Occupy Wall Street is one year old
It’s an exciting weekend here in New York: Monday is the one-year anniversary of the occupation of Zuccotti Park. And even though I didn’t know about the original occupation for a few days, when FogOfWar gave his first account of it here on mathbabe, and even though the Alternative Banking group didn’t start until October 19th, it still makes me super proud to think about how much impact the overall movement has had in a year.
Mind you, there are a couple of very worrying things, especially about this weekend. For example, the NYPD ultimately used paramilitary force to clear Zuccotti and they seem to continue to be overbearing in their methods now: they are working with the Zuccotti Park management company in unconstitutional ways and they have all sorts of checkpoints set up for the weekend.
I think I know why Bloomberg and other mayors are afraid of us. We are the only thing balancing the current regime, both sides of which are entirely bought by the financial lobbyists. Some people I’ve talked to, including my son, think Occupy should form a political party. I can see some interesting reasons for and against; I’ll follow up with a post with them soon.
I don’t think it’s a silly idea, in any case. In this article entitled “How the Occupy movement may yet lead America”, author Reihan Salam says:
One year on, the encampments that had sprung up in Lower Manhattan and in cities, college campuses and foreclosed homes across the country have for the most part been abandoned. And so at least some observers are inclined to think, or to hope, that the Occupy movement has been of little consequence. That would be a mistake. Occupy’s enduring significance lies not in the fact that some small number of direct actions continue under its banner, or that activists have made plans to commemorate “S17” in a series of new protests. Rather, Occupy succeeded in expanding the boundaries of our political conversation, creating new possibilities for the American left.
As our slow-motion economic crisis grinds on, it is worth asking: How might these possibilities be realized? For some, Occupy was a liberating experience of collective effervescence and of being one with a crowd. As one friend put it, it was “the unspeakable joy of taking to the streets, taking spaces, exploring new relations and environments” that resonated most. For others, it created a new sense of cross-class solidarity. Jeremy Kessler, a legal historian who covered the Occupy movement for the leftist literary journal N + 1 and the New Republic, senses that it has already shaped the political consciousness of younger left-liberals. “There is more skepticism towards the elite liberal consensus,” and so, “for instance, there is more support for the Chicago teachers union and more wariness towards anti-union reformers.” Ideological battle lines have in this sense grown sharper. Yet it is still not clear where Occupy, and the left, will go next.
Hear, hear – well said, although I don’t think it’s necessarily “leftist” to want a system that’s not rigged. In any case, I consider it my job as an individual, and as a member of the Alternative Banking group, to add fuel to that fire of skepticism.
We need to know there’s a war going on, and it’s against us, and we’re losing. We are the 99%.