Thursday, October 27, 2011

Occupy Movement: You Are The 1%

As Occupy Oakland bragged that they were 3000 strong last night when they "took back" the area that cops made them vacate the day before, it struck me just how monstrous a lie Occupy's main slogan is. 3000 is the number Occupy Oakland boasts of at its absolute apex (though even this number was significantly bolstered by outside help, especially transplants from Occupy San Fran), and even that number only amounts to 0.7% the population of Oakland.

Occupy Wall Street itself has only consisted of a core, staying group of hundreds (though the group sometimes swells to thousands). This in a city of a population of 8 million, meaning that at OWS' high point they didn't even amount to 0.1% of the population of New York City. You can do similar calculations for the rest of the Occupy cities and see that those claiming to speak for the 99% don't even amount to 1% of the population, or close to it.

 Baby steps, fellas. Try 1, maybe 2%, first. If you're feeling extremely, unrealistically optimistic, aim for 5%. The true 99% have no interest in joining your ranks, and the actual numbers reflect as much. Speak for yourselves, take pride in the fact that you're a miniscule, "enlightened" minority, and trumpet it from the hills. Stop claiming to represent the 99%, though, because you don't. 

Not to mention Occupy is part of the so-called problem of the top 1% of wage-earners -- corporations, bankers, CEOs and the like -- as well. They haven't renounced corporate products, they aren't living off the grid, and therefore they are contributing daily to the same system they supposedly oppose. Perhaps people would take them more seriously if they actually practiced what they preached by refusing to put dollars into the pockets of corporations. Of course, this would effectively amount to the movement's suicide since it would mean not being able to access the internet (to say nothing of the manifold other ways they avail themselves of the products of corporations), which is their main tool of communication and organization. But if you really stand for an ideal, sometimes you have to make sacrifices, such as efficacy, relevance, even life. Be about it.

 UPDATE: Yet another similar, cogent point is being made by a circulating photo:

In other words, from a global perspective, even America's poor, and certainly middle class, are very rich by most standards. Poverty in modern America often entails a life with a cell phone, flatscreen TV, two cars, electricity, running water, curbside trash pickup etc. etc. So the vast majority of the poor, downtrodden 99% of Americans who aren't in the top 1% are actually among the most privileged persons on the planet, materially within in the top 0.01% to have ever lived.

UPDATE #2: The good folks over at South Park have taken on the Occupy Wall Street phenomenon and the one area they attacked most mercilessly was the imbecility of the rhetoric of "We are the 99%", making the same point that this piece makes.


  1. Why do you think the 99% of America wouldn't want to help the 99% of the world? I guess you have to think like a 1%er

  2. Jim, the point is not that they would not want to help the world, but that viewed from a global and historical perspective, the Occupiers aren't meaningfully oppressed, disadvantaged, trodden upon etc. but rather are very privileged.