Since mid-October, Davis residents and students have been occupying Central Park to show solidarity with the global Occupy movement that originated on Wall Street. As a result, local activists have added Davis to the list of over 1,500 cities and towns worldwide that have similar demonstrations underway.
The movement itself is unique in that there are no concrete objectives or demands. Exact aims vary from person to person, but what distinguishes the protesters is their dedication to the broader idea of redirecting social and economic growth to better represent the 99 percent.
The engagement of the local community in a global movement is admirable and appeals to college culture, even if the effects of such participation will likely not bring about any immediate change. It is commendable that some of those most committed to the movement are students who are already busy with the stresses brought upon by school. However, those who support the movement need not feel pressured to sleep in the park. The use of the internet and social media in promoting the movement makes it possible for people to participate without pitching a tent. Those interested can join the Facebook group, retweet updates, express themselves in the online forum, make donations and watch live streaming of other demonstrations worldwide.
The Occupy movement as a whole highlights the recent shift to the use of the internet and social media as a tool for the promotion and organization of protests and demonstrations. By using the World Wide Web, movements can be organized more efficiently, be better publicized and garner more support. There are also ways to become involved offline. Attending general assembly meetings, bringing material support such as food and simply visiting those occupying the park are all alternate ways to contribute.
By lending a voice to a growing global movement, Davis activists are showing that the movement’s ideals are not absent from this small town. Active participation from interested students is encouraged – just don’t fail your midterms.