In my post discussing the connections between the War on Women and the Occupy movement, the idea is brought to the table that although there may be no clearly defined goals (and many occupiers may not want to be defined), there are a plethora of groups and causes that do have goals. With this idea in mind, it is easier to see how the Occupy Wall Street movement has grown to become more of an umbrella revolution. By being general enough to encompass a broad range of ages, geographies, ethnicities, ideologies, and sexualities among other factors, the Occupy movement has been able to spread and gain a wider audience, increasing its potential abilities as a movement.
Many critics have proclaimed that the popular slogan “We are the 99%” is not, in fact, an economically or racially accurate representation of the population against which the occupiers are protesting. An animation depicting statistics that helps to the air on this discussion can be found here:
Beyond its realistic interpretation, the concept behind the slogan has been more than enough to invoke a response in people that has catalyzed a generation to stand up and fight the injustices they see in their lives. More than anything, it is this point that I feel “defines” the Occupy Wall Street, Occupy, and #occupy movements around the world. An idea that began with a spark has been able to ignite the fire not under just one cause, but countless causes. Whether or not people deem this movement as successful as a whole, its horizontal network, connected through social media and active interpersonal relationships, has potentially engaged a previously lethargic and negligent society. If even less than 1% of the “99%” is able to use the Occupy movement to their advantage, and, in the name of progress, make some sort of positive change in the world, then I feel as though this movement had a purpose. Whether that purpose or end goal is clearly defined as of right now is up to the occupiers of individual causes; however, the movement is still young and, I feel, even though it has been on the decline, that people will always need something to turn to to give potency to their beliefs. To wrap up this idea is a quote from the Occupy Patriarchy blog which explains that the 99% is a very general representation of an extremely varied population: “It is not sufficient to say that we have to come together as the 99% against the 1%. The needs of the 99% are not homogenous…”
This quote sums up the concept of what Occupy Wall Street is ideally; however, if this fact is not widely embraced or acknowledged by the participants, then it can be a very divisive factor. My thoughts are that because this is still a young protest it will only continue to evolve, but it is essential that the participants spend the time to value all of the parts that make up the movement in its entirety.