Occupy Boston

Occupying Everything

Which are your favorite “occupations”?

The “occupy” meme is spreading like, well, like a meme, across the activist landscape. Whether because of its inversion of the narrative of a government addicted to overseas occupation, its simplicity, or simply its success, the meme continues to inspire and morph. Here are some of those I’ve run across, some serious, some funny. What am I missing?

1. Occupy Wall Street (of course, the original)

2. Occupy (insert city here): Boston, Seattle, Johannasburg, Warsaw — The list could go on forever. See Wikipedia for a substantial list.

3. Occupy Together: a hub for information on occupations across the globe

4. Occupy the Hood: An occupy movement focusing on people of color

5. Occupy (Insert School Here): Students standing in solidarity with OWS

6. Occupy Sesame Street: Muppets in solidarity!

7. Occupy Art World: Protesting big money’s control of art

8. Occupy Zombies: The undead 99%

9. Occupy Everything: Online platform claiming to have started in 2009, don’t know if it had the same name then

10. Occupy Main Street: Funny video of the 1% protesting the rest of us

11. Occupy OUR classrooms: Discussion forum for educators, parents, and community members

12. Occupy the Internet: For those who can’t make it in person


No Leaders? No Way. Leadership During Occupation

I made my way over to Occupy Boston yesterday. Prominent on the wall overlooking the makeshift stage are a couple of posters boasting that the collective has “no leaders.”

This statement is simply not true. Occupy Boston has many leaders — if it did not, none of what I saw yesterday would be taking place. Some took the lead in setting up a meditation tent near the entrance, creating a space for quiet reflection and prayer. Some took a leadership role in bringing organizer and educator Marshall Ganz in to speak about movement building. Some (from the group Radical Reference) stepped forward to initiate the construction of the occupation’s library. And these are just the more visible results of leadership. Less obvious, but no less important, are the individuals who kept others’ spirits up when they were flagging, or who facilitated group decision making at General Assembly meetings. Occupy Boston, like the other occupations across the country, has a bounty of leaders, and that is exactly where its strength comes from.

What Occupy Boston lacks, with good reason, is hierarchy (more…)

Occupy Design

Poster by Favianna Rodriguez

The occupy mobilizations have become famous, or perhaps infamous, for their creative, homemade cardboard signage. But across the country, graphic designers are stepping in as well to bring their particular expertise to the effort to craft a visual language for occupiers. These artists, either independently or as subcommittees of occupy mobilizations, are using graphic design to inspire, to diversify the movement, and to educate others about economic inequality.

Occupy Design is a group of designers, artists, and organizers, seeking to “provide a universal visual toolset for the Occupy movement which crosses language barriers and brings a strong visual identity to the movement.” They are calling for people to submit work, and have launched their site with a set of “infographics” that communicate the core concepts of economic inequality in ways that transcend language. It is their way of contributing to a unifying message for the movement.

Occupy Design Infographic

The Occupied Wall Street Journal is apparently going to be printing posters in an upcoming issue, and Favianna Rodriguez, an artist with Justseeds Artist Cooperative, has shared her piece for it, the poster shown at the beginning of this post. (more…)