Why Some Political Opportunities Succeed and Others Fail: Bridging Organizational Levels in the Case of Spanish Occupy

Itziar Castelló, David Barberá
The ‘Occupy’ protests provide numerous examples of new social movement organizations based on a complex, multilayered ecosystem heavily supported by social media and its ability to connect heterogeneous social networks. Studies of these type of organizations have stressed not only the importance of new media tools as a mobilization channels but also the influence of the Free Culture Movement on the genealogy, in terms of its composition, agenda, framing, and organizational logic (Fuster-Morell, 2012). Studies of the Occupy movements’ activities have shown the importance of the online tools for new forms of mass mobilizations, for example (Borge-Holthoefer et al., 2011). Mobilizations become different in their nature: they are faster, can connect previously unlinked people, and are spontaneous (Bennett, 2003). However, few studies have looked into organizational characteristics beyond the online processes and their effect on mobilization. This article investigates how new forms of organizations characterized by being complex and multilayered networks select their organizational objectives and turn them into political matters. We ask how these organizational goals emerge, how they are selected, organized and ultimately impact the political arena.