Tuesday marks the two-year anniversary of the start of Occupy Wall Street, which captured the world’s attention in late 2011 with thousands of protest encampments.
NATHAN SCHNEIDER, nathan at wagingnonviolence.org
Schneider was the first reporter to cover the planning meetings that led to OWS and wrote about it for Harper’s Magazine, the Nation, and the New York Times, as well as in his new book out this month, Thank You, Anarchy: Notes from the Occupy Apocalypse. He said today, “Occupy has been both a surprising success and a disappointing failure. It succeeded in drastically expanding the political imagination of a generation, but doing so set up expectations that could never be reached in such a short time. Now, the remnants of the movement are dispersed and frustrated, though many are continuing on in struggles against global warming, worker abuse, discriminatory policing and more.” In the wake of mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio’s primary victory in New York last week, Schneider adds, “The success of de Blasio’s campaign of populism and civil disobedience would be unthinkable in Bloomberg’s New York without Occupy, yet this connection has hardly been mentioned. It’s important that we make a particular effort to remember Occupy and other grassroots movements, because otherwise they’ll fall victim to the habit of amnesia that American culture inflicts on its radical past — from the fights that gave us Social Security and basic workplace protections to the true radicalism of the civil rights movement.” Schneider is also editor of the website Waging Nonviolence, and he will have a feature about Occupy appearing this week in The Nation.
PRISCILLA GRIM, priscilla at occupywallst.org, @PriscillaGrim
In the fall of 2011, Grim emerged as one of the key organizers of the Occupy movement because of her skill with social media and her work with the movement’s most popular website, OccupyWallSt.org. Today, she is still confident. Grim says: “Occupy Wall Street started as an idea, emerged through the power of the people, was dismantled by the state through coordinated evictions, and is now bubbling beneath the surface of a world where our communities and workplaces are dominated by a system that puts profits before people and democracy.” A recent post at OccupyWallSt.org, in anticipation of the September 17 anniversary, explains, “As we come together on #S17 it is important that as we oppose the institutions that capitalism has created to oppress us, that we oppose capitalism as well. If we allow ourselves to be held hostage by the symptoms of our disease we will never find our way to the cure. The cure, as we knew and demonstrated two years ago, is revolution.”