We’ve been hearing about Occupy Wall Street for almost four weeks now but it seems like no one really has a clear idea of who they are, why are they protesting, where they are protesting and what they really want. For the first week of their protest, they didn’t really get much media coverage, it wasn’t until videos of protesters being pepper-sprayed surfaced the web that everyone started to really notice the demonstration. Even Anonymous, the hacker collective, voiced disapproval over the pepper-spraying incident and threatened to bring down the New York Stock Exchange on October 11th, but nothing really happened. The point of this article is to bring clarity to Occupy Wall Street, and outline how the web and interactive technology is raising awareness around the movement.
Who And Where
Occupy Wall Street, according to the unofficial website, “is a horizontally organized resistance movement employing the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to restore democracy in America. We use a tool known as a “people’s assembly” to facilitate collective decision making in an open, participatory and non-binding manner. We call ours the NYC General Assembly and we welcome people from all colors, genders and beliefs to attend our daily assemblies.” Click here to view a map of protest attendees.
Wall Street was chosen as venue for the simple fact that, although many financial institutions are no longer based here, Wall Street still remains as a powerful symbol of the American economic system. The iconic street and surrounding areas in lower Manhattan attracted numerous protests, riots and other gatherings since the 18th century. Click here to view a map with plotted historical events.
Why and What
The reason they are protesting is because of the 2008 bank bailouts which led for the rich to become richer while the general population suffered with recession in the form of small businesses going broke, employees lost their jobs and those looking for work can’t find one. What they want is “real democracy.” That the majority of Americans be given the same opportunities the rich are so lucky to have.
But the most important question that needs to be answered is:
Who is behind this?
Some have reason to believe that George Soros, a prominent international supporter of democratic ideals, ranked number seven in The Forbes 400 The Richest People In America and number 46 in Forbes’ The Worlds’ Billionaires wealthiest men in America, is behind the protests. Suspicions regarding Soros’ involvement in the movement were strengthened when he said, “I can understand their sentiment,” at the United Nations. When pushed by reporters to expound on what he said, Soros refused to fall into their trap.
In 2009, Soros wrote an editorial wherein he stated that purchasing of toxic bank assets would “provide artificial life support for the banks at considerable expense to the taxpayer.” He already saw the harm it would bring for the majority of Americans but no one listened to his warning.
He pressed the Obama administration to take control of the situation, by recapitalizing or nationalizing the banks as well forcing these banks to give loans with much cheaper interest rates to aide ailing Americans. Again, his words fell on deaf ears.
Soros was linked to Adbusters, a Canadian anti-capitalist group that firmly backs Occupy Wall Street in their cause, as Soros backs the Open Society Institute, one of the liberal causes Soros funds. Open Society is tied to San Francisco-based Tides Center, which acts like a clearing house for other donors, who directs contributions to liberal non-profit groups. According to disclosure documents, Tides gave Adbusters grants of $185,000 from 2001-2010 with nearly $26,000 just from 2007-2009. All of the said involved parties declined to comment on the allegations.
Occupy Wall Street, Technology and the Social Media
Occupy Wall Street protesters used social media like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and livestream to create awareness and invite more people to participate. Internet users feed on real-time updates coming from protesters, like somehow they’re actually part of the movement by ingesting all these data. As for technology, if the point of protesters is to cease operations of the market, like have a massive effect on the stock market, they’re in the wrong place. As stated above, most financial institutions are no longer based here, and if it’s the stock market that they do want to bring down to get back at the rich people, they should look for the nondescript business park just off the New Jersey Turnpike where large part of stock trading happens.