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. @Like fat people

    You make no sense. Are you drunk?

    October 4, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mike

    When Banks can't pay their bills, we hand them money. When corporations can't pay their bills, we hand them money. When the government can't pay its bills, they print money. When people can't pay their bills, the brilliant minds in DC, along with the banks, tighten lending restrictions and raise interest rates. What makes us different? How are we less important? Your revenue depends on our success. Pardon me for calling you stupid, STUPID!

    October 4, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Brad Evans

    I understand indifference to the protesters. But I don't understand all the anger directed at them. Are they really that big a threat?

    October 4, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • katiepea

      banks are paying people to post on here

      October 4, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mark

    Sometimes, when I eat cabbage, it doesn't agree with me. So, I go hide in the bushes. Ron Paul 2012

    October 4, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • MykeTheVet

      I know what would end the Occupy Wall Street protestors: RON PAUL. Let the protests continue all the way to SEATTLE baby!

      RON PAUL 2012

      October 4, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mike

    Six years after the crisis began, an now our government is just starting to address housing and mortgage rates. I'm not a big fan of conspiracy theory, but I really can't imagine that the educated minds of our government could be so ignorant for so long. This seems like a willful act of market manipulation to allow only a knowing few to profit off the misery of the masses.

    October 4, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. remorse2

    These people believe that wealth must be spread without doing anything not even buying stock of money making corporations.What ever happened to work hard and invest ????????

    October 4, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • katiepea

      invest ? in what? 97% of our money exists only on computer without monetary capital to back it up, if everyone in the us payed off their "debt" there would be negative money, no money left. inflation has ruined this country, creating money out of debt with no capital. you'd have to be a lunatic to invest in the market, its DONE, the market will never recover because there isn't anything to save it, greece is going to default, they'll exit the euro, the rest of EU is done when that happens, and the US is about 1.5 years behind that. if we don't change the system and the federal reserve, we'll all be living in an armageddon type scenario. this is the last free market in the world, if we lose the united states, there is no hope.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • C

      You're not getting this- whenever the opportunity to make money does not trickle down adequately and equally- there is no opportunity for people who do want to contribute; can't, because the bulk of the wealth is concentrated at the top. Those of us at the bottom or in the middle are losing out ability to amke money- It can't be put simpler than that. This is not a handout this IS the American dream.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Terri

      No that isn't at all what they believe. I am 52, I have worked hard and invested all my life. My home is paid for I have very little debt, I am on the side of this group of young people. Wage inequality has grown ridiculously large over the past 40 years. A CEO is NOT worth 10x more than the average employee much less 150x (and more insome cases), even the ones running companies into the ground are getting their bonus checks. Bankers and Wall Str. crooks (through lack of government regulation) have brought the WORLD to its knees and are not prosecuted for the deals that we all know ARE (and were) against the law. There is so much wrong right now it is crazy yet morons continue to support the system that is killing us as a country and if you don't they call you "un-American". I am fed up and will be marching with the rest of the people who are finally waking up and saying something other than on their computers.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      It still exists and people are anxious to do so. Tough to work hard when no one is hiring. Tough to invest when there is no income there to invest. Are you really too stupid to understand those concepts?

      October 4, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Terri

      And if you think the top 1% actually worked hard you are mistaken. A few of them did but most just milked a crooked system.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. 'Scuuuuuuze me? HandBACK, not "handout"

    Sure there are lazy bassterds that milk the system. But most of what we are asking of Uncle Sam amounts to nothing more than asking for some of what we gave him back. But he won't even allow US to audit the Fed to find out where most of it went. We already know the Pentagon robbed SS blind. Poof! But that's not near what the world's 'federal reserves' have been getting away with.

    October 4, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Anonymous

    To clarify. We are not making requests. We are making demands. They will be met, or our protests will grow.

    October 4, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. guest43

    damn 1% 'ers...the more i think about it...it ticks me off...those kids who "studied" and "worked hard" got into places like Yale and Harvard dude...that's BS....WE deserve to go there too...hey...let's start Occupy Yale!!!...Who's with me!!!

    October 4, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  10. steve

    I'm having a flashback. The SDS'rs who cried for social justice are now corporate salary men, political hacks, and professors, so it will be in 15 years with these folks. Make up and street theater, a poorly written manifesto, a lot of rage, too much free time, a very bad war, yea it's the 60's!!!. All we need is the draft. True change comes through personnel action, not standing on a street cornor crying about it. What is your alternative? Find it, then act on it.

    October 4, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Anonymous

    We have plans to shut down the New York Stock Exchange on October 10.

    October 4, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Brilliant plan. Don't work too hard at it. No one will be there anyway.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mark

    When I was a kid, my dad took me camping in the mountains. My brother put a snake in my sleeping bag and it scared me so bad, that I cried all night long. Ron Paul 2012

    October 4, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. C

    Hey I'm with you- stick to your guns and don't forget – this is American and we have the right to protest just like those stupid tea baggers.

    October 4, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Pat

    This country is undergoing a revolution brought on by the largest crimes committed by banks and corporations. The middle class has been wiped out, education has been strangled to shameful levels, infrastructure is crumbling, jobs have been shipped out by the millions, banks feel they are above being regulated and committed mammoth blunders. Real Americans who have every right to be angry are out there by the thousands and tens of thousands and you guys are reporting the " breaking news" that Chris Christie – who said it 14 times already – isn't running. Who cares?? This is news? You people are supposed to be JOURNALISTS - report the real news or prepare for people to look elsewhere. Corporate cleptocracy IS the breaking news that you should be focusing on now. If you can't give us real and fair news, what good are you?????

    October 4, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jacob


      Can you define what a 'real American' is? For the most part I agree with what you stated, just interested your interpretation.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jacob

    These protests all stem from a problem with America's society and people being unable to adapt to it. It boils down to an example of Social Darwinism and Survival of the Fittest at work. America's society is setup in such a way that certain people have an easier time prospering due to their personality traits, subjects they excel in, and the social connections/and resources they inherit. Personally, I feel (based on 'stereotyping' the entire group based upon my own friends that agree with these protests) these individuals have a harder time adapting to our society – get an education, college, 9 – 5 job, a family, church, etc.

    Due to their interests, upbringing, and subjects they excel at they have a harder time getting into positions that allow them to influence our society, and many times just aren't interested (don't have an affinity towards the kind of work a lawyer, politician, or scientist does). If our society went a different path, these individuals may be the ones prospering, holding important positions, and today's politicians would be the ones suffering.

    If our economic, political, and national policies were heavily dependant upon music, art, and literature ( sounds crazy now, but there was a time when these things held more weight) and not statistics, psychology, technology, defense, etc., then those with an affinity to math, chemistry, law, etc. would be the ones currently voicing their opinions and speaking out. (Historically this did happen, and those with the later affinity prevailed leadding to where we are now)

    These individuals live in a society that is not suited for them , do not want to adapt to it, and therefore attempting to adapt society instead. I'm sure there's plenty of people (including those protesting) working hard jobs and trying to 'fit in' but feel they were meant for something else, but just don't have the means to attain it – the 'if things were different' complex.

    Social Darwinism and Survival of the Fittest... In the end these people will either be weeded out, adapt (or live with depression/regret), alter our society, or move somewhere with a society that fits.

    October 4, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous

      Lol, this is copypasta from Mein Kampf.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jacob


      I've actually not read Mein Kampf yet... Are you being serious or just trolling??? I honestly hope my own ideals and beliefs don't mirror that of Hitler...

      October 4, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
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