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Occupy Wall Street Wakes Up for May Day

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OCCUPY ALL STREETS
DailyFeed
They’re ba-ack!

Lest you thought Occupy Wall Street was a flash-in-the-pan phenomenon that milked all its 15 minutes of fame last year, the group is back in action and grabbing the spotlight once again.

As it turns out, the protest movement that made a highly public splash last fall challenging economic disparity in this country was just in hibernation. Now, after a long winter’s slumber, Occupy Wall Street has emerged from its cave, gnashing its teeth and roaring its way back into the national conversation.

Attaching itself to labor rights demonstrations surrounding May Day, or International Worker’s Day, Occupy Wall Street groups around the globe are marching through the streets of major cities shouting their “We are the 99%” message. Though it’s dubbed a “general strike” that encourages skipping work and school and abstaining from shopping, the targets of today’s protests in New York City are the usual suspects: the financial institutions.    

Police barricades are up at Bank of America’s (BFA) Bryant Park headquarters and the Goldman Sachs (GS) building in the Financial District with the NYPD standing by in riot gear. Picket lines are also forming at various Chase (JPM) and Citibank (C) branches.  

But the fact that Occupy Wall Street has re-sprung just in time for spring, begs the question: Is this literally a fair weather movement?

It certainly didn’t help matters that Mayor Bloomberg swept out the Zuccotti Park encampment last November or that the $500,000 well the group had amassed from donations across the country and the world eventually dried up. But then how do you explain the progress other, far less visible, groups have made in Occupy Wall Street’s absence?

Rebuild the Dream and National People’s Action didn’t need a half-million-dollar campground to get consumers to close their accounts at Wall Street banks and take their business to community banks and credit unions. That’s the beauty of 21st century protest movements. This little thing called social media allows us to make change without occupying an expensive physical space.

It also really helps to keep your movement alive and relevant to give it a defined a message, a unified voice, and some semblance of a leader. Hopefully Occupy Wall Street had some time to nail those things down over the winter.

(See also: Is Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight Rises" an Ode to Occupy Wall Street?)
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.
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