The Occupy Movement in California


Occupy Los Angeles


Michaela Curran*, Elizabeth A. G. Schwarz* and Christopher Chase-Dunn

Institute for Research on World-Systems

University of California-Riverside


Draft v. June 4, 5692 words


Description: Description: img7

IROWS Working Paper # 74

An earlier version of this article is available at



Direct correspondences to: Michaela Curran,, University of California Riverside, Sociology Department, 1206 Watkins Hall, Riverside, CA 92521.


* M. Curran and E. Schwarz contributed equally to this work. The authors are sociologists who both participated in, and formally studied, the Occupy Movement in

collaboration with the University of California-Riverside Transnational Social Movement Research Working Group ( 




We use data from local Facebook pages to study the diffusion of the Occupy Movement across cities in California during the first two months of the movement in 2011.  We present the results of our research and discuss the meaning of the movement for political developments in California and the United States. We find that about a third of all of the incorporated towns and cities in California had active local Occupy groups. Larger cities were more likely to have an Occupy Facebook page, to have more subscribers to their Facebook pages and to have started their Occupy pages earlier than smaller cities. Our findings, based on the comparisons of differences across the cities of California, are similar to those of studies that looked at differences among individuals. We found that cities and towns that voted Democratic in the 2008 Presidential election and with more young people were more likely to have Occupy activities. Those cities with Occupy activities were more likely to have a higher proportion of the population who were white. But we also found that cities with lower average incomes were more likely to have Occupy activities. The rate of foreclosures is surprisingly unrelated to Occupy activity, and the unemployment rate is negatively associated with Occupy activities. We also found that towns and cities with military bases were less likely to have Occupy activities while towns and cities with four-year colleges and universities were more likely to have Occupy activities.  We conclude with a consideration of the implications of the Occupy Movement in California for political developments in California and in the United States.


            The Occupy Movement spread rapidly across the United States and to cities all around the world during the last months of 2011[i]. This rapid diffusion was interesting because participants were activated by both exposure to mass media reports about the events in Zuccoti Park in New York City and by their connections to social media that carried information not available through the mass media.[ii] Participants in New York were able to use social media to provide first-hand accounts about events and debates regarding the procedures of carrying on group decision-making that became a central component of the movement[iii][iv].  Thus, both the ideas and the processes of direct democracy spread quickly and were replicated in local contexts in which millions of people learned how to participate in face-to-face public decision-making. Excellent studies have been published that report and evaluate the social movement that emerged and evolved in New York City. Perhaps the best of these were written by participant observers and social scientists Todd Gitlin[v] and David Graeber[vi].

            In late 2011, California, like the rest of the United States, was still reeling from the financial crisis of 2008 and the home mortgage meltdown.  The construction and real estate industries had collapsed. Unemployment and mortgage foreclosures were very high, especially in some counties. Students were unhappy about the increasing costs of higher education and their growing levels of indebtedness and were demonstrating about these issues on many campuses.  The state government was experiencing a large budget deficit and so programs were being cut and shifted onto county and municipal jurisdictions. Public universities and colleges were being pushed to reorganize as more substantially self-funding enterprises. It was in this context that the Occupy Movement was taken up across the cities and towns of California.

            The Occupy Movement in New York City was inspired by the 2011 Arab Spring and anti-austerity movements in Greece and Spain. Veterans of the Global Justice Movement such as David Graeber were key players. The use of the internet, texting and social networking was an important tactic, and the notions of leaderlessness and horizontal organization that have been central tendencies in Leftist movements since the Zapatista rebellion in Southern Mexico in 1994 were core methods of the Occupy movement. Studies of the waves of transnational social movements, the Social Forum process and the emergence of a “New Global Left” have contended that internet usage has allowed a loose coalition of the “precariate” – marginalized and casualized workers and underemployed educated young people who have been sidelined by the neoliberal corporate capitalist globalization project – to mobilize a global revolution. The Occupy Movement is understood as one act in this on-going and still spreading precariate revolt[vii]. 

