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The Ninety-Nine Percent

on 30 Comments

To sit in silence when we should protest
Makes cowards out of men. The human race
Has climbed on protest.

– Ella Wheeler Wilcox, I Protest, 1914

With so much effort being exerted by the right-wing lunatic punditocracy and commentariat, Citigroup fiancées with CNN programs, know-nothing pizza magnates and billionaire mayors to belittle and dismiss Occupy Wall Street protesters as “stereotypically aging hippies and young kids who could have just left a Phish concert,” here’s a look at who’s actually down at Liberty Plaza. 

IMG 3904
Hero, 21
The Bronx, New York
IMG 3905
John, 61
Croton-On-Hudson, New York
IMG 3914
Alisha, 20
Las Vegas, Nevada
IMG 3909
Kevin, 60, and John, 57
Queens, New York
IMG 3928
Ronnie, 24
New York, New York

IMG 3908
Taylor, 20
Catasauqua, Pennsylvania
IMG 3907
Ari, 29
Chicago, Illinois
IMG 3913
Michael, 20
The Bronx, New York
IMG 3915
Susie, 52
Brooklyn, New York
IMG 3916
Matthew, 28
New York, New York
IMG 3919
Natalie, 26
Seattle, Washington
IMG 3921
Lexi, 38
New Orleans, Louisiana
IMG 3922
Samoa, 53
Brooklyn, New York
IMG 3924
Hamza, 29
Utica, New York
IMG 3926
Pat, 69
Erie, Colorado
IMG 3903
Layla, 5 months
Brooklyn, New York

All photographs ©Nima Shirazi

The ever-intrepid and affable J.A. Myerson contributed to this report.


by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, 1914

To sit in silence when we should protest
Makes cowards out of men. The human race
Has climbed on protest. Had no voice been raised
Against injustice, ignorance and lust
The Inquisition yet would serve the law
And guillotines decide our least disputes.
The few who dare must speak and speak again
To right the wrongs of many. Speech, thank God,
No vested power in this great day and land
Can gag or throttle; Press and voice may cry
Loud disapproval of existing ills,
May criticise oppression and condemn
The lawlessness of wealth-protecting laws
That let the children and child-bearers toil
To purchase ease for idle millionaires.
Therefore do I protest against the boast
Of independence in this mighty land.
Call no chain strong which holds one rusted link,
Call no land free that holds one fettered slave.
Until the manacled, slim wrists of babes
Are loosed to toss in childish sport and glee;
Until the Mother bears no burden save
The precious one beneath her heart; until
God’s soil is rescued from the clutch of greed
And given back to labor, let no man
Call this the Land of Freedom.


Nima Shirazi blogs at Wide Asleep in America. You can follow him on Twitter at @WideAsleepNima.

About Nima Shirazi

Nima Shirazi is co-editor of the Iran, Iraq and Turkey pages for the online magazine Muftah. His political analysis can be found on his blog,, where this post first appeared. Follow him on Twitter @WideAsleepNima.

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30 Responses

  1. Chaos4700
    October 9, 2011, 1:07 pm

    And I suppose they are all anti-Semites, at least that’s what the Israeli supporters here are telling us. Especially that Ari guy. ;)

    • es1982
      October 9, 2011, 1:41 pm

      I would imagine that there is more support among Israelis for the Occupy Wall Street movement than there is in the States. After all, something like 40% of Americans support OWS while at least 80% of Israelis support a similar movement – J14. Besides, it is an economic protest, which most OWS participants don’t associate with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

      • Dan Crowther
        Dan Crowther
        October 9, 2011, 3:16 pm

        Well, there has been plenty of criticism of US aid to Israel – on signs etc.
        I think that if Israeli’s knew that the Occupy protests were full of people who would cringe at the idea of ethnocracy – they might not be as supportive

      • Chaos4700
        October 9, 2011, 6:19 pm

        And of course you have a link to back up your statistics. Right?

      • es1982
        October 9, 2011, 7:58 pm

        According to a Rasmussen poll 33% of Americans hold a favorable view of OWS (not 40% like I mistakenly said before), 27% hold an unfavorable view and 40% have no opinion. In July, 87% of Israelis supported the J14 movement. I couldn’t find a more recent poll, but it is safe to assume that support remains at around 80%, if not more.

        As for Israeli support for OWS, there are no polls I know of on the subject.

      • Chaos4700
        October 9, 2011, 10:16 pm

        So? 87% of Israelis support a movement as long as that it doesn’t confront the real problem with the Israeli economy — the Occupation. Because Israel could not survive if it wasn’t exploiting natural resources in the Occupied Territories.

        What you were obfuscating, of course, is that only 27% of Americans actually disapprove of OWS. 40% of Americans are merely apathetic and not bothering to consider the situation enough — which is pretty typical of US polls. So more US citizens approve of OWS than disapprove of it, by a clear 6% margin.

