The snap of Thanos has become a pop culture analogy for sudden and drastic change. Occupy Wall street was a moment when those who held supposed middle-class positions – lawyers, professors, middle-managers – discovered their exploitation. A fizzure occurred within their self-image that had been built on a “white supremacist capitalist patriarchal values” as bell hooks so clearly named. They had built a life on the premise that if they worked hard, they would earn; that with their titles, they deserved respect; that a college degree guaranteed lifetime employment. Occupy was the reaction to this small social group discovering they were not invited to be part of the 1%. And so this protest took on a particularly middle-class culture – with a sense of arrogance, a tone of bureaucracy, a disconnection from equal global struggles, an entitlement that other marginalized peoples could never conceived.
I was a public school history teacher when Occupy happened, and it did not resonate as urgent as getting my struggling students to stretch their thinking and discipline. But moreso I was an alumni of the Anti-Globalization movement of the 2000s, and so much of what was being publicized was a fauxtocopy of early protests -the public microphone, the slogan Another World is Possible, the use of decentralized decision making, a barter and mutual aid economy. The Anti-Globalization movement was deeply connected to movements of resistance in the Global South and its diaspora. Occupy was rooted in the center of the global financial machine.
I know more writers have provided critiques more specific or broader to examine more of the inter-workings of Occupy. This is not a post for any revelations, nor for any congratulations. It is simply a chalkmark on the wall.
One advantage that Occupy had was a more developed internet that facilitated a more secure archive. Many of the media created during the anti-globalization movement – indymedia.org in every city national and global, the listserves of resources, the paper flyers, maps, zines, t-shirts etc. will never be google-able. So I scratch my chalk mark deep and thick, for all the other thousands who were there, you are not forgotten, your legacy does not have a catch-phrase or meme, but I remember.