Occupy Facebook Pages: A Snapshot

            We used Facebook searches to study the Occupy Movement in California. Nearly all the local manifestations of the movement created their own Facebook pages. We also noted from our participation in the Occupy Riverside encampment that computer-savvy participants played an important role among the core activists. Many of these were graduate students from the University of California-Riverside. They gave the local movement a web presence and used live streaming technologies to communicate information about events and proposed actions.


Occupy Riverside Logo


            In order to study the diffusion of the Occupy Movement in California, we assembled a data set containing information on the demographic, economic and political characteristics of 481 incorporated towns and cities in California[viii]. We used Facebook searches to determine whether or not each of these 481 settlements had a local Facebook page.  We employed the search command on Facebook to look for, e.g., “Occupy Riverside.”  Once we had located pages for California towns and cities, we recorded when each page had been created and how many “likes” each page had received. These indicators were used as proxies for the existence of a local Occupy Movement, and to indicate the size of that movement[ix]. In the discussion below, the number of likes is referred to as the number of “subscriptions.”


In California, early Occupy sites were established in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, and several other large cities.  But the movement also spread to 143 smaller cities and towns in California. The Occupy Barstow Facebook page proclaimed that Barstow is “about as far from Wall Street as you can get.” But the Barstow occupiers probably did not know that there were also Occupy actions in other small and isolated California communities such as Weaverville, Idyllwild, Calistoga and El Centro.[x] Our survey of 481 incorporated towns and cities in California found that nearly 30% (143) of them had Occupy pages on Facebook between December 1st and December 8th   of 2011. This snapshot of the web presence of the Occupy Movement shows where and to what extent this movement diffused from its early presence in the largest cities to the smaller cities and towns of California[xi].

Multivariate Analysis of City Characteristics

Overall, we found that certain city-level characteristics are strongly associated with Occupy activity in our comparison of 481 California cities and towns.  The variable characteristics of cities and towns we studied were:

·         the population size of the city or town

·         the percentage of the population who were white,

·         the percentage of the population who were Latino,

·         the median household income,

·         the party that won the 2008 Presidential election (Democrat vs. Republican),

·         the number of 4-year colleges and universities,

·         the number of military bases,

·         the percentage of the population between 18 and 24 years of age,

·         the region of California (North vs. South[xii]; East vs. West)[xiii],

·         the unemployment rate and

·         the foreclosure rate.

City Size and Protests

Larger cities were more likely to have Occupy Movements as indicated by the existence of an Occupy Facebook page. Larger cities also had more subscribers to their Facebook pages and started their Occupy Facebook pages earlier than smaller cities[xiv]. It is not surprising that the Occupy Movement was more likely to be located in large cities and that these established their local presences earlier and had more participants. The establishment of a local presence requires a critical mass of activists and such a critical mass is more likely to exist in large cities than in small towns. But, given this, what is striking about the California findings is how far the movement did penetrate into medium-sized and small towns.

Figure 1: Scattergram of Facebook Likes (logged) and Populations of Cities (logged) of those towns and cities that had Occupy Facebook pages.

Figure 1 displays the logged number of likes and the logged population sizes of the 143 California towns and cities that had Occupy Facebook pages. We divided up the cities into small, medium, and large using 2010 U.S. Census population data. Large is defined as having more than 100,000 residents, medium is defined as having 25,000-99,999 residents, and small is defined as having 0-24,999 residents. By using this method, we have 66 large cities, 197 medium cities, and 218 small cities. Forty-nine (74%) of the large cities in California had Occupy Facebook pages, 68 (35%) of the medium cities had Occupy Facebook pages, and 26 (12%) of the small cities had Occupy Facebook pages[xv].  Despite the strong effect of community size, some rather small settlements did have Occupy Facebook pages. These small towns include Mount Shasta, Sonora, Sebastopol, Ojai, and Half-Moon Bay. These towns were not geographically close to other larger Occupy groups, so they created their own pages and occupation camps. According to the Mount Shasta Herald, over 150 protestors marched through the streets of this small Northern California town of 3,400 on October 17th,  2011. These small town protests demonstrate the great spatial depth of the movement in California.

