While nearly everyone in the United States knows about the Occupy movement very few know exactly what they stand for.
With countless people throwing around words such as Radical, Liberal and Communist I decided to find out exactly who this "99%" is and exactly what their platform happens to be. I recently had the opportunity to interview Matthew Wengerd who happens to be the leader of the newly formed Occupy Warren outfit.
Matthew is a local college student whose parents are either laid off or working at Arby's. He's walked among the desperate his entire life and he's had enough. Enough of corporations running America into the ground, enough of local businesses failing due to competition with mega stores such as Wal-mart, and enough of the select few wealthy individuals who own the majority of America.
So, who is the "99%"? According to Matthew every member may "have their own personal beliefs" because "that's what the movement is about; freedom" But to Matthew and the majority of the Occupy movement, however, Corporate and Economic justice is what carries a lot of weight in the movement.
"We're making payments to bail out these massive companies that are supposedly too big to fail while we cut wages to our police officers, fire-fighters and paramedics. It's counter-productive" said Matthew. I couldn't help but feel some sense of Irony in this statement being familiar with the scenes of unnecessary police brutality that have been plastered all over the internet and television. When I brought up the recent actions taken by the police, Matthew to my surprise defended them, saying that while he doesn't agree with the process in which the officers decided to take while removing his fellow protestors he understands that the boys in blue were only doing their jobs and following orders. The Local movement, however, isn't only tolerated by the warren police; it actually has its support. Several police cars even signaled their horns or waved as they drove by during my interview.
Now we know what the majority of the Occupy movement stands for. But how could local teens get involved without missing school or protesting while fighting the forces of Mother Nature? Matt had several ideas that involved neither.
"Local teens can get involved in the movement by of course coming to the rallies but there are several alternatives to this. Try and convince your parents to shop at locally owned businesses instead of Wal-Mart or other major super stores, join our Facebook page (occupy warren) or simply spread the word of the movement by word of mouth or posters".
As with any movement in history including the Vietnam War protests of the 70's the Occupy movement is dependent on the power of humanity's youth. Please understand that what happens today will forever change the course of history. So, whether you choose to side with the Occupy movement or are a staunch critic please get involved and never allow anyone to shape your future but you. We are the youth of America and this is our future.