After police in cities across the country cracked down on Occupy encampments, the movement lost the "target-rich visual environment" that attracted media organizations, says David Carr in The New York Times. But don't count the movement out yet: Occupy groups of all stripes are taking on a host of issues, from income inequality to banking regulations. Here, four ways Occupy Wall Street is trying to change the world:
1. Partying like it's 1776
An Occupy-inspired organization — the 99 Percent Declaration Working Group — plans to elect 876 "delegates" for a national assembly in Philadelphia over the Fourth of July weekend. In the mold of the Founding Fathers, the delegates will ratify a "petition for a redress of grievances" against the government, some of which will touch on corporate greed and the gap between rich and poor.
2. Organizing mass protests
Inspired by Oregon's Occupy Portland, groups in 34 cities are preparing for "a day of nonviolent direct action" on Feb. 29 to protest the influence of business in politics. Occupy groups are also calling for a nationwide "general strike" on May 1, to show corporations what "a day without the 99 percent" would look like.
3. Going toe-to-toe with financial lobbyists
Occupy the SEC submitted a 325-page document to government financial watchdogs, challenging the arguments of lobbyists who are trying to water down new regulations of the financial industry. In particular, the group urges the government to implement a tough version of the so-called Volcker Rule, which is intended to prevent banks from using their own money to make risky trades. "Policy fights are won by people who show up," says Matthew Yglesias at Slate. Engaging with regulatory agencies is part of "the day-in, day-out grind of policymaking."
4. Or maybe Occupy's work is done
Perhaps Occupy Wall Street "already won a big battle and is now watching victory unfold," says Carr in the Times. The movement inserted economic inequality into the national conversation, and it's no coincidence that President Obama shortly afterward began pursuing a more populist agenda. Obama's "handlers have steered him away from mentioning the movement by name, but several pages of Occupy's hymnal are now part of his political oratory." Expect Occupy's message to play a role in the November election and beyond.