Revolt in a post-industrial society in the 21st Century – Part 2:
Due to the unequal wealth distribution, the bubbles that burst hit some people harder than others.
When the bubbles of the 21st century started to burst, the first Occupy protest to receive widespread attention was Occupy Wall Street in New York City’s Zuccotti Park, which began on 17 September 2011. After the initial protest and attention by the media, ‘Occupy Wall Street’ turned quickly into an international protest movement against social and economic inequality.
One of the movement’s prime concerns was how large corporations and the global financial system control the world in a way that benefits a small minority and undermines democracy at the same time. Demands were raised to tighten banking regulations, arrest all ‘financial fraudsters’, and investigate and prosecute corruption in politics and business.
As much as the movement started passionately, it also showcased the nature of ‘post-industrial’ and ‘post-ideological’ mass protest. The working class in the developed countries has developed into middle class, and the demise of the 20th century ideologies, has generated almost a distrust in ‘utopian’ solutions. The Occupy movement had no demands for a revolution, no demands for a throw-over of the Government.
Peaceful protests by occupying public places with a lot of speeches and grass-roots democracy were the essence of the protest. It resembled a protest-by-doing by showing the world an alternative through establishing an experimental non-materialistic grass-roots society in miniature format.
The Occupy movement in Amsterdam occupied the place in front of the old stock exchange on the 15th of October 2011. Initially being friendly towards the protests, after 2 months the Mayor of Amsterdam stated that the encampment of the protesters was a health and safety hazard. Police moved in soon after and removed many of the protesters.
The end of the occupation came a bit later when the Municipality of Amsterdam decided that the protest is finally over, again for health and safety reasons. As protesting is allowed in the Netherlands and as peaceful as the protesters were, they went to court to fight this decision. In a democracy, a judge is not allowed to base his ruling on political reasons. But ‘other’ reasons are allowed, of course, even if an observer might get the impression that they serve as a scapegoat for those restricted political reasons.
Ordered by court to do so, on the 24th of March 2012, the protesters dismantled their camp and left.
The Dutch revolt had lasted for 5 months (and was ended by court order).