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The select case study movements are Occupy Wall Street that was birthed in New York City, U.S.A, and Arab Spring that entailed Arabic countries in the middle east and Africa. The formation of movements was towards achieving social justice, and political and economic change; the mode or methodology of approach between these two movements revealed their different cultural contexts and even the level of oppression they faced. For instance, the Arab Spring was primarily characterized by the use of force and violence in demand of their liberties to the tough living conditions the people had; on the other hand, the United States had already evolved from the age of using force since the civil war and diplomacy was key. This report entails essential aspects of each movement and the different approaches used to seek solutions.
Occupy Wall Street was primarily a protest movement against economic and social inequality; the value dynamics of these two variables were fighting against inequality, corruption, greed, and capitalism or cooperative influence on the government. A famous slogan among the Occupy Wall Street protestors was “We are the 99%” to demonstrate the unbiased and unreasonable wealth distribution; the wealthiest were only 1% of the total United States population and the rest of the population was 99%. The influence of Occupy Wall Street was remarkable compared to other movements since protestors operated on cooperate-based decisions agreed upon in general assemblies. OWS emphasized redress via direct action (an activist term denoting to political and economic acts through the direct use of power to attain certain goals of interest) instead of petitioning authorities (a right of American citizens through the First Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibiting the Congress from abridging the right of citizens to petition the United States Government peacefully for a redress).
Occupy Wall Street’s focal points were income inequality and wealth inequality; this was encouraged by the study of Ethan Kaplan and Arindajit of the University of Massachusetts who concluded that the political process was incapable to sanction actual reforms that address the consequences of economic crisis. The development of these movements was a result of the failure of governments to fight against capitalistic regimes that exploited its economy by oppressing its citizens and feeding its own interests. Oppositions against the Occupy Wall Street movement thought that the concentration of OWS protestors on income inequalities was all about class warfare and envy.
The goals of Occupy Wall Street entailed a reduction in the influence of corporations, better regulation in the distribution of income, creation of job opportunities and better working conditions, bank reforms (precisely to limit the bank’s ability to speculative trading), waiver of student loan debt, the waiver for student loans, and alleviation of the foreclosure of people’s homes.
The Occupy Wall Street had a decision-making body called the assembly which through a consensus process cast votes as a means to reach a conclusive verdict on any matter. The assembly was comprised of Occupy Wall Street working and affinity groups; the assembly was also open to the public (American Citizens) for attendance and speaking. The OWS assembly meetings lacked formal leadership; participants in the meeting were organized in a queue called “stack” and anyone could join and speak. In New York, the assembly meeting used a progressive stack that ensured persons from marginalized groups were given first priority before persons from dominant groups.
Occupy Wall Street members had various forms or modes of communication that kept their fellow members updated; these included, internet live streams, social media, print magazines, newspapers, and film. Some of the famous print media were such as The Occupied Wall Street Journal which was a free newspaper founded in the year 2011 in October by Michael Levtin, Arun Gupta, and Jes Brandt. The first issue was highly successful amounting to up to 70,000 copies with others unnumbered which were in the Spanish language. Another print media owned by Occupy Wall Street was “The Occuprint Collective” founded by Josh Maphe and Jesee Goldstein as a special version of The Occupied Wall Street Journal.
Part of the collection of print media within the OWS was “The Occupy! Gazette founded by publishers of the Dissent Magazine, Sarah Leonard and Astra Taylor. Published only five times in the 2011-2012 year, the magazine’s influence was far and wide. The last of the print media platforms of the OWS was “Tidal: Occupy Theory, Occupy Strategy Magazine” which entailed long essays poetry, and artistic works in its 30-page issue. The magazine was printed twice a year with a massive circulation within the Unites States of 12,000-50,000 people reached.
Arab Spring was a series of pro-democracy or anti-government protests, that occurred in North Africa and the Middle East; these uprisings and protests began in 2010 and 2011 in other regions with its primary objective being a response to oppressive regimes and poor standards of living. The Arab Spring can be considered the best performing activist movement in the world due to its high influence that seemed to create a domino effect on a number of Asian country’s citizens who arose also to advocate for their rights. The uprise of the movements was an awe to the world since the Arabic countries had never led in anything; their desire for political change and the permanent eradication of authoritarian rule and corruption was quite zealous.
