Vol 9 No 1 (2017)

Going Forward with Social Mobilisation: Occupy Wall Street and the Lessons of the 19th Century Oppositional Movements

Published November 27, 2016


Looking at the history of social mobilization in the early 19th century, three oppositional movements, anarchism, utopian socialism, and Marxism were prominent, and have continued importance for today’s community organizations and activism. Recent protests, such as Occupy Wall Street, were heavily influenced by these oppositional movements, especially anarchism. The contradictions inherent within the Occupy Movement, it is argued, stem from the historical contradictions between the three oppositional movements, which creates a need for reconciliation and integration. How can the lessons from each oppositional movement be integrated into a modern social movement organizing approach? Specifically, each movement details important elements of an integral approach to social change from below, and through an exposition of the main currents in utopian socialism, anarchism and Marxism, as well as a critique of the Occupy Wall Street movement, important insights are reached concerning the future of bottom up social change. Keywords: Social Mobilization, Marxism, Anarchism, Utopian Socialism, Occupy Wall Street, Social Movements.