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United States: “Occupy Wall Street” Gets Stronger

This post is part of our special coverage #Occupy Worldwide.

When we published our first story on “Occupy Wall Street,” about a group that was camping out on Zuccotti Park, it barely made the front pages of local newspapers.  Currently, with hundreds of thousands of followers that have joined the cause — including union leaders, intellectuals like Slavoj Zizek, and other personalities such as Michael Moore — Occupy Wall Street has captured the attention of the national and internationl media, and the protests have extended to many other cities in the United States, including Boston, Hartford, Seattle, Washington D.C., and Tampa (for a complete coverage  please check the Occupy Together website).

This movement has generated so much attention that it even came to be  a topic for discussion amongst politicians and media professionals, including Eric Alterman of the Center for American Progress, who understands the movement's  “impatience and anger,” and supports what Nobel Prize for Economics winner Joseph Stiglitz once considered “the Era of the 1%,” alluding to the 1% that holds the majority of the wealth in the United States.

Occupy Wall Street

Hundreds of thousands of protestors have gathered in the surrounding areas of Wall Street. Image from david_shankbone on flickr (CC-BY NC 2.0)

Nonetheless, others do not share this opinion: Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, has launched criticisms against Occupy Wall Street, claiming that the economic crisis does not stem from Wall Street but rather the White House, and maintains that the demonstrators should blame themselves for not being millionaires and not having a job (an argumentin line with the Republican and Neoliberal  ideologies.)  As expected, his comments have awoken strong criticisms upon classifying it as an “irrational ideology.”

Bloggers like Robert W. Snyder from nj.com believe that the story of the protest deserves a better angle, since the press has focused more on the confrontations between protestors and the police.

As we saw in the sixties, a peaceful protest was defined by disproportionate coverage of a trouble-seeking minority of protesters. As is so often the case, it was the photos and headlines that were most misleading. Photographs are great for capturing action and anger, but they just can't carry the nuances best conveyed by words.

The Spectacle Blog‘s Joseph Lawler clarifies the difference between Occupy Wall Street and the ultraconservative Tea Party Movement, since some speculate that the former may become a political group.

Judging by photos of Occupy Wall Street activists, the movement, for now at least, appears to be closer to the “rebellious youth” model of protest than the “fed-up citizenry” feel of the Tea Party. We'll see where it goes from here.

Experts confirm that President Barack Obama has attempted to channel the anger and growing strength that Occupy Wall Street has built up to justify his bill on job creation.  Justin Vassallo from The Faster Times, however, believes that Occupy Wall Street has not validated the President's image in order to continue carrying out his mission:

If Obama truly has been following the Occupy Wall Street movement, he must realize a passionate and growing coalition of the American people are already mobilizing without him.

Particularly on Twitter, some have expressed their opinion with respect to Occupy Wall Street's possible political motives, such as Unedited Camera(@Uneditedcamera):

#occupywallstreet this movement is not about political parties. It’s about democratizing our lives.

Chris Spencer (@Chris_M_Spencer), on the other hand, has criticized the movement in the following way:

Definition of a crybaby: being mad at corporations because you're unemployed. @OccupyWallSt #OccupyWallStreet #OWS #futility

Similarly, curmudgeon (@Curmudgeonisto) believes that the movement is wasting its time:

#OccupyWallstreet protesters would be less “poor” if they put half their wasted effort into pursuit of Education/Training/Jobs #OWS #TCOT

OccupyWallStreetNYC (@OccupyWallStNYC) responded to the force used by local authorities:

The best response to their violence is more peace. #occupywallstreet #sep17

Jordan Hammond (@InktViek) describes Occupy Wall Street's fight with a quote from Gandhi:

#occupywallstreet “first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win” –Ghandi [sic], they are now fighting us

Below we have a video with commentary from some of the participants:

This post is part of our special coverage #Occupy Worldwide.

Thumbnail image shows ‘Occupy’ protest signs. Image by Flickr user Caroline Schiff Photography (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

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