Despite claims of a lack of presence in the mainstream media, supporters of the Occupy Wall Street movement said it is still moving forward.
“It’s hard to continue the physical occupation because of the weather,” said junior Dana Fitzpatrick, a member of Occupy Geneseo. “I feel like what a lot of people are failing to understand is that the nature of the movement is awareness … The fact that there’s dialogue demonstrates that the movement has been successful.”
According to The New York Times, protestors in Washington, D.C. – who were recently pushed out of their McPherson Park camp – maintain that their demonstration will not be soon forgotten.
“Aided by the target-rich visual environment of encampments, which proved to be irresistible to reporters and photographers, the protest rendered what had been a political argument into a physical declaration,” wrote David Carr in his New York Times blog, referring to the Occupy notion that “you can’t evict an idea whose time has come.”
“A protest that used social media to agitate and organize soon entered the bloodstream of established media, and its rhetorical tools have now become part of standard political discourse,” wrote Carr.
“Nobody’s talking about the deficit, they’re talking about equality … changing the nature of the conversation,” said senior Kate Harlin, a member of Occupy Geneseo.
Hendrik Hertzberg of The New Yorker, however, wrote that the movement is wasting time with its media-frenzied focus and camp out demonstrations.
“Yes, O.W.S. has ‘changed the conversation.’ But talk, however necessary, is cheap,” wrote Hertzberg. “Ultimately, inevitably, the route to real change has to run through politics – the politics of America’s broken, god-awful, immutably two-party electoral system, the only one we have. The Tea Partiers know that. Do the Occupiers?”
According to the Associated Press, a group called the 99 percent Declaration Working Group has established plans to elect delegates from around the country to hold a “national ‘general assembly’” in Philadelphia, Pa. this July as a part of ongoing protests over “corporate excess and economic inequality.”
The working group’s representative, Michael S. Pollok, told the Associated Press that “One man and one woman will be elected from each of the 435 congressional voting districts … and they will meet in Philadelphia to deliberate, draft and ratify a ‘redress of grievances.’”
After the “general assembly” has concluded, representatives will deliver their petition to the White House, Congress and the United States Supreme Court and demand action within 100 days of taking office next year.
Occupy Geneseo also has plans for action; on Feb. 29 they held a general assembly and on March 7 they will be screening Inside Job, a film about the financial crisis and the people on Wall Street who have benefitted from it.
“We’ve been taking a general educational approach,” said Nick Sloper, cofounder of Occupy Geneseo. “We see that there is a lack of knowledge about political and social problems on this campus, so we’ve begun to shed light on those issues.”
Later in the month around March 24 and National Cash Mob Action Day, the Geneseo occupiers will be doing their own “cash mob.”
“It’s when you pick a local business to support and everyone goes at a certain time to buy something that they’d usually buy at a larger corporation,” said Harlin. “Hopefully it will be the first of many.”
“We think this is important because the movement is all above moving away from the corporate influence,” said Sloper. “By buying locally, we can keep the money in the community, and out of the hands of corporations.”