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. Marilyn K

    I don't know what these protesters are about, but they certainly do have the Republicans in a tizzy. I have never seen them this upset. What's all the fuss about?

    October 4, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      There are many avowed Republicans who are involved in this protest as well as Democrats and independents. This really is not a left vs right issue. It is only being made so by some of the more aggressive posters both liberal and conservative on this and other sites. This is about corporate greed. If you study the issues they are protesting I think you will find that both sides have issues with the corporate welfare of this country. Bailouts, corporate tax loopholes, subsidies for corporations that are making record level profits, etc.....

      October 4, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Hasselhoff

    Enough with the stupid zombie picture of ugly punkers. I'd really like it if CNN did more coverage on this. I'm sure it's a lot different than what they say it is.

    October 4, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lex

      I was there a few days ago, and I'm sad to report that the majority of people I saw pretty much presented themselves like this. Crazy hair and clothing, terrible smell, a cigarette in everyone's mouth and a whole lot of dancing and loud music. I wholeheartedly support their message, but if they think they'll change anyone's mind by having a 3 week rave in lower Manhattan, they're wrong.

      October 4, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mich

      I know why the hell do they put up this picture if the majority of the protester are serious working class people. Shame on CNN. Be serious about it

      October 4, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. studdmuffins

    If Georgie Soros' useful idiots only knew the truth they would not do his bidding.

    October 4, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cogito

      & the exact same thing can be said about the Koch brothers.

      October 4, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |

    Lets end corporate greed and federal, local government corruption by the rich top 1%. The people of this country are not being heard by our elected politians in Washington, DC. Americans need jobs and investment for the working class of all levels. It's the only way to get America back on it's feet fast.

    October 4, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Revolution Sponsered by Massengil

    Abject silliness. This disjointed demonstration, while keeping
    facepaint manufacturers in business, is totally asinine. Did anyone
    protest Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act in 1999? Nope. Did anyone protest the
    Telecomm Act in 1996? Nope. Did anyone protest when they rescinded the
    Fairness Doctrine in 1987? Nope. We elected politicians & did not hold
    them accountable. We supported WalMart & helped Mom/Pop America & US
    industry disappear without batting an eyelash–just so we could get a
    cheap, foreign made HD TV & out of season fruit. We overbought, didn't
    read fine print or take the time to understand what an ARM was, &
    didn't live within our means. It was fine to be politically inactive,
    un-involved & unconcerned when it was our neighbors catching the

    October 4, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • garrett

      Now its us catching the shaft and its the next generation of people attempting to do something about it. With the more advanced technology we have today such as social media it makes events like this a little easier to organize, as opposed to 1999, 1996, and 1987 when we relied on home phones and dial-up internet. CNN hasn't given this story the attention it deserves, and I think using a photo of a protestor in facepaint as their headline is a complete mischaracterization of whats really going on here.

      October 4, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. CNNDebbie

    It's an American Style French Revolution. The 99%ers are the 3rd Estate.

    October 4, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Colorado

    They want to overthrow the US government and startup a socialist form of government with all the power under central control. That is what it seems to come across as. I for one don't want anything they are selling. I do believe we need a full overhaul of our tax code, leading to lower rates, but government spending must be brought under control.

    October 4, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • EatThemUpYum

      Well said.

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

    I hope that the message driving the protests doesn't get overshadowed by these sideshows..unfortunately the protestors are lacking someone, someone who can pull them all together and present a unified front and drive the message thru of the fact that the middle class is sick and tired of being the whipping boy for the corporations and the rich.The politicians especially the repukicans better start shaking in their boots because this is the start of the Autumn Revolution and they are in the our sights.

    October 4, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dominic

    The National average for HS graduation rates is around 70%. The highest high school graduation rate for any state in the union is around 80% – and we're stunned that unemployment is at 10%. The world is getting more high-tech and the low-tech, low-skilled jobs are being performed by the 3d world for pennies on the American labor dollar. Even the military requires a high school diploma. We don't have a jobs crisis, we have an education crisis – in an era in which we spend more in constant dollars in education than ever, it's unfair to blame Wall Street – they may be greedy, but at least they finished school.
    As far as folks who are upside down on their mortgages, that's no one's fault but theirs- many people, like myself, had enough common sense to know when a house was overpriced or to know that they couldn't afford ito buy one – I'm still renting! So why should my tax dollars bail out someone who was dumb enough to buy a house he couldnt afford? In this area, individual greed has been on par with Wall Street's. Yes, WS was bailed out but two wrongs don't make a right.

