While making money is at the heart of the activity, the motivation for it doesn’t stop there. As evidenced by a multitude of posts on r/WallStreetBets, investing in GameStop has become a way to spread a message about the power of that community against a system rigged against them.
“This has to do with ‘can we collectively engage small amounts of money to enforce a power to prove that we have power collectively over a system that we are literally disenfranchised from,’” Cohen says. “And so in order for them to regain agency, they play these games and the games are very similar to the meme economy that was on Reddit for many years. But now they’re playing with actual money. They’re literally affecting the reality of a potentially not-great industry known as short selling. They feel like they have some sort of control over what they feel is the enemy.“
Cohen’s diagnosis is seen throughout the subreddit, like this post from user Hungry_Freaks_Daddy:
“There isn’t a single thing you can say or do to change my position,” they say about selling their GameStop stock. “I risk my money happily. I am not the least bit scared or worried. You might be a financial expert, I am a survival master. Power to the people.”