The Arab Spring’s revolution was three-fold namely, people’s revolution, military revolution, and resistance revolution all converging at one goal which was a comprehensive and fundamental change of the predominant conditions and the creation of new conditions in the place of the old regime moving to a better future with hope. The aim of all these revolutionary aspects was to completely overthrow the current system and replace it with a new one; to the Arabs, there was no space for failure and they believed in a complete turnover.
People’s revolution in the Arab Spring could be compared to the 1787 to 1799 French revolution that was characterized by social upheaval; the Arab’s peoples revolution sought to completely change the relationship between the leaders or rulers and the people it governed and to redefine the nature of politics and political power. Military revolution denoted to a military coup by which the military was ganged up to overthrow the running regimes for the purpose of seizing power for personal gains. Such coups were similar to those that dominated in Latin America in the 50s and 60s of the twentieth century. Lastly, a resistance revolution could also be implemented whereby the revolution could take the form of resistance against a colonial invasion as was the case in the Algerian revolution from 1954 to 1962.
In the Arab Spring, the process of social and political change would only occur through violence; violence was the language, tactic, and plan. There was a need for a massive cordial movement in specific times and an orderly way of advancement in order to push the right buttons and trigger the intended reaction. Revolution during the Arab Spring was highly associated with the ideology of a complete change and not agreements based on half-baked promises but complete and comprehensive change without compromise.
Unified Front. The presence of unprecedented large masses of people turning up for protests was historical to create the necessary impact; Egypt had the most phenomenal protest matches in the history of protests during the Arab Spring. Large masses of people was not the only requirement but also the continuous and persistent repetition of demonstration and protests at the same time in multiple countries not only in capitals but also in large and small cities to show the diversified and spread out the voice of the people in the whole country. The unified movement amongst people was supposed to be from all facets meaning that it was significant support from the intellectual class, educating persons, students, and people from all social classes in the countries.
Non-violent Motives. The revolutions grew to be less violent and more of talks due to the fair power terms and the mutual need for the preservation of life. For instance, previous Egyptian revolutions had less of dialogue and the use of force; these past revolutions aimed at evacuations and expulsions of occupiers of strategic positions in order to achieve liberty and independence. The evolution of the idea of revolution brought new intentions to the table such as the achievement of freedom, social justice, protection of human rights, and better living conditions.
The Youth and Social Media. Social Media was a powerful instrument of gaining the masses to attend protests, especially on January 25; the turnout was so massive in Egypt that the government was unable to control the large masses. The government of Egypt proceeded to violence against protesters who also did not relent from using violence to defend and also advocate for their rights. The turn up was imaginable until when the army, after several days, realized the clashes, and property destruction was not necessary thus a turnover was taken; the Egyptian army announced that force was no longer to be used and the removal of President Hosni Mubarak from history.
Four major comparisons stand out in these two movements; first the ability to mobilize masses to join the protests or movements. Both groups had good communication channels such as social media, print media, and others that communicated on the day to come out and protests and further intention of the revolutionary parties. Second, the two revolution parties had similar grievances which were a fight against capitalism and the domination of a country’s economic state, job opportunities, better work conditions, reformation of the political sector and government, and better living conditions. Both movements had intercontinental influence (to countries on other continents). Lastly, these revolutions were formed just about the same time which was in 2010-2011.
The Arab Spring was characterized by the use of violence and force to acquire certain demanded liberties while Occupy Wall Street used diplomacy, peaceful protests, and strategic scheming of achieving its desired goals. Lastly, the impact of the Arabian Spring in Egypt is incomparable to the success attained by the Occupy Wall Street; one can say at least Egypt dethroned a corrupt president and managed to convince the army to overthrow him while in the United States, capitalism and all other grievances were not met to satisfaction.
The case study shows how different races handled their advocacy for certain liberties; the Arabic countries have always been known for the use of force and thus their way of achieving the success they had is understandable. One may be quick to judge that these are violent people but the case is not so since their problems cannot be compared to the problems in the West. At the mention of any problem faced in the western countries, the Arabic countries face it tenfold thus the decision to use violence and force to attain their liberties. The Capitalistic west through Occupy Wall Street in the U.S. failed miserably since diplomacy and an insignificant number cannot shake the solid grounds of capitalistic foundations. In this 21st century movements that advocate for equal wealth distribution are wasting their time since these arenas are already taken over by the elite few. These two movements show that neither diplomacy nor violence in this age can change the powers that be in high places controlling social, political, or economic factors in a country.
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