Historical Context “ There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious - make you so sick at heart - that you can’t take part. You can’t even passively take part. And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.” -Mario Savio Student, 1964
Occupation Right Here All Over OccupyWallStreet.org
Who Could’ve Known?
#Occupy The Law Dec. 2, 2011 - Suffolk County Superior Court Protestors are allowed to stay in Dewey Square at least until December 15 while the judge reviews testimony and legal precedent pertaining to laws barring protestors’ eviction from public areas. Nov. 30, 2011 - OCCUPY BOSTON Boston Fire Marshal compares cigarette butts and plastic tarps to napalm, and urged Suffolk Superior Court Judge Frances McIntyre to allow eviction of protestors from Dewey Square due to safety concerns. Nov. 16, 2011 - MAYOR’S OFFICE, NEW YORK, NY Mayor Bloomberg stated that the “media blackout” was issued to “protect members of the press” and to “prevent a situation from getting worse”. When one journalist said “I’m press,” a NYPD officer responded “Not tonight.” Nov. 15, 2011 - OCCUPY WALLSTREET The NYPD launched a raid on protestors in Zucotti Park on orders from NY Mayor Bloomberg. Journalists took to Twitter saying that police were barring them from reporting on police actions. Dec. 1, 2011 - MAYOR’S OFFICE, NEW YORK, NY FreePress delivered a petition containing more than 40,000 signatures to Mayor Michael Bloomberg calling on him to protect the protesters’ First Amendment rights and to protect journalists covering the Occupy Movement. Nov. 30, 2011 - OCCUPY WALLSTREET Despite orders from NY Police Commissioner Ray Kelly not to “unreasonably interfere with media access during news coverage,” protestors were restricted to a so-called “free-speech z one” f ar from areas to which journalists were allowed access during a Midtown fund raiser for President Obama. Dec. 1, 2011 - COUNTY COURT, RICHLAND S.C. Charges dropped against the 19. Lawsuit moved to federal court. Temporary restraining order is extended for 15 days. Nov. 16, 2011 - OCCUPY COLUMBIA Gov. Nikki Haley imposes a 6 p.m. curfew on State House protests; 19 arrested for trespassing.
Opposition: POTUS Candidate “ Don't blame Wall Street, don't blame the big banks, if you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself!” -Herman Cain October 5, 2011
Opposition: TV Personality “ So all these people, take a shower and they can get a job if they went to college. That's all.” “ They’re jobless because they don’t want to work… They won’t work for the corporate man.” -Bill O’Reilly October 4, 2011
Opposition: Politician “ [Occupy] is a pretty good symptom of how much the left has collapsed as a moral system in this country and why you need to reassert something as simple as saying to them: ‘Go get a job, right after you take a bath’.” -Newt Gingrich November 19, 2011
Opposition: Mayor “ [Occupy is] taking the jobs away from people working in this city… 'cause none of this is good for tourism.” “ In this day and age, the number of people there grows and shrinks dramatically depending on whether there is something on YouTube” -Michael Bloomberg October 7, 2011
Support: Mayor “ They're in one controlled park. If you were to go one block away from the park, you'd never know it (the protest) exists. It's just literally—just one block away—there's just nothing, literally.” "In some sense it is good for tourism… it’s a tourist attraction." -Michael Bloomberg October 24, 2011
Support: Congress “ I support the message to the establishment, whether it's Wall Street or the political establishment and the rest, that change has to happen.” “ We cannot continue in a way this is not relevant to their lives.” -Nancy Pelosi October 9, 2011
Support: President “ People are frustrated and that frustration has expressed itself… in Occupy Wall Street. I do think that what this signals is that people in leadership, whether it’s corporate leadership, leaders in the banks, leaders in Washington, everybody needs to understand that the American people feel like nobody is looking out for them rig ht now.” -Barack Obama October 25, 2011
Support: Federal Reserve “ They blame… the financial sector for getting us into this mess. They’re dissatisfied with policy response here in Washington. …I can’t blame them, certainly 9% unemployment and very slow growth is not a good situation. That’s what they’re protesting.” -Ben Bernanke October 25, 2011
Support: Media “ The protests, though, are more than a youth uprising… “ They are exactly right when they say that the financial sector, with regulators and elected officials in collusion, inflated and profited from a credit bubble that burst, costing millio ns of Americans their jobs, i n c o mes, savings and ho m e eq ui t y.” - The New York Times O c t o b er 8, 2011
Conclusion: Discredit The primary method of discrediting the Occupy movement is derision. Detractors refer to protestors as unwashed, unmotivated, unclear, and unhappy in general. If they’re dissatisfied, it’s not because there’s a legitimate complaint; they just ‘haven’t worked hard enough.’
Conclusion: Disparage This is the only method of discrediting the movement because the opposition can’t argue the merits. They cannot argue against objections to corporate greed, a dismal economy, unprecedented student and consumer debt and rampant, unregulated corporate and financial sector greed. If Occupy cynics afford legitimacy to the participants in the movement, they’re no longer the “far-left loonies” or “hippies” or loiterers with nothing better to do and nowhere to go. They can’t be dismissed as a group whose last mo vement was “Occupy Mom’s Basement.”
Conclusion: Discourse It’s worth noting, however, that the protest isn’t disappearing. In fact, as the movement continues, it’s gaining support from celebrities, journalists, and politicians. The fact that this is an American right is gaining acceptance and support. Even those who aren’t actively uninvolved are awakening to the First Amendment applications to this ongoing chapter of American history that is being written day by day.
Sources DC Douglas’ “Why #OccupyWallStreet? 4 Reasons.” (2011). Retrieved from http://bit. ly/vWkDOi Occupy Wall Street: A protest timeline. (2011, October 7). The Week. Retrieved November 21, 2011, from http://bit.ly/uwCs1I Protesters Against Wall Street. (2011, October 8).The New York Times. Retrieved from http://nyti.ms/sNm0El The Occupy Movement Stats & Figures, What Are Your Views? (2011). Retrieved from http://bit.ly/rFYJVZ Zarroli, Jim. (2011, October 04). [Interview with Jim Zarroli for All Things Considered]. Jim Zarroli: Fed Chief Testifies On Capitol Hill Retrieved November 18, 20011, from NPR Web site: http://n.pr/rTGYQ2