chapter  11
25 Pages

Women Activists of Occupy Wall Street: Consciousness-Raising and Connective Action in Hybrid Social Movements


On the Second Anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, September 17, 2013, political commentator Robert Reich dismissed the movement as having failed, in part due to its “lack of a clear leadership.” 1 Such judgments persistently accusing Occupy Wall Street (OWS) of having “no clear goals or aims”—widely held misrepresentations of OWS which began almost as soon as media began reporting-refl ect a fundamental misunderstanding and misrecognition of the particular commitments, aims, and visions of OWS as well as how contemporary “hybrid social movements” function, mobilized by a new generation of young, often fi rst-time activists. In particular, the horizontal (nonhierarchical) organizational structure can appear to those unfamiliar with horizontalism as a lack of clear goals. Such accusations fail to recognize a key feature of contemporary social movements: the increasingly important commitment to a process of liberation as part and parcel of any end goals or singular aims. OWS is known as a leaderless movement for this reason, including features such as consensus-based decisions and radical inclusivity.