Last Saturday, Occupy Wall Street protestors shut down Brooklyn Bridge as part of a campaign against corporate influence in politics and the greed and corruption of the top 1%. There was a showdown with the NYPD and 700 protestors were arrested. Is this the end of Occupy Wall Street? Not a bit of it, the arrests made national news and activists have been galvanised across the whole country.
Copycat groups have sprung up in Philadelphia, Chicago, New Orleans, Los Angeles and San Fransisco. Taking a lead from the Arab Spring, more than 1,000 people are now living in makeshift protest camps in major cities across the U.S. and marches are happening everywhere under the mantra “we are the 99%”. It warms my heart to know that there are so many people willing to put their feet on the street and demonstrate against injustice.
The complaints of the protestors are imprecise and many, as are the solutions proposed, but that doesn’t matter. A general feeling that something is inherently wrong and that something must be done about it, is enough for the movement to be strong. I highly reccomend the book One No, Many Yeses by Paul Kingsnorth, an investigation into anti-globalisation activity around the world demonstrating that a rejection of one ideal can be met in many different ways.
Coming back to Occupy Wall Street, prior to the arrests last weekend the organisers had expressed disappointment that their protests were receiving little media attention. A large number of them being arrested must have been a real body-blow. However, the result is now worldwide media attention, spirits lifted and momentum gained.
This just goes to show, if you are angry about injustice in the world, do something about it, you never know what the chain reaction may be or what result may come. Maybe nothing, maybe something or maybe everything. As Gandhi said, “if you do nothing, there will be nothing”.