Critics dismiss #OccupyWallStreet as a bunch of dirty, whining hippies and trustafarians. But many of the protesters at Zuccotti Plaza are actually hacker-minded geeks bringing an engineering mentality to bear on politics and several high and low-tech problems.
The #OWS encampment runs on generators that power a media center packed with laptops, Wi-Fi and video equipment. Live updates and operational messages propagate over Twitter as well as over closed alternative networks resistant to sniffing by unwanted observers. Digital donations are funneled through Kickstarter, and material donations arriving from around the country supply a kitchen and a medical station — which treats minor protest hazards such as pepper spray and cuts.
The DIY nature of the movement evokes the spirit of the Maker Faire and Hackathon events, with participants contributing their skills and creativity to support a larger, loosely defined movement or goal.