    October 4, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chinatown

      The homeowners who took out the mortgages have suffered for their wrongs, they are homeless, have trashed credit ratings.......what's happened to the Wall St bankers who gave out those phony loans???? Bonuses, nice severence packages and no investigations......WAKE UP

      October 4, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Fish Heads

    Not everybody losing their homes are losing them because they bought a house far beyond their means. Far too many in my neighborhood are losing them because they have been let go by the companies they've been with most of their adult working lives. Many of them have medical bills that are overwhelming because of the loss of their benefits due to companies "tightening their belts". If you think these former solid middle-class citizens can just go to the corner job store and get a job that will pay just HALF of what they formerly made, you're delusional. These are people who have had everything taken away from them in one fell swoop because of corporate greed running rampant.
    This is a part of what these protests are about...and if people can't see that, they deserve to be on the receiving end. Then perhaps you may find it within yourself to be a doer, and not a taker.

    October 4, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • bob324

      Yes, i understand what you're saying. However, corporations are outsourcing to compete with the cheaper prices overseas and from a logical stand point, any normal person would want something for cheaper rather than more expensive. Consumers do too, thats why everything we buy is made out of the US. how can you ask corporations to hire people, pay them more to produce things that americans won't even buy. if you want corporations to stop oursourcing jobs, the consumers need to be committed to paying the higher prices for american made products.

      October 5, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  11. libertycall

    It’s NOT OK is for the big Wall Street financial corporations to keep recruiting the most assertive young talents from all prestigious universities, send them to be groomed @ Capitol Hill and control a pool of people who swing jobs between Wall Street and the legislative/executive branches. Mainstream America will never stand a chance to know what is really going on with their savings, mortgages, retirement, education funds, healthcare, etc.

    October 4, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • libertycall

      The intricate financial tools which lead to US financial crash baffled even financial specialists and academia; they only found out about the WS financial schemes when it was too late. If we keep reducing the large picture to the "universe" of a kindergartner, we will never solve the problem.
      There people swinging between Wall Street and Washington should be made public, because we can’t keep expecting that the wolf will find the sheep’s thief.

      October 4, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. libertycall

    For those scathing the protesters with name calling and puerile interpretations of reality. We live in the year 2011, have lived under extreme capitalism, seen where the lack of accountability and Wall Street mingling into law-making leads to, we saw failed communism and Arab despotism. In contrast, we have the examples of countries where people have a chance to live decent lives, and are motivated to work hard and save $$ because they trust their banking and laws, their police force and news casters.

    October 4, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Fish Heads

    @ Revolution Sponsered by Massengil:

    Apt name for yourself, for you are a typical doosh with no answers, just b!tching and moaning while showing off your prowess for looking up crap on the net. Yay for you.

    October 4, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Archie de Bunker

    No Robita – I will explain it to you! The current economic situation has little or nothing to do with greedy businessmen and cheating bankers. The whole thing results from our stupid slide into Socialism. I know you Low-IQ Libs think that you're smarter and more sophisticated than us Conservatives, but study this for a while:

    If you will remember, the economy was really great during most of Georbe W. Bush's two terms. The exceptions, of course, were that the Bush economy had to overcome the foolisness perpetrated by the Clinton Administration – and his killing of the dot.com industry. Then, the Bush economy was so good, so valid that it managed to overcome the disaster of 9-11 (you DO remember, don't you, that the stock market plummeted after 9-11 and then came back robustly, as did hiring and business activity). Then came the tremendous economic upheaval caused by Hurricane Katrina (you DO remember that the Bush economy weathered that storm quite handily, don't you?). Ah, but then came the months leading up to the absolutely disasterous election held in November 2006. From the polls it was clear that the media had succeeded in duping the American people into believing that President Bush, Dick Cheney and all Republicans in general were evil incarnate. Right? You do remember that don't you? In fact you're still clinging to that mistaken belief, aren't you Robita?

    Now, since it has always been true that idiotic, Socialistic Democrats (sorry for the triple redundancy) always raise taxes and spend money like there was no tomorrow. Always. There's never been an exception to that rule. So, what happened next? People with money said "I'm getting out of the stock market before the S*** hits the fan. Bingo! Stock market drops BECAUSE THE DEMOCRATS APPEAR TO BE GOING TO HAVE A MAJORITY IN BOTH HOUSES. Not only did the people who make this economy go (and who are almost soley responsible for you having the grand life style you enjoy, Robita) stopped investing – because they KNEW what the Dumbocrats were going to do.

    Now, add to that the fact that for forty years the Socialist Dumbocrats (who continue to follow Keynsian Economics, long after Keynsian Economics has proven to be a farce) kept whining that "Everyone has the right to own a home" (no, they don't), and who pushed at every turn to lower the credit requirements for home ownership and other types of credit. So, during the past 20 years, economically illiterate and irresponsible Americans began to run up credit debt at an astounding rate – egged on by the fools in Congress who facilitated it by making it possible for them to borrow amounts of money that they would never be able to pay off!

    Thus, the perfect storm – investors running from the stock market led to decreased business activities and thus corporate layoffs. Stupid, debt-ridden Americans can't figure out what the problem is and go ahead and elect EVEN MORE economically illiterate Socialist Democrat politicians who actually believe the long-disproven idea that the government can create wealth by taxing business out of existence. So now, Obama and his dip-sticks are completely lost, and have dug America a hole we may never get out of. True to their Socialistic philosophies, however, instead of laying down their shovels and trying to figure out how to get out of the hole, their answer is to grab those shovels and continue to dig!

    I honestly believe that anyone who is a Socialist (in other words, a Democrat) has a missing portion of their brain – the part that is supposed to be able to do logic and reasoning. So you go on swallowing the Obama-Peelosi-Reid-Gore coolaid, while America, the America that gave us everything we have, and was the most benevolent, just and true nation ever to occupy the face of the earth, sinks further into the stupidity of Socialism and the non-solutions of "Social Programs slowly choke our once-vibrant economy to death.

    You want to know who's to blame for the economic situation today? If your a Socialist Democrat (any Democrat, that is) get up out of your chair, walk over to a mirror and point your finger straight ahead. You will be pointing at the source of all this once-great nation's problems – Socialism.

    Of course the only way to save ourselves now is the one thing that Obama and his Administration won't even consider – we desparately need to cut the size of the Federal Government by at least 50%. Not some little meaningless cuts such as have been proposed – cut back the budget of every department by 50% and lay off half the workers. That's what a business has to do when it realizes it's broke. Will the Democrats ever even realize that we are, really, truly broke?

    October 4, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chinatown

      Wow, can you be anymore of a partisan moron? Both Parties are to blame you idiot.....you're long rant just exposes you for the stooge you are

      October 4, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • smukers

      You certainly sound like one of the "corporate fat cats" who are profiteering from the "ignorant Americans". More power to you, "cat", until we knock your kind down "many notches".

      October 4, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • kdigs

      Wow! You are soo smart. I can't believe all of the little things people keep complaining about and all along it was just little old socialism that was the problem. Blowin' my mind dude!

      You just forgot a few small things, like the, what was it ten dollars and fifty cents? that G.W. spent on a couple little "wars". I know, I know wars aren't really a "socialist" thing so they don't cost "real" money, right? Is that how your supreme "logic" works?

      I don't know why I didn't see it myself, I mean look at those stupid idiot German's with like 70% government funded healthcare, they must really be in a mess now! Gosh, they are so stupid, those little socialist sour kraut eating idiots. Archie de Bunker, the GENIUS you have opened my eyes.

      Lookout CHINA Archie de Bunker comin' for yo' money!

      October 4, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cogito

      Archie, your comment is one of the biggest loads of oral diarrhea & worst cases of revisionist history I've ever seen or heard...sadly, I think you actually believe it wholeheartedly.

      October 4, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Humanity

    CNN is manipulating the information. CNN is one of the most important arms of the corporatocracy. CNN is only aiming to keep watchers stupid and entertained. Let´s not get angry though, I don´t think anybody is surprised.

    October 4, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
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