#OccupyWallStreet 10 Years Later: Where Do We Go From Here?

September 17, 2021 – The 10 Year Anniversary of OccupyWallStreet

Ten years ago, a great popular movement swept across the world.  OccupyWallStreet, or Occupy, was a moment in time when people protested the unequal distribution of wealth. People protested all the myriad social consequences and costs it entails.  The 99%, most people in the country, who live without the benefits, privileges, and luxuries of the 1%, protested in encampments, speeches, teach-ins, and other forms of protest.  It was a moment in time that many of us remember with great love.  However, what did it accomplish?  For that matter,  what have any of the popular protest movements accomplished?  When people took to the streets to protest the war on Iraq in 2002, the U.S. military invaded anyway. Occupy Wall Street hasn’t changed wealth distribution in the U.S. or globally.  The problems have not changed. In fact, the problems are worse.

Yet there is a beacon of hope in the dark.  The #BlackLivesMatter movement that has been building for years is one such example. It expanded to mass protests this spring and made a clear and important impact on our country.  Joe Biden chose a Black woman to be his VP pick, and it very likely would not have happened the same way without the #BLM movement.  This leads to a few conclusions: one is that, yes, movements and protests can and do change things. 

There is another important point to note as well: Biden, specifically, listened to the voices of the protesters in the most important choice he made in the recent presidential race. So where do these points lead us? With the 10-year anniversary of Occupy looming large on the horizon in the summer of 2021, as well as the 20 year anniversary of the start of the Endless War, how can we best unite together to push the country towards change?

Not Me, Us

This has been a meditation I have been in for some time, and after speaking with other people, there are many who feel the same way.  We need a movement to galvanize our voices, our resistances, and our visions for a better world into the strongest force it can be. This article is, inshallah, the first in a series of articles suggesting options for a new movement of movements. 

I personally am not a good person to start a movement.  I am not charismatic, nor famous, and often people dislike me.  It has been clear to me as I meditate on this that I am incapable of sparking a movement myself.  However, among the readers of Muslim Girl, there are people who could take this idea and run with it.  Can someone make this their own?  Many someones?

Occupy Wall Street hasn’t changed wealth distribution in the U.S. or globally.  The problems have not changed. In fact, the problems are worse.

From the two anniversaries spring two possible goals, peace and prosperity.  To create peace we need justice, and to create genuine prosperity many people have been clear that we must prioritize environmental justice and sustainability.  Is this grounds for a movement?  Can we come together to do this?

An Exodus

How can we leave behind the suffering of the current state of the world?  What if we leave behind the rules for endless war, endless oppression, endless destruction of life and hope?  How would it be if we left behind this state of economic exploitation of the environment and the poor?  What if we work for liberation together? 

Many of us have a vision for a  better world, a better future.  What if the masses of us who care, and the multitudes of us who want peace, justice, prosperity and sustainability push together from all our diverse movements to force the hands of our governments to lead us towards liberation?  Where do we go to make it out of this devastation to a bright and better way of life as a human people? Is an exodus possible?

Sarah is a social worker in the San Francisco Bay Area with at-risk and homeless youth. She likes to paint, drum, sing, and spend quality time with her family and God.