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Protests and Dissent Fill 2011 This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

The past year was one of a rising tide of dissent and protesting. The one that most affected Wisconsin was the movement to recall Scott Walker. Starting in February, in response to proposed cuts to collective bargaining rights for public employees, protesters gathered at the Capitol building in Madison. The protests received nation-wide attention and the numbers of those occupying the Capitol and protesting on the streets swelled to over 100,000. While the occupation has ended the movement to recall Governor Scott Walker has not. Organizers claim to already be close to having enough signatures to have a recall election.

A new kind of activism, referred to as hacktivism, was on the rise as well. Hacktivism was the tool of internet activist groups such as Anonymous and LulzSec. These groups have used their hacking and internet skills to take down websites, release sensitive information, bring to light corruption, protect internet freedom, and organize protests.

There were large protests in California in response to brutality by Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police. The BART police have a history of police brutality, in particular against people of color, involving the 2009 shooting of Oscar Grant while he was handcuffed on the ground. On July 3rd, BART police shot and killed Charles Hill on a station platform, sparking massive public outrage. Shortly after this incident, San Francisco police shot and killed teenager Kenneth Harding after he failed to pay his bus fare. These displays of police brutality lead to a series of protests which crippled the transit system in the area and brought to national attention the actions of the police departments.

Probably the largest and most influential movement in 2011 was the Occupy movement. The movement started on September 17th with the start of the occupation of Zuccotti Park as a move to occupy Wall Street. The Occupy movement quickly spread to other major cities and can now be seen across the entire world in over a 1,000 different cities. The causes behind the occupations are anger at wealth inequality and corporate sway in the political system. The movement is still going strong across the nation even after a number of cities have forcefully and brutally evicted protesters from their occupation camps. The future for the Occupy movement is still up in the air, with no one knowing exactly how it will proceed in its hope to fix what it sees as flaws in the current American system.

As 2011 comes to a close, the protests and movements do not. Many, such as the Occupy movement and the effort to recall Scott Walker, are still pushing ahead while new protests are in sight.
Coming up in May of 2012 there are going to be large protests against the G8/NATO summit in Chicago. From May 19-21, the leaders of the economic superpowers of the world will be holding conferences in Chicago. Large organizational efforts to mobilize protests against these meetings have already been in full affect and the protests are expected to be very large, as most of these G8 summits have many thousands gathering to protest.



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