8,
2011. Print.

http:// www.ap.org/index_files.

http://www.occupywallstreet.org/about/king

http://www.baruch.cuny.edu/spa/occupywallstreet/home

http://www.news.yahoo.com/occupywallstreet/arch.

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Editing

Editing is a bit confusing for me.
1. What should an introduction contain? I have worked with different professors who gives different instructions. Some says that the introduction should end with the thesis statement others says that it should be in the introduction and others says that it is not necessary. Which is it?

2. what exactly should be in a paragraph? It might take two or three paragraphs to present an idea. Also as the writer of the essay I wrote what I feel should be there, therefore, when I am reading the essay I have fixed ideas already. How can I overcome what I think and the essay need and write what the essay needs?

3. The instructions for conclusions says that it must always be consist end with the essay, yet I find it difficult to end the essay by repeating what is obvious in the essay. If I did not state my message in the essay then the entire essay needs to be rewritten. How do I reconcile this?

4. What is inappropriate elevated language in essays?

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The Dark Art of Description

Patricia Hampi’s piece “The Dark Art of Description” is a description of how to create your own style. She has demonstrated how word choices can make the difference in one’s writing. Hampi is correct when she states that how a person describes something is a “glimpse (into) the individual consciousness.” She states that description is the author’s voice drawing the reader into the story. The most interesting point from the piece is that you can write about anything and use the correct word choice to make it interesting. It is the description that makes the reader part of the story when the reader can actually visualize what is said.

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Saving the Earth

Verlyn Klinkenborg’s piece “Our Vanishing Night” published in the National Geographic is an insightful piece of literature. It is a fact that the growth of cities across the earth caused by exponential population growth does obscure the line between night and day. Artificial lights that brighten the nights for people has repercussions for people and other inhabitants of the earth. Studies are now revealing the effects on others creatures such as birds and their migratory patterns, amphibious breeding schedules, newborn sea turtles etc. As for humans the studies have been of their biological clocks and night. There are some efforts through organized campaigns to be more conscious of the effects of light on the planet by using it only when necessary. Turning lights on only when necessary, changing the bulbs to new energy saving and upgrading the system to newer designs will all contribute in the end to reduce our carbon footprint. However, he says “In the end, humans are no less trapped by light pollution that the frogs in a pond near a brightly lit highway. Living in a glare of our own making, we have cut ourselves off from our evolutionary and cultural patrimony. ”
Edward O Wilson writes a letter to an imaginary priest in his piece “Apocalypse Now” in which he attempts to convince the pastor to join him in combining scientific and Christian communities to cooperate and work towards making a difference in the climate change that is taking place. Wilson supports the idea that together these two communities can make a difference on the environment. Wilson is hoping that by accessing the huge membership of these two communities and pointing them in the right direction will be significant enough to influence a change in people’s attitude towards the planet and change the course of global warming. I think it is a wonderful idea but humans are not prepared for bold ideas like these.

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Orwell Sitting on Kincaid’s Fence

Kincaids’ piece, “On Seeing England for the First Time,” can only be understood from the point of view of someone who has lived under British imperialism. The former British Colonies that are still suffering from the British oppression is evident in Caribbean, South America and Africa. The mentality that was imposed upon the people through the education and governing system was meant to mentally disarm them and keep them under bondage so they can be exploited. Kincaid grew up in this system and understood it very well because she observed how disenfranchised her people were post independence. Anyone who did not experience British colonialism will not understand or relate to her essay.
Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant” is a criticism of British imperialism when he says “that imperialism is an evil thing.” He seems to also have a bias against the Burmese as well. He seems to be saying that the Burmese have relinquished their will to stand for independence and all that they do is to “stand on street corners and jeer at Europeans.” The piece is not written with a clear enough point as to who is the oppressor. Orwell seems to blame both the Burmese and the British for the situation in the country. Perhaps this is true in the sense that the Burmese are not willing to stand up for their rights.
I like George Gessert’s piece, “An Orgy of Power” ,but is can’t comment.

