The Occupy Movement: Past, Present, and Future?

November 24, 2011 :: Trevor Harrison
Moderated by Tad Mitsui

For months, politicians, media pundits, and ordinary citizens have watched the Occupy Wall Street protesters grow in numbers throughout the United States and elsewhere, including Canada. In this part of the country, Occupy protesters have made camp in several cities, including Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary, eliciting both support and condemnation from public officials and citizens.

But how might we understand the Occupy phenomenon? Is it a genuine movement, in the sense of past movements, or just a passing phase? What are its roots? While the Occupy protesters have targeted Wall Street (and capitalism in general), are there other, broader currents at work? Is there a connection, for example, between the alleged “Arab Spring” protests that began a year ago in the Middle East and the Occupy protesters? Who are the occupiers? Do its members have a coherent message, or is the group made up of largely individualized grievances? What has been the response of authorities? And what is its future? (Does it have a future?)

These are not easy questions to answer – nor will the speaker provide them. Instead, the speaker will provide observations in the context of previous protest movements, while also looking at the factors that will influence the trajectory and impact of the Occupy movement in the days to come.

Speaker: Trevor W. Harrison

Trevor W. Harrison is a Professor of Sociology and Associate Director of the Prentice Institute for Global Population and Economics at the University of Lethbridge. Recently, he also took on the role as co-director of Parkland Institute, a province-wide think tank that he co-founded in 1996 that is dedicated to studies of public policy.

A frequent presenter at SACPA talks, he is best known for his studies in political sociology and political economy. He is the author, co-author, or co-editor of eight books, numerous journal articles and book chapters, and a regular contributor to radio, television, and the print media.

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