NEW YORK (
) -- Occupy Wall Street protesters at Zuccotti Park and elsewhere are succeeding in getting themselves heard through the mainstream media, social media and elsewhere.
Yet, because of its diversity of interests and its insistence on a democratic process, the movement lacks a single, unified voice, which critics say is its biggest weakness.
Protesters are railing against everything from income inequality to corporate greed and lack of accountability on Wall Street. The cacophony of voices emerging from the protests are leaving people confused on what the movement hopes to achieve and skeptical of whether it can actually accomplish anything at all.
A sign of this confusion is evident in
TheStreet's running poll
on what OWS is about. Out of 4460 voters, the maximum number of voters- 26% - seem to think that the movement is nothing more than jealousy and class warfare. But nearly 25% think it is a combination of political agenda, a tough economy, income inequality, anger against corporate greed and a failing but expensive education system.
Terra Lawson Remer, an assistant professor of international affairs at The New School has been following the movement closely and spent a night camping with the protesters at Zuccotti Park. According to Remer, the protesters have avoided coming up with a list of demands because they want to ensure that everyone is heard.
"There are all these complaints that there isn't one demand. That is not the case. There is a problem. Now it is about how do we bring our collective thoughts to bear," she said, speaking at the Buttonwood Gathering, a New York city conference on Wednesday. "There is a lot of emphasis on "process", on openness and transparency as a reaction against the system where the well connected are able to set rules in their favor."
Meanwhile, some of the unofficial list of demands that has been posted on the Occupy Wall Street website have become a target for scorn and ridicule. Demands for a "guaranteed living wage regardless of employment" and "immediate across the board debt forgiveness for all," have critics arguing that the protesters are just a bunch of kids who don't understand the rules of economics and are just anti-capitalism. The site administrators have denounced the list saying that it was posted by a single user and was neither proposed nor agreed to by the collective.