I don't support the Occupy Wall Street movement... not one bit. I honestly don't think they have any clue about what they're protesting. It seems they live their world in a fantasy land, and when challenged for facts, they can rarely give you the "meat and potatoes" behind their positions. I believe they rant and chant because they want attention, and because it feels good to appear to be part of a "cause." I believe they are entitled, "gimme, gimme, gimme" loons who have no clue how finance, economics, labor, Wall Street, and everything of the like work and coexist.
That being said, I completely defend and support their right to peaceably assemble and protest. PEACEABLY is the key. This post is not about the who, what, when, where, or why OWS is protesting; it's about the how. To start off, The First Amendment, our most sacred amendment states:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
It's as simple as that. It also shouldn't be news to anyone. But sometimes, the right to free speech and peaceably assemble it gets taken too far.
The First Amendment certainly comes with limitations. Just as you cannot yell "fire" in a movie theater, or make threats against the President, a citizen's ability to protest is also limited. Why am I writing about this? Well, the following link is one of many I have seen about OWS' "May Day" protests, and already, I can see that OWS doesn't plan on sticking within the realm of their Constitutionally-protected freedoms:
Let's be clear: If OWS wants to promote "Anti-Capitalist" ideas... fine! If they want to "show the 99% that the 1% matter"... fine! If they want to walk out of work, school, etc... fine! Don't prevent the innocent, apathetic, and non-involved from going about their lives in a normal fashion. OWS claims "the system isn't working for the 99%" and while I completely disagree with this notion, they have the right to protest... for THEM, not for me.
While OWS has the right to protest; I have the right to not have my life affected by it. OWS has the right to march and rally LEGALLY and PEACEFULLY; I have the right not to have my normal movement altered. OWS can protest peacefully in public parks, but if they don't obtain permits to march through main roads (so that police can protect them, protect viewers, and help create detours), they are crossing the line. OWS can march up and down public sidewalks, but they cannot form human chains at the front doors of private buildings to prevent employees from entering their office. They think all their protesting is helping us become aware of the "atrocities of the 1%," but in reality, all it is doing is preventing people from moving about freely. If I was walking into employer's office, and one person stood at the door and prevented me from entering, he would be removed for unlawfully detaining me. Why would this be okay if it was done by 100 people? It's not. I have the right to move about freely, and I have the right to enter my workplace as I see fit.
In addition to blocking subways, roads, public workplace entrances, ports and forming human chains, OWS has routinely turned to violence: http://news.yahoo.com/may-day-eve-quickly-turns-ugly-san-francisco-091023433.html
Where is the Constitutionally guaranteed freedom to cause harm and destruction? OWS can disagree with corporations, capitalism, the government, republicans, and anything they want. But they lose constitutional protection with they harm people, destroy property, and interrupt the lives of the non-involved for the sake of their protest. I certainly hope that "May Day" protesters and the non-involveds can both carry out their day's objectives without interruption and without interrupting the "other side," but based on what I've seen from OWS, I don't really think that's going to happen.
What do you think? Support for or against OWS aside, what do you think of these kind of protests? Are they warranted? Legal? Illegal? Please share your opinions below.