History of Occupy: Everything You Need to Know
For those of you who were not in college or high school during the occupy movement, you may not remember much about the protest apart from the name itself.
For me, I’ll never forget the reports coming out of Davis about an officer spraying students who were non-violently protesting in the face with mace.
While the Occupy movement seemed to have died out after the early 2010s, the spirit of the Occupy movement has taken on different forms in different protests all over the world. This global phenomenon is far from dead; it’s just taken on new life in new protests with new people under new slogans and names.
So what was the Occupy movement? Was it just a bunch of college kids throwing a fit? What were they fighting for? Well, I have the answers for you here. Read on to find out just exactly what the Occupy movement stood for.
What was Occupy?
Occupy was a progressive socio-political movement that started in September of 2011. Inequality weighs heavily on the oppressed, so the so-called 99% decided to do something about it.
People grew tired of seeing money influence legislative decisions and decided that they wanted to see banks and lobbyists act more morally. They also were appalled at how the top 1% of earners’ income continued to double (and even triple) over the years while the middle class’ income only raised a measly 40% (which isn’t a lot while billionaires’ income is increasing by over 200%).
The occupy movement believed that because of the economic imbalance there was no such thing as equality and no such thing as a democracy because of how money was being used to manipulate the system.
What were their strategies?
The occupy movement was a movement dedicated to non-violence. They knew that if they got violent that their actions would hurt their message, so – for lack of a better term – they kept their hands to themselves.
Their strategies were literally to occupy spaces. So that’s what they did. After encouragement from Anonymous, which told their followers to “flood lower Manhattan and Occupy Wallstreet,” people did just that. They swarmed areas (including Wallstreet, college campuses, and state capitals) and set up camp.
They used social media to spread their message, which allowed the movement to spread overseas and into other countries who demanded the same action of their governments.
What did they want?
When it comes down to it, Occupy wanted a lot of things. Wallstreet’s goals were different than the goals of people sitting in on their college campuses. But the core goal of the movement was for political and social equality which they believed was impossible with the income imbalance that existed between the top 1% of earners and everyone else.
Those involved in the protest pushed to keep money out of politics and demanded laws that would prevent companies and wealthy individuals from committing tax evasion.
They also pushed for a Robin Hood tax which would tax the rich at a higher percentage than people in lower income brackets.
While the cries of “Occupy everything!” have since quieted, the people have not been defeated. We just march under different flags now. The movement is still alive.