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September 17, 2011

Occupy Wall Street ?!?

"On September 17, we want to see 20,000 people flood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months. Once there, we shall incessantly repeat our one simple demand until Barack Obama capitulates."  Occupy Wall Street Campaign, Adbusters

I cannot believe that I have not heard about this event until today!  Based upon this morning's research, Occupy Wall Street is the name of a protest promoted by "a coalition of groups" including, the Adbuster Media Foundation and the "hactivist" group Anonymous, scheduled for today, Satuday, September 17th.  Based on the live stream feed, the website, and reports, the demonstration is very much underway.

As explained in an Adbuster Blog post, Occupy Wall Street is "all about breaking up that cosy relationship between money and politics and bringing the perpetrators of the financial crash of 2008 to justice," all by means of peaceful protest.  The idea for this gathering of masses started at the "counter-culture magazine," in July with an article and a basic website, both calling for 20,000 people to descend upon the New York Stock Exchange, Hooverville-style, as inspired by specific demonstrations in the Middle East in 2011.  The movement spread when Anonymous released a video urging its supporters to join in.  Since then, the campaign has gathered a following on Twitter and Facebook, and has seen the addition of planned protests in other countries, "including Japan, Israel, Canada and a half-dozen European nations.

According to its website, Adbusters is a "not-for-profit, reader-supported, 120,000-circulation magazine concerned about the erosion of our physical and cultural environments by commercial forces."  The media foundation claims to be a "global network of artists, activists, writers, pranksters, student, educators and entrepreneurs who want to advance the new social activist movement of the information age," with the primary goal "to topple existing power structures and forge a major shift in the way we will live in the 21st century."  The company is based in Vancouver and was started by author, documentarian, and activist, Kalle Lasn.  Other international campaigns launched by the website include "TV Free America" and "Buy Nothing Day."  It only made sense that Anonymous would join in for the latest anti establishment crusade.

Often pictured wearing the Guy Fawkes mask from V for Vendetta, Anonymous seems to be more of a concept than an actual group.  It appears that there is no membership requirements other than hacking skills, a thirst for civil disobedience, and of course, anonymity.  Anonymous has claimed responsibility for a number of high profile cyberwarfare attacks and allegedly has stated that they will take down Facebook on the 5th of November, a date synonymous with their Guy Fawkes logo.  Despite their resume of attacks, Anonymous has received little mainstream press coverage.   

Hopefully this is truly the beginning of a movement in the United States that will lead us from our corporatocracy into a true democracy, but I fear that the majority of the country is still far too divided and acquiescent to join together for such a monumental change, and those with the initiative to lead are not as organized and focused as they need to be.