        Pulling the wool over with statistics is always a bad idea for Zionists. It doesn’t matter what kind of an SUV you think you’re driving, cold hard facts are always going to be a brick wall that totals you.

      • anonymouscomments
        October 9, 2011, 10:29 pm

        The occupation transfers wealth and makes a very few rich, and others poor. It hurts the average Israeli. Further, Israel can survive sans raping the OPT, if you simply note the entire pre-1967 period. But again, in general the occupation is a severe net drain on the overall economy, most importantly because it prevents any viable peace which would have a huge peace dividend for the general Israeli economy (just not Ahava, OPT farmer thieves, settlement/wall construction firms, and the Israeli MIC…). Israel does not need the OPT or the US to survive…. but it needs both so long as it is intent on expanding and avoiding a peace deal…. Israel is a very rational (but immoral) actor.

      • es1982
        October 10, 2011, 10:03 am


        If you only count Americans with an opinion, 55% support the protests – that’s still a lot less than Israeli support for our own version. My whole point was that your assertion that Israelis call the OWS protesters anti-Semites is baseless. I didn’t claim Americans opposed the protests.

        As for the occupation – it is our main political problem, but not necessarily our main economic problem. It is one of many. Israel definitely can survive without the territories – after all, the loss of revenue from natural resources there would be balanced out by a lot of the defense-related spending that would no longer exist (like military protection of settlements).

      • American
        October 10, 2011, 10:56 am

        I wouldn’t use Rasmussen if I were you…… you never know who or which side paid them to do the poll. Rasmussen has been discredited so often for making their results say what their client wanted them to say they aren’t very reliable.
        MSNBC and CNN did polls that said about 49% supported the protest.

  2. edwin
    October 9, 2011, 1:18 pm

    This needs to be added to the post:

    We are the 99 percent

  3. biorabbi
    October 9, 2011, 2:48 pm

    LOL. All good democrats. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Some of my best friends are democrats. My wife is a democrat, so I can’t be called anti-democratic. I have no problem with liberals, but loathe progressives.

    Guys, how do you spell astroturf? The above montage of pics does not match the lilly-white screenshots we are bombarded with daily. Free WIFI viewing, latte drinking, wine tasting, vegan eating, Obama voting, PBS viewing, documentary loving, Marx believing crowd of yuppie in a New York state of mind….

    Obviously my post is very much tongue in cheek, but the 60’s radicals they are not. Opposing the Vietnam war, marching for civil rights is a cause, protesting for free tuition is a joke.

    • Chaos4700
      October 9, 2011, 6:20 pm

      Gee, yeah, you, Dick Armey and the Koch brothers are absolutely right, huh. I guess it’s too bad we didn’t listen to Jack Abramoff when we had the chance!

    • Charon
      October 10, 2011, 3:06 pm

      Labels are stupid. “Democrats” “Leftist” “Liberal” “Progressive”

      Right vs. Left

      If only life were so black and white. It isn’t. That’s why there are “Centerists” and “Left-to-Centerists” etc. Stop labeling people. Stop lumping people with a common cause into categories.

      Protesting for free tuition is not a joke. Education is a business. A corrupt business. The prestigious schools are no different from the UoP for-profit scam ones, two sides of the same coin. Prestigious schools are for rich people whose brains retained all that conditioning from the previous 13 or so years. More robotic psychopaths than actual intellectuals. A degree is a common requirement in the career world. Most people learn nothing to achieve it except they’re out thousands of dollars that they have to pay back even if they declare bankruptcy. Then there is this new push to get you to spend even more money in grad school. There there is the books and supplies that are overpriced.

      It’s a business. It’s part of the system. And in many countries it is free. Education should be free. Why not use all the income tax money to pay for such things? Oh because it’s paying for wars and the national debt which is mostly owed to the FED who prints money and more debt out of thin air. Income tax is not required to run the government because it isn’t used for anything like that.

      Why are you defending the corrupt financial oligarchy we live in? Why are the crooks who destroyed the economy bailed out and living the life of luxury instead of sharing a prison cell with Bubba? Where is the middle class’s bailout? Why do we have to pay for a mess made by a bunch of wealthy psychopaths? Why is the FED so reluctant to be audited if they have nothing to hide?

      Those people are protesting for the greatest cause in our history – Freedom from financial capitalism and debt slavery. The rich aren’t going to be able to bribe there way out when nobody has faith in their money.

  4. biorabbi
    October 9, 2011, 2:51 pm

    And the pic of John looks like one of the 1 percent-crowd with his pink university oxford. He might be a plant from the banks.

