99 percentHow would corporate America fare without the labor and consumption of the 99%? Today's "general strike," organized by the Occupy Wall Street movement, may give us a taste of what such a world would look like.

The strike, strategically scheduled on International Workers' Day, calls for "no work" and "no shopping," and tells protestors to "occupy everywhere." But to what end?

While the Occupy Wall Street movement has frequently been criticized for failing to offer a set of clear demands, the central theme of dissatisfaction is clear enough. They want to ensure that the power to shape our society is in the hands of everyone who lives in it and not just those who have the most money.

Areas of concern for most OWS supporters include:
  • Increasing disparity between the rich and poor.
  • Fraudulent and predatory banking practices.
  • Cronyism between big businesses and politicians.
  • Taxpayer-funded bailouts for big banks.
  • Government complicity in a banking system that does not work for stakeholders.
  • Unequal distribution of political power among citizens.
  • Lack of equal opportunity.
OWS members hope to focus attention on these issues by hitting corporate America where it hurts, at least for a day, and depriving them of the customers and cheap labor that make them rich.

So that explains the "no work" and "no shopping" imperatives, but why "occupy everywhere"?

What Do They Want? Economic Justice!

In an interview on Democracy Now!, social theorist David Harvey suggested that the OWS movement uses the one power it has -- numbers -- to advocate for change. He claimed that part of what makes OWS participants angry is that politics and the media are dominated by financial interests, and so they do not have the power to push for change through those more traditional venues.

In addition, he discussed how many areas that used to be open for public assembly are either no longer there or require groups to go through a great deal of bureaucratic red tape in order to access them.

The effect, he argued, is that there is nowhere ordinary people can go to have open political dialogue. In response, Harvey said, members of the OWS movement are working together to "liberate" urban spaces in which the general public can begin that dialogue.

In other words, by disrupting the status quo in following the imperatives "no work," "no shopping," and "occupy everywhere," OWS members hope to undermine the systems that rob them of their political voice.

Primary Targets

OWS protestors' choices about where to gather aren't just guided by the availability of space to gather and talk. Financial institutions remain a primary target of the OWS movement. In New York City, for example, today's protests are planned to occur at JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Citigroup (C) branches. Other targets include luxury realty and auction house Sotheby's (BID), and Disney (DIS) subsidiary ABC.

While today's general strike was advertised as "a day without the 99%," that title is misleading. With events scheduled throughout the day in cities across the nation, the day is more likely to be viewed as "a day occupied by the 99%." They aim to be present and visible, and to do whatever they can to make their voices heard.

Motley Fool contributor M. Joy Hayes, Ph.D., is the Principal at ethics consulting firm Courageous Ethics. She doesn't own shares of any of the companies mentioned. Follow @JoyofEthics on Twitter. The Motley Fool owns shares of Walt Disney, Citigroup, and JPMorgan Chase. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Sotheby's and Walt Disney.

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Wayne Bradshaw

Louis Vuitton Replica Handags usually was manufactured from China ,it is not authourized by louis vuitton .But they will come with the high quality that almost the same materials and handwork,So it is hard to distingush the Repilicas.

May 05 2012 at 11:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Wayne Bradshaw

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May 05 2012 at 11:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Who knows perhaps at the end of the day, most people who may have have cared about the protests will have been put off by the reality that 'reality can be a pretty crooked and bleak one,' or to put it another way, as long they're somehow managing to eke out their 'version of sunshine there really isn't too much pay off to make too much noise.


May 02 2012 at 5:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

OWS now linked to the attempted bombing of the bridge between two affluent neighborhoods in Ohio, these people are proving to be nothing but domestic terrorists. The Democrats have created a monster.

May 02 2012 at 9:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Mybe the OWS crowd needs to ask their leader Obama what happened to the 750 billion in money spent on shovel ready jobs.......you know the job where they shovel french fries.

May 02 2012 at 8:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

first, we can blame both parties in congress for the areas of concern.
and then ourselves for re-electing most of them over and over again.

May 02 2012 at 8:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

So there were 140 yesterday afternoon. Scarey. Guess the welfare offices were closed

May 02 2012 at 8:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to marine1942's comment

they had around 50,000 in nyc alone threw out the day. People dont' stay all day in protest. Some leave and some arrive as constant marches and pickets took place all over the city.

May 02 2012 at 8:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They only blame the banks, but how many of these people lied to get loans. I bet 99%. They want everything free. They would like to see communism. They are lazy deadbeats. They should go to Greece and maybe learn a lesson.

May 02 2012 at 8:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to yurday6's comment

yurday6? Occupy blames the dem's and republicans for taking bribes from the multi billionaires. It isn't just banks but the financial sector as goldman sach and j.P morgan are included. If they was lazy dead beats they would be home like you right now. Instead they work and still find time to fight the system. Considering they do both i would have to say you may be the deadbeat in this example. Even though you may work hard and take care of family etc. (as do they)

May 02 2012 at 8:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to arcticshade's comment

If what you say is true then why are so many of them so pro Obama?

May 02 2012 at 9:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down

LOL....those idiots have nothing better to do anyway. Their idea is to live like they do in Greece and Spain and be at the mercy of union driven economies...

May 02 2012 at 8:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A list of demands?? It took these protesters a year to come up with goals other than general complaints they have no cause what they have is marching orders. The OWS movement are the 1% what we need to give them is a job!

May 02 2012 at 7:50 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to BUFFALO's comment

Occupy been having a message. i am ashemed of people like you that lack common sense. When the media says they have no clear message. All you had to do was read the signs. They had so many of them. Because a lot of things are wrong. I'm sure by now you are being defensive and plan to not even consider reading what i wrote. A year has not even pass by the way. In case you do not know. The main reason has always been money out of politics,End the fed, and end the wars. Plus mass arrest of political people that have taken bribes and those that give it would be good as well. By the way most of them have jobs. Sometimes you need to apply common sense to things to know the truth. People don't gather cause they smell. Being smelly repels people from being near each other. It was a utter lie. The revolution will not be televised. The government will never show it as if it's a great idea since they are the ones in power. think people think.

May 02 2012 at 8:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply