Occupy changed the national conversation and inspired a whole new generation of activists. Now, two years in, we are starting to see the extent of Occupy’s influence beyond the realm of media discourse – for instance, in the way laws new and old are being drafted and the way elections are panning out. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
More importantly, some of the most vital, radical new campaigns throughout the country have been launched with key participation by Occupy-related activists. Here are just a few of the innovative and tangible ways the Occupy Generation is making an impact, nationwide:
1. Organizing around every issue under the sun, takes off!
We won’t take an ounce of credit for the Idle No More (indigenous rights), or Dream Defenders (racial justice), or climate justice movements. But we will take credit for the way we’ve lent legitimacy and attention to radical tactics and demands that were formerly too taboo to garner public support. Radicalism is the new normal.
2. Abolishing a ton of debt.
In the past two months alone, Strike Debt’s Rolling Jubilee has collected and abolished $14.7 million in debt, as a means of raising awareness about the personal debt crisis, and a step towards building a debt resistance movement.
3. Workers are taking courage, nationwide.
Hitherto unorganized workforces in the world of fast food and big box chains, have rolled out unprecedented direct action campaigns all over the country, with direct inspiration from Occupy. In New York City, Occupy activists played a persistent role in several campaigns that saw success - such as that of the Hot and Crusty workers, who won a union after their Occupy Bakery campaign. The issue of wage fairness is back on the table.
4. Keeping people in their homes.
Occupy Homes has launched over 350 housing campaigns across the country, and won more than a few groundbreaking victories along the way.
5. Getting under the S.E.C.'s skin.
Hmmmm, did Occupy the SEC make just a wee little impression on the Volcker Rule? Our influence on the Dodd-Frank Act – and the rule which originally aspired to banning proprietary trading and ownership of hedge funds by banks – could not be more evident. The latest version of the rule mentioned Occupy Wall Street more than 284 times.
6. Getting ourselves – the 99% that is – educated about the finance sector and its foibles.
The OWS Alternative Banking Working group released Occupy Finance, a 100-page book explaining the financial crisis in layman’s terms on the second anniversary of Occupy, and supplies of the book were quickly exhausted, with a new printing ordered for January 2014.
7. By the homeless, for the homeless.
So, consider this really wildly radical, innovative idea - how about dealing with homelessness...by giving homeless people homes? Crazy, we know. But Occupy Madison has been doing it, building tiny homes, by the homeless and for the homeless.
8. Occupy’s not into electoral politics. And yet…
Quite a few observers have credited Occupy Wall Street with helping Obama and DeBlasio win their elections. These wins do illustrate the degree to which Occupy has had a tangible impact, as seen in the increasingly progressive rhetoric employed by these politicians. (But so far it’s just rhetoric!)
9. Creeping out the 1% more than ever.
In its annual “Top Predictions” report, the respected market analysis firm Gartner – generally associated with the culture of Wall Street – has predicted that “a larger-scale version of an Occupy Wall Street-type movement will begin by the end of 2014, indicating that social unrest will start to foster political debate.”
10. Still here.
You’re still here! We’re still here, getting ready for the next major mobilization. We are so grateful to you for everything you do, every day, in support of the fight for equity for the 99%.