NEW YORK—Occupy Wall Street’s weekend of events aimed at reviving its lost vigor continued through Monday around Liberty Square and Zuccotti Park. The group was celebrating its anniversary and its progress at taking a stand against economic inequality, but experts say the movement needs to do a lot more than a repeat of last year.
An amalgam of a couple hundred gathered at Zuccotti Park around lunchtime. A man with fake bills glued over his suit shouted to a passing tourist bus, “Welcome to New York;” another held an immigration sign; while one raised an incoherent poster expressing his pride at being a “redneck.” Amid the motley crowd stood a political science professor.
Matthew Bolton, 31, assistant professor at Pace University, said, “Victory of Occupy isn’t going to just happen, we have to keep showing up.”
“Freedom of expression requires you to express it incessantly,” he said, addressing the movement’s disappearance for many months. “There is a small victory in starting conversations.”
In an attempt to enliven the movement’s spirit, Occupy Wall Street will be holding various protests and talks throughout September and October, which are listed on the New York City General Assembly website.
Bob Pfefferman, 70, is a retired city employee. “I have worked all my life, and I don’t like my income insecure in old age,” he said. “I’m living on my pensions and social security, which are both being attacked. I’m here to protest against the inequality of property that exists in our society.”
But NYU sociology professor, Jeff Goodwin, said protests and conversations are not enough to make a real impact, or win large public support that it needs.
“Its main challenge is to find tactics that can put real pressure on the economic elite and thereby energize a mass following who are currently skeptical of its potential,” he said in an email.
“Most Americans are also unsure what the Occupy movement’s larger vision is, mainly because the movement itself is unsure of these things,” Goodwin said. “This also limits its appeal.”
“Still, the movement will undoubtedly muddle ahead … because it has targeted some very unpopular people and institutions. … This could buy it some time to discover tactics that work and a vision that resonates with masses of people,” he said.
Around 124 protesters had been arrested by late afternoon, according to a Occupy Wall Street spokesperson.
The NYPD did not respond to requests for comment.
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