  5. yourstruly
    October 9, 2011, 2:53 pm

    “call no land free that holds one fettered slave”

    until that last chain is broken

    none of us will be free

    i’m better than you

    that last chain

  6. Justice Please
    Justice Please
    October 9, 2011, 2:57 pm

    And many police officers don’t get that they, too, belong to the 99 percent.

    But when JP Morgan donates millions to the NYPD, I guess that buys you some beat-up protesters, right?

  7. Bumblebye
    October 9, 2011, 3:37 pm

    99% have been put into debt bondage to serve the whim of the 1% who made the mess the world is in. It’ll probably look somewhat like the pictures of debt bondage we used to see from India in not much more than a decade, if proper protest doesn’t take off and successfully force a political rethink.

  8. Chespirito
    October 9, 2011, 3:38 pm

    Whoa, great pix, thank you so much. Such an eloquent antidote to the petty stereotypes being snarked out by Fox and various uncomprehending Obamabots.

  9. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    October 9, 2011, 3:59 pm

    Last Wednesday afternoon I went to observe the Occupy Wall Street demonstration. When they marched from Foley Square downtown I didn’t follow them, but I got a good look at them in Foley Square.

    First of all, what is their program? If they would specify their program I could specify which part of that so called 99% that they claim to represent they in fact do not. If someone with an income at the 80% level has different interests than the 79% who earn less than them this does not disqualify an idea or a movement, it just tells us that their chant- we are the 99% is malarkey. But they have not presented a program, so it is difficult to say if they are in fact the 63% or the 72%, but the odds that they in fact are the 99% is less than 1% truth.

    The other chant they have is that “this is what democracy looks like” and in fact the right to assemble is a major feature of democracies, but so are elections and have they one member of congress who backs them up, do they have 100 assemblymen from around the state legislatures who backs them up. Elections are also a feature of democracy, in fact a key feature. So good for you for taking to the streets, but when you start winning elections we will take you as seriously as the right wing alternative, aka tea party wingnuts, who actually win elections.

    And then of course there is the old standby- Whose streets? Our streets. Well in fact the streets belong to everybody or to the violent or to the cops or to any of the three at any given moment. So they are not everybody, but they can capture the streets for a few hours and then the cops will take over. I don’t find the Whose streets? Our streets. anything but demagoguery.

    • American
      October 10, 2011, 11:22 am

      I think their goal is to first draw and /or keep the attention on Wall Street’s criminal capitalism as the source of a lot of woes in this country….which it is. It is even the source of a lot of woes in global economy….have you forgotten why countries like Iceland and Greece are in the hole? If you have, a major part of those governments bankruptcies was investments in junk sold to them by the USA WS junk kings. WS
      didn’t just sell their shit here, they sold it around the world.

      I agree they haven’t stated any specific goal but if I were involved once there was enough popular outrage and support I would move it to DC and make my demands there. The demand would be for REAL regulation of WS and banks.

      You might not think you are in the 99% but you are and the 1% will get around to you sooner or later. Bascially they are doing or trying to do the job for the whatever % that is ignorant of what has happened in this country.

  10. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    October 9, 2011, 4:03 pm

    As far as the reaction of the cops- It is not unusual for females at leftist rallies to shout obscene taunts at the cops. The cops are supposed to be professional and to not hear the taunts. But the leftist females quite often know how to provoke cops.

    Once an incident happens, the cops should either be dismissed, put behind a desk or even prosecuted, but let us not pretend that taunting cops is a proud custom of leftist females.

    • Chaos4700
      October 9, 2011, 6:21 pm

      “Leftist” this and “leftist” that. Don’t make me regret that you actually did what I suggested and left Israel, WJ.

  11. radii
    October 9, 2011, 5:00 pm

    Why is it the Left can never wrap their heads around messaging? Protest movements like this flare up and they get diverged into a disparate sea of topics, agendas and every dirty hippy has to show up so the mainstream media can then belittle the whole thing by showing them.

    Aristotle’s laws of drama: Unity of time / Unity of place / Unity of action


    One issue, one place, one chant: “Pay the money back you crooks!” “Pay the money back you crooks!” “Pay the money back you crooks!”

    Arab Spring, European anti-austerity protests, israeli anti-oligarchy, and US “Occupy” protests are all essentially BREAD RIOTS – the people are reacting to a corrupt governing system that limits their freedom and economic opportunity – primarily it is about pocketbook issues – all kinds of ancillary subjects are enmeshed with the basic bread riots in these places but a crushing elite killing upward mobility for the many is the main driving force globally

    • Keith
      October 9, 2011, 7:24 pm

      RADII- “Arab Spring, European anti-austerity protests, israeli anti-oligarchy, and US “Occupy” protests are all essentially BREAD RIOTS….”

