Twitter, Facebook, video streaming and web sites are the media weapons of choice of the Occupy Wall Street protesters. About a thousand people were today camped out in the Wall Street financial district in New York, demanding that the bankers who sparked the global economic crisis be brought to trial.
It was an all in protest. There was an African percussion band, old people, young people, punks with mohawks, native americans in suits, unionists, volunteer librarians running the people’s library, radical vegetarians and even a very strange man with crude tattoos and scars all over his visible body.
In the middle of the park, near the free food kitchen, they established a new media centre equipped with lap tops, digital cameras and recorders. Thorin Caristo was an organic farmer before he became a protest media spokesman.
“We definitely have a lot of upper echelon, over educated underpaid [people] coming out here,” he said.
This media centre is right now processing video coming off the street. We have social networking happening on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and Youtube. At the same time, we also have a live stream happening where we are live filming everything.
“Someone co-ordinated,” he said, “but we are just lucky everyone are so damn smart”.
The website occupywallst.org provided background information, a forum, chat, live streaming links and even directions on how to get to the demonstration. (I had to ask a policeman.) The conversation on Twitter could be found at Twitter.com/occupywallstnyc. The live stream was at Livestream.com/occupywallstnyc. A new site was called occupyeverything.org.
“That’s an up and coming one,” Caristo said.
People are being defined by what they are producing themselves. This is redefining media.
Did they need mainstream media to carry their message?
Not any more.
Occupy Wall Street is a horizontally organized resistance movement employing the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic “to restore democracy in America”. It uses a tool known as a “people’s assembly” to facilitate collective decision making in an open, participatory and non-binding manner. It calls it the NYC General Assembly and “welcomes people from all colors, genders and beliefs” to attend daily assemblies.