Part of the Cultural Studies of Science Education book series (CSSE, volume 9)


OccupyWallStreet grew rapidly from an internet meme and tent city in the heart of America’s financial sector to a global revolt against neoliberal capitalism. Focusing on economic inequality and corruption in the banking industry, Occupy drew attention to the plight of the majority of people suffering under neoliberal globalization. Its slogan, “We are the 99 %,” references the growing concentration of income and wealth among the top one percent of income earners in the United States. Within weeks, the protest had self-replicated, with occupations cropping up in 900 cities around the world. Evidently, it spoke a common language of hope, rage and refusal that had been unleashed by the Arab Spring almost a year earlier. The internet was crucial to the birth and proliferation of the Occupy Movement, enabling protestors to overcome the initial media embargo against OccupyWallStreet and began airing their concerns via social media. The #Occupy hashtags were powerful signifiers that enabled the ideas, sentiments and spirit of the protest to diffuse, evolving from a movement tactic into a global phenomenon. This chapter traces Occupy’s roots in the recent history of internetworked social movements and examining its dual nature as a simultaneously virtual-physical phenomenon. It considers the essential role of tech activists in building the technical infrastructure of Occupy, using free and open source technology (FOSS) as well as corporate social media to bridge the online-offline divide. Finally, this chapter discusses Occupy as a distributed platform upon which a global super-movement is currently being built.


Internet Social movements Tech activism Occupy Philosophy of technology Social media Free software 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of ExtensionUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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