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. Carl Campbell

    I hate to restate the obvious but the lack of fairness is discussed in all of the Missouri coffee shops. The main point is 12 million homeowners have lost their homes to foreclosure. The government gave the big bank fat cats a bail out from the taxpayers. There should at least be a provision for those with average credit to borrow money. The poor is screwed.

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

      I'm sorry but if you borrow money and can't pay it back what do you expect? For the banks to say, oh we're sorry we'll pay that debt off for you. Get outta here. Things are messed up, but to blame the banks for foreclosing on homes that people couldn't afford in the first place is ridiculous!

      October 5, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mario

      Citizens have to take some responsibility as well, not all of it, but some have to admit they made a mistake and are paying the consequences of that mistake.

      October 5, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Truth

    Why don't they just protest about what they really want?... Communism. The reason being that "Corporate Greed" polls a hell of a lot better than Communism. The dirty secret is that Obama took more donations from Wall Street than John Mccain, as did Hillary. http://articles.latimes.com/2008/mar/21/nation/na-wallstdems21 READ SOMETHING FOR ONCE

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

      Maybe if you looked into this past what the mainstream media says then you would realize that it isn't a communist movement. It seeks to bring back a FREE MARKET. Corporations such as Goldman Sachs can NOT exist in a FREE MARKET. They only exist because of government corruption. These protesters are ANTI-OBAMA although CNN would lead you to believe they are communist hippies.

      October 5, 2011 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  3. Bob in NOLA

    It is hilarious to me that they want the government to provide protection from the evils of the corporate world yet the government is the source the evil, the protection afforded the corporations come from government.

    October 5, 2011 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Badly-Bent

      No. It's been (for too long) tolerated by a corrupt government!

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

      There is nothing funny about the current state of our Country. This movement is demanding that government officials stop taking bribes from corporations and stop voting in legislature that helps those corporations kill our planet, trash our economy, and rake in billions in profits. Corporate leaders are the 1%. The rest should join this movement.

      October 5, 2011 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Avg Guy

      The buck stops on PA Avenue, not Wall Street. And it isn't funny at all. The public sector, overall, needs a shake up. When public servants retire from office/positions with life time pensions and benefits that are placed on the back of each of us, and our retirement plans have eroded, "you" know there's a problem. Government has grown way out of proportion and along the way made no provisions for the day when tax revenues couldn't support it's size and growth. It's happening all over the world, and yes, we're financing them and will continue too unless we hold the people in the public sector responsible. We must reduce the size of our government and by doing so create private sector jobs for those services that are still in demand. We then need vision in our leadership, not micro management. It should be obvious to everyone that the world has become a smaller place and the dynamics of the integrated economies has reshaped the econimic landscape of all of the countries of the world. When was the last time you heard any leader talk about the future, 3 – 5 years from now and beyond? It's not enough any longer to say that we stand for freedom and human values. We need a clearly articulated short term plan that gets us out of this mess, reduce government, reduce spending, never ever allow our leaders to gamble away our futures as they've done and start taking positive steps towards a comprehensive vision that inculdes bi-partisan values. They way our politicians react is scary and should not be toloerated.

      October 5, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Profetic B

    Time has come for the Americans.

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

    trxstr – You gotta be selling to someone and paying taxes on your income. Are you paying enough? If not, are you contributing your "fair share," which is yet to be defined by Obama. Who is going to pay the taxes your children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren already owe for the $4 trillion deficit the Democrats ran up over the past two years?

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

      jeigh nice try-Bush ran us up 9.3 trillion and did not let us know about it til August and then in Oct-Nov decided we had to do something and then President Obama 1st year was on Bush Budget and right away another tarp, the second year was his turn to try and fix it, the third year is republican an teaparty year. I guess if President Obama cannot fix the 8 years of Bush in 1 year he should be ousted. Not.

      October 5, 2011 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Shoe

      jeigh who do you work for?

      October 5, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • zayg

      Shoe – Obama should be ousted for the sole reason that he is another corporatist. The bailouts are unacceptable. The tax breaks given to GE among others are unacceptable. This is coming from a supporter of Occupy Wall Street. THIS IS THE REAL MESSAGE OF THE PROTESTS. NOBODY IS ASKING FOR FREE STUFF

      October 5, 2011 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Shoe

      Zagy- What I am saying to jeigh, he comes into a mess he was unaware of. Both bailouts, at least he put provisions of repayment into the mix. Jeigh was complaining about 4 trilion. How mush does getting us back on track cost? And if you are given 1 year to fix at least a 5 year problem and are never given the tools to do it how can you blame 1 man.

      October 5, 2011 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • zayg

      I'm not saying I expected him to fix the problem. He can't fix the problem easily, but bailouts and other assorted corporate welfare is essentially the making public of corporate/political corruption. We need someone in power who will not create legislation that helps specific businesses!

