As mangy tent settlements spring up across the nation, it’s clear that the Occupy Wall Street protesters are gaining an unwieldy momentum, and that no one particularly knows what they want. Critics have noted their lack of an agenda, then gone on to bemoan or excuse it. Nick Kristof and other liberal columnists have suggested a variety of platforms that the protests should adopt. In the meantime, Fox News is arguing that John Lennon look-a-likes who play pipe organs while dressed like zombies should not be taken seriously, and are using such antics to dismiss the protests altogether.
We can’t help but think that pundits in search of Occupy Wall Street’s political agenda are missing a fundamental component of the protest’s ethos; like so many organic populist movements, the Occupyers appear to be emotionally, rather than politically, driven. Many of the protesters we interviewed were motivated by their personal experiences in the economic downturn, and a vague but unshakeable sense that their experiences were the result of much larger structural problems.
Our second interview was with Gaia, a young teacher in Brooklyn who’s been personally effected by systemic socioeconomic problems. For more personal stories on how how young people have been effected by the economy, we recommend you take a look at We are the 99 percent.
You can watch our first video from Liberty Square here.