It’s been 15 months since the first Occupy rally in New York City. In that time, we, the unemployed, the underemployed, the indebted, the renters, the celebrated, mocked, empowered, and ignored 99%, have at least had the opportunity to commiserate on a societal scale. Both our physical and online protests have effectively stirred the pot, forcing the acrid taste of inequality into the conversations of the nation’s powerful. The problem is, of course, the question of what have these whiffs of unrest accomplished? The United States is still effectively held prisoner by the iniquitous web of multinational corporate capitalism, unfazed by the brouhaha of the Occupy movement. The bureaucracy that Weber described is holding the power hostage. Has the behemoth of neoliberalism proven too great for the 99% to grapple? Isn’t there supposed to be some kind of power in the “proletariat”? Marx, the world’s greatest advocate of this sentiment, is rolling in his grave. The dependency between the bourgeois and the proletariat that he asserted is still alive and well today, but even as millions have taken to the streets, and even more to the web, the protests did not reach a critical enough mass to topple the current power structure. The revolution that Marx championed did not take place.
How is it, then, that so many people supported this movement yet few important policy changes were enacted as a result? I, for one, blame this on the collusion of the powerful; the system that is in place is, as the 99% declaration claims, is governed of, by, and for the elite. The troubles of the vast majority of Americans—debt, underemployment, and other financial woes—are in plain sight, yet the movement’s intangible goals and decentralized leadership halt direct political progress. The antithetical wealthy are able to get their way politically because their goals are motivated by a one-dimensional, selfish factor, money, while the goals of the occupy movement, achieving equality, are too lofty and convoluted for Congress to even adequately comprehend. If this is the problem, and it seems that disillusioned America may have exhausted itself in tent camps across the country, I ask of those who still seek what the movement has sought—where do we turn?