Essay on Occupy Movement

Submitted By esaxton
Words: 995
Pages: 4

Occupy Movement The Occupy Movement began on Sept. 17, 2011, when a diffuse group of activists began a loosely organized protest called Occupy Wall Street, encamping in Zuccotti Park, a privately owned park in New York’s financial district. The protest was a stand against corporate greed, social inequality and the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process.
The idea was to camp out for weeks or even months to replicate the kind, if not the scale, of protests that had erupted earlier in 2011 in Tunisia and Egypt.
The group’s slogan — “we are the 99 percent” — touched a raw nerve across the nation. The 1 percent refers to the haves: that is, the banks and the mortgage and insurance industries and the 99 percent refers to the have-nots: that is, everyone else.
The phrase "The 99%" is a political slogan of "Occupy" protesters. It was originally launched as a Tumblr blog page in late August 2011. It refers to the vast concentration of wealth among the top 1% of income earners compared to the other 99 percent, and indicates that most people are paying the price for the mistakes of a tiny minority. The top 1 percent of income earners have more than doubled their income over the last thirty years according to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report. The report was released just as concerns of the Occupy Wall Street movement were beginning to enter the national political debate. According to the CBO, between 1979 and 2007 the incomes of the top 1% of Americans grew by an average of 275%. During the same time period, the 60% of Americans in the middle of the income scale saw their income rise by 40%. Since 1979 the average pre-tax income for the bottom 90% of households has decreased by $900, while that of the top 1% increased by over $700,000, as federal taxation became less progressive. From 1992-2007 the top 400 income earners in the U.S. saw their income increase 392% and their average tax rate reduced by 37%. In 2009, the average income of the top 1% was $960,000 with a minimum income of $343,927.
Within weeks, similar demonstrations spread to dozens of other American cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Chicago and Boston, as well as cities in Europe, Asia and the Americas, drawing thousands of people. Occupy protests also rapidly appeared on major campuses across the country.
In the United States, the political impact of the movement was increasingly obvious. Democrats offered their support cautiously and Republicans were critical on figuring out what they wanted, but both parties seemed to agree that the movement was changing public debate.
Whatever the long-term effects of the Occupy Movement, protesters succeeded in implanting “We are the 99 percent” into the cultural and political vocabulary. Soon after the protests began, politicians began using Occupy lingo. Democrats in Congress began to invoke the “99 percent” to press for passage of President Obama’s jobs act — but also to pursue action on mine safety, Internet access rules and voter identification laws, among others. Republicans pushed back, accusing protesters and their supporters of class warfare; Newt Gingrich called the “concept of the 99 and the one” both divisive and “un-American.”
According to several writers, major social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, have had a significant influence on the global reach of the Occupy movements. It’s interesting to see how social media influenced these protests. Would the protests have been as effective and/or more effective without them?
Let’s first try to understand why such movements occur. According to the article “Occupy! Now What?” published by Claude Fischer (2011), “One can sympathize with the central message of the Occupy movement that economic inequality and injustice have gone too far and still have the foreboding that things will not turn out well.
What is the real objective of such movements? As Greg Sargent has stated in