Who are the voices behind the protests, movement to #OccupyWallStreet?
Protesters dressed as corporate zombies march past the New York Stock Exchange on Monday.
October 4th, 2011
03:06 PM ET

Who are the voices behind the protests, movement to #OccupyWallStreet?

Protesters have been camping out at New York’s Zuccotti Park for more than two weeks.

What started as call to action by Adbusters, a Canadian anti-consumer organization, to protest greed and corruption in Manhattan's Financial District has grown into a catch-all movement of dissent and frustration with current norms.

Overheard on CNN.com: What do the protesters want?

Fueled by social media, the protests have persisted and have begun to attract mainstream attention. By now, the Occupy Wall Street event is attracting a lot of street musicians and tourists.

The atmosphere appears more festive than angry.

View a high-resolution gallery of the protests

Those assembled say there is no leadership, but there’s plenty of organization. Food continues to be donated, and protesters take shifts for things such as sanitation duty in which they sweep the park. There are no restrooms, but there are plenty of fast-food restaurants and coffee shops nearby for bathroom breaks.

“It’s the '60s without the drugs,” says Jennifer Jager, who lives near the park and has been watching and visiting the protesters.

“A lot of them who started it are younger than my son,” she says.

CNN’s Susanna Capelouto and Jonathan Binder spent an afternoon with the protesters and sent this audio postcard:

You can also listen to the CNN Radio Reports podcast on itunes or subscribe to the podcast here.

soundoff (547 Responses)
  1. hypocrites

    The top 2% make $25 million EVERY YEAR on average. Whites make $125,000 year on average. Hispanics and Blacks around $10,000 / year average. This is not justice. How many thousands if not millions of poor hands worked... no, slaved...to make the $25 million these top 2% on average make every year? What kind of country makes a CEO KING of the land, and allows these MONARCHS to determine the direction of the nation, and shape our media to manipulate us, and use their wealth to carve out laws to defend their wealth against us. To oppress and ridicule those of us who are poor who speak out against their wealth. These interests shovel their lies our way. We are deceived into fighting their wars, and get cheated once we return. Hated for speaking truth. Hated for questioning the status quo. Hated for envisioning something better for all of us. Not only a few filthy rich magnates. I say death to the KING. Death to the ruling class of the USA...who has forgotten all the millions of hands who gave them the world.

    October 5, 2011 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
    • jackie chan

      you mad bro?

      October 5, 2011 at 12:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      What a load of communist / marxist drivel.

      October 5, 2011 at 3:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Bevans

      Quotas, handouts, subsidies and community organizers have been in place to help equalize society....How many white only colleges are out there compared to black colleges? How many white appreciate months do we have today? How many white quotas do we have in businesses? How many whtie appreciation months do we celebrate? How come it is someone else's fault for the poverty in the mostly black neighborhoods? How come there are more blacks in prisons than white people? Why is it always someone else's fault for gangs in your housing? Why does racism always surface when you do not want to hear someone else's point of view? We have given, supported and nurtured without any credit from those that receive our money...but they continue to blame us and demand more...when will you take responsibility for yourself and start being a role model instead of the same old thing of screaming racisms and blaming others for your issues.

      October 5, 2011 at 7:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Veronica13

      This is all the truth. People mocking hypocrit are either paid to say nonsense, or too stupid to realize what's up.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
    • RG

      Your opinions are silly, but more importantly, your facts are just wrong – I mean, not even close. We're not even talking horseshoes and hand grenades here. Your figures are way, way off.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  2. John

    @hypocrites , I understand that you are mad or upset. But if I may interject, this exactly what they want! If we are mad and upset they can continue to control us! If you let them divide they will conquer! Don't let fear and emotion rule your world. Peace love and happiness is the path.

    Keep the peace and stay on plan. We want accountability, it's simple. We do not want any death or harm!

    Check out the movie, Inside Job released by Sony pictures. There are good people with the 99 percent! Trust me things are going to unfold.

