Occupy Wall Street—the little protest that could. In 31 days the movement has grown from a small demonstration in New York City to a worldwide phenomenon. But if you're wondering, "Ummm, what exactly is it?" we've got you covered. Trust us, we were a little embarassed to ask too.
In July 2011, the media foundation known as AdBusters posted an article asking people to peacefully protest on Wall Street.
According to AdBusters, the #OccupyWallStreet protesters want Barack Obama to set up a Presidential Commission that will help to make policies where corporations have less influence over politicians.
The mentioned Presidential Commission could make this happen in a variety of ways. Some tactics the article suggested:
Dismantle half of the 1,000 military bases the U.S. has abroad.
Reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, a former national law that placed more restrictions on banking.
Implement harsher punishments for corporate criminals (i.e. embezzlers)
Occupy Wall Street protesters often cite the Arab Spring movement from earlier this year as inspiration for the protesting.
When asked why this response to the global financial crisis is now happening 3 years later, Adbusters founder Kalle Lasn said, "[W]hen the financial meltdown happened, there was a feeling that, 'Wow, things are going to change. Obama is going to pass all kinds of laws, and we are going to have a different kind of banking system'....And then slowly this feeling that he's a bit of a gutless wonder slowly crept in, and now we're despondent again."
The protest began in Lower Manhattan. Since then, it has spread to over 900 cities, worldwide.
Protesters are using the phrase "We are the 99%," to express opposition to the 1% of the American wealthy that control most of the country's money.
So far, Rome is the only city where rioting broke out during the protest, causing considerable violence. The other cities have remained relatively calm.
The protests have moved beyond the outcry for a Presidential commission. People worldwide want multiple policies reformed in order to benefit the masses. Demands DoSomething.org reporters have seen include:
Terms limits for U.S. Representatives and Senators
Universal health care
Lower student loan interest rates
In recent study from Quinnipiac University, most New York City voters agree with the protesters right to demonstrate and wouldn't mind if they stayed indefinitely.