“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.'”
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 …”
Not really. It represents black and Latino interests better than the Obama administration
BY ARUN GUPTA
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.
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.
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)
Topics:Occupy Wall Street, homelessness
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.’”
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.