Looming American Spring?

Posted by eszter vajda

Courtesy Savannah Spirit, Occupy Wall Street

Time Magazine recently announced its person of the year: The Protesters. It’s a fitting tribute considering how pockets of protesters sprung like wild mushrooms around the world this year. And it seems we have not seen the last of them.

Deadly clashes continue in places like Cairo, the West Bank, and recently Russian residents have taken to the streets demanding political overhaul.

In the United States, protesters at Occupy Wall Street, Boston, Raleigh and other similar movements around the country have been forced to pack up their tent cities, or downsize a bit.  But just take a  look at the various Occupy web site activities, and its clear the movement is far from being over.

On occupyboston.org there are almost daily calls for action to rally about many causes.  This headline on  December 20th sums it up: “The Boston Occupier needs your help!”

In an Occupy Boston tweet this weekend the group put the question to the public.

“We need actionable things to rally around. Looking forward to next phase of the movement…”

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, in Boston and across the country, there are daily meetings and discussions on a wide range of topics and issues. From social and economic inequality, how to reach out to the public and increase awareness of the movement, to what and how to proceed.

Daniel McCarey, of Occupy Boston, says there are approximately 50 active working groups discussing these issues.

“We are just grounding ourselves, obviously minus the physical space. I think there will be a lot of coalition building over the winter.”

Ed Needham, a Cambridge native, now a spokesperson for the Occupy Wall Street, says these are all public meetings that are meant to keep the movement alive.

“There is no hierarchy in this organization. You have ideas driven by consensus rather than elected officials. It makes for a much more democratic process.”

The Occupy movement has been widely criticized for not having a concise and united message. But what bonds protesters around the country is disdain, anger, and a hunger for change.

Savannah Spirit, who took part in the Occupy Wall Street Movement in Zuccotti Park, says she has never been so deeply involved in a protest before, but this one felt right because of the scope.

“We needed an uprising. In a lot of ways, we need to do things differently. The old ways just don’t work anymore and many people are aware of this, that’s why it’s happening.”

Ben Janos, who is still active in Occupy Boston, says he has been waiting for a movement like this one for 10 years.

“I think one of the many beautiful stories that has come out of Occupy has been the many community organizations that have come out in support of the movement: student groups, Labor Unions, nurses, teachers, religious organizations, etc.”

And this from Mike Kostigen 22, on the OccupyBoston.org web site:

“I have a laundry list of gripes with the state of our country today. The problem is I, as a working class person, have no other method left to have my concerns heard.”

Members I spoke to say the protests have already made a difference by getting people to talk about social inequality.

Ben Janos points out that since the first occupy movement happened on September 17th, on Wall Street, hundreds of so called ‘occupations’ have organically formed across the world.

“We’ve changed not only the national consciousness, but the international consciousness.”

But talk is one thing. Protesters can thank good ol’ Facebook, Twitter, and, of course, email for spreading their message like wild fire and keeping the flames burning even after evictions. But there has not been much action…  by government or business. Perhaps politicians and business people operate at a different, much slower pace, and change may still be on the horizon. Or the message has not been loud and clear enough for them to understand.

Regardless, there is now talk among the Occupy movements of an “American Spring”, named after the Arab Spring earlier this year.

Mc Carey says he is not speaking for the group but “…I think that we see a general call for a strike this spring”.

So while it might look like the Occupy movement is over or in hibernation, this may just be the calm before the storm. A time to mobilize and organize.

It’s not clear what an “American Spring” may look like or how it will manifest. What is clear, is that like their compadres around the world, protesters in the United States are not happy with the status quo. The question is will  the protesters be able to garner enough support, clearly articulate the issues, and present reasonable solutions.

Related posts:

  1. Boston Area College Students Plan Wall St. Protest
  2. Thousands of Occupy Boston Protesters Demand Congress Pass American Jobs Act
  3. New Poll Shows U.S. Public Has Unfavorable Opinion of Both Wall Street and Occupy Wall Street Movement
  4. Occupy Boston Protesters Undaunted by Arrests; Plans to Extend Protest into the Winter
  5. March of the Zombies: Occupy Boston Protesters Parade Through Beacon Hill on Halloween in an Effort to Make Their Voices Heard

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Posted by eszter vajda on Dec 25 2011. Filed under Featured - For home page featured article, General, National, Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

1 Comment for “Looming American Spring?”

  1. Reasonable Solutions

    There are plenty of groups that formed as a result of our American Autumn Occupations… Such as Reasonable Solutions — http://www.RSows.org — let’s keep hope alive, and bring home the change!

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