What You Need to Know About the 99 Percent Movement
Emboldened by the inspiring actions of activists who have been protesting in New York City since Sept. 17, thousands and thousands of individuals are flocking to the streets in cities across America to express their disgust and anger with a political and financial system that unjustly rewards the richest 1 percent at the expense of everyone else.
The original “Occupy Wall Street” protest has grown beyond its name — it is no longer solely about the courageous people camped out at Zuccotti Park; it is a nationwide movement bonded by a shared refrain: “We are the 99 percent.”
Yesterday, ThinkProgress launched a new site to cover the 99 Percent Movement, to help explain their grievances and document their successes.
Check out complete coverage HERE, but in the meantime here are some highlights.
Where Else Are 99 Percent Movement Protests Happening?
Los Angeles: Almost 200 have gathered on the north lawn of the Los Angeles City Hall.
Chicago: Nearing their second week of action, the crowd of over 100 continues to grow. “99 percent of this country is disenfranchised and not being heard,” said protester Evelyn DeHais, “that is irresponsible and awful, but it can be changed and we can change it.”
Louisville: About 200 gathered for the inaugural action.
Wichita: Between 100 and 300 people showed up to the first action on Sunday. “We’re here to stand in solidarity together,” said protester Don Landis, a Vietnam veteran.
Hartford: Close to 100 people attended the first protest on Wednesday in Hartford’s Bushnell Park.
Anchorage: More than 65 people gathered in Anchorage on Wednesday. “Homelessness. Foreclosures, robo-signing of foreclosures,” said protester Brian MacMillan. “Child poverty or child hunger. The unemployment rate, one in 10 in America without a job. Jeez, what isn’t there to protest?”
Charlotte: Local protesters are planning a march on the local offices of Bank of America this Saturday. “I think we’ve got a growing movement,” said a local organizer, Tracey Myhalyk.
Lexington: Since it began on Thursday, at least 100 people have gathered every day in Lexington, Kentucky.
Boston: An estimated 3,000 took the streets on Friday to kick off the Boston protest, with a core of 150 staying indefinitely in Boston’s Dewey Square Park. “This is your future at stake,” protester and Iraq War veteran Ryan Cahill said. “It’s not going to fix itself. I think that’s pretty clear.”
Seattle: A crowd of more than 200 protesters gathered in Seattle’s Westlake Park.
Philadelphia: At a standing-room-only planning meeting on Tuseday almost 1,000 activists packed into Arch Street United Methodist Church in Philadelphia. The meeting decided to kick off the protest outside of the Philadelphia City Hall on Tuesday morning.
Denver: More than 50 protesters marched in downtown Denver on Saturday. One protester’s sign read, “they only call it class war when we fight back.”
Iowa City: About 100 locals met Wednesday night in Iowa City to plan a local protest. The group decided to begin the protest on Friday.
Miami: On Saturday, between 100 and 200 protesters met at Bayfront Park in Miami.
Portland: An estimated 100 protesters braved the rain on Saturday to rally in Portland, Maine. “This underscores what’s valuable in a democratic society: At some point, the people need to stand up and say, ‘That’s enough.’” protester Matth Mitchell commented.
Top Five Facts About the 1 Percent
Via ThinkProgress’ Zaid Jilani, who is now on assignment at the Occupy Wall Street protest in Lower Manhattan:
1. The Top 1 Percent Of Americans Owns 40 Percent Of The Nation’s Wealth: As Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz points out, the richest 1 percent of Americans now own 40 percent of the nation’s wealth. Sociologist William Domhoff illustrates this wealth disparity using 2007 figures where the top 1 percent owned 42 percent of the country’s financial wealth (total net worth minus the value of one’s home). How much does the bottom 80 percent own? Only 7 percent:
As Stiglitz notes, this disparity is much worse than it was in the past, as just 25 years ago the top 1 percent owned 33 percent of national wealth.
2. The Top 1 Percent Of Americans Take Home 24 Percent Of National Income:While the richest 1 percent of Americans take home almost a quarter of national income today, in 1976 they took home just 9 percent — meaning their share of the national income pool has nearly tripled in roughly three decades.
3. The Top 1 Percent Of Americans Own Half Of The Country’s Stocks, Bonds, And Mutual Funds: The Institute for Policy Studies illustrates this massive disparity in financial investment ownership, noting that the bottom 50 percent of Americans own only .5 percent of these investments:
4. The Top 1 Percent Of Americans Have Only 5 Percent Of The Nation’s Personal Debt: Using 2007 figures, sociologist William Domhoff points out that the top 1 percent have 5 percent of the nation’s personal debt while the bottom 90 percent have 73 percent of total debt:
5. The Top 1 Percent Are Taking In More Of The Nation’s Income Than At Any Other Time Since The 1920s: Not only are the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans taking home a tremendous portion of the national income, but their share of this income is greater than at any other time since the Great Depression, as the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities illustrates in this chart using 2007 data:
As Professor Elizabeth Warren has explained, “there is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody…Part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.” More and more often, that is not occurring, giving the protesters ample reason to take to the streets.
Evening Brief Important Stories You May Have Missed
Women’s groups fire back at Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) for his insensitive comment about Elizabeth Warren.
Herman Cain continues to misunderstand the Wall Street protests by calling them “un-American.”
Immigrant children in Alabama are afraid to attend school, but Sen. Jeff Sessions (R) cares more about the fact that these children live in America in the first place.
The executive director of Minnesota Catholic Conference ridiculously connects marriage equality to polygamy: “What if a bisexual wants a partner of each kind?”
President Obama says he won’t “surrender to other countries” on the clean energy industry after a Republican congressman says the U.S. can’t compete with China.
The potato lobby turns up the heat in school lunch battle.
Gulliver, the pseudonymous security professional, writes at InkSpots that — surprise! — “defense-defenders are lying again” to make their case for military spending.
Just what are the differences in the State Department’s positions on Russian and Chinese vetoes of a U.N. Security Council about Syria and the U.S. veto over the Palestinians U.N. bid for statehood recognition?
The New Republic’s Marty Peretz really hates Arabs — but what’s his point?