It seems like every day more news emerges about Occupy Wall Street’s plans to expand the movement. New chapters spring up across the country, more citizens join the cause, and now OWS even has its very own commercial.
As David Dayen reports, the commercial is set to run on national television thanks to LoudSauce, a crowd-funding group. Dayen applauds the commercial as an “innovative way to get the message out for a new kind of protest movement, one that refuses to let other people tell their story.”
David Graeber calls this a movement of “horizontals,” meaning people who don’t require traditional hierarchical structures to lead the movement, who believe in direct action and don’t rely on a messiah-like figure to guide them. Basically, OWS is the opposite of the traditional political party structure and, as such, neither political parties nor the establishment media devoted to covering those parties understand it.
But OWS is also interesting in the sense that it’s a return to a simpler, more profound sense of community. Though the Internet has in many ways bolstered the movement, and tools like Twitter have been invaluable allies used to promote the cause, OWS is remarkably traditional in terms of its village-like structure.
Many protesters have expressed how much they enjoy meeting face-to-face with other activist allies as opposed to forwarding online petitions and retweeting political messages online. In this sense, OWS is the opposite of clicktivism. It’s real people using their bodies to obtain direct action by simply getting in the way of the establishment’s everyday business, which is the heart of any peaceful civil disobedience revolution.
First, activists must disrupt the flow of things. You can’t do that by tweeting.
Michael Levitin is one of four individuals responsible for the Occupy Wall Street Journal, the official newspaper of the resistance. Levitin is the managing editor, alongside the production manager, Jed Brandt, another editor who shares Levitin’s responsibilities named Ryan Wood, and product manager Priscilla Grim.
The OWSJ is another good example of the duality of the movement. It’s undeniable that the group utilizes cutting-edge technology to promote itself. Any visitor to Liberty Park should check out the media center to understand how tech-savvy they are. That’s why I found it so curious that this forward-thinking movement found it important, and indeed necessary, to publish a newspaper, especially at a time when the newspaper industry flounders.
Of course, OWSJ has a leg up on traditional papers because it doesn’t exist to churn a profit. Additionally, the costs are relatively inexpensive. In order to run 50,000 copies, the staff needs to raise $4,000–$5,000. All the paper’s workers are volunteers who work for free and the newspaper is funded entirely through Kickstarter, another online funding platform.