What Occupy Wall Street is All About

By Jonathan Bales , last updated December 27, 2011

Occupy Wall Street is a New York City-based protest which is taking place due to social and economic inequality. Protestors at Occupy Wall Street argue that the country's wealthiest one percent have become so greedy and corrupt that the lives of the rest of the nation have been affected in a negative way. Started by a Canadian activist group called Adbusters, Occupy Wall Street's origins were as a peaceful organization of those against the lack of consequences for bankers during the economic crisis. While the majority of the country lost money, many investment bankers and other financial big shots were receiving huge bonuses, increasing the disparity in wealth between the top class and the middle class. Occupy Wall Street has been an inspiration for many people around the globe, with similar protests springing up in other parts of the United States and across the world.

Wall Street was chosen as the location for protest because it is in the financial hub of New York City, and protestors argue a lot of the risky lending practices which led to our current economic crisis were caused by those working on Wall Street. They say Wall Street abused the credit market even though they knew it was unstable. The majority of the protest was held in Zucotti Park until the they were dispersed by police, although protestors still march around NYC and occupy other squares as well.

Many people who are against the movement claim the protestors do not have a clear message. There are a variety of mixed messages, but not a single coherent aim, they say. Protestors seem to be unanimous in the fact that they want more jobs for the middle class and a more equal distribution of wealth, however. Many also think corporations should not influence politics in such a large way.

Protestors often use the phrase "the 99%" to describe themselves and anyone else not in the top one percent income bracket. In recent years, the percent of total wealth owned by the top one percent of people has risen. Protestors believe the rest of the country has to suffer for the problems caused by the richest of the rich in the United States.

Many people have donated to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Actually, Occupy Wall Street has raised over $1 million for its cause, with the majority of the money going to purchasing food, cleaning the park, and bailing out protestors who have been arrested. Those who have donated to the cause have been primarily from the middle class. Some have formed a financing group and plan to create a firm budget with a strict allocation of funds for protestors.

Many of the businesses around Zucotti Park have been adversely affected by the protest, leading many to claim the movement is hypocritical. If the protestors really cared about the well-being of local businesses and the middle class, some argue, they would protest in a way that did not harm the people for whom they are supposedly protesting. Protestors fight back by claiming they bring people into the area, and that their goals are larger than a few businesses, with the end result being potentially far more beneficial to the working class.

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