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Occupy Movement Marks One Year Anniversary By Not Really Occupying Much Of Anything, But Is The Move
September 17, 2012
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As hard as they've tried, today's protests to mark the one year anniversary of the Occupy Movement haven't got very far.

In New York, hundreds of people showed up on Wall Street to protest corporate greed, poverty and inequality - including one person with a sign that said "10:00 am Action: Storm Wall Street." That didn't happen.


Protesters did manage to block some sidewalks and intersections, but police had blocked off the entrance to Wall St. Anyone who worked there had to show I.D. to get through.

As the CBC's David Common reported, "If you aren't in a suit, [there's] no chance [of] getting past the barricade."

The crowds were a lot smaller this year than last year, when thousands of people launched the movement in the city's streets and parks.

Today, some marchers wore party hats and blew horns to celebrate the movement's birthday. One group sang "Happy Birthday" as they blocked an intersection, while other protesters stopped to write anti-corporate messages on walls and sidewalks.


Police arrested more than 100 people, mostly they say for disorderly conduct.

In this country, protesters in Ottawa marched to Confederation Park, as parliament resumed after the summer break. About 100 people chanted "Stephen Harper's got to go." They were joined by various unions, who were protesting against cuts to public services and job cuts.

Occupy Canada's Facebook page said protests and events were planned for 17 cities across the country. Dozens of cities around the world held rallies as well.

Critics say the Occupy movement hasn't really amounted to much. When it started last year, thousands of people around the world set up tents in parks near financial districts and stayed there for weeks. But over time, the camps were broken up by police and torn down.

Even some people within the Occupy movement have criticized organizers for not having leaders, or specific demands. Others say it's had some success and is part of a long term plan.

The Los Angeles Times has a piece suggesting that it's still difficult to define the impact the movement has had. The article points out that "polls have shown that the public generally supports Occupy's message but not its disruptive tactics. A majority of respondents in one poll this spring said the movement had run its course."

It goes on to say that "Wall Street keeps churning out scandals... Yet, the movement cannot claim any new policy, law or regulation as its own." It also makes the point that "what results from Occupy's demonstrations may not be seen for years."

That's probably true. After all, if President Barack Obama needs more than four years to get the U.S. economy going, the Occupy movement certainly can't change a culture of greed and corporate power in one year.


The Baltimore Sun also has a piece entitled "Occupy Anniversary: The 1 per cent are winning." The article suggests the wealthy have more power than ever, and that the U.S. presidential election campaign proves it.

The article points out that "On the very same day as the one-year anniversary of the first Occupy protest, the Wall Street Journal ran a front-page story about Chicago billionaire Joe Ricketts' plan to spend $10 million of his fortune on advertisements supporting Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and another $2 million on ads supporting GOP congressional candidates. And he's not alone, or even exceptional."

It goes on to say "it is the 1 per cent... who are having the most direct impact on how this year's election unfolds. That is a direct rebuke to the legacy of Occupy -- but perhaps also a call to arms."

Here's a few quotes from today both supporting and criticizing the movement.

"We said a year ago it's a long game. When you look at a one-year-old baby, you don't ask, 'Is that person successful yet?'" - Sasha Wiley Shaw, Occupy Vancouver

"I think they're idiots. They have no agenda. They have yet to come out with a policy statement, and now, who are they disrupting? People who are working, people who are trying to pay a mortgage or put their kids through school." - Robert Nicholson, Wall Street employee

"In my mind, (the occupy movement) didn't set out to accomplish x, y and z. It was about creating a public space where people could gather and have a conversation about the things that need to change." - Mikell Kober, Occupy New York

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