Results=Success…or do they?

My old boss used to always tell me,“I’m a results guy, at the end of the day I measure success in results”

Granted he was probably in 1%, nevertheless it brings up a good point when thinking about the OWS movement.

The deemed success or failure of social movements in history usually hinge on what was the outcome of the movement is. Usually these outcomes which deem success are in the form of legislative policy change.

Examples of Successful Social Movements Include:

–          The Civil Rights Movement which led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a monumental piece of legislation which solidified racial and gender equality   

–          Labor Movements in the 1800-Mid 1900’s resulted in numerous passed legislative acts which regulated Child Labor, Minimum Wage, Safe Working Conditions, Maximum Workable Hours ect

Under this logic I would say that OWS has not been successful as a social movement. It has been successful in raising awareness to economic inequality however the Labor Movement of 1981 was also successful in this regard, however it did not result in any legislative change and when it ended it was considered at a failed attempt, and to many it is an unknown movement.

This is to not say that that OWS is a failed movement however it is a movement still seeking results.

I would compare this to the Gay Rights movement. The Gay Rights movements has been on-going since 1965 and has gained a considerable amount of rights and awareness to its cause, however like OWS I would deem it a movement still seeking the results it needs to deem itself a success. I’m sure if you asked someone involved in the Gay rights movement if it has gotten all the results it has strived for I could be willing to bet the answer would be no. There is still no act passed which has allowed gay marriage in all states and the inequality still exists.  The legislative results these groups have been seeking have still not been reached. I would deem the Gay Rights Movement as more of a successful movement than Occupy Wall Street thus far, as although their hasn’t been national legislation passed, the Gay Rights Movement has seen results in different state legislative acts.

Occupy Wall Street is the same in this regard. Although motives are much less defined for OWS there has been no legislative change to effect any of the grievances they have.  At the end of the day the results are: the 1% is still as rich as they were, and the 99% is still as poor as they were, and Big Banks and millionaire CEO’s still don’t give a shit.

(CEO Millionaires Bill Gross and Larry Fink don’t seem too upset about the OWS movement)

My question to the readers of this post is:

– Based on looking at Historical Movements, does OWS need results for it to be deemed a success?  What do these results need to be?


2 responses to “Results=Success…or do they?

  1. I enjoyed this post, and in response to your question: the Alcatraz occupation by American Indians would suggest that OWS doesn’t need concrete results to be considered a (qualified) success.

    However, I think your comparison to the “gay rights movement” might be stronger if instead of emphasizing access to marriage, you emphasize efforts to stop discrimination in the workplace, housing, prisons, etc. This, in my opinion, is closer to the economic injustice grievances of OWS. (the emphasis on marriage mostly comes from the more affluent, mainstream lgb folks – the one-per-centers of the lgbtqa community.)


  2. ramblerofoccasionalbrilliance

    While I understand what you are trying to claim by making a parallel between the Occupy Wall Street movement and the Gay Rights movement, I think your logic is flawed and your argument weak. Looking at public service announcements from the 1950’s that said “beware the homosexual on the prowl,” jumping to the removal of homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in the 1970’s and the overwhelming change of public opinion regarding the LGBTQ community even in the last ten years is a success. Yes there are still a long ways to go as far as equal rights for same-sex couples, but I would also argue there is still a ways to go for women’s rights in the United States even though some might say that women have equal rights, or even that the civil rights movement was a success even though racism still exists today. My point is that the world isn’t perfect by any of the ideals put forth by those aforementioned civil rights movements. I suppose my issue is that you’re essentially comparing apples to oranges. They’re both fruits, they’re both fighting for recognition, social justice and change but in very different ways. The biggest example being that all of the other movements mentioned in your post have a specific goal or set of goals in mind even if the finish line has yet to be reached for any of them. Does that make sense? Anyways, I could claim that Obama’s Job Bill of last year was addressed to many of the issues addressed by OWS but OWS ended up not supporting it.
    It’s hard to make legislation that could make a vast and constantly evolving movement like OWS say “that’s what we wanted, let’s go home.” They’re looking for a different kind of change that I don’t think can be addressed by “simple” legislation. I think they’re looking for an evolution of lifestyle that’s easy to point out what it’s not rather than what they want it to be.

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