In Manuel Castells’ article “Networks of Outrage and Hope: social movements in the internet age,” he acknowledges the creation of a new type of social revolution, one led by the presence of internet. Castell uses the Occupy Wall Street Movement as a case study. He begins with an in-depth analysis of the occupiers themselves and their diverse and wide-ranging motives.

The Occupy Wall Street movement is a reflection of the diversity and complex depth of the type of movements we see today. Birthed, and sustained through the internet, this medium allowed it to spread its wings and flourish across the US. Because it was leaderless, it needed an entity like the internet which would allow for many smaller leaderships to form across the country. In addition, Castell mentions the power of an internet led movement which allows for it to be sustained over an undetermined amount of time, giving the movement a sense of “forever-ness.” A great example of this today, is the Black Lives Matter movement which has chapters across the US, rather than one sanctified leader.

I had never read an opinion like this one, regarding the Occupy movement. Often you hear that it was the lack of leadership in the movement that led to its demise. I was so glad to have read an article which takes an entirely different spin on this notion and integrates the internet as the movement’s guardian angel.

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One response »

  1. taliat says:

    I think the flip side of this is that because the movement didn’t have one clear leader, it was easier for it to not have one clear goal or demand, which Castells admits was seen by many as a “fundamental flaw” of the movement (p. 187). Is it valid to see this fact as a limitation of Occupy Wall Street? As Castells puts it, the reality that the movement was diverse and avoided traditional political avenues was both “its strength and weakness,” and that part of what made the movement so important and special limited its lifespan (p. 188).

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