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. Miltonboy

    Anyone else find it amusing that a filty rich movie producer (Michael Moore) is on television complaining about "filthy rich" stock brokers? Just sayin'.

    October 5, 2011 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Yea, I consider myself pretty liberal, and I don't really like Mike Moore, however, I will defend him in this case. Mike, being rich, probably wants to see tax cuts for the rich end, even knowing it will cost him a lot of money. He also wants to see those responsible for our current situation held accountable. Is that so wrong?

      October 5, 2011 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Shoe

      I find it amusing the banks caused this problem, they do not answer any questions, and the average worker will be the one to pay for their greed and incompetence. And then they have people on the post say things about communism, when they are creating 2 tier society. Coffee party please unite the republicans and the democrats in choosing candidates that will unravel the mess we call government, separate the treasury and the banks, audit them.
      Michael Moore has exposed more for the people than wallstreet will ever give the American People.
      Wall Street is the parasites of America. They are sucking the life out of it and asking for more.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  2. Sickofthis

    These guys should definitely be hanging out in the financial district! However, a haircut and a resume would make a better impression...
    It's interesting that this is call "Occupy Wall St." since none of these people actually have an "occupation."


    October 5, 2011 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
    • G from Georgia

      Folks young and old would get a job if their was one that they could find...

      October 5, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Travis

      Exactly – if you have 2 weeks to spend camping out and painting your face than you really need to step back and re evaluate your life and your contribution to society. Get a job instead of asking the rest of us to support your lazy a$$!!!

      October 5, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Shoe

      The problem is wallstreet. And if you have a problem with students drawing a spotlight and making it clear we want reform you must be a wall street zombie. From the mouth of babes. Even the students know where the blame lies. Why go to DC. They have not listened so far. All of them will be gone in this next election. They better start saying what they stand for and maybe we will believe them maybe not.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      how typical.. "Oh, I have a job, therefore it must be completely possible for 100% of Americans to have jobs! It's completely logical that everyone has perfect scenarios, no one cheats them, discourages them from what they want to do. or it's also great when rich families claim their children on taxes after 18, but refusing to help with college, resulting in less federal aid, although they're not getting the money anyway from the family, which is why they get less aid.
      Newsflash, people: some people get screwed over. sure, some are lazy, clueless, and have no idea what they're talking about within the protest. But if one actually does his or her own research, it is not hard to find the root problem of this crisis in America, which is corporate influence over politics.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Nicole

      What jobs are they supposed to get? That is the point of the protest, there are NO jobs. What do you guys not understand about that?

      October 5, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Crusade2267

      Obviously nobody close to you is among the long term un-employed. My wife would dearly love to "get a job." If she could find one.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Employed.

      Newsflash – there are PLENTY of jobs – they just don't always pay more than government benefits. Until I stop seeing "now hiring" signs at McDonalds or retail stores I don't want to hear the whining.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Carl

      Go Jeigh!

      October 5, 2011 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  3. TheBuckStopsHere

    Corporate zombies? Does CNN really have no idea what's going on in the real world?

    October 5, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
    • JP

      CNN is part of the strategy to De-legitimize a legitimate movement – fortunately most people have learned better. We are the 99%.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • trxstr

      CNN is a part of the Corporatocracy...

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

    I'm amazed at how ignorant these anti-corporation rants are. You would think all of the corporate CEO's are the conspiring with Satan. Stop for a second and think..all corporations started as a small business... providing goods or services to the public. They became successful and grew. In order to grow you have to make a profit. corporations innovate. Corporations hire people. Corporations fuel the economy. It isn't all bad. The "Occupy Wall St" crowd don't seem to get it. Now it appears that unions are joining the protest. Talk about corrupt organizations. Violence will soon appear. Union goons will incite the crowds. Obama's class warfare at work.

    October 5, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Wow

      I'm amazed at how ignorant these pro-corporate rants are. These companies the Occupy Wall Street group are protesting that the government took OUR taxpayer money and handed it over to these bankers, automakers and wall street through TARP and further 2008 bailout funds. These corporations STILL proceeded to lay off thousands, continued to send jobs overseas and shut down any lending to help people start their own small businesses. They took OUR money and then sat on their fortunes without pumping it back into the economy. Why is that not worth protesting???