Our survey of Facebook pages found that local Occupy Movements emerged in seemingly unlikely places, demonstrating the depth of frustration that people felt about the recession and the austerity measures that were taken by authorities. Discussions on local movement Facebook pages illustrated the variety of issues that were important to local participants. In the small town of Yreka in Northern California, a man who had recently lost his home to foreclosure was trying to start an Occupy site in early November. Participants on the Occupy Riverside page discussed the high unemployment rate in Riverside County and the high rate of housing foreclosures. They also helped an ex-Marine reoccupy the home from which he and his family had been evicted as a result of foreclosure. On December 6, 2012, there was a national call to Occupy Our Homes. According to one protestor in Petaluma, over 1,000 homes were facing foreclosures in the town of 56,000. Occupy protestors in Petaluma successfully petitioned Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to suspend evictions during the coming holiday season.

The Occupy Ojai movement organized its participants to move their savings from accounts in large banks such as Wells Fargo and the Bank of America to local banks and credit unions. The Occupy Oakland encampment was subjected to repeated attacks by police and organized a successful one-day shutdown of the Port of Oakland in protest. Occupy Davis protested police tactics in wake of the events at UC-Davis in which students who were sitting down in a public place to support the Occupy Movement were pepper-sprayed by a policeman. Occupy Redding supported postal workers who were protesting job cuts. Other issues that were discussed on the community Facebook pages included student loan debt, rising tuition costs, raising taxes on the rich, corporate crime and moving toward a more democratic and sustainable economy.

The Relative Importance of City Characteristics Regarding Their Influence on the Occupy Movement

Our comparative analysis of cities and towns pits characteristics of towns against one another to determine whether or not the associations of particular town characteristics are statistically significant controlling for all other characteristics. Therefore, the results we found hold true despite that we were already taking account of the effects of city size discussed above.

We found that the percentage of the population that is white in a city or town is significantly associated with the presence/absence of an Occupy Facebook page (Table 2 in the Appendix) and also with the number of subscribers (Table 4) and with the earliness of the date of the creation of the Facebook page (Table 6). Thus, all our indicators of the local presence and size of an Occupy Movement are statistically associated with the degree of whiteness of a town or city. This tendency of towns and cities with a greater proportion of white residents to have greater likelihood of participation in the Occupy Movement is interesting because it corresponds with the findings of studies of individual participants in the Occupy Movement and with a topic that was frequently discussed within the movement itself. The survey of actively involved Occupiers in New York City by Ruth Milkman, Stephanie Luce and Penny Lewis showed that, though only 33% of the residents of New Yorker City are white, and non-hispanic, 67% of the actively involved Occupy respondents were white[xvi]. This is interesting because variation across individual survey respondents may not be related to similar variation in average characteristics across communities. Assuming that an association between group-level characteristics necessarily implies the same relationship among individual characteristics is called the ecological fallacy.  But the similarity of the survey results with our cross-community comparisons suggests in this case that the same relationships hold at the individual and at the community level.

            While many of the local encampments discussed how inequalities in American society were being recreated within the movement and made efforts to improve this situation by reaching out to ethnic minorities and the poor, the race issue was most visible and contentious in Oakland. The Oakland Occupy Movement was large (see Figure 1 above) and radical. Oakland has long suffered from conflict between poor African-Americans and the Oakland Police Department. This conflict had become more salient in recent years because of highly publicized instances of the abuse of police powers. And the Mayor of Oakland, a long-time community activist and supporter of Leftist causes, was having a feud with the Oakland Police Department before the eruption of the Occupy Oakland movement.

Early on, the relations between more radical and confrontational elements among the occupiers and the faction dedicated to non-violent protest tactics became heated. This was reflected in the discourse about the “diversity of tactics” in which the radical elements contended that the destruction of property by those who thought it to be appropriate to the situation should be condoned by the movement as a whole. Some of those who were committed to non-violent forms of protest were pacifists as a matter of principle while many others considered that violent protest was tactically unwise and likely to bring on police violence and to be condemned by the larger public. This division tended to separate educated whites from less educated and angrier minorities and the result was contentious.  This disagreement over tactics was exacerbated by a series of forceful actions by the Oakland Police Department intended to suppress the Occupy Oakland movement.

