Most of the biggest Occupy Wall Street camps are gone. But their slogan still stands.
Whatever the long-term effects of the Occupy movement, protesters have succeeded in implanting “We are the 99 percent,” referring to the vast majority of Americans (and its implied opposite, “You are the one percent” referring to the tiny proportion of Americans with a vastly disproportionate share of wealth), into the cultural and political lexicon.
First chanted and blogged about in mid-September in New York, the slogan become a national shorthand for the income disparity. Easily grasped in its simplicity and Twitter-friendly in its brevity, the slogan has practically dared listeners to pick a side.
“We are getting nothing,” read the Tumblr blog “We Are the 99 Percent” that helped popularize the percentages, “while the other one percent is getting everything.”
Within weeks of the first encampment in Zuccotti Park in New York, politicians seized on the phrase. Democrats in Congress began to invoke the “99 percent” to press for passage of President Obama’s jobs act — but also to pursue action on mine safety, Internet access rules and voter identification laws, among others. Republicans pushed back, accusing protesters and their supporters of class warfare; Newt Gingrich this week called the “concept of the 99 and the one” both divisive and “un-American.”
Perhaps most important for the movement, there was a sevenfold increase in Google searches for the term “99 percent” between September and October and a spike in news stories about income inequality throughout the fall, heaping attention on the issues raised by activists.
“The ‘99 percent,’ and the ‘one percent,’ too, are part of our vocabulary now,” said Judith Stein, a professor of history at the City University of New York.”~(NYTimes)
The New York Times, “Camps Are Cleared, But ‘99 Percent’ Still Occupies the Lexicon.”
And further down in Brian Stelter’s story: “A Tumblr blog that was set up to compete with ‘We Are the 99 Percent,’ called ‘We Are the 53%,’ (referring to the estimated percentage of Americans who pay federal income taxes) has not been updated for two weeks.”
A protester @OccupyLA, where the police cleared a park near City Hall early Wednesday. #Nov30 #Epicfailguise #OccupyChill #<3 (Photo Credit: NYTimes)