DIGITAL AMERICA

#OccupyEverything

// Posted by on 03/17/2012 (2:06 PM)

After reading an article on Occupy Together I was astonished to see just what people are occupying. Each week the site posts a list of movements that are occurring around the globe, from right here in the capital of Virginia to Iran to Russia; people are attempting to make someone notice they are suffering. So what happens in one week of occupying? Do people sit around and make a building inaccessible? Do they have rallies? I had no idea. Searching around on YouTube I came across the video of an occupy movement in Richmond, Virginia on March 3, 2012, International Women’s Day.

The video is simple, it’s someone standing in the crowd with their camera directed to the steps where women are sitting in a pro-choice rally. They are protesting a new bill that requires women to have an ultra sound before receiving an abortion. 14 men and 17 women were arrested on that day, having done nothing but sit on a flight of stairs. I guess the primary question is what is Occupy? What do we occupy and why do we do it?

5 days after this event 5,000 protesters formed a 3 mile line from lower Manhattan to Union Square, protesting unemployment. But what is protesting? Does it actually accomplish a task or does it do more harm than good? Can progress be gained from a protest or is it just as good as signing a petition? The Occupy movement originated from Occupy Wall Street, where groups gathered in September of 2011 in Liberty Square to fight back against major banks and multinational corporations that stand over democratic process. But now, there is occupy everything. Occupy has become in retrospect a sit-in, where a group of people or an organization becomes unhappy about a situation and decides to “occupy” someplace where a difference might possibly be made.

As all of this can be a great cause does it ever become too much? Does the term occupy become a laughing matter where people are over doing it? Does occupying have any real result?


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Comments:


Bridget said...

Like Ali, I also found it very interesting to see what the movements that came out of Occupy Wall Street have become. While many movements focus on the originating foundation of Occupy Wall Street, it is now apparent that Occupy movements for specific topics (some unrelated to unemployment, like the pro-choice rally in the video) are popular as well. My question is then, why are all kinds of protests being advertised and mentioned on the Occupy site (which was originally for Wall Street), when many of the issues of these newer, “Occupy” movements are unrelated to the ideals of the original Occupy Movement – unemployment and the concept of the “99%” mentality? Wouldn’t a rally aimed at pro-choice find it more effective to utilize websites and other digital networks that hold those issues in their mission statements? That devote all of their information to that single issue? Perhaps Occupy is being interpreted too broadly. In this case, many of the single-issue protests may find themselves facing the criticisms of Occupy Wall Street – not enough action, sitting around doing nothing, ultimately creating awareness rather than action. What Occupiers still seem to lack is the concept that a simple physical presence somewhere only brings attention to the issue, not so much provoke immediate (or any) actual solutions to the problem.

// 03/19/2012 at 5:10 pm

Cameron said...

Ali, I think you bring up some important points. I do believe that Occupy Wall Street has become a laughing stock for most of the nation. But with all of these Occupy movements, for such a wide range of issues, there almost seems to be an Occupy for everyone. However, I do believe that the negative stigma is still there for most Occupy movements.

While I do believe that protests can bring about positive effects, this is often not the case. I believe that they often bring more harm than good. While they bring attention to certain issues, often the attention is taken away from, rather than being about the message.

I think that protests and marches are not nearly as effective as they used to be. As I think about it, I can not seem to come up with any answers. Does anyone else have an idea?

// 03/19/2012 at 9:42 pm

Renee said...

I think the fact that other protest groups have piggy backed onto the occupy movement is one of the main reasons that for a long time the press disregarded the occupy movement because they saw it as unfocused. And it is true, its hard to talk about the occupy movement and sum up their arguments when there are now protests to occupy almost everything. But by starting the attack on social injustices I feel like the occupy movement may be revitalizing a lethargic generation and encouraging people to speak out and to protest about things that they find unfair.

// 03/19/2012 at 11:14 pm

Phylicia said...

Like Renee, it seems to me that Occupy movements based on the original OWS, have a greater significance to the US. While there are Occupy movements occurring throughout the world as a result of OWS, the Occupy movements in the United States alone suggest that although the United States is founded on democracy, there are many individuals and group who feel as though they are not fairly represented. In the Bronx, there is an Occupy movement called Occupy the Bronx, and specifically the Board of Education. The movement has very clear demands, unlike the OWS model, based on the rights provided to all citizens as a result of the constitution.

Here is an article which lists the demands:
http://colorlines.com/archives/2011/11/bronx_high_school_students_occupy_education_system_relase_10-point_plan_for_school_district.html

Occupy the Bronx’s website:
http://occupythebronx.org/

While OWS has ignited and encouraged other Occupy movements, it suggests that the majority of American people are interested in social change. Last night, I watched a documentary called Precious Knowledge. It is an account of “disenfranchised high school seniors” who “become academic warriors and community leaders in Tucson, Arizona’s embattled Ethnic Studies classes while state lawmakers attempt to eliminate the program” (IMDb). While this is not an “Occupy” movement, it is a movement regarding social justice. It seems that that is why the United States has begun to #OccupyEverything. Perhaps we have reached a point where social issues can not longer be ignored for the benefit of the minority.

Here’s the trailer for Precious Knowledge:
http://vimeo.com/15062646

// 03/20/2012 at 10:53 am