Category Archives: Within The Movement

Occupier + current system + social media = ?

20 May 2012: The police crack down pretty hard on the Occupiers in Chicago today during their Anti-NATO protest.

I found this photograph moving around Facebook and I thought I’d post it.  I thought the Occupy protests were winding down, but based on this chaos, I’d say I was quite off the mark.

The focal point of the image is the young man guarding himself against a police officer, as well as on the overwhelmed and scared woman with the camera.  I feel like this image represents three main elements of the entire Occupy movement really well.

The young man represents the generic Occupier: the recent college graduate, possibly a hipster, who feels the need to stand out against the current regime and say that he doesn’t approve of the current status quo.  His hands are up to shield himself against the night stick, but the look on his face isn’t necessarily one of fear.  There is determination there, a confidence that comes out if you stare a little longer at him, and you can see that he isn’t just going to defend himself against the police officer, he is willing to take him on.

The police officer is not only representative of police presence and the issues that have come out of that during Occupy, but the illustration of faulty government itself.  The police are supposed to protect citizens, just as the government is supposed to benefit the people, but clearly the police were not protecting anyone but themselves in Chicago today, and clearly the system is not working for the governed because groups like the Occupiers and the Tea Partiers exist.

Finally, the woman with the camera represents media, more specifically social media.  Before social media took off, people heard about things like this through news articles or segments done by professionals.  Ideally, the news is supposed to be unbiased but it rarely is.  Now, with social media, people who were actually there in the moment can show their own evidence to anyone they want at lightning speed for free.  With these kinds of resources, the moments like this will always be available to the public and the truth will never be forgotten.

The Occupier, the current system and social media. Put them all together and what do you get?  Based on this photo, a real Charlie Foxtrot.

Iliana

Crime in OWS vs Crime of OWS

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.

Becca Barbush

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-15/u-s-mayors-crack-down-on-occupy-wall-street.html

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/society?s=t

http://www.occupypatriarchy.org/2011/12/12/occupying-patriarchy-throughout-the-u-s/

http://abcnews.go.com/US/sexual-assaults-occupy-wall-street-camps/story?id=14873014#.T6LhDo7qEhw

http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2011/10/another_rape_at_occupy_wall_street_goes_unreported.html

http://www.occupypatriarchy.org/2012/01/19/petition-to-address-sexual-assault-at-occupy-boston/

http://www.observer.com/2011/10/objecting-or-objectified-at-occupy-wall-street-women-get-attention-but-not-always-for-their-message/

Patriarchy at the root

“Occupy Patriarchy calls on the Occupy movement everywhere to support and attend these rallies because an attack on the 52% is an attack on the 99% and if we want to confront Wall Street, then we MUST confront patriarchy.”

With this quote, occupypatriarchy.org, a project by the Feminist Peace Network, sends its rallying cry to the internet.

While there are countless motives for people to be involved in the OWS movement around the world, it seems that many of the issues that people are fighting to improve stem from shared, deep-rooted needs of all human beings. With many different types of people making up the 99% and only a small representation of that number actively involved in the movement, it is important to discuss what those deeper issues really are.

One particular group has found a way to identify both a specific cause and what they feel is one of the source problems. In all probability, all of the contributors of the Occupy Patriarchy blog feel as though patriarchy is at the very root of the issues and that all of the specific concerns that stem from it are simply manifestations of this type of group consciousness. One contributor to another blog explains this as he or she discusses the presence of sexual assault in many of the OWS encampments:

“Sexual and bodily violence are part of the everyday social interactions that make up our economy and our lives. In the same way that we can’t begin to tackle the economic disparities between white and black Americans without acknowledging the racism and everyday violence/bullying/intimidation black people face in the workforce or as consumers, we will never truly make life better for ALL 99% if we can’t come to terms with how patriarchy, kyriarchy, and rape culture limit women’s access to wealth and economic opportunities.”

