The Wall Street occupation has been an inspiring phenomenon, albeit difficult to explain.
What really made it click for me though was watching how the pictures and videos taken at the rally were distributed online. There is an inherent connection betwen the media and the action, as what happens on the ground is recorded for posterity and swiftly sent out through social media to an insatiable audience of activists desperate to be inspired.
The more time spent in the occupation, the more content came out, and the more creative and inspiring it got. As it spread, more and more people were persuaded to activate with this added incentive of being able to make their own content. Merely continuing the occupation turned it into a mutually reinforcing endeavor, as the longer it exists the more people that can make a higher caliber of content.
I also realized that I had witnessed this occurring in real time before, but not in an Arabic or Spanish dialect.
Rather, I and so many others experienced this social media explosion of entertaining organizing in our all-American Madison occupation, and these plugged in millennial activists were undoubtedly rabid consumers of this highly engaging activist content.
It seems pretty clear to me that there would not be an occupation on Wall Street if there was not an occupation in Madison, and I don’t think many would argue otherwise. And it did not happen in isolation, as evidenced by how New York has collectively been watching Wisconsin oh so longingly, striving for a movement like it of our very own.
No, not watching passively, but in ardent solidarity. As the Cheddarsphere blog Dane101 depicts:
Wisconsin is patient zero for a solidarity protest movement that's spreading across all 50 states, and arguably, internationally. New York has been one of the leading carriers of that movement since the start of "the Wisconsin moment" in mid-February.
It appears that this mentality has taken hold, and that much more so now that New York may be experiencing its own “Wisconsin moment”.
In my mind, this makes it even more integral to activate Wisconsinites, as just by alerting them to how they have inspired #OccupyWallStreet will reinforce their incentive to activate. This is because as they do so, it will be that much more inspiring for those on Wall Street who once again hear word of it through social media.
I've seen this operate in this fashion before, actually. It was during the equivalent of a test run for the Wall Street occupation with an encampment protesting the Mayor of New York City's caustic budget cuts.
This 'Bloombergville' occupation was directly inspired by Wisconsin's 'Walkerville', and when I would roll through I would take some of the cheeseheads we’ve been using since the Job Party’s first Wisconsin solidairty rallies to make videos to spread to Wisconsinites via social media.
The results of connecting activists in New York and Wisconsin speak for themselves, as both Bloombergville and Walkerville residents alike appreciated and inspired each other. In fact, they were elated at the chance to say so, and word of it spread particularly amongst the occupiers who could most use the emotional boost.
Based off this enlightening experience, this weekend I put on a Wisconsin blue fist shirt and and headed to Wall Street to talk to anyone who stopped me to comment.
While there, I not only found fans of Wisconsin activists, but some elite Wisconsin activists in the flesh!
And in the model described above, I made more of these short videos of Wall Street folks talking about Wisconsin, once again with the hopes of leveraging their experiences in this inspirational fashion.
I merely asked them to describe this sense of an encovering solidarity between occupiers in New York and Madison, the results of which you can check out below: