chapter  9
24 Pages

The containment of Occupy: militarized police forces and social control in America

ByMatthew Morgan Reply by Victor E. Kappeler

The Occupy movement, which sprung up across the United States in the Fall of 2011, has been subjected to a wide range of praise and criticism. Occupy was revered for reinserting discussions of class and inequality within popular discourse and heralded for marking a systematic shift in American politics. ‘Specifically identifying its enemy as Wall Street, the Occupy movement re-centered left politics by claiming the fundamental division of class struggle. Its central slogan, “We are the 99%”, transforms a statistic into a crime’ (Dean 2013, 56). Occupy marks the first outbreak of sustained resistance in the United States to the continued intensification of neoliberalism following the onset of the present crisis. This crisis began in the Autumn of 2008 with the collapse of the investment firm Lehman Brothers, when, for a brief moment, it appeared the mechanisms of capital accumulation might suffer a complete breakdown.1 Instead with neoliberalism emerging reinvigorated rather than collapsing under the strains of the current crisis, critical forms of analysis and action which drew attention to record levels of inequality in the United States and the symbiotic relationship betweenWall Street andWashington were desperately needed.2 Occupy fulfilled this role, yet as will be shown below, it fell victim to against an increasingly predatory capitalism, one that is buttressed by an ever harsher and more coercive state.