Thanks to the technological advancements of the last 15 years, including the development of image sensors capable of taking photos in low-light conditions, camera phones have become more and more important as tools that can turn each of us into a reporter. With the right apps, a current generation smartphone like the iPhone becomes a portable media center — you can take, process, and publish your photos on the spot in a few minutes. These devices become source of first-hand testimony on events that are either ignored or misrepresented by mainstream media sources. The wave of protests against the political and financial elites that is spreading throughout the globe are a prime example of this.
The Occupy Wall Street movement “officially” started on Semptember 17th, 2011 in Zuccotti Park, a publicly accessible park in Lower Manhattan, New York City. The protestors, coming from the most heterogeneous walks of life, grouped around a slogan, “We are the 99%”, which refers to the difference in wealth in the U.S. between the wealthiest 1% and the rest of the population. And wealth, in capitalistic societies, translates directly into political power — thus, those that should reform the society are the same that are benefiting from the unequal distribution of wealth. The wealthy own the media, the flow of information, and they shape the destiny of a nation using their money.
Mainstream media did not help the Occupy Wall Street movement; fear-mongering news channels have spread an image of the movement that describes the protestors as a danger: the result of this is that a part of the 99% that would need social and financial reforms is against the protest, when not afraid of it. Yet, if you will look at the images in this article, shot by photographers armed with a camera phone, you will immediately realize that the Occupy movement, which has spread to other cities in the U.S. (some of the photos in this article are from Oakland, Boston, and San Francisco) and to other countries, is made also of people like you.
Since when we are born we are fed the idea that our nation is the best place in the world, the most free, the one that can teach others the “right” way of doing things, the one that is favored by a “god”. Instead of making free thinkers out of their citizens, a lot of societies seem to attempt to create an army of nobodies that should simply follow the rules; they make sheep out of men. This does not happen just in poorer countries, but everywhere: because in any country there are powers that are interested in maintaining the status quo or changing it at their advantage, little by little. This indoctrination, often done through the media and the frustration that comes out of unequal distribution of wealth, is the only reason why, in my opinion, U.S. citizens, who believe to be the most free in the world, live in a country where:
- Major banks and multinational corporations control the democratic process. It does not take a good man to get elected as a President: it takes a man with powerful allies capable to pay for the epic campaign, allies that will then keep him under control throughout his mandate.
- Universal healthcare, which is a moral obligation in an industrialized society, does not exist.
- Post-secondary education is not guaranteed, and it is actually so expensive that 70% of the students need to get a loan. Many of these will pay their student debt through good part of their life, while the job market does not guarantee in any way that they will have a job to use their skills.
- Trade unions have little or no power at all.
We have been preparing this article for about 10 days now, and the situation for the Occupy Movement has been getting more and more difficult with each passing day. Yesterday, in a move that has been described as “minutely planned, almost military-style operation to remove those who had been camping in the park for two months” by the New York Times, the protestors have been forced to leave Zuccotti Park in NYC; over 70 people (some sources report more than 140 people) that were in the park and refused to leave have been arrested.
We must thank all the photographers that accepted to have their photos shown in this article. Many of these photographers are active in the Occupy movement, others went there to see with their eyes and camera what was going on. The photos we picked, all taken with a camera phone, are remarkable shots that give front-line views on an event that is not getting the coverage it deserves in mainstream media. We ordered the photos in chronological order.
We encourage you to explore the photographers’ profiles, linked below the photo, and we hope that this article is just a starting point for those that had heard news about the Occupy movement only from mainstream media sources.
If you want to read more about the Occupy movement or support it, you can start from one of these links:
- Unofficial Occupy Wall Street Website, includes a page for donations.
- Occupy Boston Website.
- Occupy San Francisco Website.
- Occupy Oakland Website.
- Occupy Philadelphia Website.
- Wikipedia page about Occupy Wall Street.