We also found a statistically significant relationship between the percentage of the local population between the ages of 18 and 24 with the number of likes to Occupy Facebook pages (Table 4). This could have been due to differences in the age distributions across communities in which those with larger numbers of young people were more likely to organize Occupy encampments, or it could have been due to the more frequent use of Facebook among this segment of the population, which led to the greater Facebook participation. Interestingly this finding regarding differences in the age distribution among communities also corresponds with the finding of a large number of young people among the actively involved participants in the Occupy Movement in New York City.  The Milkman et al study shows that though only 28% of the residents of New York City are under 30 years of age, 40% of the actively involved Occupy survey respondents were under 30[xvii].

But some of our other findings imply that the relationship between inequality and the Occupy Movement in California was more complicated. We also measured the percentage of the population of cities who identified themselves at Latino but found no relationship between that and the presence/absence of local Occupy movements or their size. This finding is interesting because the growing Latino vote is one of the most important trends in California (and national) politics. We did, however, find a statistically significant relationship between the average household income of cities and the number of subscribers to Facebook pages (Table 3), but the relationship is negative. This means that towns and cities with less average household income were more likely to have larger Occupy presences on Facebook when other characteristics of cities are statistically controlled.  The negative relationship with income is still present in Tables 2 (existence of an Occupy Facebook page) and Table 5 (earliness of Facebook page creation, but these are small associations and are not statistically significant).  The income finding would seem to contradict the race finding because income and whiteness are obviously positively correlated. Our findings imply that cities with higher proportions of the population that is white and with relatively poorer residents were more likely to participate in the Occupy Movement.

We also investigated the foreclosure rates and the unemployment rates of cities and towns.

We found no statistically significant relationships between the foreclosure rate and Occupy activity after the other variables were controlled. This non-finding is interesting because the housing crisis was an important part of the discourse of the Occupy Movement both in California and across the nation. We did find two significant associations of the unemployment rate with the Occupy Movement, however. Curiously, the rate of unemployment was negatively associated with the number of Facebook Occupy subscribers (Table 4) and with the earliness of the creation of the local Facebook page (Table 6)[xviii]. This result implies that cities with lower rates of unemployment were more likely to participate in Occupy Movement. An examination of the data on the unemployment rates shows that the highest rates are found in small agricultural towns in the Central Valley of California (e.g. Mendota at 42%).  Most of these did not have Occupy sites and they are and these are so high on unemployment that the skewed distribution may be producing this negative association. Towns and cities without Facebook pages were coded as zero for the purposes of these models (See Figures 1 and 3 in the Appendix). When the statistical models are limited to just cities with Occupy Facebook pages, the unemployment variable fails to be significant.

Political Geography in California

California has the most politically polarized legislature in the United States. The democrats are very liberal and the conservatives are very conservative, so much that the United States Congress looks bipartisan by comparison[xix]. This extreme political polarization makes the study of the Occupy Movement in California of particular interest. We found a significant association between the presence (Table 2), the size (Table 4), and the earliness of Facebook page creation (Table 6) with the percentage of the population towns and cities that voted for Barack Obama (versus John McCain) in the 2008 presidential election. This association holds even after the size of cities and the other characteristics we are studying were statistically held constant in the comparison of California cities. It is not surprising that the Occupy Movement was more likely to emerge and be large in cities with more Democratic voters. These are the same towns and cities in which organized labor is strong.  Many unions expressed sympathy for the Occupy Movement as it blossomed across the United States.  In Riverside, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) offered early logistical support to the Occupy Riverside.   The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) supported the effort by Occupy Oakland to shut down the Port of Oakland for a day on November 2, 2012.[xx]



Occupy Oakland at the Port

            California was long known to have an important political difference between the Democratic and liberal San Francisco Bay Area and the more conservative and Republican cities of Los Angeles and San Diego.  Political scientists have noted that this North/South difference has declined since the 1980s and they argue that there is now an East/West political divide between the more liberal coastal cities in the West and the more conservative rural regions in the East[xxi]. We coded our towns and cities into both north/south and east/west groups for our analysis but did not find any differences. This result supports the observation that the north/south difference has declined but does not support the notion of an east/west difference.

            Our analysis shows that 70 cities in Northern California (defined as being north of Bakersfield) and 73 cities in Southern California (defined as Bakersfield and south of it) have Facebook pages. By using this method to divide incorporated California cities, we have 255 northern cities and 227 southern cities. About 27% of the northern cities had Facebook Occupy pages, while 31% of the southern cities had Occupy pages. When we look at the early adopters (cities that established Facebook pages in September), we find 13 cities. Seven of them were Northern California. In October, 97 Occupy Facebook pages were started. Forty-seven of these pages were in Northern California, while 50 were in Southern California cities.

            We also examined the Los Angeles area (Los Angeles, Kern, Orange, San Bernardino, and Ventura Counties) and the Bay Area (San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Solano Counties). We found that of the 143 Occupy Facebook pages, 78 (54.55%) of them were located in cities in either the Los Angeles or the Bay area. The Los Angeles area comprises 14,663,765 (47.58%) of the total population of California, while the Bay Area comprises 6,102,154 (19.80%) of the total population of California. Greater Los Angeles area had 50 or 34.96% of the total Occupy Facebook pages, and the Bay Area had 28 or 19.58% of the total Occupy Facebook pages. This supports the idea that Northern California is no longer a bastion of Leftist progressives compared with Southern California, at least as this is indicated by the Occupy movement. Our findings suggest that the north/south difference, at least as indicated by the propensity to establish Occupy sites, is no longer a factor in California politics.

Military Towns and College Towns

We also examined variation in the number of local military bases and the number of local four-year colleges and universities with the expectation that these might be related to differences across cities that would enhance or undermine the likelihood of an active Occupy group. After observing that graduate students from the University of California-Riverside had been important early organizers of the Occupy Riverside movement, we hypothesized that proximity to higher education communities might have an effect on whether or not cities would establish an Occupy Facebook page. We found that 170 cities or 35.27% of the California cities have at least one higher education institution. Most cities (312 or 64.73%) do not have at least one university or college. We found that 83 of the 170 cities with at least one university or college had Occupy Facebook pages (49%). This compares with 60 cities with Occupy Facebook pages of the 312 that do not have at least one university or college (`19%). The eight cities with the most number of universities or colleges all have Occupy Facebook pages. Our multivariate analysis also supported the hypothesis that a concentration of colleges and universities was positively associated with Occupy activity.  Table 4 in the appendix reveals a statistically significant positive association between the number of colleges and universities and the number of Occupy Facebook subscribers when other city characteristics are held constant.  And Table 5 displays a statistically significant negative association between the number of local military bases and the earliness of the creation of an Occupy Facebook page. 

Implications of the Occupy Movement in California

       It has been frequently noted that the Occupy movement had an important impact in terms of putting the issue of growing inequality in the U.S. on the front burner of political discourse. The popularity of Thomas Picketty’s analysis of long-term trends in inequality[xxii] and the growing prominence of this issue in electoral politics demonstrate that the Occupy discourse about the 1% has spread and evolved. In California recent protests in San Francisco surrounding the use of public bus stops by luxury private buses owned by the Google Corporation to transport workers from San Francisco to the Google headquarters in Cupertino reflects the growth of this discourse. Gentrification of residential neighbourhoods in San Francisco in which poorer local residents have been driven out by rising prices has long been a sore point and community activists have used the new sensitivity regarding growing inequality to press their point about this and to dispute the apparent favouritism by the municipal government.

            Our finding that communities with a higher proportion of young people were more likely to have active Occupy movements supports characterizations of the contemporary ongoing world revolution as being driven in part by political protests by young people who have earned educational degrees, often while incurring large debts, but who have little hope of finding jobs that will allow them to support a middle-class lifestyle[xxiii].  This notion is also supported by the Milkman et al survey of Occupy activists in New York mentioned above.

