Kosloske: Occupy Geneseo proliferates participation

If you read the Nov. 10 opinion piece on Occupy Geneseo, you're likely questioning the legitimacy and goals of the movement and confused as to why it's found its way into lonely, rural Geneseo. You've probably also been misinformed.

Since its inception earlier this year, the Occupy Wall Street movement has been a large-scale call for an open discussion about the balance of wealth and power in the world today. It is not a socialist movement, a liberal movement or an anarchist movement; it's not even strictly an anti-Wall Street movement. The protests started in Manhattan near Wall Street because of the symbolic nature of protesting at the doorstep of those who contribute heavily to economic disparity in our country but its scope is certainly not limited to Manhattan, to banks or even to the United States.

The ideas presented by this movement apply to you no matter where you live. It is an undeniable fact that money equates to power and disparity in wealth means an imbalance in power. Those with millions of dollars to contribute to political campaigns have infinitely more influence over the outcome of elections than an average voter.

The point of the Wall Street protests was never to taunt bankers on their way to work or make people angry at the rich; it's to provoke discussion and make changes to a system that we, the people, feel no longer represents us.

This is where we come in. Pressure must be put on our legislators from every corner of every city and town until we can no longer be ignored. This "real power" of the people cannot only be done on a college campus in upstate New York, but it needs to be. Colleges are exactly where this movement will flourish. They provide a positive, open-minded environment full of people trying to better themselves and the world around them. Misplaced activism? Preaching to the choir? I think not.

As far as Geneseo itself goes, the information given in the previous opinion piece was flat-out wrong. The author has never been to a General Assembly and obviously has not even read in full The Lamron's previous two articles covering Occupy Geneseo. First, a general assembly is not a sit-in or protest of any kind. It is a peaceful gathering of the group to organize, propose and discuss plans and make sure everyone is on the same page. Anyone at all, whether for or against the cause, is invited to attend, speak and weigh-in on decisions. Second, we are not merely "protesting the policies of the rich." We're educating our peers, starting discussions, asking difficult questions and demanding answers.

In our upcoming "Occupy the Green" event this Thursday, we're inviting anyone to come join us, not to scream and shout and shake fists, but to speak and discuss and learn. We want to support local businesses rather than feeding ethically questionable corporate machines like Wal-Mart. We want to let our senate and assembly members know how we feel and how they should represent us. We want people to not simply agree with us but to form their own opinions and find their own reasons to join. Most importantly, we want people to know that they themselves can do something to start changing the world. How's that for a cause you can get behind?