Two Years After the Eviction of OWS, Here’s 5 People Keeping the Movement Alive


It was a cold night in late January 2012. The New York subway doors opened and a tall, dark-haired, 30-ish young man dressed entirely in black—leather jacket, jeans, and boots—stepped into the car. Hanging from his backpack were an orange plastic bullhorn and a small drum; tied on top was a thin sleeping mat.

He was one of the small army of Occupy Wall Streeters who had been driven from the park on November 15—two years ago today. He and some friends had been camping out in a vacant house to prevent the bank from foreclosing on it, he told us, but the winter weather had forced them to leave.

After protesters like him were evicted, no one knew where the movement was going and what it was going to do next. Two years later, though, the answers to those questions are beginning to become clear.

One way to get a handle on what became of the Occupy movement is to track the continuing work of its participants, five of whom we've profiled here. All of them were active in Occupy encampments, and now they are focused on channeling the energy and commitment to direct social action that fueled the movement into ensuring that Occupy groups born in the parks will continue to grow and work for lasting change.

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"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>Grace Davie

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"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>Occupy Faith
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"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>Cathy O'Neil

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"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>Nick Mirzoeff

Occupy Theory
Nick Mirzoeff

www.tidalmag.org), which is collectively edited, produced and, often, written. "There is no radical action without radical thought," Mirzoeff emphasizes, and Tidal is meant as a space for discussing movement-generated theory and practice. "Tidal understands that we are engaged in the early stages of an anti-capitalist struggle," declares the magazine's website. "Our immediately role is to…transform existing power structures."

The first issue was distributed just after Occupy's eviction from Zuccotti, and there have been three issues since. Themes have included the role and future of Occupy, the big 2012 New York May Day event, the Strike Debt campaign, and cities—"what we call learning from Detroit, both what happened to it and the visionary organizing that emerged because of all that." In addition to the online edition, hard copies are distributed at bookstores throughout New York City, in several other U.S. cities, and in Tunis.

Next step for Occupy Theory: extending their educational outreach by creating "living/learning/organizing centers" worldwide. The centers will offer free classes and serve as places where people can come together to reflect on their political work. If they succeed, the centers should also strengthen the sense of connection that Mirzoeff believes the magazine has created. "It's all about exploring what a different kind of democracy might be like. But mainly writing the Tidal is about trust, and the word used a lot around Occupy is love—not romantic love, not religious love, but a sort of bonding. And that continues."

And the young man on the subway that cold January night? Has he found another way to carry the OWS energy forward? If he reports in, we'll let you know.

YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas and practical actions.

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