On Oct. 10 Mike created a Facebook group, Occupy Oakland University, and a Twitter account, OccupyOaklandU, to more effectively communicate information. Mike contacted other Michigan Occupations through Facebook and OccupyTogether.org, an unofficial hub of the movement, to bolster support for Oakland demonstrations.
A walk out was planned and publicized on Facebook days before an organized effort at Oakland came about. Because it was only planned a day in advance, only six people committed to the walk out.
Mike, a freshman, said the Oakland walk out was not successful in part because of the speed of the movement and lack of promotion. Mike spoke on the condition of anonymity, fearing university retaliation for protesting.
He said that future demonstrations would be planned earlier and with better-dispersed information.
“The next walk out and protest will be huge and very much promoted,” he said.
It all began with the Canadian anti-commercial-propaganda magazine, Ad-busters, challenge for Internet users in their July 13 issue, asking the question: “Are you ready for a Tahrir movement?”
The cry was for a mass demonstration and occupation of an institution synonymous with corporate greed: Wall Street.
Protests began Sept. 17, expanding across the nation and world.
U.S colleges became involved in early October, when students from a collective group of 150 universities, fed up with student debt and a stagnant job market, walked out of classes and organized demonstrations online via OccupyColleges.org, which is in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street.
Occupy OU’s next event is a protest outside of the Nov. 9 Republican presidential debate at OU, set to begin at 6:30 p.m.
For Mike, the GOP debate is the next logical step in assuring that the Occupy movement is represented positively to the media and to the American public. This is why he created the Facebook event “Occupy the Debate.”
“I want people to know that this isn’t a pro-Obama rally, it’s not an anti-republican kind of a thing. It’s more of an anti-corruption, anti-money in politics kind of a thing,” he said.
The OU debate hosting committee established a free-speech for demonstrations like the one Mike has promoted (see sidebar for more info).
Demonstrations are to take place in an area directly across from the O’rena where eight Republican presidential hopefuls will exchange talking points.
Mike’s main grievance is campaign-financing legislation.
“Mostly, I just want to see money out of politics,” he said.
Mike does not want to be a leader or a spokesperson.
“There are not leaders. We are a group of leaders,” he said, echoing the groups philosophy.
He is comfortable, he said, helping spread information regarding social inequality to OU students.
Mike was motivated to join the protest because of growing indifference to the plight of a diminishing middle class, he said.
“Governments haven’t been acting for us, or what the Occupy movement calls the 99 percent,” Mike said.
This is evident in business-biased policies such as the auto-industry bailouts and the Trouble Asset Relief Program, he continued. Individuals should come to the protest and draw their own conclusions, with critical thinking, of the issues and their meanings, he added.