News / USA

Occupy Turning One With Demands, No Specific Program

Occupy Turns One With Demands, No Specific Programi
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Peter Fedynsky
September 12, 2012 4:44 PM
September 17 marks one year since the "Occupy Wall Street" movement emerged in New York City - with a long series of demands, but no specific program to realize any of them. VOA correspondent Peter Fedynsky examines the first year of this leaderless movement.
Peter Fedynsky
September 17 marks one year since the "Occupy Wall Street" movement emerged in New York City - with a long series of demands, but no specific program to realize any of them.
 
When the Occupy Movement took over Zuccotti Park, near Wall Street, near-by residents protested the prolonged drumming from the encampment as "unbearable noise."  A drummer rejected the neighbors’ protest, saying, “We are here to support a movement!  Drumming helps that movement!”
 
The movement spread throughout the world, but there has been no revolution.   Though Occupy protests saved a few homes from foreclosure, they have not achieved any of the demands as disparate as the participants themselves -- including tighter regulation of banking, campaign finance reform, a cleaner environment, or freedom for Tibet. 
 
Nonetheless, Columbia University sociology professor Todd Gitlin says the movement’s message about a greedy elite, allegedly at the root of many global problems, has entered the language.

“One will use the term ‘one percent’ and ‘99 percent’ and most of America knows what you’re talking about.  You’ll find it now in common usage in newspaper articles that have nothing to do with Occupy itself," he said. 
 
Within months, police nationwide dispersed Occupy protesters from public areas.  Today, the movement’s daily physical presence consists of a few volunteers engaging passersby at a park or sidewalk.  Justin Stone-Diaz has been with Occupy since its first day.  He says small changes are key.

“The revolution is the technology that’s in everyone’s pockets - the cell phones, the information age.  What Occupy Wall Street at its core is, we’re trying to foster a paradigm shift towards a more direct democracy," he said. 
 
Stone-Diaz says Occupy protesters now spread their messages electronically.  When needed, larger groups converge as they did at the recent conventions of both major U.S. political parties.  
 
Sociologist Todd Gitlin says polls indicate that Americans support Occupy causes more than the movement itself.

“When people are asked how they feel about such measures as progressive taxation, driving money out of politics - sort of the implicit thrust, the unstated demands, let’s say, of a demand-less movement - those causes remain popular," he said. 
 
Today, Zuccotti Park is again just a place to eat and relax.  Whether drummers made enough noise there last year to bring their causes to fruition remains to be seen.  Justin Stone-Diaz is optimistic, saying Occupy continues to encourage direct action through dialogue.  

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by: R. Lynn from: Wisconsin
September 13, 2012 5:43 PM
Protests will not effect change. Impacting the wallet of the 1% will. There is currently a golden opportunity to reach a world stage and effect change. If the Occuoy Wall Street Movement could convince 75% of middle America to boycott the pruchase of the new I phone, the world, and the 1% would take notice. The 1% doesn't believe the 99% can change the way things are. So far they are right.

This type of effective boycotting could also be used for all smart phones. Everyone just has to forgoe a purchase or upgrade for a year or two; no big deal. It could also be used to effect the consumption of gasoline, eating at restuarants, going to movies; etc..

If the 99% can show they can move the bottom lines of corporate America, the 1% will have to start listening. Social networks such as Facebook should make organizing much easier. If the 99% can't organize to this degree, then there really isn't a coordinated movement that can make a difference.

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