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Where Does Occupy Go Now?

Has Occupy Wall Street petered out? Topped Out? Or is it just getting started? We’ll ask where the 99% goes next.

Police officers evict Occupy Oakland protesters from their camp at Telegraph Avenue and 19th Street in Oakland, Calif., on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011. The previous night, protesters tore down a fence surrounding a vacant lot to establish the 20-tent encampment. (AP)

Police officers evict Occupy Oakland protesters from their camp at Telegraph Avenue and 19th Street in Oakland, Calif., on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011. The previous night, protesters tore down a fence surrounding a vacant lot to establish the 20-tent encampment. (AP)

Occupy Wall Street had a heck of a season just now. What began as a few campers in Manhattan’s Zucotti Park turned into vivid protests across the country and around the world. The defining Occupy battle cry – “We Are the 99 Percent! – put extreme inequality front and center in the American conversation.

It has changed the tone of political debate. But now, Occupy camps have been cleared out in dozens of cities and towns across the country. And winter’s coming. So what next?

This hour, On Point: Has Occupy Wall Street peaked? Is it done? Or is it just getting started?

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Mattathias Schwartz, a journalist, his recent article on the Occupy movement appeared in the New Yorker.

Reihan Salam, a columnist for The Daily and lead writer of National Reviews “The Agenda.”

Catherine Murrell, spokeswoman for Stand Up! Chicago, a coalition of dozens of labor and community groups that work closely with Occupy Chicago.

Richard Kim, executive editor of The Nation. His latest article on the Occupy movement can be found here.

Highlights

The Occupy Wall Street movement that crashed its way into the national consciousness has come to a crossroads, as its camps around the country are emptied out. Now, the occupiers must now decide where the movement goes and how it gets there.

“You will still see [Occupy] six months or a year from now. I don’t know what form it will take, but it has only been 60 days and the movement has gotten very far, very quickly,” said Mattathias Schwartz, who wrote about the movement for the New Yorker.

The main question is whether the movement will join the political process in ways similar to the Tea Party, which helped Republican candidates in the 2010 mid-term elections.

“There’s one faction of Occupy that is very reform-minded — they want a repeal of Citizens United or a financial transactions tax,” said Richard Kim, executive editor of The Nation. “They don’t differ all that much from the left wing of the Democratic party.”

Many people in the Occupy movement are already actively participating in “the system,” Kim said, noting that not all aspects of the movement were anarchists looking to bring down capitalism.

That said, there are radical aspects of the Occupy effort that have taken hold in many cases and are now leading to confrontations with police, said Riehan Salam, a blogger with the National Review. “Suddenly, the movement becomes not about these larger economic inequality issues, but about the movement itself — about the right to protest in these particular ways,” he said.

However the Occupy movement impacts the 2012 election, there will likely be long-term implications, Salam said.

“Is there are smaller population of middle class, ex-college kids, who’ve been radicalized and who might actually go on to future kinds of social organizing and activism that could prove disruptive, destructive, or could prove quite productive in ways that we don’t fully understand,” Salam said.

From Tom’s Reading List

The New Yorker “Lasn was interrupted by a phone call about the Zuccotti eviction while in bed, reading Julian Barnes’s “The Sense of an Ending.” He rose and checked his e-mail. There was a message from Micah White, Adbusters’ senior editor and Lasn’s closest collaborator.”

Daily Kos “This past weekend I participated in a four-hour meeting of Occupy Wall Street activists whose job it is to come up with the vision and goals of the movement. It was attended by 40+ people and the discussion was both inspiring and invigorating. Here is what we ended up proposing as the movement’s “vision statement” to the General Assembly of Occupy Wall Street:”

L.A. Times “Meanwhile, former Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton will head a UC-sponsored investigation into the incident. Bratton is to lead an independent review and report his findings within a month, UC President Mark G. Yudof said.”

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