I will admit from the get-go here, that I have very little knowledge of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement that has sprung up in recent weeks; however, my specific knowledge of the rally/protest/movement does not really have to do with my overall commentary here. I'm going to be discussing a more macro-level issue at work, when I think that this protest is a micro issue (a good one).
First of all, I will say for the record that I like this protest. I don't necessary agree with everything being said (I agree with most of it), but I like the fact that Democrats are finally standing up and letting their voice be heard, instead of simply standing by and waiting for the president react to their complaining. Now, for the record, I'm still a fan of Obama. I think that he's done his best in a terrible situation, and I think that once he's re-elected we'll see a whole different president in term two. But, I also think that Obama's "best" has been reactionary to an obstinate congress, who because they are divided, can basically get nothing of substance passed. The Republicans in congress have made clear that their main goal is to "make Obama a one-term president". So with that as your focus, it seems like getting any real governing done would be impossible, because those ideas are antithetical to one another. If Republicans allow the president and Democrats to pass some bills with a sprinkle of Republicans ideas and a sprinkle of Democratic ideas, the Republicans still lose being the president will be shown to be getting things done. And god forbid the bills actually do what they're intended to the do; the economy could actually improve, and then Republicans would really be screwed.
Sorry, back to the lecture at hand. There has been a lot of easily anticipated criticism of this protest; "there is no focus", "it's just a bunch of hippies", "a few people protesting Wall Street is not going to change anything"...
Most of criticism seems to be the status quo trying to derail the movement before it has started (which is standard). We saw the same thing with the tea party movement. While I certainly don't agree with barely anything the tea party says, and while their later iteration may have had bigger - even corporate funding, it started as a grassroots movement of people that were frustrated and decided to stop stammering about it, and instead decided to make their voice heard. That is what I'm hoping this movement becomes. It's not that change will occur overnight, but it may be an eye-opener for Democrats that, while we want a Democrat to win the White House over a Republican, we still have the right and the duty to question the policies of congress and the president that we don't like or agree with. We need the president to know that just as Republicans are unhappy with the way government is behaving, we too are unhappy with the way government is behaving, but we don't want government to go away, we want it to shape up.
I'm sincerely hoping that this will be a true movement that will pick up steam and spread. Ideally, people of all political stripes would support this movement, and we could truly create a mass movement. But the unfortunate reality is that the Democrats/liberals in this movement probably don't want the support of the tea party or Republicans, any more than the tea party or Republicans don't want to support the movement. The irony is that liberals are frustrated with corporations for corrupting the government, and conservatives are frustrated at the government for being corrupted by corporations, but they're really both just frustrated with the broken system. If we could only bridge that gap in the way we thought, we could truly make some large scale changes.