    Take care and thank you posters! I don't know if that's a word...


    Mr. John

    October 5, 2011 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
  3. brown

    Cry me a river! It looks like some people within our electorate are FINALLY waking up!

    It is the American electorate which seemingly takes pride in being misinformed and indifferent about
    the health of their country and what their politicians do in their name. Every few years the American people
    re-elect the same incompetent fools. I guess it's more convenient to re-elect ... not much work required to do that, huh?

    You got what you deserve Americans, get used to your new station in life!

    October 5, 2011 at 1:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Copchick

      Negative piece of s***. You sound like one of the"allah ekbar" kill America idiots. I am a police officer and SO PROUD of these young people for putting their foot down. They may save the country yet! THANK YOU young hippies!!! WE need to ALL join them or we may never be able to stop the corruption. Peace, Love and screw the politicians.

      October 5, 2011 at 5:10 am | Report abuse |
  4. Herman Vergara

    Quoting Victor Hugo:
    "Stronger than all the armies is an idea whose time has come. The time has come for equality........in education and in employment. It will not be stayed or denied. It is here".

    October 5, 2011 at 1:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Ken

      The question is, Herman, how will that be achieved? The movement needs leadership.

      October 5, 2011 at 7:30 am | Report abuse |
  5. John

    There you go herman! Truth will set us free!

    Mr. brown Im not sure what your talking about.

    October 5, 2011 at 1:42 am | Report abuse |
  6. James

    I SUPPORT THIS MOVEMENT!!! However, I am NOT a long haired hippy activist, either. I am a white-collar responsible American citizen who is tired of our congressmen and women bowing to Wall St., major banks, and major corporations. Demand reversal of the Supreme Court ruling allowing corporations to make political donations...and demand our government return to WE, THE PEOPLE!!! (FYI, the answer is NOT the GOP or the Tea Party)

    October 5, 2011 at 2:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Dj

      You hit the nail on the head...Exactly...That's the main issue...You have my support..

      October 5, 2011 at 7:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Pat

      I agree with all of the positive coments about this movement. They should maybe call themselves something like the "99%" ....HOWEVER, they need to be sure to be registered to VOTE - THEN they will really get the amount of clout that they need to compete with the other grass roots movements like what the tea party started out to be before they were taken over by the big corporate money and corporate greed!!

      October 5, 2011 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Terry

      One of the few sensible statements among all the rhetoric. I agree. Any chance we can tune the "occupy wall street" a little? Most of the manifesto statements are disputable or incoherent

      October 5, 2011 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
    • RG

      You realize that essentially all of the folks in office today were elected under the prior campaign funding rules, right?

      October 5, 2011 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  7. Paul T.

    Yes, there is something wrong with Wall Street, the board rooms and Washington. I'm 69 and retired. But, Washington officials were supposed to be smart enough to see a catastrophe coming and avoid it. "A Govt of the people???"
    Perhaps it should read "A Govt of the lobbyists." Keep going young folks....Media...do your job...
    How can anyone sit still for a CEO to get a $40 million parachute while Joe Six-Pack loses his job and house???
    Yes, an exec deserves high pay....but by how much do you multiply a $40,000/year salary? Accountability....
    Where is it? Leaders in Washington should have a dramatic pay reduction or lose their job for failure.

    October 5, 2011 at 6:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Terry

      I saw a great bumper sticker yesterday – "politicians and diapers need to changed regularly for the same reason"

      October 5, 2011 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
  8. Ken

    What's the point? I have yet to hear any one of the protestors say what they are going to do to improve the existing system. Protesting without providing a viable alternative is a waste of time and energy. It's pointless belly aching about what, in the end, will accomplish nothing. Furthermore, if your solution is some kind of Marxist, leftist, redistribution of wealth in the name of "gee wouldn't it be nice if we all had that kind of money"; that's not a solution. Such a modification will only serve to further destabilize an already weakened economy and lead us further down the path of economic ruin. Want to fix what's wrong? Yes, go after the bank/corporate practices that got us into the mess, but income redistribution is not going to fix capitalism. Many of the so-called capitalist that you wwould seek to punish for the crimes of Wall Street are merely small business owners who have nothing to do with Wall Street. Be careful who you desire to punish, you may be biting the hands that feed our economy.

