The 99% explained

Jordan Kessler, Entertainment Editor


Masses of people have been gathering in dozens of cities across the globe chanting the same five words; “We are the 99%.” The Occupy Wall Street movement has grown exponentially from its hash-tag roots to full blown tent cities, just in the past few months. However, many students are still wondering what Occupy Wall Street is all about.

The movement started when the Canadian anti-consumerist magazine, Adbusters, sent out a call to address the increasing disparity of wealth. The initial protest on September 17th brought out nearly 1,000 protesters in the streets of New York.  Since then, tens of thousands of demonstrators have rallied together in different “Occupy” protests all over the globe.  The activists here in the U.S. are fighting against the accepted norm of that the top 1% of people control nearly 40% of the nation’s wealth.  This large disproportion of wealth has aided in the economic meltdown that has caused many to lose their jobs and even their homes. Also, as many of the protesters are young people, mostly college graduates, upset about the slow job market they’re finding as they get out of college, and others still are arguing over the power money has in the political system.

Since the protests are on such a large scale and usually involve loitering of some sort, clashes with the police have occurred throughout the protests. Arrests are a common scene at most protest, and some in Oakland have even escalated to riots. Many protesters feel that their rights to free speech are being targeted by the police and the local governments. Protesters were appalled when New York officials attempted to clear out the Zuccotti Park protests by planning a cleaning of the park.

The Occupy movement has been widely criticized over the lack of leadership and even a centralized focus or actionable plan. The protesters think that they can make a difference. Protesters still believe, however, that if they make enough noise, government officials will be increasingly sympathetic to the cause and action will soon follow.