I’ll be part of this event in Montreal at the end of the month giving a workshop on: Occupy! the Media. I have put more information about my involvement over on my blog. Info about the event below or just click on the link above!
Media, Politics and Protest Camps in the Occupy Social Movement
In May 2011, Joseph E. Stiglitz wrote an article titled “Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%” in that month’s issue of Vanity Fair. His message of extreme inequality in US society and the historical consequences resulting from the polarization of wealth in the hands of a few, resonated in the Occupy protests that began in Wall Street early last fall. “We are the 99%” fast became the motto of the social movement that transgressed New York boundaries and evolved into a worldwide movement, with more than 80 countries and one thousand cities witnessing their own manifestation of protest camps in the months that followed.
Despite the phenomenal scope of civil society in the Occupy movement, Stiglitz’ warning that the 1% will only belatedly awaken to the importance of maintaining the welfare of the largest slice of the population will, in all likelihood, be realized. Nonetheless, many compelling issues have been borne from the protests: from the mainstream media’s initial disregard of the events to the communication of activists within the camps and the policing methods adopted by each city. Media@McGill will be hosting a free public event on Friday, January 27, 2012 to address many of the media, political and social themes that have transpired during the months-long Occupy protests.
Friday, January 27th, 2012, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, Grande Bibliothèque Auditorium, BAnQ
Pulitzer award-winning journalist and author Chris Hedges will be giving a keynote address at the auditorium of the Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales du Québec, 475 Maisonneuve Est [map] titled, “The Way I See It”. The keynote will be followed by a panel discussion with the participation of Anna Feigenbaum, Richmond University, Patrick McCurdy, University of Ottawa, and Nathalie Des Rosiers, General Counsel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
Friday, January 27th, 2012, 10:30 am – 5:00 pm, Institute of Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies
Three workshops will precede the keynote and panel during the day – each focusing on a different theme of the Occupy movement. The workshops will be taking place at the Institute of Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies, 3487 Peel Street 2nd floor [map], and are free and open to the public. Online registration for each workshop is required and will be available as of Monday, January 16th until Thursday, January 26th at 12:00 pm.
10:30 am–12.00 pm Feeling the Movement | workshop by Anna Feigenbaum, Department of Social Sciences, Humanities & Communications, Richmond University.
1:00 pm-2:30 pm Occupy! the Media |workshop by Patrick McCurdy, Department of Communication, University of Ottawa.
3:30 pm-5:00 pm Law, Protest and Policing | workshop by Nathalie Des Rosiers, General Counsel of Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
Early registration for the workshops is advisable in order to avoid disappointment, as places are limited. Participants can attend all three workshops, but will need to register for each separately and list their workshop preference in order of priority. In this case, a confirmation email will be sent by Media@McGill to confirm attendance to one or all three of the workshops.
Please visit Media@McGill to register online as of Monday, January 16th, 2012.
Artist Dave Devries takes children’s illustrations, projects them onto a canvas to keep the exact outlines and dimensions, and then renders the drawings in a realistic painted style. He ends up with glorious stuff like this
(Reuters) - It all started innocuously enough with a July 13 blog post urging people to #OccupyWallStreet, as though such a thing (Twitter hashtag and all) were possible.
It turns out, with enough momentum and a keen sense of how to use social media, it actually is.
The Occupy movement, decentralized and leaderless, has mobilized thousands of people around the world almost exclusively via the Internet. To a large degree through Twitter, and also with platforms like Facebook and Meetup, crowds have connected and gathered.
As with any movement, a spark is needed to start word spreading. SocialFlow, a social media marketing company, did an analysis for Reuters of the history of the Occupy hashtag on Twitter and the ways it spread and took root.
The first apparent mention was that July 13 blog post by activist group Adbusters (r.reuters.com/suc54s) but the idea was slow to get traction.
The next Twitter mention was on July 20 (r.reuters.com/tuc54s) from a Costa Rican film producer named Francisco Guerrero, linking to a blog post on a site called Wake Up from Your Slumber that reiterated the Adbusters call to action (r.reuters.com/vuc54s).
