What an API does, in essence, is make it easy for the information a service contains to be integrated with the wider Internet. So, to make the metaphor here clear, Occupy Wall Street today can be seen like the early days of Twitter.com. Nearly everyone accessed Twitter information through clients developed by people outside the Twitter HQ. These co-developers made Twitter vastly more useful by adding their own ideas to the basic functionality of the social network. These developers don't have to take in all of OWS data or use all of the strategies developed at OWS. Instead, they can choose the most useful information streams for their own individual applications (i.e. occupations, memes, websites, essays, policy papers).
A key feature of APIs is that they require structure on both sides of a request. You can't just ask Twitter's API for some tweets. You must ask in a specific way and you will receive a discrete package of 20 statuses. We decided that breaking down the inputs and outputs of Occupy Wall Street in this way might actually be useful. The metaphor turns out to reveal a useful way of thinking about the components that have gone into the protest. Obviously, many of these tactics owe a debt of gratitude both to traditional organizing training (e.g. consensus decision-making processes) as well as more recent protest movements in North Africa and Europe (e.g. taking the square, distributed leadership). Nonetheless, it is Occupy Wall Street that pushed many of these ideas out across this country.
So, here's your guide to the Occupy Wall Street API. I realize that this is not a realistic API, just a useful frame, but we employ, for verisimilitude, the REST architecture, just like Twitter. That means we only have a few actions: Get (retrieve info), Post (create or update info), Delete.
GET Occupation: Occupying physical space stands in for a greater metaphorical occupation of the commons. Actions to permanently occupy or reoccupy a park focus and energize a larger group of temporary protesters and armchair supporters at home. The physical location provides an anchor for virtual activities.
GET Decentralized leadership structure: Repeat mantra that the movement is 'leaderless.' In practice, have no single leader on whom the media and/or public can focus. Avoid profiles of organizers. If necessary, elect a dog as leader of the occupation, a la Denver.
GET Loudly inclusive userbase: Do not require any particular identification, such as labor or ethnic identity. While youth-driven, make sure to highlight examples of older occupiers.
GET Money: With the approval of the General Assembly, other occupations can draw on the funds raised by the main Occupy Wall Street fund. This is not required. Accounting battles in these situations can and have gotten messy.