Monday, January 23, 2012

The Internet as Leader

I’ve been fascinated with the amazing worldwide expansion of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and yet have seen very little coverage of how it happened.

Was there a leader driving this protest into major countries throughout the world? Where has the money come from? Is there a governing body making decisions that enabled the group to grow?

Based on cursory research, I can find no single leader driving this movement. It is a true child of the internet. It seems to have all started with a blog posted by the Canadian-based Adbusters Foundation urging that there be a protest against greed and to encourage greater income equality. The protest suggestion was restated in an email sent by Adbusters to its list and it was “spontaneously taken up by all peoples of the world,” according to Micah White, senior editor of Adbusters Magazine.

It is unique to have a spreading movement managed without an adept leader at the helm. The Occupy group, however, attributes its governance to a General Assembly — it says no one leader runs it; rather, various people speak and lead at different times. Thus, it appears to be the epitome of democracy, unlike most other protest movements.

It is my conclusion, therefore, that the internet, in effect, is the leader. It has led the global expansion. It has influenced the very democratic approach because of its communications range and “all hands” approach. Certainly, without the internet, the participants would not be talking to each other and both encouraging and enabling a global conversation. Occupy’s very effective slogan, “We are the 99%,” is all over the internet, and it is motivational. The internet serves as a fundraiser and has helped collect over $750,000, applied to support the needs of the protesters.

Once again, communications is the power behind the throne.

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