The Criminalisation of Zuccotti Park and Its Lessons for the UK Riots

  • David C. Brotherton


Zuccotti Square started after a blog by Adbusters under the domain name #occupywallstreet called for a protest on 17 September 2011 where 20,000 people were asked to flood the infamous banking zone of New York, ‘setting up tents’ and calling for ‘democracy and not corporatocracy’. It was called in solidarity with the Arab Spring and with the occupiers in Madrid and Barcelona (Castells, 2012). At first the response was relatively tepid with 3,000-plus participants but soon, once space was secured at the private/public park and protestors set up their encampment the example of this other, non-corporatised convivial environment, founded on enlightened self-organisation and conspicuous opposition to the business-as-usual of the 1% attracted increasing attention from tens of thousands of sympathisers in and around the city It was the place to be if you wanted to experience that other world that before you could only imagine (Pleyers, 2010). As live web feeds showed hundreds attending daily assemblies engaging some of the most important key issues of the day and word spread of the drumming circles, the communal kitchens, the free clothing banks, the multiple zones for the practice of every kind of activism, theatre, art and poetry and the endless realms and spaces for making friends and being exposed to the multiple social worlds of this vast metropolis the protest became a vast organism, an intricate and complexly ordered life-world exemplifying to millions an alternative to the bureaucratic, corporate, market-driven existing social order.


Relative Deprivation National Security Agency Street Looting Dangerous Class National Advisory Commission 
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© David C. Brotherton 2014

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  • David C. Brotherton

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