The site, founded in 2006 “to expose America’s fraudulent monetary system and the evil of charging interest on money loaned,” is a reference to the biblical verse Romans 13:11 that reads in part: “The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.”
Guerrero’s post was retweeted once and then there was silence until two July 23 tweets — one from the Spanish user Gurzbo (r.reuters.com/wuc54s) and one from a retired high school chemistry teacher in Long Island, New York named Cindy tweeting as gemswinc. (r.reuters.com/xuc54s)
Gurzbo’s post was not passed along by anyone but Cindy’s was, by eight people, including a Delaware-based opponent of the Federal Reserve, a vegan information rights supporter, a Washington-based environmentalist and an Alabama-based progressive blogger.
Again, there was relative silence for nearly two weeks, until LazyBookworm tweeted the Occupy hashtag again on August 5. (r.reuters.com/zuc54s) That got seven retweets, largely from a crowd of organic food supporters and poets.
The notion of Occupy Wall Street was out there but it was not gaining much attention — until, of course, it did, suddenly and with force.
Social media experts trace the expansion to hyper-local tweeters, people who cover the pulse of communities at a level of detail not even local papers can match.
In New York, credit goes to the Twitter account of Newyorkist, whose more than 11,000 tweets chronicle the city in block-by-block detail. His was one of the first well-followed accounts to mention the protests in mid-September.
Trendistic, which tracks hashtag trends on Twitter, shows that OccupyWallStreet first showed up in any volume around 11 p.m. on September 16, the evening before the occupation of lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park began. Within 24 hours, the tag represented nearly 1 of every 500 uses of a hashtag.
The first two weeks of the movement were slow, media coverage was slim and little happened beyond the taking of the concrete park itself. But then a demonstration on the Brooklyn Bridge prompted hundreds of arrests and the spark was ignited.
On October 1, #OccupyBoston started to show up on Twitter. Within a couple of weeks, #OccupyDenver and #OccupySD and others appeared.
The Occupy Wall Street page on Facebook started on September 19 with a YouTube video of the early protests. By September 22, it reached critical mass.
"Newcomers today, welcome! Feel free to post. Advertise your own pages of resistance. Network until it works," read one posting meant to inspire protests elsewhere.
For young activists around the world, who grew up with the Internet and the smartphone, Facebook and Twitter have become crucial in expanding the movement.
They are pioneering platforms like Vibe that lets people anonymously share text, photos and video over short distances for brief periods of time — perfect for use at rallies.
"No one owns a (Twitter) hashtag, it has no leadership, it has no organization, it has no creed but it’s quite appropriate to the architecture of the net. This is a distributed revolt," said Jeff Jarvis, a journalism professor at City University of New York and author of the well-known blog BuzzMachine.
Some reports say the protesters have raised as much as $300,000 in donations to cover everything from pizza to video equipment but others put the figure much lower.
The Alliance for Global Justice, which calls itself “the fiscal sponsor for Occupy Wall Street,” has raised $23,200 via WePay.com.
As of Monday afternoon, Facebook listed no fewer than 125 Occupy-related pages, from New York to Tulsa and all points in between. Roughly 1 in every 500 hashtags used on Twitter on Monday, all around the world, was the movement’s own #OWS.
The websites keep proliferating — We Are the 99 Percent, Parents for Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Together, even the parody Occupy Sesame Street (concerned mostly with the plight of monsters living in garbage cans).
Online streaming video has also been a huge resource for the protesters, using cheap cameras and high-speed wireless Internet access.
Supporters, opponents and the merely curious got the chance last Saturday to watch the Occupy Wall Street protesters decide whether to occupy a major public park, Washington Square Park, in the Greenwich Village area.
They saw warnings the police were about to arrive in riot gear and with horses, vans and buses to take away protesters if there were mass arrests. Local media reported about 10 arrests among the 3,000 or so people in the park.
As the seconds to a possible confrontation ticked down, the tension led to various reactions from those watching online.
"Anyone arrested is a political prisoner," said one.
"Here comes Czar Bloomberg’s Cossacks," said another, in reference to New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg and the appearance of the mounted police.
There were “we are watching” messages of support from cities across the United States and some who found it the best entertainment going on a Saturday night.
"So much more exciting than a TV show" was one comment.