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Occupy Wall Street Spreads to Over 50 Cities, Reflecting Israel’s Social Justice Protests and Arab Spring Roots

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Sleep became the first act of civil disobedience that led to a national awakening.

The Occupy Wall Street movement, open and largely undefined in its beginning (and still defining itself though democratic means), was very clear from the start that this protest initiative would begin with a single strategic concept: occupation. Forming encampments would be an essential component of the planned movement. And this word - occupation - didn't arise out of thin air. It was borrowed directly from the Arab Spring and from Israel. It was borrowed directly from Tahrir Square and from Rothschild Boulevard.

Sleep would become a revolutionary act. (This is why organizers spent so much time researching the legal ways in which to occupy, or sleep, in public spaces in New York City as an act of protest, something which the courts have deemed is legal.)

Just as in Israel, this initial act that was launched in a single location, on the streets of New York, is now expanding outward. Sure, the numbers of those participating are small at this stage, but such is the case in almost any grassroots-led movement. And just as in Israel - where organized labor threw its full weight behind the protesters - labor unions and various other organizations in America, including the Teamsters, are already beginning to stand up and express their support for what is occurring.

After taking down many of their tent encampments to enter a phase of more direct political engagement, Israel's protest leaders have now pledged to return to the streets when the Knesset reconvenes on October 29, frustrated by the government's response to their demands.

When they do, America's streets may be reverberating with the sounds of drums, of chants, of citizens in unison singing, "This is how democracy works" and screaming, "We are the 99 percent."

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