‘Occupy Wall Street’ Movement Gains Momentum, Attention And Controversy

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations gain momentum and attention, the movement has been getting support from some unlikely places and has spawned questions about what protestors are actually trying to achieve.

On Thursday, even the President of the United States weighed in on the protests and demonstrations.

“I think it expresses the frustrations that the American people feel.  You’re still seeing some of the same folks who acted irresponsibly trying to fight efforts to crackdown on abusive practices that got us into this problem in the first place,” Obama said.

The demonstrations have virtually taken over Lower Manhattan for more than two weeks and grown into thousands Wednesday night as college students walked out of class and labor unions took the streets in solidarity with the anti-Wall Street protest.

According to its website, Occupy Wall Street defines itself as a “leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%.”

But what does that actually mean? The main goal of the protestors is against Wall Street corruption and greed, but the group has rallied against a number of other issues, including unemployment, economic inequality, college tuition rates, police brutality, health care and even the execution of Georgia death row inmate Troy Davis.

Some folks stopping by occupied Zuccoti Park suggest it resembles a left-wing Tea Party.

WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell: Who Are These People?

“In terms of ignoring the nuance of reality and trying to go back to just political ideals and humanist ideals, yeah, it’s like the Tea Party,” Charles Kopel told CBS 2’s Lou Young.

Veteran activist George MacDonald says, however, he isn’t sure what is happening in Lower Manhattan.

“We knew what we wanted and then when we got the attention of the government, we implemented the solutions,” he told Young. “There are 50 or 60 messages that I’ve seen here.”

On Wednesday, various labor unions joined the protest, including the United Federation of Teachers, the Transport Workers Union, the Service Employees International Union as well as the Working Families Party and MoveOn.org.

But a report Thursday morning in the New York Times suggests that some of the unions are joining the Occupy Wall Street movement in order to have a louder voice for their own issues.

“The Transport Workers Union, representing more than 200,000 active and retired workers, today endorsed the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests taking place in New York City and called on TWU members and local unions to join similar efforts taking place across the country,” the TWU said in a statement.

Several lawmakers have also expressed support for the protesters, but others, including some Republican presidential candidates, have condemned them.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said it’s time for the protestors to go, saying they should “not burden this community exclusively with their message,” according to a report by DNAinfo.com.

Presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney called the protest “class warfare” while speaking in Florida on Tuesday, CBS News reported.

“I think it’s dangerous, this class warfare,” Romney said to about 50 people when asked about the protests.

At a book signing Wednesday in St. Petersburg, Fla., pizza-company executive Herman Cain called the activists “un-American.”

“They’re basically saying that somehow the government is supposed to take from those that have succeeded and give to those who want to protest,” Cain said. “That’s not the way America was built.”

Meanwhile, a number of celebrities have taken to the streets to show their support, including filmmaker Michael Moore, actors Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon and others.

Even billionaire financier George Soros, who made much of his own fortune on Wall Street, publicly announced his support for the protestors.

During a news conference at U.N. on Monday, Soros said he sympathizes with the protesters and understands the frustrations of small business owners dealing with soaring credit card charges.

In general, most Americans seem to divided about the message and the method of the massive protests taking place.

A poll by Rasmussen Reports shows that 33 percent of people asked have a favorable opinion, 27 percent have an unfavorable opinion and 40 percent don’t care one way or the other.

But that same poll found that 79 percent of Americans agree that the middle class was left behind when the big banks were bailed out.

While the movement seems to have no signs of abating in New York City, activists have been showing solidarity in other cities, including Los Angeles, Boise, Seattle and Boston.

What’s your opinion of the protests? Do you support them? Sound off below in our comments section…

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Comments

One Comment

  1. leadfootedrabbit.com says:

    The leadfootedrabbit walked down to visit the occupiers, and he found a peaceful, frustrated group of individuals with varying backgrounds. Most were recent college grads who have been completely ignored by employers and politicians alike. I wrote about it on the leadfootedrabbit web site. My guess is that the people protesting will see that the repubs and dems alike care about little more than getting reelected, and that we the people are essentially on our own.

    http://www.leadfootedrabbit.com

    1. Sarah L. says:

      I agree. Nice website by the way.

  2. liz says:

    I will not go within 10ft of the Wall Street area. I used to shop there, but they have lost my business. I am certain I am just one of many who won’t go in the area anymore. Hurting business, hurting tourism, totally destroying the economy of the small businesses down in that area. What a god damn shame – the scum, and the dirtbags demonstrating down there are destroying this city day by day. All of you LOSERS need to wake up, get the hell out of there, go back home to mommy and daddy and do something constructive instead of DESTRUCTIVE. You’re all time wasters and you’re all wasting my time.

  3. RichRule says:

    Congress (Dems & GOP) is a “millionaires club” who sold out the middle class. They “only” care about themselves, their families & cronies–and nobody else.

    Congress allowed Corporate America to move millions upon millions of jobs (first manufacturing and now service) minted here to foreign lands, and thereby undermining our national security. That’s something that nobody mentions. The middle class supports our tax-base infrastructure. For over 30 years now we have been eroding that tax base–federal, state and local. So, why can’t we pay our teachers (and other civil servants) what they are worth? Duh???

    And this outsourcing (and off-shoring) of American jobs continues today, despite the fact that 55% our young people (age 19-29) are mostly unemployed. This is a nation disgrace!!! Congress is not getting the message. Congress is not getting the message!!!

    This “is not” a Government of the people, by the people and for the people. It’s a government of the rich, by the rich and for the rich. So, why even bother to vote?

    According to the Financial Times, the wealthiest 10% of Americans control nearly 75% of the nation’s wealth. That’s another national disgrace. There’s my two cents.

  4. Patrick says:

    Why do I keep seeing so many gripes and complaints from college age youths regarding the cost of college tuition and that they can’t find jobs after they graduate?? I’m 40 and have just returned to college. I’m attending a local commnunity college to start off. My last semester tuition cost was about 650.00 for 4 classes. I bought my books used online for about 5 to 10 dollars each. That’s a damn good deal if you ask me. Once I obtain my degree, I may have to work somewhere in a low position on the ladder, but if I work hard I have a better chance of climbing the ladder with a degree. A degree doesn’t guarantee anyone a great job instantly! These kids are acting like opportunity isn’t out there for them while it definitely is if you are willing to start at the bottom and work your way up!

    1. RichRule says:

      Good luck to you, Patrick.

      My two boys were honor students from the 1st grade through Grad School. Today, one is underemployed (can’t make the rent) and the other is unemployed. My job went to India 5 years ago. Yet, my former CEO is worth over $400,000,000. But he’s not satistified with that little amount of net worth. It seems that everyone today wants to be a billionaire. Yet, in order to do that, you have to take it from someone else–and (today) that’s usually the Middle Class.

  5. Rodin says:

    “40 percent don’t care one way or the other.”

    How perfectly AmeriKKKan!

  6. Bettybb says:

    The moneyed elite dosn’t get it. The Occupy Wall Street movement is not going to make “demands” amd “negotiate”. They want to replace the present system of power that represents the 1% with one that represents the 99%. That means total system change.

    1. Ranbo says:

      How do you go about a total system change without creating chaos for everyone? This sounds like the type of folks that believe in fairy dust, unicorns and Obama.

    2. cntrlfrk says:


      Wake up people.

      You are being used by the leftists and the Obama ‘Administration’.

      If they succeed, you will be nothing more than slaves to them.

      .

      1. Rodin says:

        “These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people”
        ~ ABRAHAM LINCOLN
        A ‘leftist’ no doubt

  7. Wise Financial Advisor says:

    The student protesters should take a disciplined approach and invest in their education so that they will land a good job and be productive not (self) destructive. Be part of the solution not part of the revolution pollution.

    1. 1Love says:

      “NOT SO WISE” Financial Advisor, what solution? College tuition has exponentially increased in the last few years. Even after earning a degree from the exorbitantly priced institutions, many young graduates are left with very little viable options due to outsourcing, and plain corporate greed disguised as so call cut backs; So essentially, they are not being given a chance to be productive, so destruction will ensue!

  8. Richie says:

    We need to stand up people. I work for The Home Depot and let me tell you something. Bob Nardelli our former CEO took over 200 million dollars from the company and other benefits and went to Chrysler. What did I get…2 per cent increase. This is what people including myself are mad about.
    We need to take back America, I think the protest is long overdue…join the movement and make a difference. In numbers we can oust these crooks one at a time.

    1. Ranbo says:

      Richie – How are you going to oust anyone? For every hour of work, you get paid for one hour of labor. If you don’t like your job, find another one. I know that’s easier said than done…BTW – who do you think bailed the banks out? OBAMA – and who is encouraging this uprising? OBAMA and Pelosi – ask yourself why?

  9. Patricia Luke says:

    I say it’s about time! Lending institutions and big business are out of control. They are unregulated and pretty much own Congress. This is NOT democracy. The government was intended to be run by the people, NOT by the rich only. We might as well be back in France in the days of “let them eat cake”. There’s nothing funny here. This protest needs to grow and spread. People need to stop making their credit card payments in protest of the usurious interest rates allowed because ONE state does not have a usury law. If the average guy is going to go without….let everyone go without. Get rid of this Congress….ASAP!

    1. Truth Hurts says:

      Funny Patricia, did the banks put a gun to those peoples heads and make them buy their Iced Mocha Latte and their I-pad with the credit card? If they don’t want to deal with the bank, then use CASH! If you don’t have the cash, then DON’T buy anything! It’s pretty simple. So you just want them to all get free stuff? This is the insanity of these protests… a bunch of kids who have never worked or paid taxes in their life complaining about having to work and pay taxes. It makes NO sense.

  10. fk says:

    At this point, all the protests are doing is damaging NY economy even more than it already is. They are hurting small businesses in lower Manhattan, intimidating hardworking individuals who work in “Wall Street” (many of whom make less than 100,000), and causing the city to pay more for police, sanitation, etc…. They should make a real difference and get involved in the political process. Also, they don’t even know that all the bailout money (besides the lose we will endure because of GE) has been, or is in the process of, being paid back. In fact, subtract GE and the taxpayers made a profit. They should really do their homework.

  11. J says:

    This is the extreme left folks. President Obama couldn’t be happier. The organization is vague in scope and ideas. This is poor uneducated, misinformed human capital at its worst. Wall-street employees why go after the hand that feeds you.

  12. Lieutenantdan says:

    Well put RichRuleUSA !

  13. Johnny Handsome says:

    Strangest thing – I work in the Wall Street Area – haven’t seen a protest yet so I’m not sure how “The demonstration that has virtually taken over lower Manhattan for more than two weeks” if I haven’t seen them…

  14. Johnny Handsome says:

    I see the FOX News Traitors to America have arrived with their liberal shouting rants. You people are Traitors to the Constitution of the Unites States of America and should be put down as the trash you are.

  15. Nick says:

    oooh. The unions have joined up. Now all the useless non-working bums are all together in one place. Can we Please nuke it now?

    1. Johnny Handsome says:

      Traitor!

  16. LiberalsRDopes says:

    Unions…Where ingenuity, innovation, hard work, incentive, and the extra effort go to die……………….

  17. RichRuleUSA says:

    Vice President Joe Biden expressed empathy for the “Occupy Wall Street” protestors in New York and elsewhere who are pushing for a radical overhaul of U.S. institutions and government, saying the American system has run amok and is no longer fair for the vast majority of Americans.
    “Look guys the bargain is not on the level anymore in the minds of the vast majority of the American (people) the middle class has been screwed,” Biden said.

