Ten years ago this month, Occupy Wall Street unexpectedly inaugurated a new wave of protest. The domestic manifestation of a worldwide explosion of digitally networked social movements, it scaled up rapidly, attracting enormous public and media attention. But the protesters were evicted from New York City’s Zuccotti Park and other occupied spaces after only a few months, and Occupy dissipated soon afterward. Some commentators have dismissed it as a meteoric flash in the pan, while others have criticized its “horizontalist” structure and lack of concrete demands.
The past decade has witnessed some of the largest protests in US history, as well as the unprecedented impact of Sanders’s presidential campaigns and the growth in the number of young people (and some growth among older ones as well) who openly support socialism. Would all of this have happened without Occupy Wall Street?