Did you know that there is a revolution going on in the streets of America? What started rally cry to 90,000 redeemers, rebels and radicals has turned into a thundering movement that is sweeping across the country. #OCCUPYWALLSTREET has morphed into a full-fledged peaceful movement.
In June, as our elected leaders played a game of chicken with our unstable economy by manufacturing a debt crisis that would lead to the downgrade of America’s credit rating, the anti-consumerism magazine Adbusters registered the domain occupywallstreet.org. While the majority of American’s watched in disgust as elected official left for summer vacations instead of solving the problems they were elected to fix, an independent affinity group registered occupywallst.org. This is where the movement’s official site is now hosted. Not long after the registration of the sites, Anonymous, a hacker activist group, encouraged it's members to flood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months.
For those of you unfamiliar with Anonymous, they were involved in the protests in Tunisia and Egypt. During the 2011 Egyptian revolution, Egyptian government web sites, along with the website of the ruling National Democratic Party, were hacked into and taken offline by Anonymous. The sites remained offline until President Hosni Mubarak stepped down. Anonymous also has ties to Wikileaks, further explaining the sighting of the Wikileaks truck at the protest sites.
One of the most consistent complaints from the protesters has been the lack of un-biased reporting of the real issues by the mainstream, corporate-owned press. No one knows if Anonymous plans to hack any U.S. news organizations, but based on past activities, it seems its a real possibility. Given the recent ridiculing and dismissive nature of Time Warner’s / CNN’s recent coverage by Erin Burnett or even interviews like the ones conducted by the Business Insider, I would not be surprised if Anonymous was already working on a plan.
Corporate-owned media outlets claim that the movement lacks a focus, however if you’ve have watched the content they have distributed or taken part in a rally you would hear three things:
- The middle of American has realized they can have as much influence as corporations have with the use of technology and social media: Thus we are the 99% (http://wearethe99percent.tumblr.com)
- “DEMOCRACY NOT CORPORATOCRACY”: Protestors feel that corporations have bought and corrupted our democracy by influencing elected leaders to stand behind policies that hurt the American worker. They stand for the American workers and are fighting for proper representation in Washington.
- There is a better way: Protesters hope that their peaceful actions lead to a new social dynamic in America. Protestors are demanding accountability from a Presidential Commission tasked with ending the influence money has over our representatives in Washington.
The movement’s core message, which is often lost in AdBusters anti-consumerism message, is that 1% of the population has profited wildly from the last 20 years and the other 99% have seen zero. Special interest money has corrupted our system. That's not sustainable. It's not fair. And it's not the America that 99% of Americans want. If this is a democracy, those numbers should matter.
The Art & Symbols Of The Movement
There is a ton of art that has begun to emerge and define the movement. You can visit http://www.occupytogether.org/downloadable-posters/ to view the latest in protest art.
You may have also seen images of protestors wearing Masks. Those are Guy Falkes masks. This is a disguise used by members of Anonymous to protect their identities and brand their activities. Guy Fawkes was part of a plot to overthrow the king of England in the early 1600s and his character was made popular in the comic book V for Vendetta.
A Growing National Movement
As protesters and citizen journalists share their stories in Zuccotti Park (near Wall Street), Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Chicago and other cities across the country, we have recorded a groundswell of conversations and interactions taking place online. There are daily additions to the URLs who are covering and enabling this revolution. You can visit http://www.occupytogether.org/ to get in on the local action in your area.
We are people of Substance.
We are supportive and sympathetic to the protesters. They are showing enormous courage in the face of seemingly all-powerful institutions. They are being arrested, maced and harassed without the protection of a free-press. They are mocked, laughed at and even toasted with champagne from high-price balconies and yet they remain peaceful.
I encourage you to visit a few of the movement sites I have listed below. Judge the movement and its message for yourself. You may find that you are part of The 99%.
- Twitter Hastag: #OccupyWallStreet
- Occupy Wall Street
- NYC General Assembly
- Occupy Together
- We Are The 99%
- Photos on Flickr
- Adbusters #OccupyWallStreet
- Take The Square
- US Day of Rage
- Occupy Wall Street on Facebook
- Occupy Wall Street on Twitter
Additional Information Sources: