The Occupy Wall Street protests, which this week received a boost from pledges of support of local unions, are expanding not only in the number of participants but in geographical scope as well: Demonstrators in Boston, Denver, Chicago, Santa Fe, Lexington, Kentucky, and now three big California cities, San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles, have all joined or are preparing to join the movement. A website has been set up calling for Floridians to occupy cities across the state on November 5, “Guy Fawkes Day.” In total, there have been online calls to action in over 77 cities across the United States, most of them slated to occur within the first week of October.
And the call for revolution is expanding beyond well beyond the U.S. borders: On Friday, a Twitter account for Anonymous South Africa posted a call to Occupy the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. Another website has been set up for an Occupy Manchester, UK event on October 2. It already boasts the support of the Manchester University Students Union, Manchester Metropolitan University, Education Activists Network, Manchester University Staff Against Cuts and other local labor organizations.
The Occupy Wall Street Facebook page lists planned protests in another 10 cities around the globe, including in Madrid, London and Amsterdam.
Of course, it remains to be seen just how many people attend each of these events or if they continue to grow following the model of the Occupy Wall Street protests, which began on September 17 with around 3,000 people, fell back down to 200 to 300 people for several weeks, and have in recent days attracted a much larger following.
Many of the events around the globe are being coordinated and listed by the website Occupy Together, which says that its creators were inspired by the Occupy Wall Street events and wanted to create a “hub for all of the events springing up across the country in solidarity” with the movement. As they write on the website:
“This is as grassroots as it gets. It started out with two of us, sitting around, watching the news feeds and information roll out and wanting to help in some way. Since our incarnation, we have had more volunteers begin to help with the site and overall maintenance…We are just a group of volunteers trying hard to get the most accurate and up-to-date information about these actions posted as quickly as possible.”
The Facebook page for the group boasts over 19,000 “Likes” at the time of this posting. TPM Idea Lab has reached out to the creators and will update when we receive a response.
Although Facebook and Twitter and internet relay chat have played intergal roles in spreading the word of the protests, so too have a variety of other communication channels ranging across the spectrum of technological sophistication.
The anonymous (lower case “a”), mobile phone only Twitter-like application “Vibe,” launched before the protests in August by Hazem Sayed has really taken off with the Occupy Wall Street protesters because you can anonymously share your updates with only those nearby you geographically, and control how long your post remains online, as BetaBeat points out.
Zayed also attended the Occupy Wall Street protests himself to see his app in action, telling The New York Daily News: “The Internet, when it started, had this promise of anonymity…That’s largely lost because almost everything is now connected to Facebook or Twitter - even magazines and newspapers and websites use that as a mechanism to sign-in in order to leave comments.”
And in a merging of technologies old and new, infamous poignant prankster duo “The Yes Men,” previously best-known for posing as representatives from such companies as ExxonMobil and government agencies including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to critique their actions, launched a project on Kickstarter to raise money to publish an Occupy Wall Street Journal newspaper.
The print-run is set for 50,000 copies for its inaugural issue. At the time of this posting, the project has already surpassed its requested $12,000 donations goal by about $5,000, and there are still nine days left to donate to the project.
With all of this activity, the movement seems to be on the verge of actually fulfilling the protesters wildest dreams of getting 20,000 people to protest in front of Wall Street and expand across the U.S. Occupy Wall Street was initiated by Canadian magazine Adbusters in July and received its first big online boost from the hacktivist group Anonymous in August.