Friday, Nov. 11, 2011

The 99%

On Sept. 17, about 2,000 people amassed on Wall Street to protest corporate greed and influence in government. They didn't succeed in occupying all of the financial district, or even all of Wall Street, but they have taken and held a small urban park in lower Manhattan around the corner from Ground Zero. In the early weeks of the demonstrations, a core group of protesters set up a complex tent city from which they organized large marches and rallied around the slogan "We are the 99%." The movement has since gone national, with rallies and "occupations" in dozens of cities across the U.S., from Oakland, where confrontations with the police became violent, to Atlanta, where protesters expanded the group's mandate by occupying a house to prevent a bank from taking it in foreclosure. As they prepare for what will be a long and cold winter, the Occupy Wall Street protesters say they are deciding what will be next in their struggle, but they've already succeeded in changing the national conversation from a focus on the debt to one of income inequality, opportunity inequality and a system they say has left too many people without a voice.