This week marked the one year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street protests, which began in New York City, and later spawning the Occupy Movement around the world. To mark the occasion, The Gabbler asked two Americans—a former protester of the 99% and a proud 1%er—to give their opinion on why the iconic protests failed to spur any change.
Wake Up and Get a Job People: Why this One Percenter Was Over Occupy Before It Started
Why did Occupy fail? Because they couldn’t hold down a damn job. (Was that in poor taste?)
I get why they did it. When I was young, I was angry at rich people, too. I was angry that I paid my way while most of my schoolmate’s parents bought theirs. I was angry that I couldn’t buy my wife a real diamond until I was 30. Most of all, I was angry that I had to eat Spam. That shit is disgusting. The only difference is that instead of focusing all my energy on hating those that were more financially successful, I decided to become one. I shed that idealistic garbage and became one cutthroat son-of-a-bitch. And I started to finally make some money.
Yup, here I am, a fucking success story. I’m the 1 percent. I’ve got six bank accounts, five cars, four houses, three ex-wives, two mistresses, one spoiled brat of a daughter, and half a dog (my fourth wife calls it a cockapoo – I call it a dog the size of my cock). But if that’s not making it in America, I don’t know what is.
And while I was scurrying by the Occupier’s shabby tents for months to get to the office two hours early, there they sat, warming their asses on a sewer vent.
So, why did the Occupy Movement fail? I can answer that question with an excerpt from a previous sentence: “there they sat, warming their asses on a sewer vent.” Now, before you 99-ers get all bent out of shape over my unkind remark, please note that I’d actually like to remove the last eight words from that phrase. What does it leave: “They sat there.”
Look, I understand that protest, though too hippy-dippy for my taste, is necessary at times. I went through my “kick up your trousers” stage like the rest of the youth today. I rebelled. I questioned authority. I even…voted for a Democrat. (Once! It was only once!) The only difference was that I still worked three odd jobs to pay my own rent, instead of complaining from the basement while my mommy was upstairs making me meatloaf.
They failed because they forgot that while it’s easy to hate billionaire trust fund babies and coked out socialites, the 1 percent also encompasses some of the most hardworking Americans you’ll ever meet: doctors, lawyers, financial professionals, executives, supervisors, managers. We studied hard, we stayed late, we got up early (and the thing is, we still do). So, guess what? It paid off – literally. Are you really going to blame Jack Welsh? Irene Rosenfeld? Are you really going to blame Jack Donaghy?!
They failed because the only thing that Americans hate more than rich people are hypocrites. They hate cheaters, they hate liars. Thats why they love to hate politicians. And Kristen Stewart. (Team Edward, all the way!) And while all of us can be hypocrites from time to time (there’s no way in hell I’m releasing my tax returns, either), that doesn’t mean we can actually recognize hypocrisy in ourselves. We just see it in others, and immediately get angry.
Most of all, they failed because they didn’t have a legitimate business plan. You want change? Fine. Tell me how you’ll do it, why we need it, and why it matters to me. Let’s nail down some fucking examples. Oh, wait? You don’t know? Then why don’t you go work on another Obama campaign, or something? Between the both of you, maybe you’ll figure it out.
So, when those young kiddos took a break from picketing to buy a $10 organic, fair trade, free range cappucino around the corner, or my son-in-law paused from all his whining to ask me about a job (again), or recent college grads complained that they’re not CEOs at 24, I quickly stopped listening. And so did the rest of America.
You Can’t See Zuccoti Park from a Private Jet, Or, Why Occupy Was a Complete Failure
I’ve always been a bit of a revolutionary. Even when I was little, as soon as I graduated from Velcro straps to big boy shoe laces I used them to tie myself to my bed and refused to go to school in protest of the inherent inequities of the public school system. Of course, the way my mom tells the story, I was just too embarrassed to go back after farting in science class the day before, but she’s always been part of the establishment. Just trying to keep down a little revolutionary with stories about bodily functions that totally did not happen.
So when I heard about Occupy from my good friend and revolutionary brother Che Holmes (like Guevara, get it? Plus he studied abroad in Argentina, so he’s always throwing “ches” into the conversation when we have our weekly Hermanos de la Revolución meetings), I knew I had to get to NYC right away. Sure it meant leaving a plush job with health benefits at Starbucks but this was it: the revolution! Finally, my generation was having their moment, their big wake up, their call to arms. The streets would run red with the blood of our bourgeoisie enemies!
Or not. Okay, fine. I could get behind this whole non-violence thing. It was a pretty good shtick, really, something to define the movement. Plus, all of war was in the name of peace, right? All I ever wanted was for everyone to live in peace and love and harmony, without having to sacrifice themselves on the altar of capitalism just to own a home, so that some Wall Street Fat Cat could buy his cousin’s nephew’s girlfriend’s best friend a yacht for her Sweet 16. Because, you know, that’s what’s happening, right? The middle class is buckling under the strain of a financial crisis created by men who are probably, at this very moment, flying around the world in private jets while 12-year-old Tawainese girls massaged diamond filled lotion into their testicles and professional chefs make them Galapagos tortoise ravioli.
But you know what I realized after a year of freezing my ass off in Zuccoti Park, of getting the shit kicked out of me by police, of pretending armpit hair is sexy just so I can get laid? You can’t take down a private jet by camping out in a park. Seriously? Do you honestly think that the 1% with their millions, even billions, of dollars would just casually hand over the keys to their kingdom just because we’ve created a settlement in a park? They can buy their own fucking park. But what about that lady in the business suit, that was clearly bought from the 65% off rack at Macy’s, walking by our protests with disgust in her eyes? She’s a fucking secretary who’s fighting off the foreclosure of her own home. She has no power. And the people with power? Well they’re too busy eating endangered animal ravioli to care about what we’re doing.
What I’m saying is don’t expect all that sitting around in a park and marching up and down the streets to do anything. It didn’t work for the homeless, it’s not going to work for us, okay? And that girl with the daisies in her hair who’s armpit hair actually was sexy? She’s not going to call you. Not since that guy with a dreadlocked beard who reads Marx in the original German because it’s “more authentic that way” moved into the tent next door.
So if you want real change, then rise the fuck up. For real. No more camping on the concrete like it will make them listen. Because real revolution is about grabbing the small amount of power and money and hot women that exist in this world and keeping them for yourself. By force if necessary. And it is necessary. Because this Occupy bullshit, it’s just that. We were supposed to take over the world, revolutionize the distribution of wealth in this country, in this world, and leave the 1% to rot in jail for their sins while we had house parties in their mansions. You know what happened instead? Mitt Romney became the Republican candidate for president. And who knows? He might take the whole thing. If that’s not a sign that Occupy has completely failed, I don’t know what is.
POINT written by Lisa Debendictis & COUNTERPOINT written by Jessica Pierce