by Rahael Gupta, ’12
Snow is falling in New York City. The NYPD forcefully cleared Zucotti Park last week. Protests sites all over the country have seen instances of violence and crime. The Occupy Movement is reaching a crossroads.
An impressive number of people have taken to the streets in the Movement’s name. Yet it remains to be seen how effective Occupy will actually be, with regard to driving the real structural change necessary to mitigate the recent surge in income inequality. Currently, protesters have organized themselves in a nonhierarchical fashion. They are diametrically opposed to involvement in electoral politics, and to traditional methods of effecting change.
This stance has served the movement well, because there is no figurehead for the police to negotiate with and for the media to berate with tough questions. Protesters rightly argue that their rejection of a vertical power structure and unspecific demands have allowed their following to become so large. It is appropriate at this time, however, to consider how the movement needs to further develop, such that it truly has teeth and is a real movement, as opposed to a string of heated protests. Continue reading