Difference between Occupy movement and Arab Spring

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Arab Spring was a number of nation-wide movements of such magnitude that the demonstrators forced a change in government. The Occupy movement never believed it was possible to mobilize enough people to provoke a fundamental crisis of this kind.

The Occupy movement is now in danger of being picked apart by the state apparatuses which it cannot challenge outright. To counter this danger it must adopt a tactical strategy which recognizes that the strength of the movement lies in the manner in which it was established, that is as a challenge to the power of the state.

The Occupy movement is not a form of "demonstration" as the state wishes to define it, for its own purposes of then deligitimizing the occupation. If the state can portray the occupation as having been taken over by unprincipled lawless elements, drug addicts, etc., then it can argue that the occupiers have no recourse to First Amendment rights. While the freedom to assemble is the basis upon which the occupy movement asserts its right to petition the government for redress of grievances, the viability of the movement depends upon whether it can organize around an agenda. The Occupy movement formed out of the recognition that demonstrations have no effect upon our elected representatives and the bureaucratic state-capitalist institutions which they serve. Consider the following excerpts from a Sept. 2008 Democracy Now discussion about the bailouts:

Quote :

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Ralph Nader, something that isn’t vague are the emerging rallies against Wall Street bailout that are being held today in over a hundred cities. In Washington, protesters are gathering outside the Treasury Department at 4:00 p.m. Here in New York, a protest is set for 4:00 p.m., as well, in Bowling Green Park near Wall Street.


ARUN GUPTA: Well, it started, as you know—the idea is like gather in Wall Street, and I thought maybe it would be a dozen people, and we’d be standing on the sidewalk. But now it looks like there will be hundreds, even possibly thousands. And then, True Majority picked up the call, along with United for Peace and Justice, one of the main antiwar groups, and they said, you know, “Let’s have these day of actions around the country.”

So, all over the country now, there are going to be protests in various financial centers. I’ve been getting emails from people, you know, from every single corner of the United States, asking, you know, “What’s going on? How do we plug in?” And so, we’re just trying to point them to these websites. It’s like, look, here’s a list of the protests, or you can plan your own event. And this is really coming from across the political spectrum.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And as you said in your email, this is leaderless, and no main organization is in charge or no individual is in charge. Everyone is just participating themselves.

ARUN GUPTA: That’s what’s great about it. You know, when people say, “Who’s organizing this?” I say, “No one and everyone.” This was just a call to self-organize. And, you know, it’s like I’m just going to show up there as just one more person who’s against this ridiculous bailout, this giveaway to the rich.


Ralph Nader: ...Mr. Gupta is right in the sense that this is leaderless, but it’s got to be more than just a rally of protests. It’s got to demand something. It’s got to be focused. Otherwise, it will fritter away. We’ve had rallies on Wall Street. It’s a great place to have rallies. You can really congregate a lot of people, and the Wall Street guys look out the window, and they can see the people are coming. ...

The strategy of the Occupy movement should be to coordinate escalating non-violent civil disobedience with the purpose of drawing attention to the message which the occupiers are expressing through use of their First-Amendment rights. End the filibuster, nationalize the Fed., end corporate personhood, etc.

nimblecivet's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

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