In this post a couple of days ago on the Huffington Post, the reporter discusses the Occupy Wall Street movement and a study which revealed that the demographics of people involved might be surprising: young, white, employed males made up the majority of the people protesting. “The report surveyed the participants at a joint Occupy-labor movement May Day rally in New York City and found that two-thirds of those who described themselves as “actively involved” in Occupy Wall Street were white, while 80 percent had a bachelor’s degree or higher.” But is this really surprising?
Consider, for instance, that “[o]nly 5.4 percent of actively involved participants said they joined Occupy Wall Street to deal with racism or race-related issues, while 19 percent cited student debt and access to education, according to the report.” There is an obvious disconnect between the understanding of structural issues which both connect to racism and economics. Even a cursory reading of Marx would suggest that we need to understand that these are internal characteristics of dynamic capitalist order, it is a systemic issue, not just about individual capitalists making selfish decisions, exploiting labor and resources for personal gain, but rather that this ideology is built into our culture, governance structures, and social support/reproduction systems.
Questions need to be directed towards these issues: Why is there unemployment? Is it a result of overaccumulation (systemic) or capitalist greed (systemic/individualistic)? Why are the impacts disproportionately burdensome for racial and ethnic minorities? Why are these groups not as active in these Occupy events? Did the occupy movement gain traction because it crosses racial/class boundaries?
Some links about OWS, democracy, and capitalism: