LEARN ABOUT #OCCUPY ////////////////////////////////////////
BACKGROUND & TIMELINE
the #occupy movement
is an international movement driven by individuals like you. All of us have many different backgrounds and political beliefs but feel that, since we can no longer trust our elected officials to represent anyone other than their wealthiest donors, we need real people to create real change from the bottom up. Organized in over 100 cities in the United States, #occupy aims to fight back against the system that has allowed the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer. We no longer want the wealthiest to hold all the power, to write the rules governing an unbalanced and inequitable global economy, and thus foreclosing on our future.
how did #occupy start?
The #occupy movement, originally initiated by a call from Adbusters to "Occupy Wall Street," was inspired by several international protests, most notably, the Arab Spring protests. Thousands answered the call and arrived in Zuccotti Park, at the heart of New York City's financial district, to protest the damaging influence of corporations on politics as well as social and economic inequality. Hundreds stayed every night for two months and created an encampment in the park, a model that was adopted by people all over the country as the movement spread to well over 500 cities.
December 17, 2010
Twenty-six-year old produce vendor Mohammed Bouazizi sets himself on fire in response to years of petty police harassment in Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia. His self-immolation sparks a wave of protests against the decades-long autocratic rule of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. After four weeks, Ben Ali is forced to dissolve parliament and flees to Saudi Arabia.
Egypt & the Arab Spring
January 25, 2011
Using door-to-door canvassing and social networking, the people of Cairo organize a mass protest on Police Day demanding an end to harassment, repression and torture. What follows is an 18-day uprising against President Hosni Mubarak's dictatorship. Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians stream into Tahrir Square after the regime blocks internet traffic and send thugs to attack protesters, swinging world opinion against Mubarak. On February 11, the regime falls, inspiring an Arab Spring of pro-democracy activism from Yemen to Bahrain to Syria.
Wisconsin & Ohio
February 17, 2011
More than 20,000 Wisconsinites protest Gov. Scott Walker's austerity budget and his attack on collective bargaining Carrying signs and Egyptian flags, protests draw a parallel between their struggles. In the weeks long rebellion, hundreds of thousands occupy the state capitol in Madison; hundreds of students are arrested. In Columbus, Ohio, nearly 4,000 protest against similar attacks on the public sector and workers' rights.
May 15, 2011
Protests against austerity and unemployment erupt in 58 Spanish cities, beginning the 15-M Movement. More than 1,000 indignados, occupy the central square, Puerta del Sol; in the weeks that follow, hundreds of thousands gather in public spaces, holding mass assemblies and peaceful sit-ins to demand greater say in the political process. Embracing participatory democracy, they reject traditional parties and the rule of finance that imploded the country's economy.
May 25, 2011
Tens of thousands gather in Athens after plans are announced to dramatically cut public spending and raise taxes in exchange for a €110 billion bailout. Sustained Strike and demonstrations many of them organized on Facebook, rage across the country. The aganaktismenoi, or indignants, are met with tear gas and police violence.
Occupy Wall St.
September 17, 2011
Occupy Wall Street begins as 2,000 people respond to the Canadian magazine Adbusters' call for an end to corporate influence in the political process. After police block them from Wall Street, then One Chase Manhattan Plaza, a few dozen occupiers regroup at Zuccotti Park several blocks north of the New York Stock Exchange. They rename it Liberty Square as an homage to the Egyptian uprising that began in Tahrir Square in January.
September 29, 2011
Through a consensus-based process, the New York General Assembly approves the Declaration of the Occupation, a founding document that speaks to the "feeling of mass injustice" that brought people together. Calling out illegal foreclosures, exorbitant student debt and the outsourcing of labor, the document of grievances is delivered "at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments." In San Francisco, protesters attempt to occupy Citibank, Chase and Charles Schwab; the Transport Workers Union urges members to join the movement.
October 14—15, 2011
Following Mayor Bloomberg's announcement that the NYPD would enforce a "cleaning" of Liberty Square starting at 7 a.m., occupiers rally by the thousands in the dawn hours to protect the park. At 6:15, Bloomberg backs down. Occupiers celebrate with a rousing victory lap through the financial District. The next day millions rally in an international day of solidarity in more than 900 cities, including Hong Kong, Athens, Rome, Nairobi, and Johannesburg. In the U.S., Occupy Wall Street spreads from coast to coast.
October 25, 2011
Police raid Occupy Atlanta and arrest 53. In Oakland, police fire tear gas, rubber bullets, and flash bang grenades at peaceful occupiers, fracturing the skull of a two-tour Iraq War veteran. Thousands rally at the renamed Oscar Grant Plaza to protest police brutality, and retake their encampment. Occupations in Denver, Los Angeles, Atlanta and San Francisco all successfully resist eviction by local police.
November 2, 2011
Building for a general strike, Oakland occupiers call to "Liberate Oakland, Shut Down the 1%." Teachers and students strike. With a bike bloc trailblazing the way, thousand march to the nation's fifth largest port, climbing on signs and big rigs. The Port of Oakland issues a statement calling the port "effectively shut down." Thousands march in solidarity across the country.
The 1% Attacks
November 15, 2011
Hours after the Portland and Oakland encampments are again raided, NYPD, including officers from the Counter-Terrorism Bureau, stage a federally coordinated raid on Liberty Square at 1 a.m. Sporting riot gear and brandishing pepper spray and a 'sound cannon' about 1,000 cops descend on the park and toss books, laptops and tents into dumpsters, forcibly clearing the encampment. Bridges and subways are shut down as lower Manhattan is deemed a "frozen zone." More than 200 arrested. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan admits later that day that she was on a conference call strategizing with mayors of 18 cities, while and official from the Department of Justice indicated that each action was coordinated with help from the DHS and the FBI along with other federal agencies.
Copy & photos courtesy of the Occupied Wall Street Journal
how is #occupy organized?
The #occupy movement has no official leaders. Anyone can be involved in the process and pick up the flag to address the problems they face in their community. We do not believe in placing the power of the movement in the hands of the few, but rather empowering everyone to be involved and share the responsibility together.
what does #occupy want?
#occupy wants to end the relationship built on money and donations between our elected officials and corporate interests. We believe this relationship has lead to rampant corruption and criminal activities that undermine our economic and political system. We simply want a system that operates in the interest of the people and to empower people to be a part of the process.
how does the movement work to achieve these goals?
In the spirit and tradition of civil disobedience #occupy takes to the streets to protest corporate greed, abuse of power, and growing economic disparity.
#occupy empowers individuals to lead others into action by gathering in the commons (public spaces, parks and online) as engaged citizens to demonstrate a culture based on community and mutual aid. We will be the change we are seeking in the world.
Work to make fundamental changes in the system.
What issues are being addressed by the #occupy movement?
While every individual is empowered to bring to light issues that directly affect themselves or their community, #occupy collectively addresses a narrower set of issues that embody the root of our connected grievances.
Billions of dollars are donated to political campaigns by corporations, Super PACs, and lobbyists every election cycle, buying time and influence. Many issues within #occupy stem from policies made by elected officials acting in the interest of corporate profit rather than what is best for the people.
Citizens United declared money as speech and corporations as people—allowing for unlimited corporate influence through monetary contributions. Human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.
AT THE FOREFRONT OF THIS ISSUE:
Bankers and speculators had been gambling with our most valuable asset, our homes. Because of the foreclosure crisis Wall Street banks created, millions of Americans have lost their homes and 1-in-4 are currently underwater.
AT THE FOREFRONT OF THIS ISSUE:
Workers—who bring the 1% their wealth—should be able to make a wage that allows them to afford housing, food, utilities, transport, health care.
AT THE FOREFRONT OF THIS ISSUE:
99% Budget Cuts
We can no longer stand to have our schools shut down and public services withered away. Where we can not rely on our elected officials to work in the interest of the 99%, we will join together and offer each other mutual aid. We build community centers, free markets, workshops, and alternative structures. We will be the change we are seeking in the world.
SUCCESSES OF #OCCUPY
One of the important accomplishes may simply be changing the social and political discourse in America as the #occupy movement has called attention to important issues of unchecked corporate influence in politics and social and economic inequality. "We are the 99%" has become a rallying cry by many, familiar by virtually all, and acknowledged but mocked by the wealthy, showing their disregard for the majority of American people.
From Big Banks to Credit Unions
On November 5th, 2011, #occupy held its first National Bank Transfer Day, encouraging individuals to transfer money from their accounts with major corporate banks to local credit unions. The event was a success as over $50 million dollars were withdrawn and accounts were closed with big banks. On an even larger scale, Occupy Buffalo pressured the City of Buffalo to withdraw $45 million dollars from JP Morgan Chase and start a new account with a smaller regional bank.
Ending illegal foreclosures
Occupy Our Homes and Occupy Foreclosure have been two organizations that have been at the front of preventing banks from foreclosing on homeowners affected by predatory lending and corporate wrongdoing. Employing many tactics including camping out on property to prevent evictions, these groups have prevented many all over the country from getting kicked out of their homes due to the greed of banks. Actions continue from Buffalo to Birmingham, St. Paul to Oakland as the foreclosure crisis continues to affect millions.
On February 29th, 2012, Occupy protesters from around the country coordinated demonstrations in over 80 American cities. The day was known as #F29 Shut Down the Corporations and its intent was to turn the spotlight on the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and organization that brings elective officials and corporations like Walmart, Bank of America, and McDonalds together to draft legislation beneficial to corporations. These demonstrations caused a high-level of scrutiny to befall ALEC, forcing many of its largest corporations to abandon the organization.
Rolling back greedy bank practices
When Bank of America, Chase, Suntrust, and Wells Fargo announced they were all going to charge their customers an additional $5 a month to use their debit cards, many were angry. Occupy protesters amplified the displeasure felt by many by demonstrating in and out of the bank. Bank of America heard the message and dropped the fee.
And More Every Day...
Visit What the Heck Has Occupy Done So Far to view a regularly updated list of successes of and within the #occupy movement up until now.