      October 5, 2011 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Shoe

      But jeigh was saying he failed. I am saying he never got the chance. If he had 4 years with dem senate and congress and failed at reform ok. But you cannot deal him the hand he has and say he failed. It is fixed for the perfect storm.
      I think he went the route from the top to prove the point it does not trickle down. Now even his jobs act will not pass. We shot ourselves in the foot. Either give the man something to work with or he is bound to fail.Give him the tools or we are stuck in the vicious cycle. And I do not want more of the corporate handiwork with repubicans. So give him the next 4 years, I am patient, but if he does not help the economy, both parties are toast.

      October 5, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  6. Hypocrisy Hunter

    model67a, there is no law against being a "catalyst". You can only outlaw specific things. What specifically did they do that you don't think Canadians should be should be allowed to do in America, provided they were even in America, which the article didn't even state. I know "specifics" is a dirty word in this conversation, but that's why nothing will reslt from this, except that a few bloggers will get out of the coffee houses for a few days.

    October 5, 2011 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  7. Chris

    Fair share – top 1% pays 38% of all tax revenue collected at a 24% rate. Top 50% pays 98% of all tax revenue collected at a 16% rate. Seems fair. Now unions are protesting wall street success? Don't they know that those on wall street invest their pension/retirement money for them?

    October 5, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Shoe

      @Chris they paid 40.3 % while Bush was in office in 2007. This is their personal taxes not businesses. They make way more money than an average American makes they should have to pay more taxes. So your logic is deceiving. Plus the Corporations have tax shelters the average American does not have.

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

    Audit the goventment and wall street finances. I really want to know where our SS money went to. They have been depleating it for years, it is not broke they never paid it back. Follow the money.

    October 5, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  9. Rob

    if they're "Protesters dressed as corporate zombies" shouldn't they atleast wear business attire instead of looking like a failed 1980s rocker

    October 5, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Shoe

      We are the corporate zombies, average working americans. We have let them do whatever they wanted.

      October 5, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  10. Shoe

    Read the Glass-Steagall Act. 1933-1999 they have played with it.

    October 5, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jeff

    @jeigh... It must be nice to not have to work. As far as taxes go, the middle class pay a higher percentage of our income to taxes than the "wealthy" I pay 23.5 percent of my income in taxes while some of the "wealthy" pay as little as 5 to 8%. That 5 to 8% may amount to more dollars, but that 23.5% that I pay hurts my wallet a whole lot more.

    October 5, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Also, when I get my business of the ground, not only do I have to pay a business tax, my income tax, but I also have to pay a self employment tax because I choose to work for myself rather than for a large corporation. How is that a free market? I'm not complaining about the business tax or the income tax, but an extra tax for being self employed.

      October 5, 2011 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
    • hoofin-it

      Good luck with your home business and all of us need to buy products by the ingenuity of our American people.

      October 5, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  12. anthony fraser

    i believe it is about time that the generation that started the 60's protest, get on their tennis shoes and head for wall street and join the protest against the Bankers and wall street. Help out the young people that need support against the greed and show them we really do care about their future.

    October 5, 2011 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  13. hoofin-it


    October 5, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  14. hoofin-it

    Buy american made only and see how hard it is to find. I went and was going to buy a coat for my grandchild, all at costco were make in China. No new coat yet. Made in america for christmas. Retailers will sit up and take notice.

    October 5, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  15. hoofin-it

    What is meant by my last comment is if you cannot speak with your feet speak with your dollars. We support the movement. Make your costumes for Halloween if they are made in india, china, ja–pan, vietnam or abroad just say no.98% has the votes this last part of the year will be our prevote. Get on the bus, it time to take a freedom ride.

    October 5, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Shela

      I heartily agree!! For those who can't go out and protest in the street, protest in the super market!! There are many things that I have NOT bought this year because I could not find one with a tag that said "Made in U.S." and I will continue to do so.

      October 5, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      You can't buy hardly ANYTHNG completly made in America anymore. Ford Explorer, made in Kentucky.... except the engine. Even if I do make my daughters costume for Halloween, the material was made in China. I do agree with yur statements though. the only way to get jobs back in America is for US as Consumers to damand American made goods.

      October 5, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • hoofin-it

      Do you remember being a candy bar and making it from a box? Do you remember being a hobo with your older brothers clothes. Aprincess with a dress from your sisters closet. Paper used to make a bee costume or witch hat. Ask what they want to be and improvise this year. It may even be fun to make it with them. Have them draw a picture first.
      There were 7 of us, my mom always made it fun.

      October 5, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shela

      Jeff you would be surprised at how many of our favorite things carry that "Made in U.S." tag. Take a look around your house. Most material has always been made in China or India that is not something we have lost but the creativity of a Halloween costume is something we should retain. Some years back I made my son a Native American outfit with brown paper bags and markers all made in U.S.

      October 5, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      @ hoofin-it. Good point

      October 5, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
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