Everything You Need To Know About Occupy Wall Street
Twinkling, "mic check," and Zucotti Park: a guide to protest terminology.
Posted Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011, at 7:17 PM
Photograph by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.
Sure, you might be familiar with "99 percent" by now. But have you been reading the Occupied Wall Street Journal? Do you know why Zuccotti Park is important? Below is a list of terms you need to know to be up to date on the Occupy Wall Street movement. Elsewhere in Slate, Eliot Spitzer writes that the protesters have already shaken up American politics, Jacob Weisberg looks at the similarities between Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party, David Weigel spent two days watching the protests, and Annie Lowrey looks at the "53 percenters."
A reference to growing income inequality between 99 percent of Americans and the top 1 percent of earners, who have amassed approximately one-third of national wealth. Now the de facto slogan for OWS, “We are the 99%,” was inspired by an independent tumblr blog by the same name, which went viral thanks to its often gut-wrenching anecdotes from individuals hit by economic hardship.
An NYPD officer who pepper-sprayed a protester on Sept. 26, an event that went viral, getting the protests mentioned on the Daily Show.
The volunteers who run Occupy Wall Street assemblies.
Keeping with many protesters’ calls for a more egalitarian society, Occupy movements in several cities have established daily meetings seeking consensus among participants on everything from long-term objectives to daily operations of campsites. This and its related tactics evolved between March 31, when a left-wing coalition occupied the state capitol in Albany, N.Y., to stop the 2012 budget, and May 12, when that coalition held a little-covered march.
What speakers at general assemblies or marches say to announce that they want to start speaking and have their words repeated throughout a crowd.
A year-old coalition of community groups whose affiliates have bolstered the numbers of Occupiers from city to city.
A samizdat newspaper mass-produced in Queens and distributed near the main New York protest.
Online social-media hub used to organize meetings in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street in cities worldwide. As of Oct. 10, the site lists “meetups” going on in 1,331 cities—from Boise, Idaho, to Berlin—with 7,919 registered “occupiers.”
A grassroots tax-fairness group whose name became accidentally confused with the explosion of the We Are the 99% movement. Launched on tax day in 2010, they began by bracketing Tea Party protests; they now show up to Occupy rallies.
Bullhorns and microphones are not allowed at Zuccotti Park. Instead, Occupy Wall Street demonstrators addressing the crowd say “mic check,” giving everyone else the cue to loudly repeat short segments of whatever the speaker says so others farther away can hear.
What facilitators say when they want to see if the crowd is ready to get talking.
Wiggling one’s fingers to signal agreement with what’s being said, a way of moving along the general assemblies without applause that drowns out the speakers.
A parody/response to the We Are the 99% tumblr
Formerly known as Liberty Plaza Park, the 33,000-square-foot park in New York City’s financial district has for the last four weeks been home to several hundred Occupy Wall Street protesters. The park is now named for John E. Zuccotti, a real estate investor and part-time member of the City Planning Commission, whose company, Brookfield Properties, purchased the park and spent $8 million renovating it in 2005 after it was badly damaged on 9/11.
Lauren Hepler is a Slate intern.
David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at email@example.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.