Reddit Army vs. Rich People, Gamestop vs. Robinhood, AOC vs. Ted Cruz, & Why This All Just Make Sense in 2021

The coronavirus pandemic has drastically changed the ways people protest and organize around social issues.

While in-person protests have and continue to take place, social distancing guidelines shifted much work activists do to online and social media platforms. In 2020, the Black Lives Matter movement gained landmark support as videos of irrefutable police violence went viral. Calls to vote in the 2020 presidential elections rang louder than ever, sparking thousands of online voter registration and mail-in ballot campaigns.

The newest form of protest that’s gained momentum: a takeover of the stock market.

Here’s an ultra simplified version of what’s going down.

Businesses of all sizes have taken a major hit due to the pandemic, especially those that were already on the decline. A well-known example is the video game store Gamestop. A group of people on the communication platform, Reddit, decided to try and help the company out, while simultaneously screwing over mega-millionaire investors.

It was a big “fuck you” to the despicably wealthy class that amassed their wealth through shady Wall Street deals, and a boost for the video game company we all grew up with.

A win-win situation.

The Reddit group bought a TON of Gamestop stocks, which were super cheap. I’m not talking a couple hundred shares. No, these people bought enough stock to increase the value from $19 to $428, a 900% increase since the start of the year.

Chaos ensued.

Rich people who had money lying in Gamestop’s downfall were suddenly losing everything.

Teenagers were making bank.

For a minute, it seemed the underdogs were coming out on top. Money from the rich was going to the poor, or at least the far less rich. Some power had been redistributed.

But like I said, only for a minute.

Rich people got fed up. Robinhood, a popular investment platform, stopped allowing shares of Gamestop to be traded in what is easily one of the most blatant displays of classism I’ve ever witnessed. To appease their mega investors, Robinhood took the word “free” out of “free market”.

The media response was one of outrage and calls for legal accountability, and shockingly enough, so was the government's response.

There is some level of bipartisan support for investigating the entire ordeal, but tensions between Democratic and Republican lawmakers remain strained after the Capitol Riots. When Republican Senator Ted Cruz made it a point to agree with Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez over holding Robinhood accountable, she was quick to remind Cruz that they were in no position to work together after his role in inciting the riots that threatened her safety.

As the first month of 2021 comes to a close, it seems we’re following the same 2020 trend of outrageous news headlines that are all somehow true.

Yet, I’m more hopeful than ever.

The events of the stock market, while somewhat chaotic, showed what people are capable of when we band together. The balance of power was shifted, if only for a moment. We rattled things up.

We reminded the privileged and wealthy that we’re still watching and waiting.

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