Curious about the current issues of the Occupy movement? Check out this article in The Stranger to learn about the repercussions of the May Day protests in Seattle.
I started to make a mini zine to try to define Occupy Wall Street for myself. This image is the cover of a delightfully blank inside. Originally I had started this exploration with the concept of art. An analysis of art in the movement. Maybe the movement itself is the art, the art of people. Just expressing humanity through protest, through drum circles, general assemblies, and contradictory platforms seems like a good enough definition to me. At least it is something I feel isn’t a lie when trying to define #Occupy. In this way Occupy Wall Street is an exploration and study of ideas. In the general assemblies, many people have come together to learn from each other, to discuss, to debate and to share. Like any work of art though, everyone has their own spin on what “it” means. The movement is to some about economic disparity, to others it’s a platform for advertisements. I think there’s a beauty to the Calvinball reference. https://owsanalysis.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/what-is-calvinball/
Occupy Wall Street is a movement that is constantly evolving and will never be the same. It’s different in everyone’s minds from the viewers of Fox News to the individual occupiers themselves. There are individual meanings that simply makes it human. To me Occupy Wall Street is just an answer to Jeopardy “What is Occupy Wall Street?”
How about loyal authors?
Readers may or may not know that this blog was created for a school project. As the semester has ended, the number of posts has gone drastically down.
I am testing the waters. Readers: like this post if you think we should keep the blog going.
Also, I might be able to finagle some new authors onto the blog if any of you are interested in sharing your ideas about OWS as well. Let me know.
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.
From the violent shutdown of Zuccotti Park on November 15 to continued police brutality, the OWS movement is no stranger to crime. There is, however, a very large difference between the crimes committed by people who participate in OWS-related events and occupiers who commit protest-related “crimes.” What is unfortunate is that the media has played a role in discrediting the movement as a whole by its association with and response to these crimes. According to a statement issued by the Women’s Caucus of Occupy Philly:
“Rape happens every day, murder happens every day and suicide happens every day. These tragedies are not symptoms or creations of the Occupy Movement, nor are they exclusive to the Occupy Movement; they are realities of our society and of our everyday lives.”
By taking what this quote says into account, the difference between the two groups is more easily defined. As a “society,” a term defined by Dictionary.com as “an organized group of persons associated together for religious, benevolent, cultural, scientific, political, patriotic, or other purposes,” the Occupy encampments are bound to have individuals in their midst who are prone to committing crime. Therefore, when sites like OWSexposed.com and PunditPress put together statistics seen in the chart below, it’s important to remember the circumstances that contribute to those statistics.
It’s sad to acknowledge that rape and sexual assault in particular have occurred in multiple locations across the nation; however, these actions weren’t carried out as measures backed by the OWS movement. In order to counteract this issue and raise awareness for its implications in society, some people are attempting to educate about how these issues go completely against the goals of Occupy Wall Street. In order to potentially eradicate sexual violence from first the movement and eventually the world, many people are asking for help.
With that being said, there are both those who commit crimes within the movement that can detract from its legitimacy (one woman reacts to an action by one of this type by saying, “You’re giving this movement a bad name right now, because you are going around and violating others’ space, and it makes people feel unsafe.”) and those who commit crimes for the movement. An example of this—most likely an occurrence that added to the 6000+ arrest that had already been made by February 2, 2012—can be seen in how one group of occupiers was promoting the idea of getting arrested. In the flyer below for a recent event, one of the two ways that the organizers ask people to get involved is by “acts of civil disobedience.”
With the intention behind this call to action as a demonstration of the evils of this nation’s justice system, these arrests are hardly seen as “crimes” in the eyes of occupiers and other supporters. Therefore it is important to realize that statistics cannot always be taken at face value.
The Occupy Wall Street Movement takes a stand against corporate greed and economic inequalities stemming from the United States capitalist system. Members of the movement protest the influence wealth can have on the United States government. The movement has recieved criticisms of its protest tactics as well as what specifically this movement is fighting for.
Whether the movement will accomplish its goals or not is unknown at this time. However, what is more significant regarding this movment is what does this movement truly mean in the larger picture of history. This movement will set a precedent for future protests. In the last ten years, the two largest protests in the United States have been the Tea Party Movement and the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Both, of which, have expressed citizen frustration of economic discontent. This movement has definitely caught national attention through mass and social media. It is unknown, but not unreasonable to postulate, that the Occupy Wall Street Movement’s presence could have influence over future polls and legislation. The Tea Party Movement had a significant impact on polls. According to a poll conducted by CNN, roughly 49% of Republican or GOP leaning independents support the Tea Party Movement (“New CNN Poll: GOP Divided over Tea Party Movement.”). Though they do not support a particular party or candidate, in upcoming elections, the Occupy Wall Street Movement could potentially have similar effects.
The concept of the 99% and the Occupy lingo, has nudged its way into our common lingo. This is also true in the political sphere. Newt Gingitch and Mitt Romney have both used Occupy lingo. Gingrich calls it “Unamerican” whereas Democrats in Congress call it “American.” Romney says
…I worry about the 99 percent in America. I want America, once again, to be the best place in the world to be middle-class. I want to have a strong and vibrant and prosperous middle-class. And so I look at what’s happening on Wall Street and my own view is, boy I understand how those people feel… The people in this country are upset
It has infiltrated the American political discourse, including campaign rhetoric. This rhetoric has not only been used by the Republican party, but has certainly become a topic of discussion for Democrats. Obama’s Jobs Act was passed including Occupy rhetoric. House Democrat Leader Representative, Nancy Pelosi, states, “I support the message to the establishment, whether it’s Wall Street or the political establishment and the rest, that change has to happen” (Desvarieux 1).
Overall, the Occupy Wall Street Movment has set logistical and methodical precedence for future protests, while making their goals of protest seen on a national scale.