You’ve probably heard about Occupy Wall Street by now unless you live under a rock. But you’ve probably only seen things about the 1% versus the 99% and jokes on TFM. Kanye West even showed up. This has spiraled into something that I don’t even think the protestors knew it would. Occupy Wall Street is now on college campuses across the country, and it doesn’t seem like it’s going away any time soon. For the past month countless protesters have been well, occupying Wall Street, without any specific demands. Right now, it’s unclear really what the goal of the group is.
Here’s what you should know:
1. In July, Adbusters, a Canadian-based media group proposed the movement to peacefully occupy Wall Street to protest corporate 1% (being the wealthiest in the country) on the government. On September 17th, the movement started and protesters set up camp all over New York City. They’ve been protesting corporate greed and involvement and social and economic inequality.
2. The New York City General Assembly (NYCGA) is now basically the official title for groups occupying Wall Street. Since there were so many groups protesting, they formed one huge group that assembles peacefully in places like Liberty Plaza, right under Wall Street’s nose. Mayor Bloomberg said in a press conference in response to the movement that “People have a right to protest, and if they want to protest, we’ll be happy to make sure they have locations to do it.”
3. People are calling Occupy Wall Street the Tahrir Square of America. During the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, hundreds of thousands of Egyptian protestors occupied Tahrir Square to remove Hosni Mubarak from office. On February 11, 2011 he was removed by the Egyptian Armed Forces, a move made possible in part by the occupation of the square. Let’s hope Occupy Wall Street doesn’t turn anymore violent than it already has with the use of pepper spray.
4. Occupy Wall Street is a horizontal democracy. What does that mean? It means they are a leaderless movement that makes decisions on consensus, which is why the process takes so long. You have hundreds of thousands of people trying to agree on something together.
5. There are a ton of different groups within the movement for protesters to choose from. People can get involved with the demands group, finance group, PR group, and more.
6. It has become a global movement. Occupy Wall Street has spread to other countries like England, Italy, France, and Greece. These protests have a similar idea to end corporate corruption, but have tailored it to their own country’s needs.
7. The group itself is split on its demands. The NYCGA met in Zuccotti Park Tuesday night to discuss their demands however, they can’t agree on how to reach those demands. Half of the group wants a consensus and other half wants majority rule by 2/3 vote. At their meetings, anyone can show up an add a demand to their list to be discussed.
8. While hundreds have been arrested, no one has been charged so far with committing a violent act.
9. Occupy Wall Street has a good neighbor policy to keep things as peaceful as possible during their occupation, especially due to their location at Liberty Plaza which is near Ground Zero. They have a zero tolerance policy on drugs, violence, and abuse toward anyone.
10. It doesn’t look like it’s ending any time soon. The NYCGA says Occupy Wall Street will continue “Until change happens!”