Written by: Josh Atchley
The Occupy Wall Street movement which began in mid-September of last year drew international attention for its large number of supporters, message challenging financial institutions, and its influence on creating similar protests in cities around America: DC, Oakland, and even good ol’ Springfield, Missouri.
Two months later, the NYPD cracked down on OWS in a daring night raid on Zucotti Park. Many said that the movement would never die out, and that they would simply move on to another location to restart their movement in earnest.
In reality though, ever since that day, the Occupy movement has faded from the media. With the National Defense Authorization Act, the Stop Online Piracy Act, and the Protection of Intellectual Property Act taking the stage, the woes of the Occupy protestors seemed less pressing and relevant than they once had.
However, smaller satellite movements still exist around the country. The one currently receiving the most attention is Occupy Oakland, where accusations of police brutality have been making headlines. Perhaps more resilient than the original OWS protest, it has survived multiple police raids and attempts at shutting the movement down.
Does this mean that the conservative pundits were right in saying that the Occupy movement was a fleeting, temporary thing? Perhaps. The Occupy protests have not been particularly relevant or active as of late, and the issues they were drawing attention to have not been at the forefront of the public eye. I feel as though by not forming a cohesive movement with structure, leadership and goals, they have doomed themselves to irrelevancy. It may be up to Oakland now to decide the future of Occupy, as it is the most active community.
Even if the movement does fade, I believe that the national political awakening it brought to America will not be soon forgotten. The legislative challenges that we have faced head on and defeated since then, most notably SOPA, probably could not have been achieved without the wake-up call from OWS. It’s heartening to see that we Americans are still willing to fight for our freedoms and personal liberties, despite what the government may think.