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Tongue and Face

Both essays deals with discrimination and racial stereotypes. Tan writing about her mother’s English I feel is suggesting that words are just one layer of what is being expressed and we need to look beyond them for the true meaning of what is intended. Although her mom did not speak English well, it does not mean that the ideas she is conveying are not important. Tan’s essay is very clear and readable and conveys pathos in how her mother is treated because of the way she speaks. She uses logos in her argument about the immigrant children and their situation in their home that contributes towards stymieing their development. Yang’s essay on the other hand is a difficult read and there were times I felt like screaming at him to get to the point. He uses logos in presenting reasons as to why Cho was rejected by people. I do feel strongly against the presentation of the essay. I feel exploiting the deaths of 32 persons at the hands of a mentally disturbed individual who has the tendency to be violent should not be done this way. He also sort of throws in the sexual identity bit. I feel that he is not an experienced enough writer to write on this subject matter. There is ethos and logos in his essay but the essay does not do justice to such a huge tragedy.

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Divorcing Marriage

Evan Wilson and Rick Santorum presented solid, convincing arguments for and against gay marriage. I happen to like Santorum’s argument better because it made sense. I believe if we as a society keeps giving way to every group that presents an argument then we will eventually cease to exist as a society. If we decide to give permission to gay marriage, then we should give consent to the man who wants to marry two or three or four wives? Then what about the woman who wants to marry two, three of four men? And what about the man who wants to marry a man and a woman or the woman who wants to marry a woman and a man? Why should they be denied also? What about the man who married his dog in India? Why can’t a man marry his dog here? Why can’t a woman marry her dog? See where this is going? If we change the rules then it is only fair that we change it for all because there will always be a group that is left out. Why not scrap the marriage law and give civil union for everyone? This way we don’t have to have those costly divorces. Why keep the institution of marriage anyways, we are over the 60% divorce rate and it seems that marriage is divorcing itself. Gays should wait a few years more and they don’t have to fight this battle because the institution of marriage will cease to exist.

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Living on the Queen

The short film on George Anton’s boathouse demonstrates one problem one of the many bungling efforts by the city in their miss-management of the taxpayers trust. living in Queens for so many years I am accustomed to paying high taxes and receiving no service in return. As you travel around the borough you can see many eyesores that are projects that needs to be completed. More confounding to the citizens are the properties owned by the city; these properties are over-run by rubbish and rats. Anton is perplexed as to why the city wants him off his boat. The city will spend a lot of money and time to remove him and in the end he will have to move because the city is BIG BROTHER. (George Orwell’s 1984).

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School is Out

I find the article by John Taylor Gatto most convincing perhaps because I am a product of the public school system. I use myself as evidence that the system is stacked against the pupils and the numbers reflect this. The high percentage of school dropout as well as those who graduate but with a poor sub level education is evidence that the system is not working. I do believe that the school system is like a factory that try to churns out children that are designed to serve an exact purpose in life. The terms “schooling” and “education” confuses most people. When most children graduate they had a “schooling” but not a education. One does not need to go to school to have an education, home schooling is an option. Gatto quotes Alexander Inglis 1918 book “Principles of Secondary Education” an a reference to how long this problem existed and today we should be more concerned than ever. This unbalanced educational system is the reason why the rich stays rich and gets richer. When children can be offered a education that enhance their potential, then perhaps we will have greater equality in the social class. I do support what Gatto says because it is true.

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Who Determines for Us

Deborah Rudacille’s friend decided to make the transition from male to female which caused her to research transgender. Her argument that we are not male or female by virtue of our genitals is flawed. Our genitals does play a major role in identifying our gender. The fact that a few people are confused as to their identity does not support her argument that we should throw the baby and the bath water out the window. Billions of people are identified by their genitals and are sure of their sexual orientation. Should we all have to re-examine ourselves because of lifestyle preferences of a tiny fraction of one percent of the world’s population?
” A Boy’s Life” is a well written piece and an interesting read. As humans we have a multitude of problems that seems to increase as we become more advanced. What should we give priority to over what. We are yet to accept the fact that we are different and one color is not superior to another. We are yet to solve poverty and starvation which are caused by humans and results in the death of thousands the world over. When are we going to deal with such small a small issue as transgender? Perhaps never. As humans we have peaked and are heading down. Global Warming is a testament to that.

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