    My two boys were honor students from the 1st grade through Grad School. Today, one is underemployed (can’t make the rent) and the other is unemployed. My job went to India 5 years ago. Yet, my former CEO is worth over $400,000,000.

    Congress (Dems & GOP) is a “millionaires club” who sold out the middle class. They “only” care about themselves, their families & cronies—and nobody else.

    Congress allowed Corporate America to move millions upon millions of jobs (first manufacturing and now service) minted here to foreign lands, and thereby undermining our national security. That’s something that nobody mentions. The middle class supports our tax-base infrastructure. For over 30 years now we have been eroding that tax base—federal, state and local. So, why can’t we pay our teachers (and other civil servants) what they are worth? Duh???

    And this outsourcing (and off-shoring) of American jobs continues today, despite the fact that 55% our young people (age 19-29) are mostly unemployed. This is a nation disgrace!!! Congress is not getting the message. Congress is not getting the message!!!

    This “is not” a Government of the people, by the people and for the people. It’s a government of the rich, by the rich and for the rich. So, why even bother to vote?

    According to the Financial Times, the wealthiest 10% of Americans control nearly 75 percent of the nation’s wealth. That’s another national disgrace. There’s my two cents.

  18. MilesfromNowhere says:

    Reading the stats, 33 percent of people asked have a favorable opinion, 27 percent have an unfavorable opinion and 40 percent don’t care one way or the other.
    The majority of those with an opinion one way or another support the protesters.
    The middle class has been outsourced, taxed, foreclosed, redistributed and is being squeezed to death.
    These kids (and I have to agree most of them seem to be 20 somethings) are just voicing the frustrations we in the diminishing middle class feel.
    Unfortunately WE do not have the guts to face arrest and the prospect of job loss if we voice our opinions.

  19. Tom Kenny says:

    An appalling news article, written by a sycophant of the corporate press. Go to democracy now.org if you want to see what’s really happening. The protesters in this movement are all-over-the-map with their message, to be sure, but what they have to say is closer to the heart of Mr Smith’s filibuster in the Senate, like this sham report is in the pocket of of the James Taylor machine.

  20. Vik says:

    Four words: GO THE F HOME!!!!!!!

  21. IF says:

    !! THE LIBERALS!!! R BEHIND THIS AND SO R THE DEMOCRATS!!! AND RHINOS!!! OY VEY!!! DUSBGS!!! OY VEY!!! ASSHLS!!! OY VEY!!! CHUPAKABRA!!!! AND JEWRSOROS ALSO IS THE MONEY MAN!!!! OY VEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DUSBG!! THE BIG ONE!!!!!!!!!!! OY VEY!!!! PENDELO!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Johnny Handsome says:

      Traitor, Traitor!, Traitor!, Traitor!!

  22. Aquila729 says:

    Many of the protestors at Wall Street just happen to be college graduates who can’t find jobs. Most of the voters who helped Obama hijack America were college students who thought they were going to take part in a great social experiment and elect the first black president. Well people – here’s your result. Next time they vote, maybe they’ll concern themselves more with the candidates political qualifications and less about making social statements.

    1. Michael H. says:

      Obama didn’t tank the economy. The jobs were disappearing long before Obama took office. Maybe next time you comment, you’ll pay attention to what actually happened instead of your Fox News spin on things.

    2. Rodin says:

      “… with the candidates political qualifications….”

      You wouldn’t be referring to the 9 gems presently adorning the GOP marquee, wouldcha?

      Pfft….

      1. Rodin says:

        Actually, I’ll correct myself.

        There IS one, and ONLY one, qualified candidate and 8 turds in the Republican comedy and, thanks to raging Tea Party ‘litmus test’ mentality and quackery, he’s running last of the pack. That is Jon Huntsman. The rest are mindless clowns.

        “As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”
        ~ H.L. MENCKEN
        (1880-1956)
        American journalist, essayist, magazine editor ,satirist, acerbic critic of American life and culture, and a student of American English

        1. Michael H. says:

          Agreed. Huntsman is the only one of the bunch I’d even consider voting for in a contest against Obama. He’s the only one with any integrity and in my opinion would make a fine CIC.

  23. NYGirl says:

    If they’re protesting that the middle class tax payer is the one that pays for everything than I’m all for it. We should have been asked if we wanted to bail the banks, not forced, same for paying for these entitlements that everyone seems to be on, yet again, the middle class taxpayer is forced to pay for that and it includes people who are here illegally. If they’re protesting that rich people should give their money to them, well, then I’m not for it. Go make your own way in life and don’t be jealous of the people who did. No one owes you anything and that includes our government and that’s why this country is in serious trouble, people believe it’s the government’s job to take care of them. NOT!

    1. Jamie J says:

      NYGirl, you fit the description of these protestors — Whiny and clueless. Just go join them.

  24. leo-O says:

    Yes, I also wonder why all of a sudden JP Morgan is opening their doors tonight for a “Pop-Up” gallery exhibiting the protesters signs, notes etc. JP Morgan is one of the perpetrators of these financial crimes against Americans. They must have a sinister ulterior motive, I don’t think they are doing this out of the goodness of their hearts. I wouldn’t go if I were one of the protesters, especially because they will be photographing everyone and will have them on surveillance records.

  25. Protest is costing more then the cause says:

    Look for major budget cuts to education and Mta This protest is costing NYC millions in overtime for police.What a waste of mt tax-paying money.Thanks protesters from taking from the little people.

    1. Johnny Handsome says:

      Without protesters you would have NO money, NO heath insurance, No education, NO social programs for the needy, No Nothing,. You should be saying thank you protesters for getting up and doing what I am too weak, wimpy and scared to do myself!

      1. Thomas Duffy says:

        I don’t thank a bunch of spoiled rotten kids walking around talking on their smart phones and ripping my country. I thank the silent majority who go to WORK everyday to support their families. One day you will grow up.

        1. Rodin says:

          “I thank the silent majority….”

          “To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.”
           ~ ABRAHAM LINCOLN

  26. get our of wall st says:

    Pass the dutchie to the left hand side. These people are idiots, Hopefully they freeze to death in the winter

  27. DaveT says:

    On one hand I am absolutely excited about this movement, hope it spreads worldwide in my opinion. On the other hand I looked at the ‘Occupy Wall St.’ demands on their website and nearly laughed myself off my chair. They look like they were written by a student with little life experience; railing against the machine, blaming the rich, etc. What I hope and pray that you do for this movement is create a COHESIVE plan. Confer with experts, confer with unions, confer with your supporters, confer with people who can put togther realistic and concise demands that most people can relate to. As it stands I support your cause 110%, but word of warning – if you don’t create a cohesive plan that explains in detail what you want, and that the general public can relate to, then this movement will be all for nothing. You need as many supporters as possible, do the work, make it right and people will follow.

    1. JohnDavies says:

      Laughed at the demands did you Dave? Would you be laughing if you faced foreclosure? Would you be laughing if you didn’t have healthcare? Would you be laughing if you were being maced for peacefully protesting? Would you be laughing if you had a huge college debt to pay off? Would you be laughing if you served in Iraq or Afghanistan? Would you be laughing if you had little money to survive because you are unemployed? Laugh all you want Dave, after all, asking for solutions to all these problems is a joke in itself!

      1. Funny Demands says:

        I am laughing at their demands like crazy.

      2. Bud says:

        John, the concerns of those in need are real and not laughable. What Dave was pointing out and did very-well, without a well thought out plan the protesters time and effort really will do little good and fix nothing. And now you have Unions joining in and their interest is for sure self interest. And on top there are self serving idiots and criminals like Michael Moore and George Soro’s joining in? The message is lost and there are too many self interest at play, all looking for attention to “their cause” or plight. It’s become more chaos then anything else because I sure have no idea what their goal or mission is. I’m a hard working middle class guy who is very thankful to have a job. I worry all the time about the economy and i know that taxing or regulating the company I work for even more will only jeopardise my job if profits are squeezed too much. It’s economics 101, why can’t anyone understand that.