      Indeed they are. They are the belated reactions to entirely predictable circumstances caused by neoliberal globalization, which, in turn, is driven by our predatory financial system. These predictable reactions have been anticipated by the elites who have prepared laws and militarized the police forces to deal with the situation using “legal” force. Homeland security. I wish the protesters well, but cannot be optimistic. What must be kept in mind is that those who strive for and obtain significant power are sociopathic power seekers. They care only for power and are unconcerned over any collateral damage. Their immoral myopia could be the end of civilization as we know it. Cheers.

  12. James North
    James North
    October 9, 2011, 6:21 pm

    An excellent post, with great photos. I went down there last weekend, and I was also impressed by the diversity and seriousness of the occupiers. The snide comments in the mainstream media really hide fear; the established opinion-makers recognize that their distorted, self-serving, several-decade old view of how America works is being shattered before their eyes, leaving them behind.

  13. joer
    October 10, 2011, 12:35 am

    They have to come up with a list of demands or there are two things that could happen:

    1. The whole thing will turn into a disorganized nuisance, there will be violence when the police break up the tent cities and the Republicans will get the White House next year.

    2. The movement will be taken over by the mainstream Democrats just like the Tea Party has been taken over by mainstream Republicans. Their energy will be dissipated and their message diluted. The main beneficiaries in this scenario would be a few new celebrity pundits.

    Some possible causes to demand:

    1. It’s not okay to kill Arabs anymore. We got revenge for 9/11 already.

    2. End all military involvement-including support for Israel-in the Mideast.

    3. We should be able to get help from the government in an emergency, including medical and financial emergencies.

    …I can’t come up with a whole manifesto now, but it should be easy to understand and make sense.

    …Also, I don’t know who organized all these demonstrations-that would be nice to know. If I knew that and what I was demonstrating for would make it easier for me to get out there. Historically, a lot of people get tricked into fighting causes they don’t believe in.

    • joer
      October 10, 2011, 5:41 am

      …also, any list of demands must keep in mind Mayor Daley’s maxim. “All politics is local”, and stress local concerns like better schools, jobs, and infrastructure. They also have to have a coherent stand on immigration, which will be pretty tricky, because if anyone tells the truth about it-that it is pretty much impossible to stop, and we have to deal with it that way-they will immediately be pilloried-just like if anyone says the truth about Israel.

  14. Charon
    October 10, 2011, 3:13 pm

    Where are the “Upists” and “Downists”? It’s ridiculous when trolls storm in here with all their labels. “Leftist” , “Liberal” , “Progressive” , “Democrat”

    Rational humans should reject being labeled. We are all unique, nothing is black or white. The only reason that half of people vote one way and half vote the other is because it is a two party system. Ever wonder why a lot of the ‘red states’ happen to correspond with the old confederacy? Because that particular party lobbies for conservative values shared by that region. The illusions of right vs. left where people argue over nonsense partisan issues that have nothing to do with running a country. No matter who wins, the middle class always loses. The foreign policy never changes.

    There is a label for you people who poke their heads in here shouting ‘leftist’ and ‘progressive’ – Trolls.

  15. DICKERSON3870
    October 10, 2011, 6:45 pm

    RE: “With so much effort being exerted by the right-wing lunatic
    punditocracy and commentariat…to belittle and dismiss ‘Occupy
    Wall Street’ protesters as ‘stereotypically aging hippies and young kids…’ ” ~ Shirazi

    MY COMMENT: During the afternoon of Oct. 8, 2011, Fox News “contributor” Liz Trotta mocked participants in the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement for being “people who like good weather”, and who spout “the ravings of what sounds like the Unabomber.”
    REFERENCE (with video): Mediaite, 18/08/11 –


    (excerpts) Elizabeth Trotta (born 28 March 1937) is an American journalist and conservative commentator, best known for contributions to various Fox News programs…
    …Trotta is a Fox News contributor and the former New York bureau chief of The Washington Times.[2] She began her career in 1965, covering the Vietnam War as a correspondent for NBC News and later working for CBS News.[3] Trotta has taught Journalism at Stern College of Yeshiva University. She has won three Emmy awards and two Overseas Press Club awards, and is a graduate of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.[2]
    On 25 May 2008, Trotta expressed on Fox News an apparent desire that presidential candidate Barack Obama be assassinated prior to the 2008 United States presidential election.[4][5][6] While speaking about Hillary Rodham Clinton’s reference[7][8] to Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination, Trotta said:
    “ … and now we have what some are reading as a suggestion that somebody knock off Osama. Um, uh, Obama. Well, both, which we could.[9] ”
    Trotta apologized the next day.[10] A petition demanding that Trotta be fired was soon up on Care2 gathering over 14,000 signatures.[11][12]…

    SOURCE –

  16. Kathleen
    October 11, 2011, 1:28 pm

    When will be seeing signs for “save the 1%” Oh Cantor, Cain, Romney etc holding down the fort

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