Message Of Occupy Still Occupies The Public Dialogue
Anya Parampil of RT America reports on the Occupy encampments history and legacy on the 4th anniversary of the movement. She describes how Occupy grew from a small park in New York City to a national and international movement. She describes how Occupy raised long festering issues of the unfair economy and put them onto the national political agenda – and how the media reported on the spectacle of the encampments but missed the message and strategy of the movement.
The key to the growth of the encampments across the country was not only a message that resonated nationally but abusive policing by the NYPD that spurred solidarity encampments across the country. Occupy gained a national media spotlight due to the police abuse which caused exponential growth. Intellectuals like Noam Chomsky, Cornel West and Chris Hedges spoke out in support of the movement, sometimes joining it and taking action with it.
Police abuse escalated in cities across the country in an effort to shut down the encampments. Some of the most aggressive policing was in Oakland, CA where on October 25th, 2011 veteran Scott Olsen was shot in the head with a bean bag by the police. By 2014 the police reached a settlement with Olsen for $4.5 million, Olsen says that does not replace the dead part of his brain. New York and Oakland were examples of many police violence incidents that occurred across the country.
The impact of the movement was to have income inequality mentioned in political discussions more than ever before and the national dialogue being restructured around the corruption of Wall Street and the unfair economy. The Occupy opened the door to discussion of these issues in politics and it is hard to imagine the Bernie Sanders Campaign without Occupy having creating the environment for it. While the encampments are long gone the message of the movement occupies the United States today.