The Washington Post ran a story on Wednesday, “Occupy Wall Street just won.” With the 2016 Presidential campaign heating up, the article claims Occupy just won because the discussion of the 99% is the center of this election cycle.
Our victory is not new or recent; the media has refused to credit Occupy with the numerous conversations that began with the 2011 Occupy Movement. The public that didn’t pay attention then is realizing that what we were talking about had merit, and maybe they should have listened.
Zuccotti Park, September 18, 2011. Photo by David Shankbone (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
The media back in 2011 wanted to cover the Occupy story the same way they covered everything: show up, interview 4 to 8 people, shoot some film and head back to the office. They made the story about tents and parks, about homeless hippies and jobless layabouts. Instead of listening to what the real message was, they did the old reliable trick of pleasing the editors by finding the strangest, most unusual person and ask them questions until they can’t answer one with articulation, and that’s what makes the news.
My first visit to Occupy in 2011 was quite different than what the press told me I would find. There were college professors, doctors, lawyers, retired teachers, people from all walks of life. The conversations that were taking place were the most interesting. I wasn’t sure about Monsanto, and I didn’t know much about GMOs. I heard a lot about “People Over Profits,” Banks got bailed out, we got sold out,” “Who’s streets? Our streets!,” and a multitude of messages about wages, inequality, discrimination, corporate dominance, women’s rights and yes, even anti-war sentiments.
The heavy-handed response from local police in each encampment then became the focus of any news coverage. Gone were questions about why we were there, what we wanted, and why we felt change was mandatory. Any gaining public support was quickly destroyed with the media showing only the worst, not the good parts, of the fracturing camps. Continue reading