Occupy Wall St. needs no demands

Protestors want government to work on behalf of people, not corporations.

Editorial board

Over the last few weeks, Occupy Wall Street has gained steam and spawned solidarity protests in various cities around the country âÄî MinneapolisâÄô version will start this Friday. The national mediaâÄôs focus on the protestersâÄô lack of a single clear demand shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the Occupy Wall Street protests. Put simply, the protestors want a government that puts the interests of people ahead of the interests of money. A bulleted list of policy proposals will not solve a crisis of principles.

The protests came about because voting no longer works. President Barack Obama was elected in direct response to the 2008 financial collapse caused by Wall Street firms, big banks and a failed regulatory system, in addition to many other causes. But when he took office, he put all of the same people responsible for the collapse back in control of the economy, including Larry Summers and Ben Bernanke. No one was punished âÄî no one went to jail. And while Wall Street was bailed out, many Americans were left with underwater mortgages and no jobs in the wake of the crisis.

Democrats are in Wall StreetâÄôs pocket, but Republicans are blatantly on the side of corporations. In a country where inequality is at its highest level since the 1920s, one in six people are living below the poverty line, and real unemployment is around 15 percent, the GOPâÄôs pro-corporate proposals are absurd. Arguing for lowering the corporate tax rate and trying to roll back the meager reforms of the financial industry passed in the wake of the collapse make no sense.

The people are fed up with a government that puts their needs behind those of wealthy individual and corporate donors. And theyâÄôve realized engaging with a broken political system isnâÄôt the way to fix it.