With the two-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street in lower Manhattan this week, many would argue that the movement is far from dead: Nationally, the fast-food industry and other service businesses have increasingly activist workforces. And New York, where Occupy was born, looks likely to elect a populist, very liberal mayor in November.
But a visit to the spot where Occupy Wall Street sprang up to protest corporate power and greed in the financial sector clearly reveals a movement that has less intensity—and certainly less media attention—than it once did.
Hundreds gathered to commemorate the anniversary, with a bowl of concrete steps in Zuccotti Park served as a makeshift clamshell from which activists addressed an attentive audience.
"The prison-industrial complex is profiting out of criminalizing our youth," one speaker declared.
"No one has the right to look at your email, your fe-mail, or your he-mail," roared a second, to appreciative laughter.
(Slideshow: Occupy Wall Street: Who the protesters are)
"On the 26th of this month, I am scheduled to be evicted," another announced.
Jack Jozevz, a Coney Island resident who sported an Uncle Sam hat, a Colonel Sanders beard and a collection of signs addressing fair wages, drones and the possibility of war with Syria, tried to distill the movement into a core message.
"In one word, Occupy is about destiny," he said. "In two words, it's 'apocalyptic sunrise.' "
His explanation in three words used some unprintable language about the "1 percent."