We are the 98%?

Having participated on the fringes of #occupy, this story attracted my interest (and the poster above uses a number of iconic memes!):

The Occupy movement is a disparate yet articulate protest movement directed against economic and social inequality. Although it has not rushed to make demands, it has galvanised support with the slogan “The 99 per cent”, referring to the concentration of wealth among the top 1 per cent of income earners. As a meme, “Occupy” has propagated far and wide, but it does not appear to have gained as much traction as one might have thought among those at university. This is not 1968. Like structuralism then, the mass of students today are not taking to the streets.

Occupy Wall Street came to an unglamorous end in mid-November, and the clock is officially ticking for the camp outside St Paul’s Cathedral in London. One protester I met in the “Information Tent” at St Paul’s was pragmatic. All the tents, he explained, would be removed as soon as the court ruling decreed. But I was also told that the idea of Occupy will remain steadfast.

During a lecture, I wrote on the board “#ows”, the Twitter hashtag then circulating in relation to Occupy Wall Street. I asked if anyone recognised it. Out of some 60 media undergraduates – many of them Twitter users – not one knew. And even when told, a less-than-excited murmur rippled through the room. Despite a number of high-profile scholars lending support to the Occupy movement, little interest has registered across the other 99 per cent of the university population.

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