The Occupy movement caught everyone by surprise. When the first tents went up on Wall Street on Sept 17, 2011, the experts and the media soothsayers and sages were befuddled. Who were these people? What did they want? After many years of class warfare waged by the haves, the have-nots, rose from their slumber and said, Enough. The widening gaps in income and wealth had become too acute to ignore. And there was a general sense that the system only works for the powerful and everyone else is left scrambling to survive. Deep-seated anger was epitomized in such slogans as, “We Got Sold Out. They Got Bailed Out.” The encampments, almost all of them razed to the ground by the police, are mostly memories now. But what was the impact of that kind of protest? What can be learned from Occupy?
Arun Gupta, journalist and activist, was founding editor of The Indypendent newspaper in New York. He’s a regular contributor to Alternet and Z.