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Occupy Wall Street reached its one-month anniversary today. On Saturday, October 15, Occupy Wall Street held an “International Day of Action” during which 1500 protests went on in 82 countries. Protestors in Occupy groups across the globe flooded Rome, Barcelona, Madrid, and other cities. Thousands of protestors showed up in cities across the United State, according to a New York Times story.
Local press coverage of Occupy protests has been relatively positive, featuring diverse voices that highlight the broad support for Occupy events. The Right continues to push similar memes, but progressives have begun to respond to conservative tactics.
The Labor Movement and Occupy Protests Work Together
More articles show the labor movement’s involvement with Occupy protests across the country, including a Burlington Free Press story which cites that union workers, besides attending rallies, will do door-to-door canvassing to let people know what the Occupy Wall Street movement is about. An Associated Press story detailed how Occupy Boston is excited for AFL-CIO’s support, which can help broaden the movement, and how AFL-CIO benefits from the energy Occupy groups bring. A Detroit News story covered an Occupy Detroit demonstration, held in conjunction with the labor movement, to demand Wall Street create jobs and not more cuts.
Several local stories focused on the wide range of participants, including a Las Vegas Sun story that really highlighted the ongoing struggles faced by working families and Middle America and the plight of the elderly and disabled veterans, and a New Hampshire Union Leader story that featured construction worker, a software engineer, a small business owner, the unemployed, among others. A Louisiana story from The Advocate focused on the theme of corporate greed and incorporated a range of voices including that of a mason, Louisiana AFL-CIO’s Secretary-Treasurer Julie Cherry, a student who is a Ron Paul supporter, and a MoveOn.Org participant. The Oregonian covered Occupy events in Portland, including rallies and marches that criticize the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and its effect on the economy.
A Philadelphia Inquirer story looks at the increase in civil disobedience tactics found in Occupy DC and the environmental movement. A Detroit Free Press story focused on the Occupy Denver demonstrations remaining peaceful. Denver Post has covered the numerous arrests and pepper spray incidents at Occupy Denver, and published a story in which Occupy Denver stressed that the protests are non-violent in nature and that tensions between protesters and police have calmed despite arrests. Occupy Denver also maintained that “Police are the 99%.” The San Diego Union-Tribune focused on the peaceful continuation of protests in San Diego, including the fact that protesters adjusted to the mandate by police last week prohibiting all but one tent in the Civic Center.
Occupy Wall Street Messaging
To describe Occupy protests across the country, local media coverage has cited general discontent with corporate greed and Wall Street’s influence in politics. An NPR story focuses on the role that movements play in creating space for discussions of common discontent that enable dialogue that can eventually lead to concrete changes.
Meanwhile, a San Francisco Chronicle story featured advice from marketing gurus, some of whom said the “We are the 99%” brand is already effective and has potential to be further bolstered with better messaging.
Ongoing Right-Wing Memes and Progressive Responses
The right is still fixated on pushing the image of Occupy Wall Street as anti-Semitic. Red State continues posting interviews with anti-Semitic protestors. Meanwhile, RTAmerica, a progressive media outlet, interviewed Arun Gupta, head of progressive Indypendent Newspaper, about this tactic. Gupta argued that the “Emergency Committee for Israel,” a Republican organization who has created ads to push the image of Occupy Wall Street as anti-Semitic, is pushing a right-wing message and is using fear mongering to fabricate anti-Semitism as an issue and take away from the main message of the Occupy protests.
In the last week, conservative media focused on the “rising costs” of the protests. A Christian Science Monitor story also focused on the rising costs of ensuring safety and sanitation of protestors and public spaces, or as Mary-Rose Papandrea, professor at Boston College Law School, said: “the cost of democracy.” The story initially portrays these costs as negative, but then points out that we have seen more expensive mass gatherings in recent history such as protests in Wisconsin and protests in Oakland last December in response to a sentence for a police officer who fatally shot a man on New Year’s Day in 2009.
In “What the GOP Must Do: Finding Common Ground With the Occupiers,” Erick Erickson, creator of conservative blog “Red State,” suggests that the right-wing reach out to those who relate to the Occupy movement, but who might not agree with its goals or prescriptions for change. Erickson also suggests that a Republican candidate can run against Wall Street, although probably not Mitt Romney.