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This (Past) Week: Occupy Wall Street Goes Global. PLUS: Hacktivism and Social Change | The Nation

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Katrina vanden Heuvel

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Politics, current affairs and riffs and reflections on the news.

This (Past) Week: Occupy Wall Street Goes Global. PLUS: Hacktivism and Social Change

OCCUPY WALL STREET GOES GLOBAL. On Saturday, thousands of Occupy Wall Street protesters flooded Times Square and thousands joined in cities across the globe. As Nation contributing reporter Allison Kilkenny notes, a confrontation between overzealous NYPD officers and protesters in Times Square ended in ninety-two arrests. Kilkenny’s compelling reporting here at TheNation.com and over Twitter (@AllisonKilkenny), including images of the awe-inspring crowds and dramatic confrontations with police are a must see. The outpouring in New York was matched around the world for Saturday’s global day of action—from the Americas to Europe and Asia—more than 1,500 cities in eighty-two countries. And this is only the beginning.

Here at home, since activists first set up camp in Lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park on September 17, scores of protests and occupations have sprung up across the country as part of the Occupy America movement. As I explained in “Street Heat Nation,” Occupy Wall Street is everywhere, each grassroots operation reflecting the local culture of protest. Our slideshow this week offers a detailed look at nine occupied cities where students, activists and ordinary Americans have occupied spaces in their cities to demand economic and social justice, and why each occupation matters. That’s available here.

And in the midst of an ongoing debate surrounding the protests’ effectiveness, I argued in the Washington Post last week the movement needs no policy or legislative agenda to send its message. What it has instead is moral clarity: getting corporate money out of politics, narrowing the gap of income inequality and meaningful solutions to rampant and prolonged joblessness. Occupy Wall Street has sparked a genuinely popular debate that could bring electoral energy for radical, systemic reform. I joined Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman down in Zuccotti Park last week to explain “moral clarity” and its potential in the weeks and months ahead. Watch that here.

LISTEN: HACKTIVISM AND SOCIAL CHANGE. From the Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street, 2011 will be remembered as a year of youthful mass movements and popular revolts—none of which could have occurred without the surreptitious help of computer hacktivists. In the latest Nation Conversation, associate editor Liliana Segura sits down with reporter Laurie Penny, whose latest article in The Nation explores how Anonymous, LulzSec and other digital resistance groups are enabling widespread protest offline. For more, read Penny’s article, “Cyberactivism: From Egypt to Occupy Wall Street” in the latest issue of The Nation.

NEW BLOG: CLEAR IT WITH SIDNEY. Our friends at the Sidney Hillman Foundation have a launched a new blog, Clear it With Sidney, written by Lindsay Beyerstein, which officially launched last Thursday. The inaugural post features an exclusive interview with New Yorker investigative reporter Jane Mayer about her recent takedown of North Carolina GOP godfather Art Pope. Be sure to check out Lindsey’s terrific blogging on all things journalism and stay tuned for more!

CELEBRATING NATIONAL FOOD DAY. Sunday marks the beginning of the Supermarket Week of Action in the Campaign for Fair Food (Oct. 16–24), a week of protests at grocery stores around the country demanding that the supermarket industry join the fast-food and foodservice industries in supporting fair-pay and better working conditions for America’s farmworkers. In honor National Food Day on October 24th, be sure to learn more about the Campaign for Fair Food, an effort led by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, to reverse the trend of diminishing wages and rights for America’s farm laborers. And be sure to read Greg Asbed and Sean Sellers on-the-ground look (“The High Cost of Anti-Immigrant Laws”) at how Georgia’s recent anti-immigrant law impacts watermelon harvesters in the state and elsewhere around the country. Read that here.

As always, thanks for reading. I’m on Twitter—@KatrinaNation. Please leave your comments below.

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