Occupy Wall Street, the amorphous movement that barged into world consciousness last fall to advocate for broad social and economic justice goals, turns one year old on Monday. It's a shell of its former self following police evictions from its encampments and a winter's hibernation, but activists are planning to return in force to New York City's Financial District, hoping to recapture momentum.
"For every crumbling foundation of our society, the cause of the ruin can be traced back to corporate greed," the introduction of the "Occupy Wall St. Anniversary Convergence Guide" reads. The 15-page pamphlet was posted to the movement's Facebook page on Saturday morning with the message "see you in the streets!"
"Follow the money -- all roads lead to Wall Street," the guide continued. "Wall Street profits off our hardship at the expense of our economy, our environment, and our democracy. What's good for Wall Street is bad for us."
The New York General Assembly -- the loosely structured leadership body for the movement's local arm -- posted a detailed itinerary on its website for the weekend's events leading up to Monday's planned move on the New York Stock Exchange. The weekend's events come after news broke Friday that Twitter would be handing over three months worth of messages and correspondence to a judge overseeing a trial related to last year's protests. Despite resistance from the social media company, the judge prevailed after threatening steep fines, claiming that data from Twitter could help determine whether the protester in question was intentionally disregarding police warnings during a demonstration, according to the Associated Press.
"Last September 17th, as part of a wave of global protest, people from across the country raced to the heart of New York's financial district to occupy Wall Street," the Occupy site said, reiterating the original call to action for Sept. 17, 2011. (#S17, as it's referred to by Occupy Wall Street social media accounts and other forms of viral branding for the movement.) "In the face of big banks foreclosing on our homes, killing our jobs, buying up our democracy, and turning our environment into just another toxic asset, you showed up," it recalled, "and we became the 99%."
The protest on Monday is to culminate a weekend of Occupy Wall Street events organized by the New York General Assembly that include educational seminars, promotional concerts and additional demonstrations and protests throughout New York City. Demonstrations are also planned in other U.S. cities including Chicago, where several OWS websites said the movement is rallying in support of the teachers' union strike, although a settlement was reportedly near Saturday.
On Sunday, promotional events are planned throughout the city, including a concert at Foley Square, just north of the Financial District, that will feature Tom Morello, the fiercely political guitarist for Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave and The Nightwatchman, who recently referred to Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan as an "extreme fringe right-wing nut job."
Beginning at 7 a.m. Monday, protesters will attempt to surround the NYSE in addition to several "sit-ins" to block traffic throughout the Financial District. The tactics are designed to undermine New York police efforts to contain protesters on the narrow, winding streets of the area.
A spokeswoman speaking to Reuters said the NYGA has secured permits for Sunday's events, but the movement did not plan to get any official license for the protests to take place on Monday. Exactly how much money Occupy Wall Street still has in its bail fund after protests that last year resulted in mass arrests is unclear, but estimates range from $50,000 to $80,000.
A spokesman for the New York Police Department told Reuters the force is prepared for any demonstrations that may erupt on Monday or throughout the weekend.
"We accommodate peaceful protests and make arrests for unlawful activity," he said.
The officer added that the NYPD expects "most demonstrators to be peaceful," saying that in his experience containing the movement, only "a relatively small group of self-described anarchists will attempt unlawful activity and try to instigate confrontations with police by others while attempting to escape arrest themselves."
New York authorities entered the Manhattan's OWS camp in Zuccotti Park in the middle of the night last November to clear out the encampment and disperse protesters. Protesters made several attempts to reoccupy the location, but have been blocked by the police. Since the initial dispersal, the movement has failed to regain its initial momentum.
"You can't evict an idea whose time has come," OWS said in a defiant official statement little more than an hour after Zuccotti Park was raided after midnight on Nov. 15, 2011.
To contact the editor, e-mail: