Protest is not in itself a good thing. A protest that accomplishes nothing is a failure. Some might say that any protest accomplishes something by drawing attention to certain issues, perhaps even affecting public policy by making demands on politicians. This may be true, but it still stands that the success of a protest needs to be judged by its concrete effects.
This is one problem with the Occupy movement. While I am sincerely excited about the potential of such a widespread outpouring of anger against the power of business and money in government, I have a hard time whole-heartedly taking part in their protest actions. There are two reasons for my ambivalence, both concerned with the democratic ideals upon which the protests operate.
Firstly, the protesters often seem too enthusiastic about the bare act of protesting: they see it as a good thing in itself, separated from its effectiveness or even from the beliefs expressed. Their most popular chant expresses this ideal: "Show me what democracy looks like -- This is what democracy looks like!" For me this is equivalent to chanting "Protest! Protest! Protest!" Protest is not and has never been about fighting for the right to protest. It is about the expression of a specific qualm held by a group of people. I would gladly and wholeheartedly chant along with "Tax the rich!" or "Nationalized health care now!"; these chants express actions rather than ideals, and agitate towards a specific policy change. We don't need to fight for our right to protest: our democratic government guarantees us this right, occasional police brutality notwithstanding. But the right to protest is meaningless without the possibility of producing tangible results.
Secondly, there is not enough of a clear emphasis on issues of class. To say "We are the 99%" is to sketch out a system of two classes: the ultra-rich and everyone else. This is simply insufficient to describe the system that needs to be radically reformed. Declaring the solidarity of the 99% is to declare the solidarity of the working-classes and those living in poverty with the upper echelons of the bourgeoisie. This is obviously not fair to the lower classes. 99% leaves too much leeway for extreme economic equality. When the protesters chant "The people united will never be defeated," who counts among this people? The "American People" is myth, a PR stunt used daily by politicians to gain votes. There is no American People; but there are certainly American classes. As it stands now, the unification of the ultra-rich with the politicians is looking pretty undefeatable. Marx wasn't speaking of "the people" nor of "the 99%." It is the working classes who need to unite in class warfare against their class enemies: the bourgeoisie as well as the ultra-rich.