      October 5, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Shoe

      Yeah there is a the ultra wealthy and us the 99% that hold them up. You and your cronies the republicans are done. The republicans have shielded them and showed them with write offs. Now its the wealthiest turn to lose something they treasure -money and be exposed for the money grubbers they are. I am not talking about $1 million dollar businesses, I am talking about boards of shareholders and their Ceos who are over paid. Wall street has to be audited and the treasury-follow the money trail.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
    • jeigh

      What's amazing is the fact that these twerps are in NY and not DC tearing down the fence at the White House. They're blaming the Street for their president's actions. It's the job of corp. to make money. That's capitalism! I suggest that these "protesters" grow up and learn a bit more about a presidential candidates before they unquestionably vote for him.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Shoe

      @jeigh- I guess if you put a president in and then give them a congress that will not let anthing happen you pretty much have tied his hands. Wallstreet has gone scot free with Bush Tarp.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
    • JP

      Yes, the fed and other agencies monitor such spaces and attempt to discredit voices contrary to their interests – this posters' credibility is quite suspect!

      October 5, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Yes, the big corporations started as small businesses, but then they outsourced the majority of the good jobs to other countries for cheaper labor. As far as getting a job, most would if there were any jobs that would pay enough to pay the bills. Where I live, Three of the five factories are sitting empty, McDonalds is shut down and Wal Mart isn't even hiring.
      I do see your point about the "Union Goons" however, but don't blame this on Obama. This mess was well on the way before he came into office. People can't go back to work unless there are jobs for them to have. GE about 45 miles South of me just took applications for 480 jobs, they had 6000 applications in less than an hour and quit accepting them.
      I have turned 4500 applications and resumes within a 50 mile radius of my house with no luck. I've been out of work since July of last year. I have given up on finding a job, so I am starting my own. I design business cards, flyers and things like that. I also type resumes for people.
      I gave up my house and bought a two bedroom mobil home... paid for. I have my monthly bills lowered to a little over $500 a month. It's not what I call a nice place, but I still have a roof over my daughters head and food on the table. I actually applaud these people for voicing their dissatifaction with the way things are in this country, but I don't think it will actually have any effect on corporate America.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
    • jeigh

      @shoe – Obama had two years of an all Democratic congress and they pushed through some awful laws, the most dangerous and costly of which was Obamacare. Since then, people have begun to awaken and put some checks and balances in place by electing a majority of Republicans to the House. They have put the breaks on Obama's spending spree – not totaling over 4 trillion in less than 4 years. Come November 2012 the conversion will be complete and I predice that Americans will never again elect to the presidency someone so incompetent as Obama. Someone with a bit more experience that that of a "community organizer" in the WH will restore confidence to the corporate and small business world and they will once again be able to trust the country's leadership. It will not take long for the turnaround to begin.

      October 5, 2011 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Neo

      Rspring!! ssshhh you have no clue what is going on. You need to read. Your lack of knowledge is so evident here. I don't even know where to begin to school you. I am just too ashamed that you have those views. I ma sure you also believe that 'corporations are people too'

      October 5, 2011 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
    • trxstr

      JEIGH this Corporatocracy that you seem to love so much is one day going to turn on you and your loved ones...you may be insulated at the moment but soon now...you too will get burned...

      October 5, 2011 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • zayg

      These protests are actually anti-Obama to be honest, don't believe what the media tells you. The protesters disapprove of him being another corporatist. Bailouts and tax breaks to GE among others is NOT a free market. On that note...these corporations could NOT exist in a FREE MARKET. A businesses does not just become a monopoly through the free market – it needs political backing that allows it to eliminate small business!

      October 5, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Shoe

      jeigh the American insrance reform act does not come into play until 2014.

      October 5, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Shoe

      @Jeff- I applaud you as a human and man. You have done what many people have had to do because the american plight. This is government regulation and corporation greeds fault. It is decieved and ill informed home buyers and instead of lowering their interest rates and letting them have their homes they wanted to blame them, so theylet them default and forclosed. It would have been cheaper to do so and let the Banks fail.

      October 5, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  5. Travis

    I would love to see an IB take 2 weeks off his job and protest all these lazy freeloaders... they'd probably start complaining about their "pay cut" when the social services funds stop receiving money from the same hard working people they're protesting against...