            Social movement sociologists have long known that movements generate counter-movements and oppression. In California, as in most other states in the United States, the tolerance of public officials for having encampments in public spaces came to an end, and most encampments were forcibly evicted. The events in Oakland also scared the powers that be in a more fundamental sense.  The militant actions of a subgroup of the Occupy Movement were dramatic, but probably the scariest moment was when the Longshoremen collaborated with Occupy Oakland to shut down the port for a day. The prospect of an active alliance with organized labor was daunting in its implications for business as usual. This prospect was present in every local instance of the Occupy Movement. We have already mentioned Occupy Redding’s support for the postal workers In Riverside, the Occupiers turned down the offer of SEIU to move the encampment to a piece of property owned by the union. Many of the activists felt that occupation of public space was an important element of their movement. Some also felt that the unionists were trying to use the movement for their own ends.  So, while the relationship between the unionists and the anarchists remained somewhat amicable, there was not a strong and militant collaboration.  In Oakland, the ILWU (Longshoremen’s union) was divided in its support for the Occupy Movement, but the old communists within the union were willing to go along with the Port shut down for a day in order to send a message to the powers that be. That message was received, and a strong counter-movement at the highest levels of California politics mobilized to rid the campuses and public spaces of Occupy encampments. [xxiv]

            So what are the implications of the Occupy Movement for future politics in California and the United States? As in earlier periods of unrest generated by political and economic crises, the key question remains whether or not middle-class radicals and the urban poor and workers can come together to push for political change. The narrow electoral defeat of a popular challenge to the Tea Party politics of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in 2012 was a setback for such an alliance. Walker was able to paint the public sector unions as privileged special interest groups who were living on rents at the expense of the taxpayers.

The economic situation following the financial meltdown of 2008 has been bad, but the U.S. has managed to muddle through, mainly by deficit spending to save the banks and the continuing viability of “dollar seignorage” in which the U.S government is able to print world money and to sell government bonds on the world market. The bubble never completely burst and now it is being reflated once again.  The fiscal crisis of the state government in California is over, and the real estate market is coming back. Unemployment is still high, but has been going down. Students are still unhappy, but most of them are expressing this unhappiness in private ways or in apolitical Spring Break mob scenes. The labor movement seems most concerned with turf struggles among different factions (e.g., Change To Win vs. the AFL-CIO). Respect for all kinds of authority has declined and many people continue to be unhappy with the status quo, but the social order is substantially stable. 


A lot has been learned by the Occupy activists about both the delights and the pitfalls of “leaderlessness” as a movement strategy. Participatory democracy is quite vulnerable to disruption by a few individuals or a small and dedicated group. Lacking designated leaders means that no one can be held accountable when things go wrong. Social movements suffer from the same distrust of authority that institutionalized authorities do and this situation is not likely to dissipate soon. Older models of charismatic leadership have been in decline since the World Revolution of 1968. So new leaderless movements are likely to continue to emerge. In this context, how could social movements of the Left become consequential in the United States?  A new synthesis might combine the prefigurative and processual elements of the Occupy Movement with a strategy for mobilizing larger numbers of Americans to engage in the electoral process in a way that respects the notions of delegation that are part of anarchist theory. Anarchists assert that individuals who represent groups of constituents should be tightly constrained by constant and direct communication with their constituents and have only minimal autonomous authority to commit the group to agreements.[xxv] An electoral political strategy that incorporated this idea of delegation rather than representation might provide new energy for an electoral process that seems to many activists to be moribund or to have been captured by big money. Such a synthetic movement might be able to do more than change the discourse in the United States.


[i] Conover MD, Davis C, Ferrara E, McKelvey K, Menczer F, 2013. “The Geospatial Characteristics of a Social Movement Communication Network.” PLoS ONE 8(3): e55957. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0055957.



[iv] Gaby, Sarah and Neal Caren. 2012. “Occupy Online: How Cute Old Men and Malcolm X Recruited 400,000 US Users to OWS on Facebook” Social Movement Studies: Journal of Social, Cultural, and Political Protest 1-8.

