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Wall Street Protests

on . Posted in Social Networking & Communications

Wall_Street_ProtestsBack in August, the self-proclaimed ‘culture jamming’ Canadian magazine Adbusters launched a call to action to all disenfranchised Americans. It was time for the USA to have its ‘Tahrir moment’ they said, and they began a movement to ‘Occupy Wall Street’ with at least 20,000 people.

On September 17, the date finally arrived, and fewer than 1,000 people showed. Only a small shadow of what the original call was. Come next morning hundreds had left, and by Monday the 19th, only two days into the Wall Street protest, a mere 150 committed people remained.

Those who followed the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement expected it to fade out into the background and disappear, obscured by a mainstream media blackout. Now, 20 days in and contrary to early forecasts, the movement has not only grown, but snowballed nationwide beyond the already high expectations of the original organizers.

‘Occupation’ actions are being held and organized in over 200 US cities, including Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco and the District of Columbia. It has also grown internationally, with ‘Occupations’ taking place in Spain, Canada, France, Brazil and Greece to name a few.

The occupation movement was originally met with derision and condescension by the media, due in great part by the lack of a cohesive and unifying message. But it may perhaps be this lack of a clear demand what is the most telling about the Wall Street Protests.

On Thursday, President Barack Obama addressed the protests, stating he believes “it expresses the frustrations that the American people feel” and that “the protestors are giving voice to a more broad-based frustration about how our financial system works.” It may very well be this generalized message of frustration towards inequality that has made the movement resonate with so many Americans – and draw support from so many varied and eclectic sources.

Increasingly, these grassroots demonstrations against perceived injustice and corporate greed are drawing the attention and support of heavy hitters across the sociopolitical spectrum, like labor unions, Nobel laureates, anarchistic organizations like Anonymous, celebrities, active-duty and veteran US military, politicians and even groups of Tea Party members.

Ironically enough, the NYPD presence which was deployed to contain and disperse the Wall Street protests has only succeeded in helping galvanize public support for ‘Occupy Wall Street’. In fact, on September 23rd the occupation movement was still only a couple hundred strong, but the now infamous video of Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna pepper-spraying female protestors on September 24th played a key role in creating public support for the Occupation movement; catapulting it to the nation-wide pressure group it has become.

With such a broad range of issues ‘Occupy Wall Street’ wants to tackle, as well as the growing number of groups, parties and unions attempting to co-opt the movement into their own agenda, it is extremely hard to tell what the future of this grassroots campaign holds. However, one thing is certain: It has been 20 days and everything indicates it will only get bigger.