Friday, September 28, 2012
Poster of the Week
What Is Our One Demand?
Adbusters Media Foundation
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
This poster is credited for starting the Occupy Wall Street [OWS] movement in the U.S.
Early in June 2011, Canadian-based Adbusters Media Foundation sent its subscribers an email saying that “America needs its own Tahrir,” referring to Tahrir Square in Cairo, occupied by hundreds of thousands of Egyptians from January 25 to February 11, 2011, when President Mubarak resigned.
In July 2011, Adbusters proposed a peaceful occupation of Wall Street to protest corporate influence on democracy, the lack of legal consequences for those who brought about the global crisis of monetary insolvency, and an increasing disparity in wealth. The protest was promoted with this poster featuring a dancer atop Wall Street's iconic Charging Bull statue, and was the centerfold in the September/October 2011 issue #97.* The internet group, Anonymous, encouraged its readers to participate, and other groups also helped to organize and promote the protest. The action itself began on September 17, but it exploded a week later, after the NYPD pepper sprayed peaceful protesters, and videotapes of their action went viral on the Internet.
Immediate prototypes for OWS include the British student protests of 2010, Greece's and Spain's anti-austerity protests of the "indignados" (indignants), as well as the Arab Spring protests. These antecedents have in common with OWS a reliance on social media and electronic messaging to circumvent the authorities, as well as frustration and anger towards financial institutions, corporations and the political elite. Occupy Wall Street, in turn, gave rise to the Occupy movement in hundreds of cities in the U.S. and around the world.
In November and December 2011, police launched violent raids against the Occupy Movement, and camps in many cities, including New York and Los Angeles, were dismantled, injuring and arresting many people in the process. Evicted protesters vowed to continue the struggle, either by setting up new camps or exploring new ways to engage communities.
On September 17, 2012, to celebrate the first year anniversary of OWS , protests took place in dozens of cities throughout the U.S.
*The November/December issue of Adbusters #98, included an apology to Rachel Cossar, the dancer featured in this poster, whose image was used without her permission. She is a professional ballerina with the Boston Ballet, is in no way associated with, nor does she endorse the #occupywallstreet campaign.