October 13, 2011

Occupy Wall Street: The fight for the future


“One True Act of Patriotism” by Shysti: 3 minutes of hip hop-infused activism and public discontent.

 

A movement takes hold in cities across America

JD LasicaLike many of you, I’ve been captivated by how the Occupy Wall Street movement has spread to cities across nation in the past four weeks as the grassroots movement’s message has resonated with an increasing number of Americans.

We don’t get too political here at Socialbrite, given that we assist organizations of all political stripe learn how to use the social Web. But we’re been tracking the burgeoning Occupy movement as it’s spread from New York to Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and dozens of other cities, fueled by the great disparity in attention paid to average Americans — the 99 percent of us — compared to the outsize influence exercised by the top 1 percent. (Here’s a New York Times backgrounder and Wikipedia article on the evolution of the movement.)

Some related groups have jumped into the fray, such as Occupy D.C., which has been holding marches and meetings in Washington’s McPherson Square, organized via social media. Trendrr reports that Twitter conversations about the protests are producing 15,000 tweets per hour.

Consider what’s fueled this movement:

• The top 1 percent of Americans own 42 percent of the nation’s financial wealth. The 400 highest-income Americans — whose income averaged $227 million each — paid only 21.4 percent in federal income taxes, the IRS reports. And the richest 400 families own more wealth than about 150 million Americans combined. (Can you say, banana republic?) Oh, and you can bet many of those billionaires will be influencing the 2012 elections, with no counter-balance.

• Corporate profits have reached their highest level as a share of the economy since 1950s, the New York Times reported Sunday.

• Worker pay as a share of the economy is at its lowest point since the mid-1950s.

• Top wage earners are paying less in taxes than any time since the 1950s.

• Wall Street salaries have risen 11.2 percent per year over the past 30 years, while regular folks’ salaries have risen 1.8 percent, a new analysis shows.

• The jobless rate for college graduates under age 25 has averaged 9.6 percent over the past year.

As the Times’ editorial put it: “The country needs a shift in the emphasis of public policy from protecting the banks to fostering full employment, including public spending for job creation.”

Where to follow, and join, the movement

Here are a few of the places where you can keep on top of the latest Occupy Wall Street developments:

• On Twitter: #OWS, #occupy, #occupytogether, #occupywallst and #occupywallstreet.

• More than 900 Meetup.com events have been set up — get your Occupy Together widgets.

• The WeArethe99Percent blog on Tumblr chronicles the latest activities of the movement. Continue reading