Occupy Wall Street

Beginning with an occupation of Zuccotti Park in New York City on September 17th, 2011 Occupy Wall Street is a protest movement that has spun off around the globe.  Occupy was inspired in part by the economic collapse in 2008 as well as the bursting of the Housing Bubble, which shattered the illusion of American financial strength.  While OWS deals with social and cultural issues, its main focus is the economy, finance, and politics, especially the role of corporations and the mega-rich in US politics.  Occupy Wall Street mobilizes anarchist-inspired, communal means of organization and consensus-making processes and direct action protest to make positive and meaningful change.

As an alternative to globalization, Occupy Wall Street works as a prefigurative arrangement within a globalized context.  OWS utilizes global telecommunications to organize and create consensus and to spread their message and methods internationally.  Through the use of technology such as telecommunications and social media Occupy Wall Street criticizes neoliberal capitalism and the silencing, exploitation, and alienation it causes.  Although Occupy Wall Street originated in the United States, it has since spread worldwide, as its criticisms can be empathized with by any community affected by globalized neoliberalism.  The Occupiers themselves embody democratic, non-hierarchical, and consensus-based decision making policy, showing the possible effectiveness of true democratic politics.  These consensus-baked decision making processes give voice to those traditionally left out of hegemonic dialogues, such as the inhabitants of the “Third World,” the poorest of the poor, racial minorities, women, indigenous peoples and communities, queer and trans peoples.  Ultimately, Occupy Wall Street allows a possible future, an alternative, to the situation caused by globalized neoliberalism on both local and systemic levels.


July 13, 2011
Canadian magazine Adbusters calls for an occupation of Wall Street on September 17, 2011.
August 23
Hactivist group Anonymous expresses support of the proposed occupation of Wall Street.
Sept. 17
Occupy Wall Street formally begins when around 1,000 people create an encampment in Zuccotti Park after marching on Wall Street.
October 1
Around 700 Occupy Wall Street proterstors are arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge, allegedly funneled there by the NYC police.  Event is covered widely by the news, and begins more intensive coverage of the Occupy protest.
October 6
Mass national popular support of the Occupy movement shown in a march of around 4,000 people in Portland Oregon and other protests and encampments happening around the country.
October 13
The company that owns Zuccotti park, Brookfield, announces that it would evict the Zuccotti encampment for a cleaning of the space, which it does not enforce.
November 15
20 OWS protesters arrested in Oakland, California
November 15
Early in the morning the NYC police begin evicting the Occupy encampment in Zuccotti.  Eviction was due to Mayor Bloomberg asserting that the protesters and their encampment  infringed on public access to the Park.
November 19
Students at the University of California, Davis are pepper sprayed by a campus police officer.

Here are a few alternative timelines.  The first is an infographic found on the Slate website that offers a great visual reference to the early events of Occupy Wall Street, particularly focusing on the Zuccotti Park encampment in New York City.  The second is the Wikipedia timeline entry for Occupy Wall Street which, although user generated, offers a very detailed and comprehensive history of Occupy Wall Street including a fairly thorough coverage of the movement nationally and abroad.

Infographic timeline of Occupy Wall Street – Graphic by Jenny Livengood:
Wikipedia timeline: