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. Amy

    The majority of them probably own an I-phone. Those damn greedy corporations!!

    October 4, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Enoch100

      love the face paint. would go well with a glass of port.

      October 4, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Terry

      Yes – it is ironic 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 those in need.

      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 8:41 am | Report abuse |
  2. chrissy

    and as for them never voting before....I BET THEY WILL NOW LMAO

    October 4, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. EatThemUpYum

    Wait, so this occupy wallstreet BS was started by a Canadian firm? Seriously? I think I was smart than this when I was in my 20's.

    October 4, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tyler

      Apparently not smart enough to use proper grammar.

      October 4, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      We're going to take over your country. Canadian invaders!!!!

      October 4, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. AZLib

    We need to support these individuals in their goal to bring justice to our financial system. Wall Street ran amuck under W and took our country into the toilet. W and gang arranged for a bailout that included millions of dollars in bonuses for the executives as a reward for sending us all into a terrible economic state. PLEASE follow me... support these protestors.. HOW? SELL SELL SELL... go cash, get rid of your stocks, bonds, mutual funds. Take the money out of this big casino which will then send a message to their bought and paid for GOP lackies in congress. Enough is Enough... Wall Street represents the interests of low margins and that includes Red Communist China along with their greedy CEO's. your support is simple... login and SELL SELL SELL. Move the money to a saving account, a life insuance annunity or just let it sit in a money fund... but SELL SELL SELL... if there is a run on the market then action will happen. Stop this greed that is today hindering an ecomoic recovery from a terrible recession created by the same people. Stop them in their tracks... starve the beast.... SELL SELL SELL SELL... if you support these folks then SELL SELL SELL...

    October 4, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      The real and Original Ponzi scheme.

      October 4, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • johnny b real

      Maybe you have been passed out for the last few years... BHO owns this. There is nothing here to support.

      October 4, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      Well AZLib, Wall Street ran amuck before Bush. It actually started in the 1980's thanks to deregulation that Ronald Reagan endorsed. Bush just went along with it and happen to be in charge when Wall Street purposely destroyed our economy.

      October 4, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • glyder

      don't forget the housing market crash,fannie mae,freddie mac.liar loans.banks were forced to do this by the federal government.compassion is what it was called at the time.they could do it again and you would be in favor of it.these little creeps are nothing more than puppets for the communists,socialists and anarchists.the republic is over.

      October 4, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Big George in Big D

      While we're seeking justice, how about all those homeowners who took out loans they knew they could never repay, lied about their income (criminal fraud) then walked away and stiffed everyone with any kind of retirement fund?

      October 4, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack 63

      Then again selling at a loss SUCKS SUCKS SUCKS so grit your teeth and ride it out and when they rebound then you sell.

      October 4, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Durundal

      so your solution is to punish the middle class americans who have invested in the market that were not dumb enough to spend beyond the means they were able to secure? Yeah, that's a real valid answer....You just went from angry about injustice, to just stupid loud and angry.

      October 4, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • jedermintz

      You all have it wrong. See basic economics 101, economies go up and then they go down. Get with the program skippy and just ride out the current down. I find it soooo funnnny to see a few hundred souls protesting??????? Where are the millions in the street if this is a big problem. Wait, I know why so few people in the streets, many people have a job and are trying to survive not sit on a street corner and play bad songs. Shame on CNN on trying to make this into some huge revolt. I'm just saying......

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

    and you can just guess which way they will vote and it wont be GOP!

    October 4, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Seek

      The will vote for the same rainbow promising slave masters: Yes they can. Hope and change. The carrot on the stick in front of the donkey. Youll never get the carrot.

      October 4, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. BRooks

    I'm glad that everyone's work let them take time off to protest capitalism. Oh wait....

    October 4, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Must be those students that will not have jobs when they get out of school. Damn students, *why aren't you working that 40 hour, 18 credit week*. Oh thats right, wall street has taken the country down and we have no economy left.
      Middle class unite. Unite us.

      October 4, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Carr

      How is that capitalism working for the 10% of Americans who are unemployed or the 50 million Americans who are without health insurance. I love America and capitalism is cool but capitalism has kicked lots of folks in the butt.

      October 4, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  7. johnny b real

    Just another zombie walk... nothing to see here. It won't get scary until they feel they aren't getting enough attention, then something stupid will happen. This is what happens when adults don't lead – I'm looking at you DC!

    October 4, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Until everyone says no more 401k money and wall street money for them to play with. Untill they put all the money back into SS they stole and an audit is done. Go Protesters.

      October 4, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • johnny b real

      You of course mean the Soros and Buffets of Wall Street and the liberal spenders in DC right? Hilarious that GOP gets blamed for this when Liberal POLICY and ACTIVISTS promote and perpetuate. Wake up Donkey sheep.

      October 4, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. banasy

    As someone has already said, these people are barking up the wrong tree. They need to go to Washington and protest before Congree the excessive and unnecessary military spending and this so-called "war on Terrorism" which is no more than the expansion of U.S. and NATO colonial powers into Central Asia and the Middle East and these two things are what's breaking the national economy! Wise up, please!!!

    October 4, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Or in our own state Banasy. We need to go to all of our state capital buildings. And let them know even at our level of congress and senate. Aren't they still on their extended vacations anyway?

      October 4, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. CJ Topspin

    These people have no idea what they are protesting. This is simply a giant group of morons banging on drums.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jill-IN

      You are so wrong. Too bad you don't have a clue.

