The Invisible Occupation
As a double dip recession becomes a not so distant probability the world is reminded of that fateful moment in August 2008 when the US financial crisis went global – when Wall Street once again became a source of hatred, 80 years after the first crash. It’s no surprise then that hundreds of occupiers, and up to 5,000 protesters daily, remain in and around Liberty plaza just minutes from Wall St objecting to a district built on apathy, greed and disaster.
As unemployment hikes, wages stagnate, prices rise and austerity knocks on the door of near enough everyone, occupations of financial and governmental centers will become more commonplace. Especially with young students in Britain, who in the not too distant future, will be entering a barren job market in a financial wasteland, dragging a basic debt of £27,000. The occupiers of Liberty Plaza in downtown New York have made their demands clear: a transparent government out of the pockets of multinationals, an end to corporate personhood, and finally the abolition of an abhorrent financial system plaguing millions of lives with insurmountable debt and gloom.
From Tahrir to Liberty Plaza
Zuccotti Park, located just 2 blocks from Wall Street in the heart of New York’s Financial District, has been re-named Liberty Plaza by its new occupiers and has become a thriving hub of resistance. The first night of the occupation saw 300 activists brave the darkness with thousands arriving the next day. Despite mass-arrests and horrific police tactics, the numbers are continuing to grow and protesters have vowed to stay for the foreseeable future.
Having hundreds of dedicated activists and being a stone’s throw from New York’s Financial District has its obvious advantages. Acting as a central hub, the occupation has been organizing regular marches and can formulate direct action in a matter of minutes. The protest at Sotheby’s art auction was a perfect example of this, slamming union-busting tactics and making their presence known.
Using the power of social media for good and making a fine example of its potential, Occupy Wall Street has been able to request supplies to help the encampment stay strong. When they Tweeted that they were struggling for food, a nearby pizzeria received an incredible $2,800 worth of orders from around the globe. When it comes to decision making, the occupation holds regular general assemblies, this means every decision has to go through a full democratic process and everyone gets an input, a model for change.
We move forward, together
Those occupying Wall Street represent many of us who barely afford to survive as we are clinging to our jobs, scrapping nickels together to pay our bills, feed our families and cover our debts.