Occupy Wall Street "went global" on Saturday, as loosely affiliated protests unfolded in more than 900 cities in Europe, Asia, and Africa, as well as the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Most of the protests were peaceful, but a large march in Rome turned violent when a black-clad breakaway group battled riot police, smashed windows, and lit cars on fire. Will the global appropriation of the month-old Occupy Wall Street movement help strengthen the U.S. protesters' calls for more Wall Street accountability and less income inequality, or dilute it?
Occupy Wall Street just hit the big time: When people in 900 cities can find common cause, "something fascinating is growing" out of the New York protests, says Peter Beinart at The Daily Beast. "And by the time it ends, I suspect, politics will be different in the United States and a lot of other places as well." The global nature of the populist anger underscores that this is larger than the 2012 election — the movement is "decoupled" from President Obama or the Democrats — and that suggests that a real reckoning may be coming.
"Occupy protests' seismic effect"
This is the revolution? Saturday's protests may have given the "professional European left" the chance they've craved to get some of that sweet Occupy Wall Street action, says Rick Moran in American Thinker. But a measly 5,000 marchers in New York, mere dozens in many other U.S. cities, and a paltry 1,000 protesters in London? "A global temper tantrum by adults with the emotional maturity of five-year-olds does not a protest movement make."
"Wall Street protests go global"
If nothing else, this is a branding coup: What was really impressive wasn't the large numbers of protesters "yelling about banks" generally, says Amy Davidson in The New Yorker. It was the "99 Percent" signs in Hong Kong, Stockholm, Sydney, and Tokyo, and the word "occupy" infiltrating other languages. And counterintuitively, "as the marches spread, the ideas are getting more coherent, not less so." Occupy Wall Street has started "a global conversation." We'll see where it leads.
"Two, three, many Wall Streets"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why you should really take a nap this afternoon, according to science
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- 7 things the world's happiest people do every day
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- A gay Mormon's complicated journey
- How to flirt, according to science
- Why you shouldn't eat dog. Not even once.
- How social conservatives became a minority in need of protection
- The militarization of America’s police
Subscribe to the Week