Occupy wall street is a “leaderless” movement that was started on social media after being inspired by the Arab spring, it started as a catchphrase and became a global movement. A non-hierarchical organization structure has been pursued in the movement and the dominant communication channel of the movement is social media, which is mainly twitter. The rise of occupy Wall Street can be understood basing on the theory of social inequalities. “The desire for action and the desire of the voiceless average citizen to be heard by those in power were present” (Tremayne, 2014). Another factor that contributed to the success of the movement was, the timing of the Occupy street concept, it was fortuitous in that the debate it spurred intersected with and amplified movements already underway or started concurrently online.
The movement has sparked protests in a number of countries because it has put a spotlight on income inequalities. Its focus has been on the skewed sharing of wealth for instance it was claimed that the top who represented 1% of the population owned 35% of the wealth in the US. The movement is responsive to the accumulation of wealth by those in power who are using illegitimate means. “OWS drew on a history of movement activism from which it inherited the ideas and practices that are referred to as anarchist” (Hammond, 2015).
The ideas of OWS can be understood from the theory of social inequalities in the modern world, the theory has been considered as a theory of class struggle between those who have and those who have not. ‘Marxist theory stresses that the capitalist mode of production has formed two antagonistic classes, which are always fighting for survival” (Boatcă, 2015). According to the theory, the rich possess the means of production whereas the poor sell their labor to the rich to continue surviving. Those who have power and wealth use it to continue maintaining the exploitive structure of the society making it hard for the poor to move to another social class. In an ideal society, everyone is supposed to have access to the means of production and social stratification should not exist. The movement was unhappy with the inequalities that exist in the US the world generally. The movement wanted an ideal Marxist society whereby power and wealth is not shared among few people but where everyone has access to the means of production. The ideologies of the proponents of the movement are a true reflection of the Marxist theory; the citizens of the US were tired with the disparities in the income.
Occupy Wall Street is a great movement that is aimed at changing the inequalities that exist in the modern world. The desire for change by the ordinary citizens has greatly contributed to the success of the movement. The income inequalities that do exist in the US and other countries across the world can be understood from the Marxism perspective. The Marxism theory elaborates on the gap between those who have and those who have not and shows how the situation will be in the near future, where we will have an egalitarian society. Future studies and research of online movements should take advantage of the existing ties between different social network platforms that the analysis has not offered. “Occupy wall street actions which were of non violent resistance were often organized around major events taking place in and around New York City and used monthly anniversaries for larger actions” (Welty, 2014).
Boatcă, M. (2015). Global inequalities beyond Occidentalism. Farnham, United Kingdom: Ashgate Publishing Group.
Hammond, J. (2015). The Anarchism of Occupy Wall Street∗. Science & Society, 79(2), 288-313.
Tremayne, M. (2014). Anatomy of Protest in the Digital Era: A Network Analysis of Twitter and Occupy Wall Street. Social Movement Studies, 13(1), 110-126
Welty, E. (2014). Occupy Wall Street as “American Spring”? Peace Review, 26(1), 38-45.