In this quote, the contributor acknowledges the “manifestations” of the issues and also brings the specific examples back to what problems he or she feels are at the root. Both blogs repeatedly reinforce the importance of raising awareness of the problems associated with patriarchy as the current standard around the globe. However, even if awareness can be raised, success cannot always be garnered so immediately. In the following quote it becomes apparent how this fight is a step in the right direction for progress, but recognizes that there is a long road ahead:

“But as women in the Middle East who have participated so fearlessly in the uprisings of the Arab Spring have discovered, the success of progressive and revolutionary movements does not guarantee gains in women rights.“

Women protest in Egypt

Now, with the ability for women in the United States to use the structure and status of the Occupy Wall Street movement as a platform, steps can be taken and change could be implemented that could eventually raise the quality of life for women around the globe.

Becca Barbush

http://www.occupypatriarchy.org/2011/12/14/the-global-occupation-of-patriarchy/

http://scatx.com/2011/11/03/ows-are-we-fighting-for-genuine-transformation-of-the-system/

http://www.occupypatriarchy.org/2012/01/19/petition-to-address-sexual-assault-at-occupy-boston/

http://inveritascrescentes.wordpress.com/2011/11/28/the-arab-spring-versus-occupy-wall-street/

Useful platform: feminist issues line up with OWS goals

The website, occupypatriarchy.org, brings a unique perspective to the category of “Within the Movement.” With little research surrounding the specific gender breakdown of Occupy, this blog provides information about how and why women need to participate. In particular, one post provides the following quote that describes how even though the Occupy movement is new and young, long standing issues such as gender inequality can be addressed by using its structure:

“While the Occupy movement has been developing, the war on women has become a nightmare of hateful, ignorant, daily attacks on women’s human rights.  It is urgent that this be stopped and presents an opportunity for the Occupy movement as a whole to stand up for women’s lives and say that this war must stop.”

From this application of the ideals of the movement, one can see how wide ranges of people and causes (with respect to geography, education, economic standing, medical history, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, etc.) have the potential to speak out for change by using the OWS movement as a platform. More specifically, in the case of occupypatriarchy.org, many feminists and feminist supporters wish to show how Occupy’s many human rights complaints forge a bond between the occupiers and women’s rights activists.

Below you will find a list of issues deemed by the writers of the blog as issues routinely prioritized by feminists that are, or according to the article should, be important to the OWS movement:

  • Equal pay and ending other forms of economic discrimination
  • Childcare
  • Paid maternity and paternity leave
  • Zero tolerance of violence against women, sexism, sexual harassment and other misogynist behavior
  • Ending sexual exploitation and trafficking
  • Getting the Equal Rights Amendment ratified
  • Implementation of the National Action Plan for Women, Peace and Security
  • Funding the Violence Against Women Act
  • Ratification of CEDAW the Convention on All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
  • Reproductive justice (including the right not to have a child, the right to have a child and the right to raise children
  • Zero tolerance on the assault on women’s reproductive health
  • Valuing unpaid work such as childcare, eldercare and housework

The general focus of this list is equality for women both nationally and globally; however, its undercurrent furthermore suggests that because these circumstances exist, the more general issue of human rights is still a serious problem within the United States. What this lists describes is a series of circumstances in which many people feel as though human rights have been limited or have been nonexistent. The income inequality concern that sparked the OWS movement in New York is also an example of a very specific complaint that has its roots in human rights. By supporting the endeavors of both groups to raise awareness for the core issues the chances of effecting change are much higher.

(A more in-depth look at the feminist issues presented in this article can be found here)

http://www.occupypatriarchy.org/2012/04/02/a-call-to-the-occupy-movement-to-join-in-uniting-against-the-war-on-womens-lives/

Becca Barbush

Why Occupy Wall Street?

Occupy Wall Street is a movement, according to the motivations behind it. It is very much like the Civil Rights Movement, the Women’s Movement and any anti-war movements, but at a very basic level. Motivations are deeply rooted and to get exact data isn’t the most. A simple comment could remove your drive to do something as the Handbook of Motivation and Cognition says and in a protest, there is a fair amount of negativity.

In an era where most people are used to having things done for them (the planets are all found, the periodic table is set up, gravity is pretty much explained), it’s hard to get crowds to care for something deeply and pursue it. Even with majors, we find college students changing their majors every so often because of disinterest or something else caught their eye. Be it what it may, the OWS Movement, should it organize a hierarchy, could accomplish great things. Finding leaders to fill those positions without being corrupted and making decisions without a vote is another story.

