Tag Archives: arts in 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.



For Equality and Human Rights?

From books like Common Sense to the Common Laws, equality–or lack thereof–has driven many revolutions and movements. The Civil Rights Movement was about equal treatment for all races; the Brown Berets strove for equal treatment of the Latino race; the Women’s Rights Movement strove for gender equality and the list continues. The catchy phrase of Occupy Wall Street is “We are the 99%.” What they want to get across could be anyone’s guess but from photographs, the easiest conclusion is that 99% of the United States populations is struggling to make ends meet in some way or another (although it is usually monetary).

What they believe in are citizen rights. Citizen rights are differentiated from human rights as the right “to work, just pay, a standard of living adequate for health and well-being, including housing and medical care, social security and education.” Human rights, as defined by Feinberg, are “moral rights of a fundamentally important kind held equally by all human beings, unconditionally and unalterably.” Human rights are ideally universal and should remain the same throughout the globe. This is not the case and it is visible on every news channel in the world. This is the primary motivation of the movement according the the photograph and the interviews, is for the moving of citizen rights to be human rights.

This is a huge thing and it makes sense why some would call those in the movement “entitled“. That’s the theory basis of it. If we were to look at the movement as a blob. Which it isn’t and that’s where psychological motivation comes into play. But to interview every single person–as the Handbook of Motivation and Cognition suggests–is nearly impossible and there are always chances that people will lie about their real reasons.

As more articles come about about possible motivations for Occupiers (members of the Occupy Wall Street Movement), I will try and connect them with research done about human motivation. There are false articles and misinformation all about but theories are proven.


The Big Question: What is Occupy Wall Street?

I must say, this has been one of THE most daunting questions I have ever had to answer in one sitting. Where do you begin? The movement itself is such a huge and multi-faceted rebellion that has taken place in so many places throughout such a large span of time.

I believe the best way to attempt to answer this question is to take a closer look in smaller chunks. I alone will not be able to completely answer this question. But I do believe that, when the rest of our class has all answered this question in a similar fashion our readers will be able to put these puzzle pieces together to form a picture they can recognize. Here is my piece of the puzzle:

Arts Within the Movement: Music

The Occupy Wall Street Movement has been an amazing time. A time for coming out into the open and making the silent voices heard. The movement may have been sparked by the email of two people organizing to occupy wall street. But the role of music within this movement is of vital importance, in more ways than one.

The art of song has been used throughout time for many different reasons. Within the Occupy Wall Street Movement, celebrities have written songs, making their views on the 99% known. Their intentions, of course remain unknown. Do they really feel strongly about supporting these people’s causes or are they simply seeking for a stage for which to eat up some attention. Normal people have been writing songs too. This offers another way for the 99% to make their voices heard: through music. Music offers yet another language and dimension for their word to be spread. and yet still many people have written parodies of OWS to other famous songs. Perhaps this is simply a way to make fun of two things at once, but it too is a clever way to spread the ideas of the OWS movement. The social media cannot be overlooked.

In Jaqustell’s blog entry titled The Effectiveness in Poetry in Occupy Wall Street she talks about a branch of social media very similar to that of music: poetry. Poetry is essentially music through the spoken human voice. In this particular post Jaqustell talks about how poetry was a popular thing in the beginnings of the social movement because it promoted more members to join. She also wrote “The ambiguous nature of poetry itself lends the interpretation of the message to be diverse across audience members”. I found that this fit perfectly with music; what language is more universal than music itself? We have seen that throughout this entire movement music has been used to gain more members and to allow a very diverse population a specific way for them to be able to relate to and connect with the movement itself. Music, just like poetry, is a social medium that has the ability to put everyone under one umbrella.

One of the most essential ways that music has been used in OWS is through  chant. Protesters have used chants for years.  This is a musical way for which a group of people can instantly become organized and more powerful; a single imminent and uniform mass rather than a scattered mess. Another post that particularly stood out to me on this blog was a post by meechiepeachie. This post discussed the General Assembly that the movement had organized in order to stay organized. OWS is especially unique in terms of protests because they refuse to have one single leader. Therefore, this group formulated this “general assembly” as a way to ensure their equality and uniformity. As shown in the video on this post, one leader takes a turn each time to speak whatever needs to be spoken at a specific time. And whatever the temporary leader says everyone else chants back in return. This is a musical way that those involved in OWS have been using to keep themselves uniform and organized, without the need for a leader. These chants symbolize the equality sought after by these protesters.

Music has a huge effect not only on the brain of the individual but on entire groups simultaneously. Music may not be featured as a subtitle on the title of a book about the OWS Movement, but it certainly deserves a good deal of consideration and discussion. Music has been found in many more aspects of this movement than I originally thought, to be honest. Perhaps other aspects of this protest have been overlooked as well. I can’t wait to see what the other puzzle pieces our other authors come up with to help answer the question fully: What is Occupy Wall Street?

Occupy Wall Street is a social movement like none other. Music has organized, music has allowed a spotlight to anyone and everyone, music has made those involved in the movement equal, has made them one. These and more are the roles music has played within the OWS movement. For me, this is Occupy Wall Street. This is my puzzle piece I give to you. I hope it finds a fitting place among these other pieces the other authors of this blog have to offer. This is Occupy Wall Street.

Sarah Chaney 

Music and the Brain

So I have been trying to find some way to show the enormous impact of music within the OWS movement. Over the course of this semester it has certainly proved to be a more difficult task than I thought. The truth is music itself has not played a large role within the movement, but it has so much to do with the little things, that make the big things possible. Let me explain.

Way back in 2000 Time Magazine featured an article by Michael D. Lemonick who wrote about “Music on the Brain”. Additionally he brought up several great points that are worthy of some thought and discussion when considering the role of the arts within the movement. Below is an excerpt from this article:

“As for music’s emotional impact, there is some indication that music can affect levels of various hormones, including cortisol (involved in arousal and stress), testosterone (aggression and arousal) and oxytocin (nurturing behavior) as well as trigger release of the natural opiates known as endorphins. Using PET scanners, Zatorre has shown that the parts of the brain involved in processing emotion seem to light up with activity when a subject hears music” (Lemonick).

This is an incredibly important discovery. Music literally has a direct effect on the brain, whether we want it to or not. Throughout the movement celebrities have written pieces expressing their take on the movement, people have written parody songs to poke fun at the movement, and people for centuries have been protesting with the help of songs and chants, all sung in unison. Music has been used in the OWS movement and in protests throughout time to, quite literally, make their voices heard. Maybe music has a little more to do with the movement than we thought.