[v] Todd Gitlin 2012 Occupy Nation.  New York. HarperCollins

[vi] David Graeber 2013 The Democracy Project, New York: Spiegel & Grau

[vii] Mason, Paul 2013 Why Its Still Kicking Off Everywhere: The New Global Revolutions

Standing, Guy. 2011. The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class. New York: Bloomsbury Academic

[viii] See the Appendix for our study at

[ix] Admittedly there must be some errors associated with these inferences but we believe that our assumptions are valid enough to allow us to exam how the presence and size of local Occupy Movements are associated with other characteristics of towns and cities. When collecting the Facebook data we found that some cities had a more than one page. We collected data from the largest and most up-to-date pages. The smaller or inactive pages were not included in the data except for a few places in the notes because they were not considered to be main pages. A few of the pages were “subscription only” so we were not able to obtain all the information we wanted from these. “Events” created on other Facebook pages were not considered to be Occupy pages. The establishment date of a Facebook page was inferred from the earliest picture upload or, where not available, the earliest post.


[x] Mike Davis’s article on the Occupy movement in El Centro appeared in the Los Angeles Times on November 8, 2011.

[xi] The Wikipedia article “List of Occupy movement protest locations in California” includes some counties along with cities and includes only 50 protests locations. Our study of Occupy Facebook pages found 143 towns and cities. The Wikipedia list in linked to many interesting news articles about particular sites. But the incompleteness of the list shows that systematic internet searches are a superior tool for studying social movements.  The Wikipedia article listing Occupy locations in the United States has 600 listed locations. Based on our finding of 143 in California we suspect that this is a serious under-estimation of the number of Occupy protest locations in the U.S. as a whole.


[xii] Towns and cities north of Bakersfield were coded as North. The rest were coded as South.

[xiii] Our East/West coding we used the coding of California counties in Douzet, Frederick, and Kenneth P. Miller. 2008. “California’s East-West Divide.” In Douzet, Kousser, Miller, eds. The New Political Geography of California. Berkeley: Berkeley Public Policy Press.  (see Table 7 in the Appendix).

[xiv] See Tables 2, 5 and 6 in the Appendix

[xv] And yet there were some rather large cities that did not have Occupy movements. The five largest cities that did not have Facebook Occupy pages were: Fremont, Moreno Valley, Lancaster, Garden Grove, and Roseville. These are all close to larger cities that had Occupy Facebook groups. Participants from these cities were probably drawn to the larger nearby Occupy sites. Some places had county level Occupy Facebook pages, such as Orange County. Garden Grove occupiers probably used the Orange County Occupy Facebook page. Lancaster, Fremont, and Roseville might seem to be exceptions. However, Lancaster was very near to an active Occupy site in Palmdale. Fremont is not far from Oakland. Roseville was not far from the active site in Sacramento.

[xvi] Milkman, Ruth, Stephanie Luce and Penny Lewis 2013 “Changing the subject: a bottom-up

account of Occupy Wall Street in New York City” CUNY: The Murphy Institute . Figure 1 on Page 10.


[xvii] Op. cit. Milkman et al Figure 1 on Page 10.

[xviii] Tables 4 and 6 contain all of the cities and towns in California for which we were able to find data on city characteristics. The Occupy scores for those towns and cities that did not have Occupy pages were coded as zero in these tables.

[xix] Shor, Boris and Nolan McCarty. 2011. “The Ideological Mapping of American Legislatures.” American Political Science Review, 105(3): 530-551.


[xx] CBS News, “Occupy Oakland Shuts Down Oakland Port”

[xxi] Cook, C., & Latterman, D. 2011. San Benito County and California's Geopolitical Fault Lines. California Journal of Politics and Policy, 3(1). Douzet, Frederick, and Kenneth P. Miller. 2008. “California’s East-West Divide.” In Douzet, Kousser, Miller, eds. The New Political Geography of California. Berkeley: Berkeley Public Policy Press.


[xxii] Thomas Piketty 2014 Capital in the 21st Century. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

[xxiii] Op. cit. Mason 2013

[xxiv] At the University of California-Riverside a January 19, 2012 demonstration by students outside a meeting of the Regents of the University of California was met with a huge contingent of law enforcement officers from surrounding jurisdictions who used batons and shot the demonstrators with plastic pellets.

[xxv] Op. cit. Graeber 2013