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Occupy Wall Street: the strength of technology (Phase #1)

// Posted by on 04/21/2014 (8:19 AM)

http://elizabreed.wordpress.com/

For my final research project I decided I wanted to focus on the movement, Occupy Wall Street and the global recognition it has acquired. I quickly developed interest in this topic because of how unfamiliar I was with it.… Read more

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http://elizabreed.wordpress.com/

For my final research project I decided I wanted to focus on the movement, Occupy Wall Street and the global recognition it has acquired. I quickly developed interest in this topic because of how unfamiliar I was with it. When first thinking about how I should drive into my research, I decided it would be helpful to figure out how Occupy even began. I originally believed it was initially organized in America, however I was hugely mistaken. The movement sprouted in Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia, where twenty-six year old man set himself on fire due to years of police harassment. This act ignited more protests around Tunisia, which eventually led to the overthrow of the long autocratic rule. After citizens in other countries learned of the success that the Tunisian people had, they themselves began planning riots to fight for their beliefs. Many of these protests were very successful, creating a spark within the global society. Finally on September 17th, 2011 Occupy Wall Street was born and hit the sidewalks of New York City, specifically Wall Street.

 

Developing my course of action has been a difficult process for me. Initially I believed my argument was going to be an easy one, proving that without technology and the effect social media has on our world today, Occupy Wall Street would never have become so globally documented. Throughout my research I realized that I was not finding any articles directly stating facts regarding the use of technology benefitting the movement. However, through talking it out with myself I realized there are more ways to prove my argument. I have decided I am going to begin looking at other protests from years past, before technology had the impact on our society that it does today. By looking at past riots, like the World Bank protests in Seattle, approximately fourteen years ago I will be able to illustrate to my audience that comparably the #occupy movement spread like wildfire. The question to ask your self’s now is, why. Why did Occupy go viral? As the Los Angeles Times quotes, ” “It started as a catchphrase and became a global movement.” Throughout my research I will work through understanding how that came to be.

Also I want to explore the aftermath that #occupy has created. Due to the successes of Occupy and the popularity it has generated, movements have begun to spread. Banning banks from trying to foreclose people’s homes have created uproars, leading to people staying stagnant in local’s homes making it nearly impossible for the banks to enter homes and take them away. People around the world began “occupying” everything. From streets to homes to parks, every place that someone needed help, citizens were willing and able to do whatever they could to lend a hand. Occupy really came to be a thing, the concept of it really struck a cord within people. The term itself ended up evolving into this movement, it became a branch of its own.

 

To prove that Occupy is a protest unlike anything we have ever seen before, my first step will be to research in-depth the chronological timeline about how occupy came to be and the velocity of it. Without technology, and how “tuned in” our society has now become, I believe #occupy would not have reached the height it has. Technology has allowed the movement to span city to city, country to country and continent to continent, all striving to succeed at one thing: change. I chose Occupy Wall Street because I believe people need to become more informed with not only the movement, but also the power and effects technology has on our world today.

Research Questions:

—How am I going to prove that technology influence the #occupy movement?

—How/why did Occupy become so viral? What aspect was it that made people so “tuned in” and eager to help different causes?

—Finding the right data that is congruent with my argument:

  • —Without technology Occupy would not have become so global?

—Where do you guys think I should look?

—How should I develop my argument?

—Have you come across any articles that you think could help me with my discussion?


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Occupy Wall Street: Misguided Movement?

// Posted by on 02/24/2014 (10:58 PM)

While there is a lot go be said about how a global movement stemmed from one Tweet, after reading the article “Inside Occupy Wall Street” I began to think of how the “message” of the OWS movement could possibly be… Read more

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While there is a lot go be said about how a global movement stemmed from one Tweet, after reading the article “Inside Occupy Wall Street” I began to think of how the “message” of the OWS movement could possibly be misunderstood. More specifically, I was interested in figuring out what different kinds of people were involved in this movement that had such a global influence. I was surprised, therefore, to discover that more than a third of the activists involved in the OWS movement in New York City had household incomes over $100,000. Further, a survey showed that the people involved in the occupation of Zuccotti Park were more affluent, whiter, younger, and more highly educated than the average New Yorker (Study: OWS Was Disproportionately Rich, Overwhelmingly White), a majority of them were college students from distinguished schools, such as Bard, as well. Therefore, the idea that the people of the OWS movement were the 99% and are taking on the 1% is not exactly valid…

Interestingly, it has actually been a historically common pattern for rich people to speak on behalf of the poor. And the fact that these people are involved doesn’t necessarily invalidate any of the specific claims that are made by OWS, but it makes us question the reasons as to why these rich kids show up in the first place. Is it their guilty conscious? Are they angry teenagers rebelling against their parents? Are they bored? Do they feel a sense of self-importance stemming from their wealth? It is troublesome for me to think that these rich kids are trying to get rid of the very class they came from.

