The Occupy Movement is currently the most vocal manifestation of public resistance and civil disobedience to hit the West since the 60s. In turn, it has elicited a concerted and in some ways unprecedented militarisation of state violence. In the US, the deployment of tear gas, pepper-spray and rubber bullets has deliberately brutalised peaceful, civilian protestors – purely in the name of restoring ‘civil order’. More than ever, the insistence by people on reclaiming public spaces in the name of opposing the injustice and inequality meted out by the proverbial “1 per cent” is unpeeling the mask of the democratic state, to reveal the unrestrained monopoly of wealth and weapons on which its power is premised.
Unlike previous twentieth century protests, the Occupy Movement is distinguished by its genuine spontaneity, its leaderless dynamic, and its organic global proliferation through the streets of major industrial cities in the North. The driving force of Occupy, however, is not just the escalating global economic recession, although the latter’s role in galvanising grievances shouldn’t be underestimated. Rather, the determination of citizens to occupy strategic public spaces is inspired by a convergence of public perceptions.