    October 5, 2011 at 7:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Coigne

      Ken, redistribution of wealth worked when the high income bracket was 80%. The Reagan/Bush tax cuts redistributed American wealth upward and impoverished our middle class. Tax breaks for the wealthy so-called job creators hasn't created jobs–it's resulted in mass unemployment. Small business owners don't create jobs either. Mom and Pop stores are just Mom and Pop. The banking, pharmaceutical, insurance, energy etc. corporations are making record profits and they aren't hiring. How about asking them to contribute proportionately to the common good?

      October 5, 2011 at 7:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Ken

      If you want corporations to hire, give them certainty in the tax code and stability in the form of an sensible economic plan moving forward that will work. By the way. small businesses provide jobs for those that run them. They may not necessarily hire that many worker individually, but collectively they encompass a much larger sector of the economy than corporations do. Abuse them at the peril of our economy.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
  9. michaelfury


    October 5, 2011 at 7:38 am | Report abuse |
  10. Hypocrisy Hunter

    hipocrites – $125,000 a year?!?! Please state the source of your figures. From which dark, cavernous part of your anatomy did you retrieve this?

    October 5, 2011 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
  11. tokyo joe

    The Arab spring has now spread to he USA and the rise of the A-AC'S long predicted years ago will gain more momentum that will sweep the dust of our system out to sea so that a new one will emerge and will proclaim liberty to all that know the truth

    October 5, 2011 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
  12. model67a

    Why is a Canadikan organiization starting a protest in the United States. I don't believe they would allow us to start a demonstration in their country. They should have never been able to start a protest in our country!

    October 5, 2011 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Terry

      Simple – those that fled the U.S. due to personal interests felt they needed to stir a protest. (sarcastic answer)

      October 5, 2011 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
  13. Hypocrisy Hunter

    model67a, what do you mean "start" a protest? The article suggested they advocated it, and you can advocate something anywhere in the world.

    October 5, 2011 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
    • model67a

      They were the catalyst that started the protest.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
  14. Terry

    Is it possible that those protesting have partially caused their own problems? Want to talk about corporate greed? Well – if you're unhappy with a corporation stop buying their services/products. Want to talk about mortgage issues? Well – perhaps you should have borrowed less or bought a smaller house. Want to talk about student loan issues? Let's see – how much money did you spend on perhaps unneeded services/products instead of saving for an education... Or looking into a less expensive college

    I realize my statements might upset a few out there. I'm an honest white collar worker trying to raise 4 kids with a single salary. I have a modest home (with a modest mortgage), modest vehicle, and a few modest comforts. I rarely eat out, enjoy simple vacations (camping and other budget conscious activities), and so forth. I enjoy technology, but I don't have the latest/greatest and definitely don't go into debt to acquire. I donate a fair amount of time, services, and funds to various local organizations that are in need (and I often get annoyed or stop offering help if those organizations push a political or unfair agenda)

    I do have my gripes with special interest groups that raise funds to push agendas for the minority, and believe some items can be fixed. That said – I disagree with many of the "manifesto" statements

    Surely there are a few other people like that out there

    October 5, 2011 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  15. BL

    What they are essentially protesting is what has become a reality, that our "democracy" is a myth. We are actually a plutocracy, where a small percentage of the population controls most of the nation's wealth. All major financial decisions that effect everyone are made by small numbers of people who use our money to enrich themselves exponentially at our expense.

    October 5, 2011 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Terry

      If true – will someone please update the manifesto to provide some clarity?

      October 5, 2011 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18