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Social Movement Analysis: the Anatomy of Occupy Wall Street and New Social Movements

Introduction to Occupy Wall Street

In this article, we will discuss occupy wall street and the many social movements that have been inspired by it. We’ll also explore new social movement examples and help you identify if a new social movement is happening near you.

Many people believe occupy wall street was an isolated event, something that can’t be replicated elsewhere. But occupy wall street has created activist networks worldwide connecting different groups fighting for change in their communities. And they’re not just fighting against Wall Street or corporations, but against other injustices such as police brutality and racism too!

Wall street sign in New York with New York Stock Exchange background where occupy wall street happened

The New Wave of Social Movements

Occupy wall street is just one of many new social movements that have emerged over several years. There’s no way we could list every single movement here. Instead, we will focus on some examples from around the world, including Black Lives Matter which recently spread across America thanks to occupying wall street! Although they are not all protesting for similar causes, occupying Wall Street has inspired people to create social movements to fight against injustice and inequality.

A majority of these recent social movements are created by millennials who want change now more than ever before. And whether it’s about fighting racism or police brutality, millions of young adults are standing up for what they believe in despite how dangerous it might be – even though most movements are peaceful protests, there have been some that turned violent.

I’m glad we’re having discussions like this because it opens up opportunities for change around us. After all, occupy wall street made me realize new social movements are happening everywhere – not just in large cities or places you would expect. And occupy wall street is a prime example of how even the most unlikely group can come together and form lasting change that could last for years!

What was Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street was an event that took place from September 17 to October 2011, staged by Occupy movement activists throughout the world as part of a protest against perceived economic and social injustices perpetrated by global financial corporations.

The protests targeted their displeasure toward political corruption, corporate greed, and the influence of corporations on government. This is mainly from the perspective of young people charged with massive student loan debt while unable to find stable employment after college mainly due to said influence on education policy.

Protesters’ slogan, “We are the 99%” refers to income inequality and wealth distribution in the U.S. where approximately one-percent of the population controls nearly half of the country’s total wealth—as evidenced by widening wage gaps between CEOs and their employees, soaring poverty rates (including record child poverty), increasing costs for health care while wages remain stagnant, cost cutting measures resulting in workers’ decreased or fixed pay relative to inflation, etc.

Many occupy protesters were young adults facing unprecedented levels of student loan debt while unable to find stable employment after college mainly due to said influence on education policy.

What Was The Goal of Occupy Wall Street

In addition to criticizing corruption within the U.S financial system, including the Federal Reserve System, which operates without public/government oversight and influences policies allowing banking deregulation, such as the repeal of Glass–Steagall Act. Which was followed by the subprime mortgage crisis and also criticized for its lack of prosecution against financial crimes. Occupy wall street protesters were upset with U.S government policies favoring only private interests.

Interests such as allowing loopholes in tax laws made it possible for companies like General Electric to avoid paying taxes altogether while simultaneously imposing harsh austerity measures on working-class citizens. Including cuts to public services such as education and what they called “corporate welfare” included massive bailouts of Wall Street banks during the 2008–2009 recession at taxpayer expense, costing $700 billion under the Bush administration’s Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP).

How Occupy Wall Street Started

The protests began in New York City on September 17 when over 700 people converged near Wall Street, including hundred protestors sleeping overnight inside a private park, later being forced out by police. The protests quickly grew to hundreds of thousands of participants in other cities worldwide. Some camps became full-fledged encampments—with the Occupy movement developed an increasingly global presence as time progressed.

Occupy Wall Street Timeline of Events

On October 29 (in what became known as “Movement Monday”), protesters participated in events that established occupy’s presence throughout social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook leading up to a mass day of action on November 17. That protest resulted in over 1000 occupy-related arrests across dozens of U.S towns and cities, including Union Square, where 700 people were arrested for sitting down outside a Federal Reserve building along with another 2000+ arrests across New York City.

  • On December 12, occupy wall street announced plans for a massive occupation at the spring training site of the New York Mets baseball team on February 29.
  • In January 2012, occupy wall street announced plans for V-Day “Occupy The Courts” protests to take place in Washington D.C and other cities against U.S Supreme Court rulings allowing unlimited money donations into political campaigns while still maintaining their legal status as tax-exempt organizations; with Occupy groups calling it a legalized form of bribery that ensures only corporate interests will be served by government officials.

