Thursday, December 1, 2011


There are Occupy Wall Street movements in cities all over the United States. What does this movement represent? And what about the word, "occupy"?

At its simplist, it means to take up space.  You see signs on bathrooms in airplanes, "Occupied". That means, basically, that somebody is in the bathroom and you have to wait your turn.

Also we see it used to refer to filling up time, such as "This job is occupying all of my time." This sentence from Craig's List refers to some speakers that are for sale: "These ...speakers ... don't occupy much floor space, and are quite slim and elegant looking."

It is also used in the geo-political sense, referring to a hostile takeover of land: Germany occupied France, etc.  We see it as a noun: German's occupation of France began in May 1940 and ended in December 1944.

In the "Occupy" movement, it has much of this sense, though presumably without the hostility and with a sense of it being a popular movement ("the 99%"), and not an external and hostile takeover from a foreign group, but also an occupation of ideas and social change.

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