By Henry Greenﬁeld
On Oct. 25, activist groups that helped organize the Egyptian protests earlier this year endorsed the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations currently taking place in New York City.
Protesters have camped at Liberty Plaza in Manhattan’s ﬁnancial district since Sept. 17. The Canadian magazine “Adbusters” initiated the protests. Back in July, “Adbusters” urged readers to occupy Wall Street in September. Organizations like New Yorkers Against Budget Cuts and Anonymous, a “hacktivist” online community, quickly lent their support, also demanding protests on Wall Street. Since then, the movement has grown and decentralized, but original players are still aﬃliated. When a video of a NYPD oﬃcer macing a protester was posted on YouTube, Anonymous threatened the NYPD, “If we hear of brutality in the next 36 hours then we will take you down from the Internet as you have taken the protesters’ voices from the airwaves.”
Occupy Wall Street does not have oﬃcial leadership. Instead, protesters vote in collective meetings, which members call the New York City General Assembly. Occupy Wall Street also does not have an oﬃcial list of demands. According to critics, this betrays a lack of focus and substance within the movement.
In an opinion piece for “The New York Times,” Ginia Bellafante wrote that the demonstrations “pantomimed progressivism rather than practicing it knowledgably [sic].” Although there are no oﬃcial demands, most protesters call for more regulations on companies, speciﬁcally regulations that would monitor their political inﬂuence and less economic inequity in America.
Similar movements have organized across the country and Occupy Wall Street has widespread support. In addition to activist groups, unions like the Transit Workers Union of America, the Service Employees International Union and the Industrial Workers of the World have endorsed the demonstrations.
Many of the protesters are young college grads, a demographic especially aﬀected by the ongoing recession. According to “New York Magazine,” “Nearly 14 percent of college graduates from the classes of 2006 through 2010 can’t ﬁnd full-time work. Overall 55.3 percent of people ages 16 to 29 have jobs and almost a quarter more people ages 25 to 34 are living with their parents than at the beginning of the recession [sic].”