    October 5, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      One thing you have to consider is the fact that to draw UNEMPLOYMENT you had to work for it at one time.

      October 5, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  6. Curt

    Anyone remember when banks used to pay us to deposit our money with them? Now we pay them just to get access to our money.

    Wall Street produces nothing, except greed and bonuses made with our money.

    October 5, 2011 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Employed.

      Get a new bank – there are still plenty out there that wont charge you fees. Now, if you've got like $5 in your account and cant meet a minimum balance requirement than that's your own fault

      October 5, 2011 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  7. Dave

    All through this, I've never seen ONCE where anyone has said what specifically these people want. I agree there is corruption on Wall street, and that the situation was largely caused by those there taking advantage of President Clinton's idea to remove some of the regulations to make loans to more people. That's unmistakable. What specifically do these people hope to accomplish?

    October 5, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Shoe

      Dave there is a paragraph above that tells what they are asking.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Carl

      Should the big banks have a safety net while defaulting and the rest of the twelve million homeowners get foreclosed upon ith no hope of getting anothr loan for seven years? Doesn't seem fair. I have said there should be a provision to get the twelve million back in cheap homes, It would help the economy and create jobs without using government money. When someone says easing lending standards for these twelve million is wrong, I say they are in bed with the big banks who gat a lon from you and me with bankruptcy looming. It is the rich vs. the middle class and poor.

      October 5, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  8. jeigh

    Kids will be kids! Betcha a$$ that most of them would LOVE a job on Wall St. Most of the demonstrators are likely responsible for electing Obama and likely cheered when he handed out billions to Wall Street. Now, they want to blame the Street when they should be marching in D.C. blaming it on Gimmecrats and Nobama.

    October 5, 2011 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Shoe

      Tarp was from Bush, none of it was to be paid back. President Obama wanted them to have consequenses for their actions to bringing down the american people. You have no facts on your side.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  9. Locke

    Eh, the kids may not have a clear idea of what, but they know that something's wrong here, and that's really why they're upset. Seriously, who can blame them, in the end? They're confused and upset with the state of our world, and, honestly, this is a better way to react than with violence, or with being quiet. Wall Street, along with the housing market, needs to be more tightly regulated.

    To those of the "Get a job, you filthy Communists" camp: Oh, they will. They'll have to, eventually. But keep in mind that, for most of them, these jobs will be around minimum-wage low income, and they might never really earn more than that. Most likely, they feel as if the odds for success are stacked against them.

    Protest is not a bad thing, especially if it is kept peaceful. However, the biggest issue is that they don't have a unified voice present. I think, in the long run, that's going to be the largest blow to their movement, and much won't come from this. Still, they'll learn a lot about life in the process.

    October 5, 2011 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Carol

      True, protest is not a bad thing, but an intelligent protest is better. If they don't know what they are doing there, then they should not be there. They need to educate themselves before they go out and just look like the disorganized group that they are.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Shoe

      @Carol Maybe they know why they are there but the media refuses to bring down the house that made us fall. The government protecting its own ineptness.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  10. Granger

    Young, stupid Obama supporters.....whining because someone won't come wipe their nose for them. Banks are in the business of making money; not social pandering to a bunch of whiny, lazy liberals who suck on the government teet...these punks should be firehosed.

    October 5, 2011 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Shoe

      Banks are corrupt thieves.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  11. Carol

    How about these "kids" doing something constructive with their lives. They have totally unorganized protests over everything. "Zombies"??? Give me a break. We don't need "street theater". We need people that can organize for a cause. You ask most of those kids why they are there and what they are fighting for, and they can't give you a answer. Do these kids have jobs, go to school, etc? I would be a real proud parent to see my kid dressed as a Zombie on the national news if they were suppose to be in school, college or working. What are they thinking. No wonder older Americans are fearful for the future of our country. Ask these kids if they are on public assistance, going to school, have/or are looking for a job. The answers would scare you. There is "Free Speech" and then there is making a generation look like a bunch of fools. I think that every school should have a "MANDATORY" Economics class. Maybe then kids would have a better perspective of how the economy works and what can be done to change it. Stop and think people, these protests are just what the Administration, and Congress wants. Look at Egypt, Libya, etc. It was our meddling in their affairs with Social Media that brought things to a head over there with catastrophic results for the people. Social Media is now playing a big role in the protests here. If you don't think the same things could happen here, think again. We are not immune to military crackdowns on protests with dire consequences. Just look back through our history.

