The Rise of the Occupy Movement
This was reverberated by the Spanish Indignados which was the Greek anti-austerity rebellions popularly known as OccupyGezi and beyond ((Castañeda, 2012)). The initial plan for action was initiated by a seasoned group of global activists. OWS was further offered a helping hand when the media published it through the Adbusters Magazine, and additional momentum realized when the loose worldwide network of hacktivists popularly known as Anonymous validated the S17 action in a video which got the attention of many people. The mass media coverage of the OWS began when a video clip of Anthony Bologna, a Deputy Inspector pepper spraying a group of unarmed young women got into the hands of the public. The attention in the social media, newspapers and other broadcasters spiked when the NYPD held and arrested hundreds of people who were protesting across the Brooklyn Bridge.
Publicized as a movement powered by people against the stakeholders in the economy who were perceived to be the cause of the wealth disparities, Occupy Wall Street had followers in almost all the cities in the world. The scope of occupations ranging from small groups of activists in smaller cities and towns to camps comprising of thousands of activists represented by those in the Zuccotti Park determined the needs of each protest site. Even though there were no hierarchical leadership structures, the larger assemblies had sub-committees that brought together the Occupy participants as well as recruiting new members, providing specific basic needs such as food and clothing, gathering donations and ensuring that there was proper sanitation. The flagship of protest in the New York Occupy Wall Street operated on the principles of “people’s assembly” which were enacted by the aforementioned Spanish activists known as Indignados, a term meaning “the outraged”.
Thousands of Spanish activists on May 15, 2011, took their protests to the Puerta del Sol square in Madrid, where they protested against the failure of the government to support its citizens by diverting the economic crisis in the nation and camped out, in a similar manner as the Zuccotti. The rise and fall of the Occupy movement It was really a hard work and all beautiful for they were many. The question is who were these “the 99%? The OWS was a diverse movement with many participants, and for this case being diverse meant that it had to struggle along the inequalities within itself which included race, gender class and sexuality (Flank, 2011). Contrary to the belief that its diversity was its strength, its participation was divided by this diversity with the right wing pundits having an idea of reducing down the Occupy movement into a thin societal sector of unemployed college students who believed that they could only take bath, get out and land into a job.
A different story was told by the Occupy general Demographic and Political Participation Survey (ORGS) carried out by occupying Research together with other several movement’s surveys. It is a fact that on the national level, OWS had the majority of its Occupiers being white and at the same time, its entire membership was diverse with people of different ages, educational backgrounds, race and class (Flank, 2011). Similarly, the principle of universalism possibly masked the important tentative internal differences. Occupy Wall Street was also international in the sense that its original foundation included the Spanish, the Tunisians, Egyptians, Americans and other global activists. Nonetheless, it should be recognized that real problems of racism, sexual harassment and abuse, and violence based on gender were in existence.
These problems have their roots on the inherent social inequality structures which are not easily resolved. Occupy was also rooted in a local context for the fact that it did not take place in a vacuum, rather, the Occupiers were also members to the larger context of a social movement which varied from one place to another. However, despite the initial success, the General assemblies played its role in setting back the movement. Examining it in the perspective of a militant ethnographer Jeffrey Juris, Occupy broadly operated on the sense of aggregation instead of the logic of networking which has always guided other global movements. In trying to gather the widest possible public was an attempt towards an eventual collapse which really happened to the movement.
The Occupy had become a Trans-media movement which often made emphasis on the digital tools. In the print media, the reporters snapped the pictures of protesters with iPhones and computers then used the same images to indirectly prove illegitimacy of the movement. In as much as Occupy had changed the news agenda in almost all parts of the world and majorly in the US, it failed as it was still misrepresented. In the United States, a country where the use of the term ‘class’ in public conversations is perceived to be unacceptable, Occupy was still able to thrive in its agenda of fighting wealth inequality for quite some time before some portion of the mass media started portraying the Occupy as a violent, leaderless, idealistic and a disorganized activist movement.
The Occupy’s pre-figurative politics was a hard thing to understand for those who were not participants. Its coordination which delegitimized the existing systems and processes of politics was also not legible enough to the conservative journalists who placed the movement in place of any other common frame of electoral politics. When occupy pushed harder in trying to make its demands recognizable, journalists opted to paint an image of the movement as simply visionless and disorganized. Resulting from these restrictions, protesters often become marginalized, misplaced and arrested for failure to comply with police orders among other regulations (Shaw, 2012). In such places as New York City, some forms of lawful public protests have been treated as threats to the state security. In the wake of these challenges, the occupy protesters were remarkably challenged.
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