Stories of a Movement: Best of Occupy Wall Street

By Shauna Segadelli

25% of protesters at NYC’s Zuccotti Park do not plan to vote in the 2012 election.

984 NYC arrest records from 9/18-10/15 show that protesters live in more expensive homes than nationwide averages. The single-family homes listed on police forms have a median value of $305,000; the median value of owner-occupied housing units in the US is $185,000.

Milk Street Cafe was forced to lay off 21 employees due to a 30% sales drop since the protests started six weeks ago. This amounts to a 25% reduction of the Cafe’s staff, which is located at 40 Wall Street and has been thriving in the normally lively Financial District since it opened in June. The owner blames police barracades and checkpoints, closed subway entrances, and frequent marches for the lack of business, and says that he will be out of business in three weeks if the barricades are not removed.

Today, the New York Post demanded that Mayor Bloomberg reclaim Zuccotti Park from the Occupy Wall Streeters. The op-ed piece argues that the once credible protests are now nothing but a public nuisance that needs to be quelled in a show of mayoral leadership.

MTV is scouting people aged 20-24 in Zuccotti Park for a new season of the “Real World” with an Occupy Wall Street theme.

There is a website called Hot Chicks of Occupy Wall Street.

The protesters in Zuccotti Park have raised over $300,000 in cash to house up to 300 people for the winter months.

31% of protesters would support violence to advance their agenda.

Only 15% of protesters are unemployed. The national unemployment rate is 9.1%.

77% of protesters are in favor of raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans; only 36% are in favor of raising taxes on all Americans. 65% say the government has a moral responsibility to guarantee all citizens access to affordable health care, a college education, and a secure retirement, no matter the cost.

Protesters have made a list of demands public on The99PercentDeclaration website, including: “an immediate ban on all private contributions of money and gifts, to all politicians in federal office, from individuals, corporations, ‘political action committees,’ ‘super political action committees,’ lobbyists, unions and all other private sources of money or thing of value;” “immediate abrogation [of] the ‘Citizens United Case’ [that] equates the payment of money by corporations, wealthy individuals and unions to politicians with the exercise of protected free speech;” Congressional limits of four two-year terms for the House and two six-year terms for the Senate; reduction of “the national debt to a sustainable percentage of GDP by 2020”; a “student loan debt relief forgiveness program” funded by “a Wall Street corporate tax surcharge as reparations for their conduct leading to the economic collapse of 2007-2008 and current worldwide recession”; “the immediate formation of a non-partisan commission, overseen by Congress, to audit and investigate the economic risks and possibility of eliminating the privately-owned Federal Reserve Bank and transferring its functions to the United States Treasury Department”; “new FCC regulations granting free air time to all candidates”; “abolishing the Electoral College in favor of the Popular Vote in presidential elections”; “an immediate withdrawal of all troops from Afghanistan”; and “repeal of the ‘Defense of Marriage Act.'”

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