    October 5, 2011 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Carol

      Also just as an add on. The Unions need to stay out of this. They will send in the "thugs" of the Unions just to start something. Happens every time.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Granger

      Read Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals," this is exactly what Obama wants; to break the nation and rebuild it in a socialistic model where all is "equal," and "fair,"....except when it comes to he and his friends. The economy and it's downfall lies squarely on the shoulders of Obama, Reid, Dodd, Pelosi, and their incompetence....voters should be protesting and racing to vote them out of office.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Shoe

      Carol you are a zombie, you just do not have the face paint on. Your a drone to the people who put us here. You are the sheep they want you to be. Wall street is corrupt, government is covering for them and people like you are home at your warm computer while the children are out fighting for what is right. Reform wallstreet and separate it from our treasury dept. We shouldn't have to bail them out and get nothing in return. I rather bailout the americans that lost their homes.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
  12. yari

    It is about time that liberal progressive leaning people took to the streets. I am either going to NYC or going to join a protest closer to home. And, I am no "twenty-something", I am an employed 49 year old registered republican who is DISGUSTED with what the republican party has become!

    October 5, 2011 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
    • jeigh

      Then, you are a RINO!

      October 5, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Shoe

      I am a democrat that is joining you. Reform the big boys. All of them.

      October 5, 2011 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Carl

      Hi Yari,
      I feel betrayed too. I do not want to supprt the spokesman of the rich, bailed out the fat cats now we can't get a loan. They have a fail safe system. 12 million homeowners lost homes with no government safety net which is ok, but there should be a provision to let them at least borrow to buy a cheap home. The economy would change if these twelve million could do something like buy a home with no provision for a refinance, It would spur the construction sector and create jobs. What about the FICO? Ask the bankers where their FICO was during the bail-out. It was in the dirt. They got the loan anyway. Too big to failthey say. As a unit the 99% is pretty big if you ask me.

      October 5, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  13. Amy

    I think Americans should go to protest to the supreme court, at the end is the supreme court that allow corporation contributions to politicians. The court sold its soul to the corporations, they are now also accepting foreign contributions.

    October 5, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  14. JOEM

    I have to laugh about all the comments of the Tea Partiers...defending the raping of the poor and middle class by these Corporate vultures....Tax breaks for 10 years up the gazzu and no job creation...How do the rich Tea Pariters explain that..
    Other than GREED....

    October 5, 2011 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • jeigh

      Capitalism!? No one owes you a job!

      October 5, 2011 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      @jeigh... Capitalism huh? True no one owes anyone in particular a job, but if no one in this country is working, their products won't sell. Capitalism isn't far from becomming decapitation.... same as the French Revelution. The people are asking for a level job field and for corporations to stop taking profits at the expense of the American middle and lower class. You can't really even buy a fully American Made product anymore. My Ford Explorer which was made in Kentucky, most of the engine parts were made in Mexico.

      October 5, 2011 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Carl

      I agree JOEM. They disguised the tax cuts as tax increases too. Where are the jobs for the last ten years says it JOEM. Thank you

      October 5, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  15. trxstr

    I have decided i am joining them..theres too much at stake, the Corporatocracy has decided the people are the enemy..we fight now or die slaves..

    October 5, 2011 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
    • jeigh

      If you have a job, who do you work for?

      October 5, 2011 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • trxstr

      I have been self employed for the last 10 yrs...I am joining the fight against the Corporatocracy for my children and grandchildren...

      October 5, 2011 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Shoe

      jeigh who do you work for, wallstreet, government, or the ceos buddy that comes on the post.
      trxstr he is a troll to the capitalism ceos, he wants the status quo.
      Obviously it is not working for the majority of people and the student want something better. The wealthy are afraid they may have to let go of some of their money.

      October 5, 2011 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • jeigh

      @shoe – I am unemployed by choice and do not collect unemployment. You obviously are unaware of how much the "wealthy" pay in taxes and how little the "middle class" pays.

      October 5, 2011 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Shoe

      jeigh-independently wealthy on yur moms or dads side. Obviously your unaware at how little the average american makes and how much more the filthy rich make.

      October 5, 2011 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
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