DOI: 10.5176/2301-3729_JMComm12.34

Authors: Linda J. Lumsden

Abstract: This paper examines functions of
the American radical press from 1900
through 1917, and compares them with
functions of the Occupy social movement. The
comparison of the two eras breaks new
ground in the literature of social movement
media and provides context for analyzing
today’s online social-movement media. The
paper looks at seven key social movement
media functions: 1.) forging a sense of group
identity requisite for collective action in the
socialist, anarchist, and industrial unionism
movements; 2.) providing information about
radical activities such as labor actions and
meetings; 3.) educating readers about their
creeds; 4.) offering a voice for workers; 5.)
challenging media hegemony; 6.) fundraising;
and 7). creating and sustaining radical
culture. It concludes that in addition to
fulfilling these traditional social movement
media functions, Occupy pioneers
“transmedia,” which reject a single unifying
message in favor of aggregating and
circulating a rich mix of media messages.
Keywords: social movement media; radical
press; Occupy movement media; alternative


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