Tag Archives: Salon

How to Rebrand Occupy (Truthout)

“The 99% Movement” has something for everyone, even the left, but is it Occupy?

(Photo: Dana Deskiewicz / Flickr)

By all measures the Occupy movement is a powerful brand. It has thousands of spin-offs such as Occupy Our Homes, Occupy Money, Occupy the Hood, Occupy Gender Equality and Occupy the Food System. It has powerful name recognition, snagging “word of the year” honors in 2011. And now, ardent supporters are manning the ramparts to defend its integrity.

Adbusters, the culture-jamming magazine that helped spark Occupy Wall Street (OWS), is accusing unions and liberal groups clustered under the banner of the 99% Spring of tarnishing Occupy’s sterling name. Launched in February by groups like Greenpeace, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), MoveOn and Rebuild the Dream, the 99% Spring announced it would train 100,000 people in April for “sustained nonviolent direct action” against targets like Verizon, Bank of America and Walmart.

These groups, bellowed Adbusters in an online missive “Battle for the Soul of Occupy,” are “the same cabal of old world thinkers who have blunted the possibility of revolution for decades.” Adbusters fingered MoveOn as one of the primary saboteurs of Occupy and linked to an article in Counterpunch that claims the 99% Spring “is primarily about co-option and division, about sucking a large cross-section of Occupy into Obama’s reelection campaign, watering down its radical politics and using these mass trainings as a groundwork to put forward 100,000 ‘good protesters’ to overshadow the ‘bad protesters.'”

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Life after occupation (Salon)

From Mobile, Ala., to Chicago, lessons in the importance of holding territory

Occupy Chicago has not held any public space since mass arrests on Oct. 23. (Credit: AP/Paul Beaty)

The post-occupation movement is taking shape across America. In New York, Occupy Wall Street is mulling next steps now that Zuccotti Park has been politically cleansed. Oakland, Calif., and Portland, Ore., have been evicted. And other  occupations are staring at imminent police action, including New Orleans, Detroit and Philadelphia.

In Chicago, which has been unable to secure a public space, the Occupy movement is trying to figure out how to sustain a public presence through a harsh winter while staging creative actions that capture attention. And while Occupy Mobile in the conservative stronghold of Alabama was shut down two weeks ago without much attention from the national news media, the local movement has not gone quietly into the night, providing one answer to the question: Can an occupation movement survive if it no longer occupies a space?

The answer, based on my visits to occupation sites around the country, is:  “Yes, but …”

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The 1 percent celebrate. For now. (Salon)

They overran Zuccotti Park, but stopping a movement gone viral won’t be so easy

A pedestrian takes a picture of an empty and closed Zuccotti Park in New York, Nov. 15, 2011. (Credit: AP/Seth Wenig)

Right now in executive suites, political chambers and police command centers the 1 percent are cheering. They are slapping backs, grinning from ear to ear and bursting with delight. Messages of “congratulations” and “job well done” from the wealthy are surely flooding the offices of their political pets and police enforcers.

Why shouldn’t they celebrate? For 30 years they have ruled as masters of the universe, while we toil as their serfs. As long as politicians comforted the owning class with bailouts and tax cuts, and the corporate media cheered rising stock prices and record corporate profits, the 1 percent knew their house was in order.

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Is Occupy Wall Street too white? (Salon)

Not really. It represents black and Latino interests better than the Obama administration


Occupy Wall Street protesters during a rally in Chicago (Credit: AP/Charles Rex Arbogast)

There is some truth to the contention that the nationwide Occupy Wall Street is largely a white-led movement, as indicated in a recent Maynard Institute article by Nadra Kareem Nittle. But claiming there are “few people of color among the participants,” as Nittle does, is simply not true.

I say that as someone who was present when the Occupy Wall Street began in New York on Sept. 17 and who has visited 15 occupation sites around the country. I was at Zuccotti Park almost every day for the first three weeks of the occupation and I saw it transition from a movement almost exclusively of white youth to a broad left movement to a multiracial movement and finally to something that represents the composition of this country more accurately than almost any other social phenomenon we can imagine.

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A Tale of Two Occupations (Salon)

The Homeless and the Occupy Movement

Michelle Fawcett interviews Occupy organizers and the homeless during her and Arun Gupta’s tour of Occupy protests around the U.S.

This was first posted at Salon.com.

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Occupational hazard: Living with the homeless (Salon)

Does the economic justice movement include the chronically poor? How can it not?

Two protesters who identify themselves as homeless, at Occupy Providence in downtown Providence, R.I. (Credit: Stew Milne/AP)


Tevin Bell is 18 but looks twice his age. Kicked out of his grandmother’s home last year after getting into a fight with his younger sister, Bell has been living on the streets of Detroit, “going from shelter to shelter.” On a brisk October afternoon he is relaxing in a folding chair, snug under a heavy jacket, watching flames lick the lip of a rusted barrel stuffed with burning scrap wood.

He is one of dozens of apparently homeless people clustered around Grand Circus Park, site of Occupy Detroit, which began on Oct. 14. Bell arrived two weeks later and has just spent his first night camping. He says, “I got a tent and a blanket. They said I can stay, ‘but you can’t just camp, you gotta help out.’”

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Visualizing the Rust Belt occupation (Salon)

After reporting for Salon from the occupation sites in three Rust Belt cities suffering from serious post-industrial malaise. Michelle Fawcett and I sent this video, which documents the efforts of one such protest movement, in Youngstown, Ohio.

from  Visualizing the Rust Belt occupation – Occupy Wall Street – Salon.com.


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Occupying the Rust Belt (Salon)

In three deindustrialized cities, protesters find friendly cops, determination and despair

An abandoned building in Youngstown, Ohio


The surefire method to find occupations in small cities is to head for the center of town. After leaving Philadelphia on our Occupy America tour, we drive an hour north to Allentown. Pennsylvania’s third-largest city at 118,000 residents, Allentown has been weathered by years of deindustrialization in the steel, cement and textile industries that once made it an economic powerhouse.

Along MacArthur Boulevard, one of Allentown’s main drags, tidy but weary brick row homes line outlying neighborhoods. Close to Center Square, site of the requisite Civil War monument, the neighborhoods are heavily Latino and buildings exhibit signs of disrepair.

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Where OWS and the Tea Party are coming from (Salon)

FRIDAY, OCT 21, 2011 8:00 AM EDT

Two very different movements with common roots in the failing center



One month into the Occupy Wall Street protests, many are asking if this new movement is just a “left-wing Tea Party.”

Definitely not. This is not a party, like the Tea Party, that seeks to directly shape the policy and electoral process. Because it is explicitly leaderless, it is difficult to imagine a Michele Bachmann or Eric Cantor emerging as a standard bearer of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Given their reliance on Wall Street money, as well as radical demands from many protesters, the Democrats will find it almost impossible to channel “the 99%” into an electoral tidal wave next year, the way the Republicans rode the Tea Party to victory in 2010.

But that does not mean comparisons to the Tea Party should be dismissed. There are striking parallels between the two movements when viewed through the lenses of politics, society and history.

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