By Corinne Segal and Arlene Lormestoire for PBS Newshour. Becky Wartell was living in Portland, Maine and applying for jobs when she heard the first rumblings of Occupy Wall Street. Her story mirrors many others who gathered in Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan on Saturday, exactly five years after the protests began, reuniting with old friends and describing how a small encampment spread to cities across the country. In 2011, after staying in Zuccotti Park for several days, Wartell expanded her trip to a week — and for the next five months, continued to commute back and forth from Maine, even when she took a job in Portland. “In the moment, I was like, ‘I have to be there. This is big. This is important,’” she said. Zuccotti Park became a space where activists from a range of different causes could converge to share ideas, as most of them claimed the common cause of protesting corruption on Wall Street. Critics asked why Occupy could not settle on a list of explicit demands and actionable goals for the movement — protesters answered that the purpose of the movement was not to make demands, but empower a range of communities. The encampment ended in November 2011, when police cleared the camp and arrested more than 200 people. But by that time, offshoots had appeared in dozens of other cities.
By Harold Heckle for the Associated Press. Thousands of Spaniards marched in downtown Madrid to mark the fifth anniversary of a protest movement that led to the creation of Podemos, now Spain’s third most-popular political party. The Democracy Now platform had urged people to “occupy squares in all the world’s cities on Sunday” to protest austerity, corruption, high unemployment and a lack of transparency in government. Madrid’s Puerta del Sol square became the scene of a protest that lasted 28 days in 2011, sparking a movement that spread across Spain and similar “Occupy” sit-ins in cities across the world. The protests by those calling themselves “Indignados,” or people angered by Spain’s existing political parties, led to the emergence of Podemos, which will vie for power in a June 26 election.
By David Graeber for ROAR Magazine. So hundreds of thousands suddenly showed up. I mean, we had what — like 800 occupations at peak? Then of course came the evictions and they realize, “oh, I guess we couldn’t after all.” And after that the repression became extremely brutal and the media coverage also shifted to be just completely one-sided. But all that was really just back to normal. So the question is, why was there any sympathetic media coverage at all in those first few months? Why was there this little bubble of democracy? I think in retrospect it’s easy to see: there was a fraction of the establishment, basically the left of the Democratic Party, that thought that we were going to become their version of the Tea Party. That is, a grassroots movement that would make a lot of anti-establishment noises but ultimately play the game of raising money, running candidates again. They tried to infiltrate the media teams, set up tacit leadership structures… But eventually they figured out we were really serious. If our main complaint was that the US political system had turned into a system of legalized bribery, no, we weren’t going to join the system and try to see if we could raise enough bribes ourselves to run candidates and change that from within. Suddenly the curtain went down.
By Alexa Clay for Nation of Change. If markets and industrial production have become separated from society and community, the task now seems to be figuring out how to envelop production within community. Localizing production in community might lead to a certain sacrifice of market efficiency, but would also offer greater flexibility and enhanced quality of life, and would strengthen social ties and community resilience. Ultimately, to reimagine production, we have a variety of models to choose from. Culture is no longer contingent on particular ethnographic contexts. Rather, practices from indigenous peoples, protest movements, entrepreneurial startup hubs, intentional communities, and even religious traditions require remixing by emergent forms of community around the world. While this remixing might feel like a consumerist “pick and choose” approach, it’s also one of the quickest pathways I’ve identified for accelerating social change and building more resilient local economies and communities. Designing community around cultural hybridity gives us a much broader diversity from which to organize ourselves and foster a greater sense of belonging for very different types of people.
By John Eggerton for Broadcasting & Cable – A former Green Party candidate and Occupy FCC activist is seeking to get third party candidates into the televised presidential debates and has called on the Republican and Democratic candidates to push for inclusion, suggesting there could be an “Occupy Debates” protest targeting media, sponsors and candidates if the criteria for participation are not changed. The first of three presidential debates, organized by the Commission on Presidential Debates, is scheduled for Sept. 26, 2016, at Hoffstra University in Hempstead, New York. T
By Akshat Tewary for Common Dreams – At Occupy Wall Street rallies in New York’s Zuccotti Park back in September 2011, Akshat Tewary noticed that many protesters were calling for the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act, the Depression-era law that separated investment and commercial banking. As an administrative lawyer, Tewary knew that financial regulators are required to consider input from the public. To make sure these regulators heard the views of Wall Street critics – not just financial industry boosters — he helped organize a loose group of protestors under the name “Occupy the SEC.”
By Desiree Hellegers for Counter Punch – On Sunday, May 15, more than a hundred climate change kayaktivists took to the waters of Padilla Bay in Anacortes, Washington, risking arrest to land on the banks of the Tesoro oil refinery. In the shadow of the refinery smoke stacks, they unfurled banners calling attention to the potentially lethal risks that fossil fuel workers confront each day on the job. “Seven Dead, No More Casualties, Tesoro Explosion April 2, 2010” read one banner focused on Tesoro’s checkered workplace safety record.