While the initial protests that sparked the worldwide Occupy movement are all but gone, the ongoing impact of the protests lives on. The social impact has been great, helping alter the public discourse on finance from the deficit to facing issues that actually affect the average American. And with worldwide coverage, the impact even resonates in other countries, making the Occupy movement a worldwide phenomenon.
Today, the Occupy movement still exists as a series of groups that help bring attention to social issues and in many cases are even registered charities. The original OccupyWallStreet.org website still exists, and helps to organize smaller scale protests and in some cases, more specific public displays of discontent with financial institutions and other major corporations.
The Occupy movement wasn’t a world changing event in the way that other major historical events have been. There isn’t a single line drawn where you can clearly mark how the world was before and how it is after the protests. The Occupy Wall Street protest and the thousands of others that popped up in the last few months of 2011 were more like a sudden exclamation of frustration with the financial systems that most people live under. The 99%.
The Occupy movement was able to unite people. It was able to start a slogan and give a proper voice to the middle class. It was able to prove that a truly democratic leadership structure can exist using the communications tools available to us today. And it was able to show people that they’re not alone in their frustrations. But it didn’t change the world.
Even now, the continued protests organized by OccupyWallStreet and many other chapters are at a much smaller scale and aren’t gaining any sort of media attention.
But even without the lack of serious change, the political dialogue has changed. The voice of the middle class has been heard, and the people in charge have been told that they have to listen. The middle class, who doesn’t have the lobbying dollars that the 1% use to sway government policy, have shown that they are able to organize quickly and to do so without the need for a person to rally behind. The idea is enough.
And because Occupy brought the idea in front of the world, even people who didn’t participate in the protests are conscious of the stand that was made. Public opinion of Occupy remained high through most events at nearly all protest camps all over the world.
Occupy lives on by being the representation of a moment in time where people showed that they are willing to unite in the name of equality. And while not much has changed since culmination of the Occupy protests, the idea continues to exist. And it’s a powerful idea.