An Ironic Problem for “Occupy Wall Street”

An Ironic Problem for “Occupy Wall Street” October 27, 2011

I’ll start by saying I agree with the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, at least in principal. Anyone willing to take the time and effort to stand nonviolent against systems that oppress on behalf of the marginalized has some merit.

That said, I, like many others, am a little baffled by the intent of the movement. Is the goal to influence public policy? To move public opinion? To propose a radical alternative form of government or commerce? I’m not so sure. Fellow Patheos contributor Brian McLaren is vocal in his support. Though I respect Brian and his focus on social justice informed by his faith, I’m still not entirely sure what I’m supporting by standing behind the so-called “99 Percent.”

But that’s not the point of my post today. I heard NPR’s New York Bureau Correspondent Margot Adler talking about an interesting problem the New York movement – and some of the other groups, too – is facing. Apparently, the protesters have access to pretty good food for the most part. Ms. Adler spoke of being served homemade cornbread and fresh guacamole when she visited the Wall Street camp. But I guess some of the local homeless people have gotten wind of the good eats available at the rallies and have decided to crash the party.

Some of the protesters complained that the non-voluntary street dwellers were gobbling up resources, and generally showing a lack of regard for the cause. Of course, I’m guessing if anyone understands being a part of the disenfranchised citizenry, it’s the homeless.

Anyway, the solution some protesters have come up with is to slash rations and make the food as undesirable as possible, at least temporarily, until the intruders move on.

Does anyone but me see the irony in this?

I don’t want to beat an obvious horse to death, so I think I’ll leave it at that, and let others chime in if, in fact, I’m missing something.

Christian Piatt is an author, editor, speaker, musician and spoken word artist. He co-founded Milagro Christian Church in Pueblo, Colorado with his wife, Rev. Amy Piatt, in 2004. Christian is the creator and editor of “Banned Questions About The Bible” and “Banned Questions About Jesus.” He has a memoir on faith, family and parenting being published in early 2012 called “PREGMANCY: A Dad, a Little Dude and a Due Date.” For more information about Christian, visit, or find him on Twitter or Facebook.

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  • Guest

    Wow; very interesting note.  I agree with the first two paragraphs.  If the facts are as stated in the rest of the notes it truly shows a tremendous problem here.  It really reaffirms my pessimistic approach to us, humans.   This has always been a conviction of mine: as much as we need to fight oppressive systems and seek justice; as much as we need to denounce the oppressors and lend a voice to those that have none, we should be careful when we feel to above them morally.  I believe that given the chance we might act just like them.  Again, if this facts are as stated it will exemplify that.  They act like 1% when they have the chance.  I was born overseas and now live in the US.  It was always a common comment to complain about the imperial ways of the US, but I believe that if we had the power and resources of the US we would have acted the same and not different.  All this to say that at the end of the day, behind all this systems that need to be dismantled we still have the issue of the human heart and how easy it is for it to be corrupted.

  • Cranbrook203

    the disciple had the same problem. to feed the multitude you must use meat not of this world. the problem is most christians are still of this world and that includes me. help me holy spirit

  • First, I have serious doubts about the facts as you present them and the likeliness that they reflect the movment as a whole. Second, any movement has limited resources. Serving quality food may have been a bad choice of resource allocation. All of us would like to spend more time feeding the homeless, but sometimes we have to choose to work on the policies that cause homelessness.