The Occupy encampments erupting around the world in Fall and Winter of 2011 developed into local platforms where activists from different milieus came together and forged relations and shared understandings. While Occupy protests broke out around the world in a synchronized fashion and used similar symbols and narratives, the protests were sustained by quite different local networks in different cities. We argue that the abilities of local Occupy movements to cope with challenges and magnify their resonance in the public sphere largely depended on how they were connected to local activist networks. We provide a political geography of Occupy and show how local networks in Amsterdam and Los Angeles shaped the global movement. Occupy activists were able to connect to some of the more prominent elements of Los Angeles' local activist networks and effectively formulated claims, but Occupy activists in Amsterdam were isolated and lost public support. The aims of the essay are twofold: first, to explain these divergent outcomes and second, to assess the effects of these outcomes in shaping the sustainability of Occupy struggles in these cities over the medium term.

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Social Movement Studies
Department of Sociology

Uitermark, J.L, & Nicholls, W. (2012). How Local Networks Shape a Global Movement: Comparing Occupy in Amsterdam and Los Angeles. Social Movement Studies, 11(3-4), 295–301. doi:10.1080/14742837.2012.704181