Occupy Wall Street
|Hail to the Chief?|
|Persons of interest|
Occupy Wall Street is a grassroots (meaning not astroturfed) protest movement that began on September 17, 2011, initiated by the Canuckistan culture-jamming group Adbusters. Protesters occupied the street at Zuccotti Park (formerly Liberty Plaza) in New York City (and other locations across the United States and around the world) as a way of demonstrating against the financial powers mostly responsible for the economic crisis of 2008 and a vast, increasing wealth gap between the rich and everyone else (hence "We are the 99%").
The primary target of the movement's anger is the mishandling of the economy over the past few years, most especially the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act but also the bailout of the auto industry and the broader deregulation movement that dominated politics of the past decade and, to a lesser extent, the 1990's (ironically, while the Tea Party and the Occupy movements are generally viewed as being at opposite sides of the political spectrum, both cite bailouts as major motivating factors for protests).
As its name suggests, Occupy Wall Street began in the United States, but its tactics were used by protesters in many other major financial centres around the world by what has become the Occupy movement, with varying results. A more comprehensive list can be seen at the Occupy Directory.
 Media coverage
Unlike with the equal and opposite Tea Party movement, most mainstream news organizations opted not to cover the movement initially, perhaps thinking it wouldn't last. Initial media coverage of the movement was limited to the left-wing press, but when police officers were caught on camera being extremely aggressive against peaceful protesters, the mainstream media sat up and took notice. Since then, the protestors have come to feature prominently in the news.
This would tend to suggest that the mainstream media does not actually have a liberal bias, as conservatives over the years have claimed (the left-wing press, very much in contrast, was reporting on Occupy Wall Street before it started) — although it might be slapped with that label just for showing that level of concern for the protesters' civil liberties.
Criticism of the movement has largely focused on the character of the protest, or of the protesters themselves, rather than the substance of their message. The lack of any official spokespersons for the movement, however, means that while one can point to areas of general consensus, there is no official platform of the movement.
 Dirty hippies
The standard criticisms against this sort of mass movement have been trotted out, with the Occupiers characterized as a gaggle of jobless, parasitic hippies. While Occupy Wall Street has indeed drawn the usual cranks and alte kaempfer out of the woodwork, particularly among the protest's dedicated movers-and-shakers, they have been joined by quite a few ordinary people, who felt the pinch of the economic recession and attributed their troubles to the large amount of wealth held by the upper class. And their evidence is massive.
 Nazis and rapists
Other criticisms latch on to the beliefs or behavior of individual protesters. For example, a handful of jackasses have voiced their view that the big evil bankers currently in Occupy's sights are of the Jewish persuasion, while others seem to be in attendance in order to rape the female protesters rather than demonstrate.
 Incipient anti-American Reign of Terror!
Then there are those who view Occupy Wall Street's message as anti-American and generally evil. Rush Limbaugh called them "stupid idiots and tools," while Glenn Beck said "They will come for you and drag you into the streets and kill you...they're Marxist radicals...these guys are worse than Robespierre from the French Revolution...they'll kill everybody."
Prepare your irony meters. The U.S.'s income distribution, as measured by the Gini coefficient, is nearing the level seen in ancien regime France around that time, and even worse than those seen in the Roman Empire.
 The 53%
RedState.com started a counter-movement/meme to the "99%" called the "53%", referring to the percentage of U.S. citizens who make enough money to pay income taxes. The movement's main Tumblr site shows individuals with their picture and a handwritten note about their place in America (similar to those involved in the 99% movement), usually to the effect of "Suck it up, you whiners!" and "I never asked for a handout!"
Some of the 53%-ers' assertions are actually evidence that those individuals are in denial about their own place in America and the role of the government in their lives. Counter-counter-movement sites were created to call out those who say they are the 53%, pointing out that the content they provided suggests otherwise (for example, someone who attended a public university, benefited from safety regulations, or served in the military clearly depended on the government for something, regardless of what they might think).
 The 1%—kinda
The 99% movement has also spawned a sister movement online, similar to the "We are the 99%" site, which features self-attributed members of the 1% who believe that the economic inequalities in the U.S. should be assessed. Many of the entries finish with "Tax me more, I can afford it!", which suggests altruism is not the outmoded concept that some would like to think it is.
Perhaps the most notable example of an adherent to this is billionaire Warren Buffett, who has so strongly advocated for a fairer tax system that Barack Obama named his tax proposal, the Buffett Rule, after him.
 The real
Another criticism is to put the protest in global perspective, characterizing its goal as "making privileged Americans more equal in status to other privileged Americans, which downplays the plight of Third-Worlders." To this Occupy Wall Street supporters respond that it is a red herring calculated to divide one group of oppressed people from another group of oppressed people, and downplays the plight of working class Americans. Considering that the only thing keeping the fate of the US' poor from that situation is slowly getting diminished, they might have a point.
 See also
- ↑ Everyone knows the Soros Bucks are just rolling in: Soros: Not a Funder of Wall Street Protests, Reuters
- ↑ Adbusters' OWS page
- ↑ Occupy Wall Street at Know Your Meme
- ↑ http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/07/police-clashes-spur-coverage-of-wall-street-protests/
- ↑ If you haven't heard of Casually Pepper Spray Everything Cop...
- ↑ Some asshole on Twitter
- ↑ In Oakland, for example, there was a touch of unpleasantness involving "black bloc" anarchists who had associated with the Occupy movement there.  
- ↑ http://www.alternet.org/occupywallst/152811/the_shocking,_graphic_data_that_shows_exactly_what_motivates_the_occupy_movement_/?page=entire
- ↑ http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/nov/18/joe-biden/biden-says-middle-income-earners-lost-ground-reces/
- ↑ http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2011/oct/07/checking-claims-occupy-wall-street/
- ↑ http://www.oecd.org/document/40/0,3746,en_21571361_44315115_49166760_1_1_1_1,00.html
- ↑ http://www.politifact.com/personalities/occupy-wall-street/
- ↑ http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2011/10/occupy_wall_street_has_an_anti-semitism_problem.html
- ↑ http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/10/09/cain-calls-occupy-wall-street-protesters-anti-american/
- ↑ http://www.politicususa.com/en/rush-limbaugh-occupy-wall-st
- ↑ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/10/glenn-beck-occupy-wall-street-kill-everybody_n_1004016.html
- ↑ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMdbS1VU5do&feature=related
- ↑ 
- ↑ We are the 53% on Tumblr
- ↑ We are the 99% on Tumblr
- ↑ We are not the 53% on Tumblr
- ↑ Actually you're the 47% on Tumblr
- ↑ We stand with the 99% on Tumblr