We are the 99%

By: H Greer

The Occupy movement started in the United States on September 17, 2011. Hundreds of people camped out in Zuccotti Park, and were protesting on Wall Street. They were protesting against corporate greed, social inequality and the rising power of banks and corporations. The people had many slogans, but the main one used through out the protest was, “we are the 99%.” The 99% referred to the have not’s, the majority of American citizens. The other 1% referred to the haves: the wealthy, the banks, the mortgage industry, the insurance industry, etc. As the unemployment rate was rising, the Occupy movement demanded action from Congress to create more jobs through the jobs bill and to give more unemployment benefits to the unemployed.  Just as the unemployment rate was rising, so was the number of foreclosures on homes. Occupy movement members rallied around an 80-year-old woman in Miami who defaulted on her home mortgage and saved her from being evicted from her home.  The continued protests of the Occupy members around the country rally around the have not’s to create equality in spite of the rich getting richer.

After the original Occupy Wall Street protest took place in New York City, many other cities in the United States started to join in with protests of their own. Some of the cities included were Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Chicago, Boston and even Little Rock. The number of protesters has gotten smaller since the original protest, but the Occupy movement is still going on around the United States. For the Occupy movement’s one year anniversary, the activist are going to surround the intersections of the New York Stock Exchange to show people that the movement is still active and people still care.

The Occupy movement was an example of the citizens exercising their First Amendment rights. The First Amendment was an amendment in the Bill of Rights. It stated that all citizens should have the freedom of speech, and freedom to a peaceful protest. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. “  The movement has tested these rights in many cities.  Local city officials have forced the protestors out of their original protest sites and in many cities they have used police forces to shut the protests down on the grounds that they were trespassing and breaking the law.  Many people have begun to look down on the protestors and consider them a nuisance instead of a voice for the people.

I think that the Occupy movement is a good protest. I think that what the hundreds of people are fighting for is correct. I believe something must be done to reduce unemployment and to stop the economy from spiraling out of control. The banks and large corporation should not be profiting from people’s misfortune. As a democracy it is important that we Americans speak our opinions and have a say in the government.

Do you think public protesting is an effective method to change people’s minds? Do you think the Occupy movement is accomplishing the goal they set? Should people be allowed to protest on public property?

First Amendment Center. “About the First Amendment | First Amendment Center – news, commentary, analysis on free speech, press, religion, assembly, petition.” First Amendment Center – news, commentary, analysis on free speech, press, religion, assembly, petition. Version 2012. Ken Paul, n.d. Web. 3 Sept. 2012. <http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/about-the-first-amendment&gt;. 

Fareed. “What are Occupiers really fighting for? – Global Public Square – CNN.com Blogs.” Global Public Square – CNN.com Blogs. Version 2012. Maha Hosain Aziz, 18 Apr. 2012. Web. 3 Sept. 2012. <http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2012/04/18/what-are-occupiers-really-fighting-for/?iref=allsearch&gt;.

New York Times. “Occupy Wall Street – The New York Times.” Times Topics – The New York Times. Version 2012. Robert Stolarik, 7 Aug. 2012. Web. 3 Sept. 2012. <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/o/occupy_wall_street/index.html?8qa&gt;.


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