#OccupyWallStreet Is More Than a Hashtag – It’s Revolution in Formation

From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/09/23-13

by Nathan Schneider
Published on Friday, September 23, 2011 by TruthOut.org

A lot of what you’ve probably seen or read about the #occupywallstreet action is wrong, especially if you’re getting it on the Internet. The action started as an idea posted online and word about it then spread and is still spreading, online. But what makes it really matter now is precisely that it is happening offline, in a physical, public space, live and in person. That’s where the occupiers are assembling the rudiments of a movement.

At the center of occupied Liberty Plaza, a dozen or so huddle around computers in the media area, managing a makeshift Internet hotspot, a humming generator and the (theoretically) 24-hour livestream. They can edit and post videos of arrests in no time flat, then bombard Twitter until they’re viral. But for those looking to understand even the basic facts about what is actually going on—before September 17 and since—the Internet has been as much a source of confusion as it is anything else.

For someone who has been following this movement in gestation as well as implementation, it’s painfully easy to see which news articles take their bearing entirely from a few Google searches. Some reporters come to Liberty Plaza looking for Adbusters staff, or US Day of Rage members, or conspiratorial Obama supporters, or hackers from Anonymous. They’re briefly disappointed to find none of the above. Instead, it’s a bunch of people—from round-the-clock revolutionaries, to curious tourists, to retirees, to zealous students—spending most of their time in long meetings about supplying food, conducting marches, dividing up the plaza’s limited space and what exactly they’re there to do and why. And that’s the point. More than demanding any particular policy proposal, the occupation is reminding Wall Street what real democracy looks like: a discussion among people, not a contest of money.

As is now well known, the anti-consumerist group Adbusters made a call on July 13 for an occupation of Wall Street. That and a bit of poster art were the extent of its involvement. Adbusters floated the meme and left the rest to others. The trouble was, though, that most of the others were meme floaters, too.

The occupywallst.org web domain was registered anonymously on July 14, and it soon became the main clearinghouse for information about the movement’s progress. It remains so now and is getting, on average, about 50,000 unique visitors per day. It’s maintained mainly by a man and woman who met through the Anarchism section on the web site Reddit.

Soon came US Day of Rage, the project of Alexa O’Brien, an IT content management strategist. Since March, she has been trying to build a nationwide movement for radical campaign-finance reform—”One citizen. One dollar. One vote.”—and decided to peg her efforts to the September 17 action. While she has around 20 organizers working with her in cities around the country, as far as one leading #occupywallstreet organizer in New York could tell, it seems like her only colleagues might be coffee and cigarettes.

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/09/23-13

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