Four years on from the Occupy Wall Street protests, the widening gap between rich and poor continues to be a subjected of heated debate. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the world has reached a tipping point and inequality can no longer be treated as an afterthought. After the 2007-8 economic crisis deepened, this gap grew further and a movement emerged in the US on September 17, 2011 to stand against it.
Inspired by anti-austerity protests in Spain and popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, Occupy Wall Street protests began in Zuccotti Park, in New York City’s financial district. They were formed to demonstrate against social and economic inequality and aimed to fight back against the unfairness of the global economy. They immediately spread to over 100 cities in the US, and similar actions were taken in 1,500 cities around the world.
“We are the 99 percent” is the slogan of the Occupy Wall Street, referring to income inequality and wealth distribution in the US between the wealthiest 1 percent and the rest of the population.
Four years after creating a national dialogue of the “99 percent against the 1 percent,” the movement didn’t disappear, but in fact continues to inspire other national and global movements in many different forms.
One of the first journalists to report on the Occupy Wall Street movement, Nathan Scheiner, told TRT World that even if the moment of 2011-2012 passed, similar networks continue to develop and fight against various problems such as climate change, a lack of democracy or police brutality against blacks.
Schneider emphasised the importance of continuing to tell these stories, so that people can be reminded that they can rise up and make a difference. Otherwise, Schneider says, “We forget and go back to the people in power.”