The protesters were unable to halt the ruling, which eventually led up to occupy spring training site protest where over 100 people were arrested after refusing police orders to disperse during an act of civil disobedience. Including one occupy protester who was charged with assaulting two officers and resisting arrest after refusing to remove a mask and reportedly flailing his arms.

In 2012 occupy protests continued as occupy groups protested against local banks, Bank of America in particular, and also targeted the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) with over 40 occupy arrests made at the State capital building where ALEC was having its annual meeting. Including an attempt by Occupy protesters who attempted to perform citizen’s arrest on John Arnold—billionaire CEO-turned-alderman of wealth management firm The Brandywine Group, which has donated $500k toward Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter re-election campaign that same year.

  • In November 2014 Occupy Wall Street tweeted “We are winning!” accompanied by graphs showing the progress they’ve achieved since their original 2011 protest.

Unfortunately not much has changed on Wall Street. But here’s the good news: occupy wall street has inspired many people to join social movements near them! So if you’re interested in fighting against injustice and inequality wherever it may be, these recent social movement examples will help give you a better understanding of how occupy wall street started, so maybe one day you can create your own. Or at least support someone else trying to make the world a better place for all people.

When Occupy Social Movements went Global

Occupy movements sparked a global protest movement known collectively as occupy protests, including marches, demonstrations, encampments, and other forms of resistance to social and economic inequality seen in countries around the world.

The Arab Spring: demonstrations and rebellions that began in 2010 and led to the overthrow of several governments in North Africa and the Middle East, such as Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, and Algeria. Various accounts have been attributed to the beginnings of what’s known as the Arab Spring, such as social networking sites or long-standing opposition groups.

The Arab Spring was not just confined to countries within North Africa and the Middle East. Instead, it spread out to Western Asia, Eastern Europe, and other regions, including South America.

List of recent social movements

#FreeTheNipple movement

This social movement has been challenging the strict censorship laws on female breasts in most states of America and many other countries. This law requires women to cover up their nipples by wearing a bra or covering up with a shirt.

#KuToo movement (an abbreviation for “kitsunekko”)

The word translates to “Fox Girl Fever” is attracting global attention. Three female activists created this movement to protest the rigid dress code required for working women and against sexual harassment at work.

They started an online petition and launched a website with over 10,000 signatures to support their cause (Tsujino). They also held protests outside the headquarters of two major corporations Airline ANA Holdings Inc., on March 8, 2019, before they were allowed to meet with company officials (Kamei).

According to these protesters, due to this strict dress code, women are forced to wear high heels and skirts even in office settings such as during meetings with clients.

#MeToo Movement

The Me Too movement is an international movement against sexual abuse and harassment.

It began as a social media hashtag used by sexual assault survivors to encourage others to tell their own stories of sexual harassment or abuse, especially if they had remained silent for years.

Activist Tarana Burke initially used #MeToo upon launching the campaign “me too” in 2006, which aimed at empowering young women of color who were sexually abused, particularly within underprivileged communities.


The walkout movement is a high school student-led protest that was staged to advocate for the federal regulation of the purchase of guns. There were over 3,000 schools across the country as well as outside of America that participated in this protest, with many students walking out during school hours. Over one million children participated in these protests, which occurred on March 14, 2018.


The #womenswave is an international symbol that has been used to represent the social media campaign. This movement is created to highlight the issue of sexual harassment. The movement uses Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+, Tumblr, and more to empower women all over India. One of the most popular hashtags for this campaign is #MeToo India.


Social movements are a powerful way to get people talking about issues that they may have ignored before. They can also bring awareness to a topic or cause for someone who might not even know the problem, its solution(s), and its resolution. The Occupy Wall Street movement was most successful because of its use of social media and other digital platforms like blog posts (like this one), Facebook groups, and Twitter hashtags which helped them grow their following exponentially within days.

I liked many things about the Occupy movement, such as how inclusive it seemed with all different age ranges, races, religions, etcetera involved. However, there were some things I didn’t like, such as when violence erupted between protesters and police officers at the New York City camp.

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