As a result of the economic collapse and a shattered confidence in the American dream, protesters frustrated by the financial sectors influence on politics, economic injustice, taxation policies, high unemployment and the monied corruption of democracy began the Occupy Wall Street movement one year ago today.
However, since then, the movement has, in many cases, been hijacked from its original focus and intent by extremists, anarchists, anti-capitalists and professional protesters.
Last Fall, the movement spread to thousands of cities across America and the world where activists assembled makeshift encampments in city centers for months following the initial protest on Wall Street.
The infamous Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan was the base for the Occupy movement during the Fall of 2011, from its occupation to its decampment by the NYPD.
One year later, the seemingly dwindled movement vows to make a come back, descending on the city in the early morning to hit 40 corporate targets disguised in business attire to throw off the police.
Over the weekend, multiple arrests have been made during marches throughout the city, prepping for anniversary day. “Disorderly conduct” and “risk of endangerment” were the reasons the police gave for their arrests as they patrolled the various rallies. Some witnesses have reported the police arresting protesters at random, “lunging” into the crowds.
As many as 50 may have been arrested during these pre-gaming marches but the numbers cannot be confirmed because of conflicting reports, some saying over a dozen, some 25, others saying 50 and the NYPD saying, “More than one.”
A live music event including a Foley Square concert that featured Tom Morello, the guitarist from the rock band Rage Against the Machine was organized on Sunday in preparing for Monday’s protest.
Today, activists will attempt to surround the New York Stock Exchange and disrupt morning rush hour traffic in Manhattan’s financial district.
By purposely blocking streets, corporate lobbies, plaza’s and intersections on the one year anniversary, the Occupy movement hopes to revive itself and bring attention back to the conversation it once started. A conversation that has been severely misunderstood, sometimes twisted, manipulated and often hijacked.
The protesters plan to use tactics designed to undermine the NYPD in their efforts to contain them on the narrow streets of Lower Manhattan’s financial district.
Last year, the protests led to massive clashes with the police and a grand total of 1,852 arrests according to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s office. 700 of those were detained for spilling into the street and marching across the Brooklyn Bridge last October.
Last week, Twitter was ordered by a New York Judge to surrender tweets of one of those protesters in a case that demonstrated the argument over law enforcement’s access to the content of a social media user.
Now the Occupiers are back in Manhattan. Will the movement regain its initial momentum? Today that will be determined.