The staff editorial “Occupy Missouri Western” requires a response, as its muddled mix of misinformation will give readers an inaccurate portrayal of the Occupy movement and grassroots activism in general.
Griffons are told that they, as students, “are not part of the 99%.” This alone reveals a fundamental misunderstanding about the Occupy movement, and what it represents. One cannot opt out of being in the 99%, it is a statistical measure. While you may not agree with Occupy sentiments for whatever reason, if you or your family made less than $343,000 per annum since 2009, you are in the bottom 99%.
Is it really hard work that guarantees success, anyway? Since 1979, the productivity of the American worker has climbed two-hundred forty percent, while wages have stagnated. New technology alone does not account for that increase. Americans work hard. They work long hours. They do more than ever for virtually the same pay as they did in the 1970s. All the while, the gross domestic product has grown by leaps and bounds. And while our fourteen trillion dollar economy can’t seem to push the median wage over fifty-thousand, the top one percent’s share of the wealth has doubled in the last twenty years. Did every Wall Street executive earn that money with “hard work?”
The article also seems to imply that there is a surfeit of activist sentiment on American campuses that must be quelled by cold, hard reality. I wish that were the case. Despite dismal jobs prospects and a collective student loan debt of nearly one trillion dollars, an opinion piece in a campus publication excuses student apathy and the proto-solipsistic worldview that perpetuates the destructive “look out for number one” attitude that we know for certain does not make the world better. This is ultimately unsurprising however. Students and citizens in general throughout this country have been conditioned to believe that mass movements change nothing. On the contrary, mass numbers of ordinary citizens have changed society in the past, and they can do so in the future.
Yes, your job is to be a student. Just don’t let anyone tell you that you can only learn in a classroom.
Political Science Major, Occupier
Missouri Western State University
Gilson, D. (2011, July/Aug). Overworked America: 12 Charts to Make Your Blood Boil. Mother Jones. http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/06/speedup-americans-working-harder-charts
Luhby, T. (2011, Oct. 20). Who are the 1%? CNNMoney. http://money.cnn.com/2011/10/20/news/economy/occupy_wall_street_income/index.htm