DISCUSSION: Occupy Wall Street and Beyond

Protest movement moves beyond major cities. What do you think?

I had a conversation the other day with someone who said they didn't know much about the Occupy movements taking place across America and across the globe.

That's understandable, mostly because it seems most traditional media outlets have struggled to cover the story — the narrative arc doesn't fit neatly into TV news segments or newspaper column inches. It's big and sprawling, complex and confusing. As media theorist Douglas Rushkoff put it in much-shared Oct. 5 guest column on cnn.com:

As the product of the decentralized networked-era culture, it is less about victory than sustainability. It is not about one-pointedness, but inclusion and groping toward consensus. It is not like a book; it is like the Internet.

And perhaps the Occupy movements truly are the first American protests powered by the connectivity of the web.

Did you know, for example, that some folks in Oakland, Calif. have organized a general strike today? Check it out. Or that in those same Bay Area protests, Scott Olsen, an Iraq war veteran, suffered brain damage and a fractured skull after a police projectile hit him in the head? The incident was documented, blasted across the Web and continues to cause outrage.

Oakland is some 2,100-miles from Chicago, yet it feels like those incidents are critically important to the American cultural fabric. Likewise for the protests taking place in New York City, Nashville, Denver, Philadephia And just a few miles away here in Chicago, protesters are under arrest for breaking Grant Park curfew laws.

How will this turn out? Who knows. Maybe the harsh winter will send protesters back indoors and away from public parks and sidewalks. Maybe politicians will claim solidarity with the movement. Maybe something more lethal happens between police and protestors.

But maybe the Occupy movements won't end at all, and maybe that's the point.

Below is a small sampling of the many, many writings on the "Occupy" movements across the web, some are from traditional media outlets; others from people-powered blogs and social media. Feel free to add more in the comments.

New York Times
Occupy Wall Street Topics Page
An ongoing collection of stories, editorials, multimedia and more from the New York Times.

Cheat Sheet: What's Happened to the Big Players in the Financial Crisis
"...a quick refresher on what’s happened to some of the main players, whose behavior, whether merely reckless or downright deliberate, helped cause or worsen the meltdown."

Wall Street Journal
Review & Outlook: What's Occupying Wall Street?
"...Still, if anyone in the Occupy Wall Street movement wants an intellectually honest explanation for why they can't find a job, they might start by considering what happens to an economy when the White House decides to make pinatas out of the financial-services industry (roughly 6%, or $828 billion, of U.S. GDP), the energy industry (about 7.5% of GDP, or $1 trillion), and millionaires and billionaires (who paid 20.4% of all federal income taxes in 2009)."

Mark Kirk: Occupy Chicago feels like undisciplined, unfocused, unintellectual anger
"Illinois' two U.S. senators see the growing Occupy Wall Street movement in very different ways. Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk criticized the Occupy Wall Street movement, including the Chicago branch."

We are smarter and more vicious: Wall Street Responds with Leaflet Bomb on #OccupyChicago
"Go ahead and continue to take us down, but you’re only going to hurt yourselves. What’s going to happen when we can’t find jobs on the Street anymore? Guess what: We’re going to take yours. We get up at 5am & work till 10pm or later. We’re used to not getting up to pee when we have a position. We don’t take an hour or more for a lunch break. We don’t demand a union. We don’t retire at 50 with a pension. We eat what we kill, and when the only thing left to eat is on your dinner plates, we’ll eat that."

Rolling Stone
Wall Street Isn't Winning — It's Cheating by Matt Taibbi
"And we hate the rich? Come on. Success is the national religion, and almost everyone is a believer. Americans love winners. But that's just the problem. These guys on Wall Street are not winning — they're cheating. And as much as we love the self-made success story, we hate the cheater that much more."

The Nation
Occupy Wall Street: The Most Important Thing in the World Now by Naomi Klein
"Occupy Wall Street...has chosen a fixed target. And you have put no end date on your presence here. This is wise. Only when you stay put can you grow roots. This is crucial. It is a fact of the information age that too many movements spring up like beautiful flowers but quickly die off. It’s because they don’t have roots. And they don’t have long term plans for how they are going to sustain themselves. So when storms come, they get washed away."

The Occupied Wall Street Journal
The unofficial newspaper of Occupy Wall Street
"The Occupied WSJ does not (and could not) represent anyone except its participants. The views of the authors are their own."

The Beachwood Reporter
The Week in Occupy Chicago
"This is what democracy looks like," segments here and here

Occupy Chicago Twitter Feed
"Real class acts, the Chicago Board of Trade: this week, it's McDonald's job applications they litter from the windows. Soulless place."

Occupy the Hood — Chicago
"Occupy The Hood stands in Solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement... It is imperative that the African-American voice is heard at this moment! We must not be forgotten as the world progresses to the next economical stage. We can all agree that the voices in our communities are especially needed in this humanitarian struggle."

Occupy Naperville
"We are the 99%! We will not remain silent! Join us every Saturday at 10am until the corporate dominance of our government ends!" []

Flickr #OccupyChicago Photo Pool

Robert Fromberg November 02, 2011 at 12:16 PM
Thanks for this thoughtful article. I am struck by the similarities among the Occupy movement, the Tea Party, and the Ross Perot movement in the 1990s--the sense that a force seemingly beyond our control is creating an environment that is basically unfair, but that the movement holds the promise of giving power back to the powerless. Of course, the differences among these movements are striking as well, and the Occupy movement seems to have more potential of staying power.
Terry Mueller November 02, 2011 at 02:59 PM
Thank you for providing a wide range of information about this movement. I feel it is critical for people to understand what is happening.
Jessica Mackinnon November 02, 2011 at 03:54 PM
Thanks for providing the comprehensive information that is lacking in the traditional media.
Casey Cora (Editor) November 02, 2011 at 08:12 PM
You're very welcome. If you have any sources, opinions, questions, answers and/or comments on the movements, please feel free to add them here.
Casey Cora (Editor) November 03, 2011 at 03:24 PM
Just learning about this now, a "Make Wall Street Pay " protest in Oak Park on Saturday at 11 a.m. Lake and Marion. Details here: http://civic.moveon.org/event/events/event.html?event_id=123156&id=
Tonto November 03, 2011 at 03:26 PM
New diversion coming. OWS winding down. Blame putting it on backpage to the establishment. Move on with new diversion away from Obama's failure. Election campaign sfifts gears :)
Casey Cora (Editor) November 03, 2011 at 03:53 PM
Correction: Rally planned for Lake Street and Oak Park Avenue, not Lake and Marion as noted in my previous comment.


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