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riot disruptive movement "Occupy Wall Street" place New York City. The discussion MUST include: 1. A chronological description 2. engaged commentary (opinionated) 3. theoretical interventions.
We live in a world today that is seen as being clearly a sign of discrepancy between the different standards of living, between the rich and the poor, between the highlife and the low life in the society. Some analysts consider that the different levels of development have defined this era of globalization and the social tragedies that this dissociated development create throughout the world.
There have been numerous attempts to try to draw the attention to these discrepancies, done by both the international community and the non-governmental organization in time. The results however, although these aspects are well-known in terms of statistics and well-known at the level of the political decision makers, have not been significant enough for action to be undertaken at the global level for a different economic model that would ensure a more equitable share of the global wealth. In this sense, there are countries around the world, such as the ones in South America or Africa, in which the discrepancies between the rich and the poor is extremely visible and created on a "sustainable" manner that somewhat negatively guarantees the failure of any attempt to redress the current economic model into one which may ensure greater equality and better standard of living for a larger number of people around the world.
The "Occupy Wall Street" demonstration and protests that took place in 2011 the United States aimed at steering a massive movement to draw the attention on the inequalities in the society and pointing out the main social, economic, or political reasons behind them. The movement is still very much in the headlines to this day. Despite the fact that the promoters of the movement did not achieve but global recognition and are yet to influence the decision making process at a global level, they managed to draw the attention to the inequalities facing societies both in the United States and in the world and have captured the attention of the media and that of the public opinion. At the same time though, the subjects that are nowadays raised in connection to the Wall Street Occupation are les and less connected with the actual mission and aim of the movement as they were in 2011.
The creed of the movement, as mentioned on their Internet website stated "Occupy Wall Street is a leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%. We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants"
. Therefore, it can be stated from the very beginning that one of the triggering elements of the movement was provided by the Arab Spring, one of the most important social and political movements that took place in the Middle East in recent decades, one that brought about the demise of dictatorial-type regimes in several Middle Eastern countries, including Egypt or Tunisia. At the moment, the Syrian regime of Bashar Al Assad is facing the almost sure event of being toppled by what initially started as civil riots influenced by the Arab Spring and developed into an ongoing civil war.
In order to better understand the reasons behind the riots as well as to explain the momentum of the riots, it is important to consider the wider background of 2011 and its considerations. In this sense, 2011 was a year of great political turmoil in the world and especially in the Arab world. The political changes that took place in the region of the Middle East influenced the new perceptions on the role of the social media in bringing people together and validated the power of human gatherings for a common aim. The Arab Spring was seen as a success from the point-of-view of the changes it produced at the level of the societies it targeted as well as at the political levels. The communities were given the sense of empowerment as a result of the changes they managed to produce.
Another important factor that determined a revolt in the spirit of the Occupy Wall Street movement was the economic crisis that started in 2008-9 and which impacted all the levels of the society, especially in the United States. More precisely, the crisis revealed the relatively unhealthy means of development that the Occupy Wall Street movement considers the corporate and capitalist America to support both internally and in its external relations and actions. Therefore, the role of the Wall Street companies, banks, corporations, large financial conglomerates was seen as essential in determining the economic crisis and therefore found "guilty" of supporting the 1% of the American society that is rich by all standards.
The effects of these two triggering points are essential because they offered the necessary international and national background for the movement to take place by anchoring it in a wider spectrum of problems and considerations. At the same time however, there are those that argue that it was precisely this setting in a wider spectrum of actions that determined a too general message of the movement, an aspect that eventually led to the impact of the message to fade away by the time of the one-year anniversary of the Movement's initial gatherings in Zuccotti Park
There are several forces that served to spread the disruption and its expanded riot throughout the nation and internationally. These include the mass media, through its different channels (printed, online, TV) as well as the social media. Their role was essential in disseminating the information on the developments around the clock.
At the same time however, there have been critics arguing that the media provided too much attention and coverage to such a piece of news for too long time. In this sense for instance months after the riots had begun in 2011, newspapers had the developments of the events still on the headlines. This attracted criticism in the sense that newspapers were being accused of partisanship with the rioters. Thus, "Newspapers and television networks have been rebuked by media critics for treating the movement as if it were a political campaign or a sideshow -- by many liberals for treating the protesters dismissively, and by conservatives, conversely, for taking the protesters too seriously."
This comes to point out that the reactions triggered by the riots were mixed.
On the other side of the coverage, there have been cases in which the media was not in full agreement with the protestors and the rioters throughout the events. This is due in part to the rioters and in part to the opinionated coverage of the news channels in particular. More precisely, "Some reporters have reported being threatened by protesters in the last two months, but for the most part the criticisms have been confined to signs and shouts, particularly when Fox News cameras are nearby. Attesting to the opinionated tone of much television coverage, Fox hosts and guests have described the protesters as a "group of nuts and lunatics and fascists" (Karl Rove), "demonic loons" (Ann Coulter) and "a bunch of wusses" (Greg Gutfeld)."
This comes to point out that, on the one hand, there was little homogenous feeling among protestors and on the other, the media aimed at providing the coverage that eventually best qualified for ratings and the targeted audience.
The different types of reactions can also be seen from the point-of-view of the consistency of the message sent across which, as mentioned previously, was not as homogenous to last over the months. Therefore, the fact that the organization of the movement was not thought of in terms of sustainability enabled different types of people with different requests to join the riots, some of them having nothing to do with the actual initial claims of the movements. More precisely, "Occupy Wall Street, which began with a small band of passionate intellectuals, had been hijacked by misfits and vagabonds looking for food and shelter. Given the way the organization -- if it can be called that -- was purposely open to taking all comers, the assembly lost its sense of purpose as various intramural squabbles emerged about the group's end game"
. This dilution of the message triggered mixed feelings about the movement and different types of media coverage.
Another force that supported in this case the movement and the events in New York however was the force of the social media. There were Facebook and Twitter accounts set up in order to make the movement and its creed public and accessible to as many people as possible throughout the U.S. And the world. Currently, there are over four hundred thousands people following the Facebook page and over twenty one thousands Facebook users talking about…[continue]
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