Occupy Wall Street

Occupy

Things seem to have gone quiet on the Occupy front these days. I’m wondering if we will hear more from them as we move towards spring.

I read this article over the Christmas break and it’s an interesting premise. The organizers of Occupy are creating their own social network to organize the movement and because they don’t trust Facebook. It’s about time Occupy decided to use social networks to help solidify the movement and further organize itself.

Well I shouldn’t be that harsh because “Social media has played a central role in the Occupy movement: Twitter hashtags – such as the recent #occupytheports – have helped disparate groups co-ordinate. YouTube videos have exposed instances of violence against dissidents. Facebook has been a place to regroup, especially as Occupy encampments were torn down.”

I must admit I had viewed the Occupy movement with some suspicion. I applaud the whole premise behind it but without a leader to organize means such a movement could be relegated to the fringes of our society. They don’t have a Gandhi, a Martin Luther King or even John Lennon for that matter. I guess social media is as good a choice as any and if it helps the movement but can it replace a strong and charismatic leader? Only time will tell.

I don’t have an issue with the premise behind occupy either in that people are organizing what seems to be a political movement. Political protest is an important part of any free and democratic society and we North Americans wouldn’t have the society we have protesting or objecting to rule under the British Empire.

According to activist Jérôme E. Roos this new platform is “What we need, at this point, in that allows us to radically democratize our global organizational efforts.” Radically democratize yes but formally organize even more importantly.

The proposed may look like the following and would offer amongst other things:

•    An interactive map that lists all ongoing assemblies around the world.

•    A search option allowing users to find squares, events and working groups.

•    An aggregated news feed that lists the most relevant ‘status updates’ shared by the various assemblies.

•    Individual ‘pages’ for each local square/assembly.

•    A public and private messaging system.

•    A way to pose ideas and votes on proposals.

Organizers of Occupy are on the right track and social media seems like the ideal place to take the battle. Perhaps in order to gain support on the ground, they need to take it online first if there is hope to continue the movement and more importantly formal organize their efforts so we can take them more seriously.

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