Q: What is Occupy Wall Street?
A: Occupy Wall Street is part of an international people’s movement fighting for economic justice in the face of rampant criminality on Wall Street and a government controlled by monied interests. #OWS is the 99% trying to wrestle control of its government out the hands of the 1%.Occupy Wall Street is a people’s movement. It is leaderless and party-less by design. It is not a business, a political party, an advertising campaign or a brand. It is not for sale.
Q: What are you protesting?
A: We are opposing all forms of injustice and oppression, especially those stemming from Wall Street’s crimes and abuse of control. Economic exploitation and injustice has many faces, therefore we tackle many issues.Yet, we are not merely a protest movement. We communicate not just outrage, but a full-on call to action. Get your city to transfer its money out of corrupting banks. Sing at the auctioneer until they cancel the illegal foreclosures. Join groups writing letters to the SEC exposing the Corporations’ lies they use to beg for mercy for their crimes. Teach shareholders the power of shareholder activism.Don’t just protest. Take action. Direct action.
Q: How long will this go on?
A: We will keep taking action so long as injustice, exploitation, and repression flourish. We will keep taking organizing until broad swaths of the people realize that it is only we, the 99%-ers, can reclaim society from the domination of the 1%.Freedom is never a spectator sport. We have an obligation, particularly if we claim to love democracy, to build serious and meaningful change from the bottom up.
Q: What are your goals and demands?
A: We do not have one or two simple demands, though many demand them of us. Why? Because we believe that making demands of a corrupt system makes our success contingent on the will of others. It legitimizes the corrupted, it disempowers us.Our actions are our demands.What is your demand? What are
you doing about it?
Q: Who are your leaders?
A: Occupy Wall Street is structured on anarchist organizing principles. This means there are no formal leaders and no formal hierarchy. Rather, the movement is full of people who lead by example. We are leader-full, and this makes us strong.
Instead of picking leaders, which you would then have to follow, leaders emerge organically. These people become leaders because others choose to follow them. At anytime you can choose to follow someone else. You can follow more than one person. If people like your ideas, they may choose to follow you. Anyone can become a leader.
Q: What’s the difference between Occupy Wall Street (OWS) and the occupies in other cities?
A: Occupy Wall Street is the occupation near Wall Street in New York City. There are other occupations around New York City including Occupy Brooklyn, Occupy Queens, Occupy Staten Island, and Take Back the Bronx. All occupations are autonomous. The media often refers to other occupations, such as ours, as Occupy Wall Street because Wall Street companies are at the heart of the of the many injustices that ties the movements together.
Q: Where did you go over the winter?
A: Occupy Wall Street continued to organize all winter. We met in public spaces all over New York City, continued to have assemblies, and had actions almost every week. Many occupations in other cities continued through the winter including encampments in Anchorage, Iowa City, Atlanta, Madison, New Haven, Chattanooga, Cleveland, Little Rock, Lincoln, Houston, Louisville, Memphis, Rochester and Toronto. If you thought we had gone away, you may want to consider switching to a different newspaper.
Q: What have you accomplished so far?
A: Lots. Besides getting the entire world to talk about economic injustice, we have inspired towns and cities across the country to move their money out of the predatory banks like Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, HSBC, Wells Fargo and others. We have kept people from being thrown out of their homes through auction blockades and eviction defense. We have inspired shareholder activism. We have brought street protest back to life. We have exposed the corruption of governments who have been bought out by the 1%. We have brought people together across political, racial, and class divides to build a better future. And we’re just beginning.All these are steps on the way to the broader, deeper systemic change we aim for. We’re just beginning.
Q: What side on you on politically? Are you democrat, republican, communist, socialist, liberal, conservative, anarchist, libertarian; what?
A: Occupy Wall Street is not and never has been affiliated with any established political party, candidate or organization. Our only affiliation is with the people.We find strength in our diverse political perspectives as we work together to build a better world. We reject politics that divides people against one another based on their beliefs. We value true participatory democracy.We hope that this exercise in participatory democracy will bred mutual respect, interdependence and understanding among the 99%, and help shed today’s political climate of divisiveness, disrespect, mistrust, and marginalization.
Q: How do I get involved?
A: First, you should know that you don’t need anyone’s permission to be a part of Occupy. You don’t even need to be in New York to be involved with OWS. If you are committed to justice, equality, and liberation for all people (see our principles for reference) and you have an idea for an Occupy action or group you are empowered to start it. If you want to plug into existing Occupy networks check out occupytogether.org and interoccupy.org.
Q: How do I find out what’s happening in my community?
A: Search for your town or city’s name plus the word “occupy.” You can also check directory.occupy.net.
Q : Will I get arrested if I come to Occupy actions?
A: During marches and actions, it is unlikely that you will get arrested unless you are prepared to. If you are unwilling to be arrested, or feel you cannot because you are not a U.S. citizen, or are a minor, there are ways to protect yourself from arrest, the most important being: remaining non-violent. Check here for legal information and advice on these topics.