October 13, 2011

Occupy Wall Street: The fight for the future

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“One True Act of Patriotism” by Shysti: 3 minutes of hip hop-infused activism and public discontent.


A movement takes hold in cities across America

JD LasicaLike many of you, I’ve been captivated by how the Occupy Wall Street movement has spread to cities across nation in the past four weeks as the grassroots movement’s message has resonated with an increasing number of Americans.

We don’t get too political here at Socialbrite, given that we assist organizations of all political stripe learn how to use the social Web. But we’re been tracking the burgeoning Occupy movement as it’s spread from New York to Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and dozens of other cities, fueled by the great disparity in attention paid to average Americans — the 99 percent of us — compared to the outsize influence exercised by the top 1 percent. (Here’s a New York Times backgrounder and Wikipedia article on the evolution of the movement.)

Some related groups have jumped into the fray, such as Occupy D.C., which has been holding marches and meetings in Washington’s McPherson Square, organized via social media. Trendrr reports that Twitter conversations about the protests are producing 15,000 tweets per hour.

Consider what’s fueled this movement:

• The top 1 percent of Americans own 42 percent of the nation’s financial wealth. The 400 highest-income Americans — whose income averaged $227 million each — paid only 21.4 percent in federal income taxes, the IRS reports. And the richest 400 families own more wealth than about 150 million Americans combined. (Can you say, banana republic?) Oh, and you can bet many of those billionaires will be influencing the 2012 elections, with no counter-balance.

• Corporate profits have reached their highest level as a share of the economy since 1950s, the New York Times reported Sunday.

• Worker pay as a share of the economy is at its lowest point since the mid-1950s.

• Top wage earners are paying less in taxes than any time since the 1950s.

• Wall Street salaries have risen 11.2 percent per year over the past 30 years, while regular folks’ salaries have risen 1.8 percent, a new analysis shows.

• The jobless rate for college graduates under age 25 has averaged 9.6 percent over the past year.

As the Times’ editorial put it: “The country needs a shift in the emphasis of public policy from protecting the banks to fostering full employment, including public spending for job creation.”

Where to follow, and join, the movement

Here are a few of the places where you can keep on top of the latest Occupy Wall Street developments:

• On Twitter: #OWS, #occupy, #occupytogether, #occupywallst and #occupywallstreet.

• More than 900 Meetup.com events have been set up — get your Occupy Together widgets.

• The WeArethe99Percent blog on Tumblr chronicles the latest activities of the movement.

• The Citizen Media Law Project, hosted by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, has published this Citizen’s Guide to Reporting on #OccupyWallStreet, which can come in handy when dealing with law enforcement authorities who have only a loose grasp of the law.

Occupy Together has 103,000 Likes on Facebook.

• The Big Picture has some wonderful photos of the protests.

• Here’s a bit more sanitized 30-second spot about Occupy Wall Street on YouTube.

Time: Occupy Wall Street: A New Era of Dissent in America?

• Author, Harvard professor (and friend) Lawrence Lessig in a short video commentary on BoingBoing from the protest site in New York, and his Letter to the Occupiers in the Huffington Post.

• Check out Mera Szendro Bok‘s post A vision for transformational global communication that heals inside and out. Excerpt:

“More people are realizing that people’s power over communications mediums are slipping away quickly. We can not stand for this. At the same time, those of us with access to internet and mobile device are increasingly connecting with each other, organizing meetups and protests that work to protect quality education, healthcare, jobs and the environment.”

• Kristen Gwynne has a first-hand report of life in the main Occupy Wall Street encampment in lower Manhattan.

• Yfrog has some of the We Are the 99% self-portraits.

Countdown with Keith Olbermann: Tom Hayden offers extraordinary insight into evolution of Occupy Wall Street movement.

NBC poll (PDF) finds Americans support Wall Street protests 2 to 1. (37/18) Tea Party viewed negatively (28/41).

• Countdown with Keith Olbermann: Michael Moore on support of the Occupy Wall Street protest.JD Lasica, founder and former editor of Socialbrite, is co-founder of Cruiseable. Contact JD or follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.

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5 thoughts on “Occupy Wall Street: The fight for the future

  1. On Twitter, Petra S. observes:

    >Sign of the times! App inspired by #occupywallstreet tells family & friends you’re getting arrested. http://ow.ly/6Wovo

    Sign of the times, indeed! If you spot any other relevant apps or posts, please share!

  2. Also on Twitter, Bonnie passes along these pointers:

    Yes!: “This is Just Practice”—The Story of the Wall Street Occupation

    Ezra Klein at the Washington Post:
    The four habits of highly successful social movements

    Al Jazeera
    Understanding Wall Street’s ‘Occupation’

    And Jay Frost sends along his interview with Priscilla Grim, better known on Twitter as @GrimWomyn:


  3. Another movement, not directly associated with Occupy Wall Street but closely allied in mission, is Dylan Ratigan’s #GetMoneyOut campaign – ie. of politics – 200k signatures in 2 weeks supporting a Constitutional amendment that prevents politicians from taking any campaign money from any source – http://getmoneyout.com for details. Until you get the money out of politics very little else will get done. I personally think it should form one of the key principles of the Occupy movement.