#Occupy the World.
These past two months mark the 6th anniversary of the #Occupy movement, an international socio-political protest that targeted social and economic inequality and aimed to address a real system of democracy.
I was 14 years old when #Occupy became a reality but, to my understanding, it had not been prominent in the Los Angeles area. It is unfortunate that it took me this long to understand its purpose. For those of you who are just as clueless as I was of this movement, you might be equally as surprised to find out that it was more than just a riot against Wall Street.
#Occupy protests reached widespread attention from an @OccupyBoston twitter account and proliferated into 1500 protests in 82 countries, establishing this movement as an exemplary display of the effects social media can have on mobilization. However, movements of such a large scale can be difficult to control.
#Occupy Everything used resources such as social media platforms to establish its dominance and longevity. There were live tweets occuring at the times of events and viral images of authorities showing aggression towards protesters, all of which generated universal sympathy. People were drawn into the movement through these visuals and conversations on social media platforms and established their own #Occupy. It was taken international and had an effect unlike any other social movement. It metamorphosed into a lifestyle, literally occupying city locations with camps that resembled a utopian community of some sort. Even after the forceful eviction of protesters by officers, the movement remained intact and powerful.
However, #Occupy did endure certain weaknesses that prevented the correct governmental initiatives from occuring. The movement failed to specify demands that were clearly defined. It’s come to my understanding that this was a movement held against the system in its entirety, but a complete revamp of complex arrangements of government is unforeseeable in the near future. Therefore, a specific set of demands must be defined in order to see any sort of change.
The Bus Fare Movement in San Paulo, Brazil is an exemplary display of a protest that gained viral attention and managed to meet their requested demands. This was only possible due to the reason that protesters requested something specific, instead of generalizing the movement for what it was- an anti-capitalistic protest.
Nevertheless, #Occupy managed to remain autonomous and distinct from any given political party. People of all demographics were welcome and there was effort to communicate effectively with minorities, working-class people and people of color- those who were affected the most from issues such as inequality, unemployment and the mortgage crisis.
Juris, Jeffrey S. “Reflections on #Occupy Everywhere: Social Media, Public Space, and Emerging Logics of Aggregation.” American Ethnologist 39, no. 2 (May 1, 2012): 259–79.