 

This picture shows a self-proclaimed rich girl:  she inherited money at 21 and has had health and dental insurance all her life. Sure, her ideas of leveling the playing field align with the slogans of the OWS movement, but, I have trouble with her saying she wants to be taxed in order to help out with the movement. Why doesn’t she just donate her money to a good cause or a productive charity instead? That way her money is going directly to those in need… The government might not even use the money she gives from taxes to help the people who need it. It might be used to finance the NSA surveillance programs, for example. Additionally, this girl didn’t even earn that money– it was given to her. Is this her guilty conscious speaking? Would she feel the same way about higher taxes if she had earned that money herself? Questions to consider…

The article Occupy Wall Street: Children of the 1% out for  good time at the protests  displays pictures of college kids smoking pot, handling large amounts of money, flashing expensive wallets and wearing $300 jeans… I am not sure if I can take these kids seriously. Clearly they amount of enjoy the money they have. I think in some ways these displays destroy the “message” of OWS.

I am wondering if the fact that this has become such a global movement and the fact that many people from many different backgrounds and cultures are involved, that the message of the movement can become blurred. It seems like since the crowd has such a big range of people– from old and homeless to young and rich- that each individual has a different idea of what the movement means to them, if anything at all, which can potentially weaken the strength of the collective message.

 

 


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Occupy Earth

// Posted by on 03/25/2013 (1:51 AM)

At first glance, the Occupy Wall Street movement can appear to be an group of angry individuals who were “organized’ under a vague focal point. However, the sheer fact that the Occupy movement’s ideas spread around the world means… Read more

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At first glance, the Occupy Wall Street movement can appear to be an group of angry individuals who were “organized’ under a vague focal point. However, the sheer fact that the Occupy movement’s ideas spread around the world means that this was no small, localized event. Social media helped to unify like-minded individuals, and an outpouring of support “through video, photos, text messages, audio and other messaging using Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other online services” gave the movement “legitimacy.” In order for the movement to build up steam, it needed to become a literal movement, not just a figurative one.

According to the Wall Street Journal in 2011, the spread of the Occupy movement seemed almost “organic.” Copycat organizers studied the New York protests and created their own mini-movements in cities like Chicago and Los Angeles, and they planned these protests via Facebook, Twitter, and other networking websites. This method is a 21st century phenomenon, for protesters are now able to share their grievances and complaints with other individuals instantly through the Internet and gather their own followings. Another interesting feature of the Occupy movement’s spread is the source of the spread. When studying the Vietnam War’s protest movement, some of the biggest and most well-known criticism came from actors, musicians, and artists. Americans latched onto the feelings shared by people they recognized in the news like John Lennon, Allen Ginsberg, and Frank O’Hara, and these celebrities gave the protests a strong backbone.

With Occupy Wall Street, however, the backbone was formed by (mostly young and jobless) Americans who were fed up with corporations paying executives extremely high wages, preventing workers from negotiating better and safer working conditions, etc. Celebrities heard about the movement in the news and then had to decide whether or not they wanted to side with the folks in New York. Some, like musician Tom Morello, Russell Simmons, Alec Baldwin, and Yoko Ono pledged their support (ironic, because they are not members of the “99%”). Simply put, for one of the first times in history, ordinary Americans were taking matters into their own hands and single-handedly forming a movement without any kind of leader or figurehead. They were, collectively, their own figurehead.

This may be one of the biggest reasons why the Occupy Wall Street movement spread like it did. Because the base was made up of the so-called 99%, almost all Americans were included in their movement. They were spreading ideas that millions of people understood and were against, and this is what unified people form around the world. It may have started out as a relatively small gathering in a park in New York City, but the ideas the protestors shared were significant enough to reverberate across the globe.

Here’s a brief video showing various movie stars being asked about their thoughts on the movement. What do you think? Should they not be allowed to “support” the Occupy Wall Street movement because of their “1%” standing, or are their voices needed to give legitimacy to the protester’s cause? I personally don’t think the protesters need any big names or stars to support the movement because, in many ways, that sort of thing can actually undermine what the movement is standing for.

Occupy


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