Read

User menu

Search form

On the 7th Anniversary: The Influence and Irony of Occupy Wall Street

On the 7th Anniversary: The Influence and Irony of Occupy Wall Street
Mon, 9/17/2018 - by Marni Halasa
This article originally appeared on Metro

Monday marks the 7th anniversary of Occupy Wall Street and I remember it like it was yesterday.

It was a community in the truest sense. Throngs of intelligent and diverse people lived together in Zuccotti Park, in a somewhat utopian, communal society. Working groups like Strike Debt, Occupy the SEC and the Alternative Banking Group, came together to write books, hand out literature and strategize on how to eradicate the ills of inequality that plagued our nation due to the devastating financial crisis.

There was even a library, a kitchen and it’s own newspaper, The Occupied Wall Street Journal. The energy was welcoming, organically grassroots and emotionally intoxicating — even I became inspired to found my own protest group, Revolution Is Sexy, contributing my talents as a performance artist to voice my outrage.

But as intoxicating as it was, Occupy as a social movement was flawed. Although it effectively brought issues like income inequality and money out of politics into the national conversation, the movement never fulfilled its true potential as an instrument for reform due to its lack of hierarchy, organization and specific demands—imprecise constructs that don’t pressure the system enough for change. Flaws, however, are not necessarily failures.

With the wins of Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other progressive candidates, we are seeing the themes of Occupy Wall Street once again, as campaign slogans that are galvanizing voters and shaping public sentiment. What’s different, however, is that these ideas are not theoretical — they are laser-focused and politically-achievable: Medicare for all, tuition-free public college, a federal jobs guarantee and restoring Glass-Steagall.

In this era of post-Citizens United, what was originally thought of as political suicide — a campaign that rejected corporate PAC money while not apologizing for having true progressive ideals — can emerge victorious.

This is the ironic, yet beautiful, lesson of Occupy. The movement never wanted nor intended to walk through the halls of political power, but years later, its spirit lives on, ubiquitously influencing the national progressive agenda and perhaps dominating elections in the future. I’ll always recall a sign when the protesters were getting kicked out of the park, it said: “You Cannot Evict An Idea.” How true that still is today.

The public is invited to celebrate the 7th Anniversary of Occupy Wall Street Monday, September 17, 2018, from 9am to 12pm in Zuccotti Park, the original location of Occupy Wall Street. The event will include teach-ins, activities and art throughout the day. For more information, contact Marni Halasa at marnihalasa@gmail.com or visit the Facebook event page.

Marni Halasa, a lawyer, journalist and professional figure skater, ran in the last election for City Council for District 3 as an independent, and is now with The Green Party. In addition to her protest consulting group, Revolution Is Sexy, she recently founded Community Control of Land Use (ccluny.com), a group that collectively organizes small businesses and tenants about intrusive neighborhood development.

Originally published by Metro

 

Sign Up

Article Tabs

Goma water movement, Lucha, Congolese fighting, Congo war, grassroots movement, access to safe water

The Congolese group Lucha successfully mobilized thousands to march for the right to water in the city of Goma. Now, the group is challenging the regime of President Joseph Kabila.

A special episode dedicated to the most militarized land in the world—one that you may not even have ever heard of.

Restoring Internet Freedom Order, FCC rules, net neutrality, Internet freedom, fast line, Big Telecom, telecommunications industry, Ajit Pai

Access matters, and unequal access can have onerous consequences for those who can’t afford the fast lane.

Brexit, Brexit opposition, Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn, no-deal Brexit

“This historic defeat will show that the government is deadlocked – and we now need to throw this back to the people and give them a final say," said Paul Butters of Best for Britain.

manosphere, incels, misogyny, black men, black women, racism, sexism, Black Manosphere

In response to the racism often targeted exclusively toward black men on majority white digital spaces, black males have created their own manosphere – where they rail against black women.

Goma water movement, Lucha, Congolese fighting, Congo war, grassroots movement, access to safe water

The Congolese group Lucha successfully mobilized thousands to march for the right to water in the city of Goma. Now, the group is challenging the regime of President Joseph Kabila.

#climatestrike, COP24, UN climate talks, carbon emissions, catastrophic climate change, climate movement, climate protests, climate demands

"Science has clearly told us that we need to act now to keep the planet within 1.5 degrees of warming," the young climate activist said in calling for a day of global action on Friday.

A special episode dedicated to the most militarized land in the world—one that you may not even have ever heard of.

Global investors managing $32tn are urging governments to phase out all coal burning. Photograph: Alexander Koerner/Getty Images

Global investors managing $32 trillion issued a stark warning to governments at the UN climate summit on Monday, demanding urgent cuts in carbon emissions and the phasing out of all coal burning.

Restoring Internet Freedom Order, FCC rules, net neutrality, Internet freedom, fast line, Big Telecom, telecommunications industry, Ajit Pai

Access matters, and unequal access can have onerous consequences for those who can’t afford the fast lane.

rising emissions, climate catastrophe, Global Carbon Project, climate impacts, carbon emissions, carbon cuts

According to a new Global Carbon Project report, emissions are heading in the opposite direction to the deep cuts that are urgently needed to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

Posted 6 days 1 hour ago
rising inequality, income inequality, global wealth, costs of inequality

Americans pay a steep price for not spreading their wealth around as well as other developed countries.

Posted 6 days 1 hour ago
Brexit, Brexit opposition, Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn, no-deal Brexit

“This historic defeat will show that the government is deadlocked – and we now need to throw this back to the people and give them a final say," said Paul Butters of Best for Britain.

Posted 4 days 16 hours ago

A special episode dedicated to the most militarized land in the world—one that you may not even have ever heard of.

Posted 2 days 23 hours ago
Restoring Internet Freedom Order, FCC rules, net neutrality, Internet freedom, fast line, Big Telecom, telecommunications industry, Ajit Pai

Access matters, and unequal access can have onerous consequences for those who can’t afford the fast lane.

Posted 4 days 3 hours ago
rising emissions, climate catastrophe, Global Carbon Project, climate impacts, carbon emissions, carbon cuts

According to a new Global Carbon Project report, emissions are heading in the opposite direction to the deep cuts that are urgently needed to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

Protesters on Sunday in Katowice, which is hosting the UN climate conference. Photograph: Sadak Souici/Le Pictorium/Barcroft Images

The move shocked delegates at a UN conference in Poland as ministers flew in for the final week of climate talks.

Brexit, Brexit opposition, Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn, no-deal Brexit

“This historic defeat will show that the government is deadlocked – and we now need to throw this back to the people and give them a final say," said Paul Butters of Best for Britain.

Global investors managing $32tn are urging governments to phase out all coal burning. Photograph: Alexander Koerner/Getty Images

Global investors managing $32 trillion issued a stark warning to governments at the UN climate summit on Monday, demanding urgent cuts in carbon emissions and the phasing out of all coal burning.

rising inequality, income inequality, global wealth, costs of inequality

Americans pay a steep price for not spreading their wealth around as well as other developed countries.