    2. hotness says:

      I hope that they take this comment to heart. Well said.

    3. Patricia Luke says:

      Amen.

  28. Gregory Miller says:

    Gen Y’s and GenX’s This is YOUR Woodstock. If you partake and succeed you will be proud for a lifetime. Your grandchildren will ask–” Grandpa or Grandma–what did you do during the “Great Contraction”? Just smile and tell them you took our country back—————-

  29. brandon says:

    ““They’re basically saying that somehow the government is supposed to take from those that have succeeded and give to those who want to protest,”

    What, like bailing out failing banks and credit unions with the wealth generated by average American’s Tax Dollars?

  30. George Lafond says:

    Herman Cain is wrong, if the people that revolted against the British Rule in 1776, did not do this, and listen to the King, where would we be. These people are not those that are rich, but those who dictate how we are going to live. Gas Prices, Insurance, retirement, companies that go overseas, etc. This is the people who are sick of Wall Street being the tell all and no all of this country, when in fact these are the ones who we told to leave in 1776.

  31. Jeffo says:

    Right now there is no direction in this country, we need something

    http://www.dailyjobcuts.com

    .

  32. Mimi says:

    Great step in the right direction by marching on Goldman Sachs HQ; this is the Belly of The Beast – behind so many of these financial crimes against the people. Please expose them! One thing I would be very wary of is the “pop up” gallery at JP Morgan tonight – I think this is a way of getting the protesters to walk through the front door and have their faces photographed by the security cameras, which no doubt have facial recognition software. These images could be shared later on by other investment banks, the NYPD etc. to detect the immediate presence of certain “leading” protesters entering their institutions. Beware.

  33. bily320 says:

    Unions are protesting corrupt banker and wall street execs ?? Now thats a joke

    Unions are the most CORRUPT organizations in the world

    1. Jimmy says:

      Right on, the TWU being there is a joke.

    2. Johnny Handsome says:

      How would you know this billy? Unions made it so you and your parents made a living wage. Unions made it so workers had health insurance. Before you spew your idiotic FOX news rants, learn the facts.

      1. Ranbo says:

        Johnny Handsome – you SIr are a complete idiot – its because of the Unions that jobs went overseas – who can afford to pay a worker $30.00 an hour when the same item is made overseas for $10.00? You need to get your head out of your ass and look around, dumbass!

      2. Thomas Duffy says:

        An open letter to all Socialists, Marxists, Communists obama supporters:

        Please continue doing what you’re doing. Be as loud, disruptive, filthy, and obnoxious as you possibly can be. Bring out the I Hate America signs, shout you’re incoherent nonsense and continue in your mob-like ways.

        The nation is watching you obama supporters and will remember. Do it quick because soon it will all be over. The Tea Party will gear up a response and our response will be to vote the extreme left out of office. See you are the 1% and like all fringe movements you can’t affect change thru the ballot box so you take to the streets. I got a newsflash This isn’t Egypt!

        You see you don’t understand and really can’t understand. You little mixed up leftists are the direct result of decades of conditioning in our state run learning institutions. You don’t understand that your misery is the result of nearly 100 years of socialism infecting our great nation. And as you tweet and post your snippets to youtube remember: CAPITALISM is what created your iphones, and ipods, your xbox and wii.

  34. BO STINKS says:

    Filthy Dirtbags. Bloomberg / NYPD take out the tear gas and send these selfish lazy dirtbags back under the rocks they emerged from.

  35. Concern says:

    Organzied Labor can raise Millions for job training by using Charity Search Engines.

  36. Margaret Nogam says:

    Power to the people…right ON!

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