Occupy Wall Street - An Anti-Capitalist Movement?

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Case Code : ECON037
Case Length : 17 Pages
Period : -
Pub. Date : 2012
Teaching Note :Not Available
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The year 2011 saw popular protests by citizens, critical of the government in their respective countries. The 'Arab Spring'1 that began in Tunisia led to uprisings in Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Libya, and other Arab countries. Inspired by the Arab Spring, popular movements known as the "indignant" began in Spain at Puerta del Sol Square2 and in Greece at Syntagma Square3 in May 2011. The protestors raised their voices against the growing influence of powerful financial institutions and the deepening economic crisis. Inspired by the Arab Spring and the indignant movement, the Occupy Wall Street Movement began in the US-

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on September 17, 2011, at Liberty Square in Manhattan's Financial District. The movement protested against the inequalities in the economic system4. Encamped at the Zuccotti park, a privately owned park, in Lower Manhattan, the protestors held demonstrations against what they described as "corporate greed" and income inequality in the US. They raised the slogan "we are the 99 percent,"5 which referred to the economic disparity and discontent against the most serious contradictions in the US such as poverty, unemployment, social inequality, foreign wars, students' inability to pay for their tuitions, the government bailouts for financial institutions, and the huge bonuses granted to Wall Street corporate executives.

The traditional media in America downplayed the significance of the OWS protest. The New York Post described the protest as a futile idea, the New York Daily News reported that the protest had merely resulted in shutting down Brooklyn Bridge rather than in occupying Wall Street. Several political leaders too criticized the movement. The Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg (Bloomberg), expressed sympathy with the protestors, but downplayed the movement by commenting that it was an opportunity for a group of protestors to complain or protest or do whatever they wanted.6 The mayor also had protestors forcibly evicted from Zuccotti Park. The New York Police Department arrested over 300 protestors and also imposed a media blockout as they evicted protestors from Zuccotti Park.7

Introduction Contd... - Next Page>>

1] The revolutionary movement occurred in the Arab countries.
2] Puerta del Sol square is in Madrid, Spain
3] Syntagma Square is in Athens, Greece
4] Joanna Walters, "Occupy America: Protests against Wall Street and inequality hit 70 cities," www.guardian.co.uk, October 08, 2011
5] John Christofferson, "We are 99 percent , chosen as year's top quote," Associated Press, www.ap.org, December 18, 2011
6] Simon McCormack, "Mayor Bloomberg Downplays Occupy Wall Street's 'Day Of Action'," www. huffingtonpost.com, 18 November 2011
7] Domini Rushe, "Occupy Wall Street: NPYD attempt media blackout at Zuccotti Park," www.guardian.co.uk, November 15, 2011.

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