The Occupy Movement
The Occupy movement is an international socio-political movement against social inequality and lack of "real democracy" around the world, its primary goal being to advance social and economic justice and new forms of democracy. The movement has many different scopes; local groups often have different focuses, but among the movement's prime concerns are how large corporations (and the global financial system) control the world in a way that disproportionately benefits a minority, undermines democracy, and is unstable. It is part of what Manfred Steger calls the "global justice movement".
The first Occupy protest to receive widespread attention was Occupy Wall Street in New York City's Zuccotti Park, which began on 17 September 2011. By 9 October, Occupy protests had taken place or were ongoing in over 951 cities across 82 countries, and over 600 communities in the United States.Although most active in the United States, by October 2012 there had been Occupy protests and occupations in dozens of other countries across every continent except Antarctica. For its first month, overt police repression was minimal, but this began to change by 25 October 2011 when police first attempted to forcibly remove Occupy Oakland. By the end of 2011, authorities had cleared most of the major camps, with the last remaining high profile sites – in Washington, D.C. and London – evicted by February 2012.
The Occupy movement is partly inspired by the Arab Spring, 2009 Iranian Green Movement, and the Spanish Indignants movement in the Iberian Peninsula, the 2009 University of California occupations, as well as the overall global wave of anti-austerity protests. The movement commonly uses the slogan "We are the 99%", the #Occupy hashtag format, and organizes through websites such as Occupy Together. According to The Washington Post, the movement, which has been described as a "democratic awakening" by Cornel West, is difficult to distill to a few demands. On 12 October 2011, Los Angeles City Council became one of the first governmental bodies in the United States to adopt a resolution stating its informal support of the Occupy movement. In October 2012 the Executive Director of Financial Stability at the Bank of England stated the protesters were right to criticise and had persuaded bankers and politicians "to behave in a more moral way".