Occupy Irvine ( Alyssa Hunter/Lariat)
Since early September the Occupy Wall Street movement gained an extreme following and sub-movements, some reaching as far as Orange County.
Occupy Wall Street is a people-powered movement that began on September 17, 2011 in Liberty Square in Manhattan’s Financial District, and has spread to over 100 cities in the United States and actions in over 1,500 cities globally, according to the website occupywallst.org.
However, major news networks didn’t begin to cover the event until nearly a month later. Once viral videos of protests and other events hit the Internet, the world seemed to start paying attention. One video shows protesters attacked with pepper spray, even when they were behind a line of police officers.
The subject of protest is based on the issue the greed and corruption of the one percent of society. Thus, Wall Street being the center of commerce in the known world, it is also the epicenter of the protests, according to http://occupywallst.org.
Representing the movement is a white mask with rosy cheeks, a pencil moustache and beard, copied from the comic book and movie “V for Vendetta.” The mask symbolizes the ideals of historic revolutionary Guy Fawkes.
Fawkes is a famous symbol for civilian unrest, as he planned to destroy the British Parliament in the early 17th century because he believed its corruption needed to be wiped out. He was arrested and hanged, but Fawkes legacy of civil unrest remained alive well into the future.
Currently the mask is used in posters and other media.
The movement’s website says the movement has no clear leadership, yet members have one thing in common–they are “the other 99%,” representing people of all races and creeds.
“I think it’s a good idea because the whole protest is unifying and getting everybody on the same page and having a big objection,” said Anthony Marquina, 20, anthropology. “Then we’ll see real progression as a whole.”
While many people support the Occupy movement, some people question what the movement can actually accomplish.
“I think that in order to achieve their goal, they need to have a direct objective,” said Alex Mappes, 27, education. “I’m for it and all, but the main goal seems too unclear.”
Using the new protest tactic known as Arab Spring, the Occupy movement has been in full force for more than three months. Arab Spring is a tactic used earlier 2010 with the political uprisings in countries in the Middle East.
The tactic uses social media to organize followers and raise awareness of the Occupy Wall Street objective.
While these instances of civil unrest are happening, many political figures are willing to condemn the actions of a movement that speaks for “the other 99%.”
Majority leader Representative Eric Cantor called the multiple movements “mobs” and said that “they are pitting Americans against Americans,” according to the Huffington Post.
Occupy Wall Street is not just limited to New York with arrests at local protests in Irvine and Santa Ana.
( Alyssa Hunter/Lariat)