      October 4, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chad VanVoorhis

      What they are protesting is this system we've created that allows corporations to basicly control the agenda and money through our Congress... it is sucking all of the capital upwards and out of our economy and delivering it to the privilieged few... it is creating a society whose morals, values, regulations, laws and government itself are controlled by corporations. Whether purposeful or not... the result is the same...

      For concrete ideas on how to actually solve this problem, tune into my Presidential bid website (just launched) http://www.chadvanvoorhis.com and http://www.savingamericaspromise.com... Now is the time to save our nation.

      October 4, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Seek

      The problem is the government not wall street. Government makes you a slave, steals your money, and spends it on protection enabling those who do not want to work as well as spend it on stupid things like foreign aid, wars (not on our turf) and things like the UN and NPR. Protest all that and then we can talk.

      October 4, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tyler Smith

      So you're happy overpaying for things while these companies hemorrhage money on perks and then get government funding (for more perks)? Stop hiding behind a fake name, and pay attention to the fact that you're being suckered by your own government.

      October 4, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jose

      Jill. you are right. The guy just sees people banging on a drum. Hopefully he will be able to see more clearing in the near future. people are fed up with wall street. The 10 pm news telling us every night that we have been in afganistan 10 years and intend to stay. Start telling our kids not to go into the military would be a start.

      October 6, 2011 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
  10. Big George in Big D

    Looks like Halloween is coming early this year,

    October 4, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  11. joe

    give them whatever they want, just please make it stop

    October 4, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. EatThemUpYum

    Newsflash: Nobody really cares!!! While you morons are out playing 60's protester your former classmates that have been working hard and weren't spoiled and coddled brats growing up actually have jobs, have educations and are becoming contributing members of society.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • chris

      Your society is about to get ripped apart.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  13. Hello?

    I'm not young (49) – I'm self employed – I GET the protest! 1% of the population controls at least 50% of the wealth in this country. I've worked in the corporate world – seen the greed and craziness that goes along with that mess. I've been poor – I've been struggling lately. There is such a mis-balance of power and money that it gets depressing. The powers that be don't listen...the powers that be have too much and they don't listen. They just worry about getting re-elected or keeping the status quo. I'm not a college student and am seriously considering going to the protest in Minneapolis this Friday.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Big George in Big D

      Class warfare. That'll make this a better country. At least that's what Hitler said in the 1930's.

      October 4, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • glyder

      you do realize these people are communists,socialists and anarchists right.

      October 4, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Carr

      Hey, "I'm not young (49)" you are so right, thank you! If anyone speaks out (protest) in today's times, they are labeled Marxist or Socialist as is anyone who isn't a Republican or Tea Bagger. Democrats and even Socialist have a right to be heard!

      October 4, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hello?

      It's seems to be all about labels. From Hitler to Democrat to Socialist....whatever. I'm just trying to build a good life, raise my boy, eat decently and pay my bills. What label does that make me?

      October 4, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • See You There

      I completely agree with you Hello?. People need to realize that vitriolic rhetoric from all sides gets us nowhere. Why do members of any party feel the need to assail the others with so much hate? Your post brought out all the classics including even a lovely Hitler strawman. We the people need to realize that it was both parties that brought us the Patriot Act, both parties brought us the occupation of the Middle East, both parties brought us the bailouts the parties collude to pass legislation and then spout vitriolic rhetoric so that their bases will fight with one another while they pass legislation together in D.C.. It is called 'divide and conquer' and is pretty transparent when you look at Government and Media. To all those that say this movement is a bunch of 20-somethings that need to get a job you ought to look at the pictures of the protests that aren't hand picked by CNN. There are all races, ages, classes, etc. participating in these protests and they are occuring in a great deal more cities than just New York. They are in Seattle, L.A., Austin, Minneapolis, Boston, and many many more. Did it ever occur to those posting "get a job" that maybe all of the protesters haven't been there the whole time? That perhaps people would leave to go to work and then return later? That many people don't work 9-5 so they may very well work a night shift, sleep at home, then go do some protesting? Or perhaps they have good jobs that afford them PTO that they have chosen to take in order to go protest? There are a lot of answers beyond "they are all unemployed" use your brain and do not fall for this divide and conquer strategy being employed against the public. In conclusion "Hello?" I will see you there on Friday, I will be the employed 24 year old making 60k/yr taking PTO for the day because I concerned about the future of this republic. See you there!

      October 4, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. mernatti

    it's about time this should have happen a long time ago this will grow you have not seen nothing yet power to the american people

    October 4, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • johnny b real

      this will grow, because we have more fools #2008electionresults than wisemen...

      October 4, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. David

    If anyone knows how I can help economically destroy Wall Street, let me know. I did my part for major banking by moving my $$$ to a credit union. Washington has yet to introduce regulations back into Wall Street (deregulation is what caused this entire mess starting in the 1980s). So since the problem isn't going to be fixed, and nobody seems interested in the ONLY real solution (not even the protesters are mentioning deregulation) all I can do is do my part in not supporting it. I guess there really isn't anything I can do as I have no money invested. Maybe I've already done all I can by not investing?

    October 4, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • glyder

      you do realize david that the liar loans were regulation by the federal government.

      October 4, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Seek

      Got an answer for you David: Make and grow your own toilet paper, your own gasoline, your own wood for your house, mine your own metals and process them for your own wiring, grow all your own food, get a cow, some chickens, a greehouse, and pump your own water......So much coporations due for you so you dont have to do it. Think about it.

      October 4, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cogito

      Sorry Seek, the corporations do NOT do it for David, or you or me or anyone else. THEY DO IT FOR THEIR OWN GAIN, and if you think otherwise, you are deluded.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
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