The movement has great potential and definitely has a crowd of supporters,  that if motivated and continuously motivated by their strive for citizen rights, could bring about change socially and politically. Often, we forget how strong our words are, let alone our actions. Who knows what policies would look like if more women are in Congress or in the White House. Minority groups have brought about change social and political, but it won’t happen overnight like some of the protests want.

Time is a factor in the motivation of this movement and unfortunately, these people don’t have time. Jobs, families and bills take up most everyone’s thought process and their decision should be made based on those. But those who have stayed have either lost everything or given everything up.

Occupy Wall Street is a stepping stone for people to get involved. It has the basics but needs the structure. It needs an agenda; something everyone can agree with. So far, it seems that citizen rights is what needs to be placed on the agenda. Otherwise, people will lose interest, the movement will change or fade away and it will just be another example of our generation’s ability to stick to something.

Y U No Happy?: Angry Occupiers

An article by Marc Lacey titled “Countless Grievances, One Thread: We’re Angry,” simplifies the reasons behind the gathering of so many for a movement that, for the most part, has not brought about a policy change. According to the Handbook of Motivation and Cognition Vol. 2, positive feelings (i.e. not anger) are a better motivator than negative feelings.

“Peace activists, indigenous rights activists, immigrant activists — they’re all here.” A quote from one an occupier interviewed by Lacey. Those three activists have one “thread” in common, according to Lacey, and it’s anger. “What brings me out here? Outrage — outrage with what’s going on in this country,” said Lucy Horwitz, 79, who participated in Occupy Los Angeles. “Right now, the first issue on my mind is that corporations can buy congressmen.” Bold statements and quick soundbites can get people riled up and moving. “Buy [people]” is basically what the woman was saying and buying people is generally not okay anymore. The thing with that is it is temporary; anger diffuses quickly and interest can be lost just as quickly if there isn’t anything going on to make things better. People who take the incentives are usually very passionate about their cause but nowadays, there is so much to be involved in, it could be easy to get overwhelmed and take a backseat. How do you get people to stay motivated?

The movement has taken several approaches to this and their most successful is the tumblr. They get people to continuously follow what they have to say and arrange meeting places and incentives for coming. Those who show up have a good time and if they get threats to be arrested, it’s even better! Getting arrested means they did something big enough to catch the eyes of authorities. The attention could be a huge motivator for some and also having a purpose or cause to believe in.

Dolores 

You Say You Want a Revolution….

In this, my final post, I will attempt to define what Occupy Wall Street really is. Let me start by saying that I will analyze this through the lens of finances, which is what my posts were about.

Occupy Wall Street in one word, is a response.

It is a response to the conditions that the majority of Americans face in our society. These are people who have decided that they will no longer stand by when there are billionaires who can finance deep-sea explorations, when they can’t purchase a car.

Unemployment has gone up since the Clinton years, the stock market still hasn’t fully recovered from its dip in 2008-9. Local businesses have been forced to close down, these are all things that displease members of OWS.

Have they been successful? My answer would be no.

Does this mean anything? My research couldn’t tell you.

What my research has shown is this. OWS is run by a group of people who know what they are doing. They organize the money that people send them, and they have appropriated a Finance Committee. Despite the dislike for the Finance Committee, and there is a lot of dislike, the Finance Committee does exactly what it sets out to do. It makes sure that nobody spends money frivolously.

Now members of OWS dislike the fact that the Finance Committee has more say than the General Assembly when it comes to funding, but look at the money troubles that OWS is facing right now. If the Finance Committee had been more lax with spending, they would be in a worse situation.

OWS, in part through the finance committee, has become a hub for people who are not happy with their current financial situation. They provide metro tickets, food, and small amounts of medical care for people who have been injured through the course of protesting.

An organization without leadership simply cannot exist.

Through my research, I have determined that while there is no one leader of OWS, there are many, the Finance Committee included.

Lastly, I would also like to say that OWS is a voice. It’s a voice for people who want their frustrations to be heard by the government. They are tired of endless bureaucracy, and they want change right now.

OWS wasn’t something that was cooked up overnight, judging from how the finances work, it was methodically planned.

Occupiers have grown tired of waiting for change to happen, and they want to bring it. Only time will tell if this social revolution will actually amount to anything.

–         Image

Justin