What type of social movement is Occupy Wall St.?

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The OWS movement can be considered as one of the truest patriotic actions one can take -- to assemble and petition for a redress of grievances.  The "grassroots" comments should not be glossed over -- it appears the movement is moving "bottom up" rather than "top down."  The fact that there is no prominent figure "leading" the movement or some politician exploiting it is a good thing.  This is the people, stating their case.

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eNotes consensus seems to be both in favor of OWS and of the opinion that it is a grassroots, spontaneous protest, so I'll play devil's advocate and throw some stuff out for consideration.

This story from The Blaze (news & opinion site, considered conservative) claims that OWS was not only organized from the start, but has roots in the SEIU.

This post from occupywallst.org (unofficial organization site, no real affiliation) make several clear statements about goals, and calls out the lack of real purpose in the protests.This story from NPR (news and commentary, considered center-left) mentions (one of) the origins of the protests at Adbusters.

This story from the Huffington Post (news and opinion site, considered hard-left) talks about the increasing frustration in trying to make progress without rules or leaders.

So there is a lot of information out there. We haven't even covered the individual news stories of events at the protests (violence, arrests, alleged rape, anti-semitism) that might color a person's views. At the moment, the movement seems to be more opportunistic and feel-good rather than a serious attempt to foster change. While politicians have briefly addressed OWS, they have no influence and so are not affecting policy.

We'll see in coming months how serious the protests are, as snows falls and political officials continue to turn a blind eye.

Everything I have read points to Adbusters as the source of the protest, but it seems that others have taken that idea and run with it. In the age of Twitter and other Social Media sites, the barriers to organization are a lot lower than in the past.

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It definitely appears to be a grass roots movement that hasn't supported a particular agenda. I was in New York recently and toured Zucotti Park, every person I spoke to had a different gripe. The one common element I found was a desire to get money out of politics, but there was no consensus on how to achieve that. The protesters seemed to get along with each other, but there was no specific agenda, leader, or tactics I could discern. It had the feeling of a group that was open to anyone with a gripe against corporations or the government, and especially the merger of the two. It seems that like other grass roots movements, it will mutate over time.

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belarafon makes a gooood Devil's advocate. I'm not a sociologist nor historian but it seems to me that OWS is rather similar to the college sit-ins and and mass meetings that defined the early Vietnam war protests, which later took on more organization and structure. The early movement had calls to action across the country, but the calls rang out from college Free Speech areas. The OWS sent its call out over the Internet Free Speech area. If my comparison to early Vietnam protests is valid, then, in the sense that it was not called forth by recognizable organizations devoted to action and reform, it may rightly be called a grassroots movement.

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eNotes consensus seems to be both in favor of OWS and of the opinion that it is a grassroots, spontaneous protest, so I'll play devil's advocate and throw some stuff out for consideration.

This story from The Blaze (news & opinion site, considered conservative) claims that OWS was not only organized from the start, but has roots in the SEIU.

This post from occupywallst.org (unofficial organization site, no real affiliation) make several clear statements about goals, and calls out the lack of real purpose in the protests.This story from NPR (news and commentary, considered center-left) mentions (one of) the origins of the protests at Adbusters.

This story from the Huffington Post (news and opinion site, considered hard-left) talks about the increasing frustration in trying to make progress without rules or leaders.

So there is a lot of information out there. We haven't even covered the individual news stories of events at the protests (violence, arrests, alleged rape, anti-semitism) that might color a person's views. At the moment, the movement seems to be more opportunistic and feel-good rather than a serious attempt to foster change. While politicians have briefly addressed OWS, they have no influence and so are not affecting policy.

We'll see in coming months how serious the protests are, as snows falls and political officials continue to turn a blind eye.

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This amazing movement is growing worldwide. I definitely agree that it is a grassroots movement. In order for it to have a long term impact, I really think some more powerful people will have to get on board. It seems that the 1% are so powerful and control so many things that are essential to our survival, in order for them to be affected and have a reason to listen to the 99%, there needs to be someone from a high-powered status to give Occupy Wall Street more of a voice. This movement is about the growing injustices between the classes.

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I agree that this movement can be considered as a grass roots movement because of the way in which it has emerged from the bottom up, taking as its source the discontent of people at the bottom of the social pile who want their voice to be heard. It will be interesting to see how this movement will develop, and I, like other editors, do not think it will last for long unless it is able to sustain its focus.

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You can also look at this as a grass roots movement because it seems to have begun on a horizontal level, rather than top down. People are joining because they are fed up and frustrated, and probably also because it looks like fun. It's a serious thing though, since there have been altercations with police.
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I think it's going to be fascinating to observe the Occupy Wall Street movement and its offshoots as time goes by. Right now, in its infancy, the movement appears to have a high degree of emotional energy and momentum, but very little focus or specific direction. I agree with #3's analysis - "it is a collection of vented frustrations about capitalist societies and social inequalities." I honor those expressions and the people who are making them, but I fear for the life of the movement if it continues on such a broad basis. I wonder if they're going to run out of enthusiasm and commitment unless they can narrow their agenda.

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I agree with the above post, in that the Occupy Wall Street movement has tapped into a widespread vein of social discontent.  This is not merely the reaction of society to one particular circumstance or event, it is a collection of vented frustrations about capitalist societies and social inequalities.  While I agree that they are addressing their protests towards the wealthy in an attempt to highlight economic inequalities, I haven't noticed any consistency or uniformity to their goals or demands, or in many cases, demands at all.  To be a revolutionary movement, it would seem they need to be more purposefully organized as opposed to simply prolonged expressions of anger.  Perhaps they are, and they simply are not translating that well to the public through the media, or their message is being blunted by critics who own that media.

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I assume that you are asking about this in the context of Aberle's typology.  If so, I would argue that Occupy Wall Street aspires to be (since we do not yet know if it will actually have any impact on the society as whole) a transformative or revolutionary movement.

This sort of a movement is one that seeks to change a whole society's system of values in some very fundamental way or ways.  This is in contrast to a social movement that seeks only to change some relatively small aspect of the overall society.  Occupy Wall Street wants to (if we can really generalize about what all its participants want) completely change our society.  It would like to do away with our capitalist system and in some way implement a system that would be much more focused on creating equality among all people.  This is a movement that is not looking for some small change in laws, but rather for a wholesale change in what our society thinks of as its most important goals.

Because it wants to change all of society and to do so in a very radical way, this is a transformative/revolutionary movement.

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