What is Occupy Wall Street: (besides confusing)

Like one of my fellow classmates previously mentioned, explaining what “is Occupy Wall Street” is such a daunting task due to the many pieces and complexities within the movement. I almost think it would be easier to define OWS with less knowledge of the movement because as this class has progressed, and every article, blog post or news report I have seen, has added a new perspective, insight or layer of complexity to how I would define the movement.

My blog posts focused on Media Bias in reporting OWS as well showed comparisons to historical movements similar to Occupy Wall Street so I will attempt to tie these together to answer the daunting question of:

What is Occupy Wall Street?

Occupy Wall Street is a social movement which cannot and does not want to be defined into a simple “catch all” definition. As What is Occupy Wall Street, points out OWS is not just 1 group. It is a compilation of all different groups, with different goals, agenda’s, and motives. (91 and counting).  The only way to accurately define Occupy Wall Street would be to define all groups within the movement. (which would take way longer than I want  to spend on this project) Occupy Wall Street is not a leaderless movement, as many media outlets want to portray; instead OWS is a movement of many leaders and groups. In the same sense it is not a movement with no demands, it is just a movement with many demands of many groups within it. It has demands, just not uniform demands. In a post We demand better Demands, points out OWS has been portrayed in the Media as a movement with no goals, but in fact it does have goals, these goals were just not accepted and were called “Outlandish” by the media.

The main thing I learned from my research is not only what OWS is but also what OWS isn’t. Occupy Wall Street is not what it is being portrayed in mainstream media sources. Occupy Wall Street has picked up the stigma of a violent or deviant group, when in reality it is a peaceful attempt to bring some sort of social and economic change. This goes back to The One Bad Apple post which talks about how a few bad apples have been given the face of the movement by bias media sources. Certain Media outlets seem more concerned with reporting about the “bad apples” than presenting the various aspects of the OWS movement outside police/occupier violence.



Additionally, Occupy Wall Street has been portrayed as an unorganized movement. However in my previous post (labor movement) it explains OWS does not need a leader. It is loosely structured, not unorganized. Although the loose structure limits its ability to organize quickly it has allowed it to be more successful and survive as a movement, whereas past structured movements  with similar motives have not. (Labor movement 1981) It also has been shown that in fact OWS does have the ability to organize and form a rigid structure when it needs to communicate and relay message. (Meechie Peachie)

The presence of mainstream media bias in reporting has shifted the focus of OWS to labeling WHO is Occupy Wall Street and not what Occupy Wall Street is. The need to place one label or stereotype on who is occupying has taken priority over what the actual issues being protested are.

It is important to realize what Occupy Wall Street is as a movement and not what it is being portrayed as in the media. Occupy Wall Street is a diverse movement of different people, groups, motives, and goals, with the common goal of bringing attention and change to social and economic inequality. Media may report about one group within the movement but that does not truly represent the entire movement.

When asking yourself the question “What is Occupy Wall Street?” it is important to keep in mind the insightful words of Flava Flav “Don’t believe the Hype” (mainstream media hype that is)

I hope this made some sense, and allows you readers to answer this complex question.


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