The 99%

By October 12, 2011Outreach and Events

Undoubtedly you have heard of the “Occupy” protests that are gathering around the world. While I haven’t been down to the Chicago chapter as of yet (as one of the 99%, I work seven days a week), I have heard much of the atmosphere from blogs, friends, and the news. My most favorite incident was yesterday’s return of furniture from foreclosed homes to the front of a Bank of America, the furniture’s “rightful owner.”

One fellow UCWbLer, Colin Sato, went down and was most struck by the atmosphere of the occupation. He exclaimed how nice everyone was – and calm. Multiple times he was asked his name and pleasantly invited into a conversation. He also noted that while many definitely didn’t believe in Former President Bush’s Tax Cuts for the Wealthy, there seemed to be a prevailing sensation of people who were “ambiguously discontent.” In other words, not everyone was really sure why they were there or what they were protesting against, but all were curious of this massive organization of citizens taking place in check, 2011.

Indeed, the date is significant. America’s Generation Y grows up learning of the massive protests and demonstrations of the 1960s. My claim is that many of us grow up idolizing these opinionated Americans. They were unhappy with the status quo, so they sought to change it with a paradigm of (on the whole) peaceful conversation and a reminder to the powers-that-be of their own visibility. The protests are…cool.This is because they challenge with their voices. And now, in 2011, it seems we, the 99%, are finally taking up that paradigm to protest the awful garbage economy of disproportion we are currently experiencing.

At the UCWbL, we are more than prepared to sympathize with a challenge to the status quo, for tutoring challenges dominant, and often dictatorial, methods of pedagogy, just as the “Occupy” protests challenge a dominant and often dictatorial, government. This UCWbLer is very pleased that this organization is taking place but is concerned about this “ambiguously discontent” feeling Sato reported sensing. Occupiers! As any tutor worth her salt will tell you, organizing your ideas, backing up your claims, and effecting a tone of unabashed legitimacy for your own righteous indignation (pathos, ethos, logos anyone?) are the keys to crafting a successful argument.

I am very happy to report, however, that the Chicago Occupiers voted to ratify a list of proposed demands last night. (My favorites are to forgive student debt and to limit the influence of lobbyists.) Hopefully, this will work towards combating that ambiguous feeling. It will consolidate the message, solidify a thesis statement, and at the very least, make everyone aware of what the 99% are so damned discontented about.

Note the rhetoric: the protestors use a slogan that aligns almost every (wo)man with their plight.