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Forum Post: We are truly the 99%, Not just poor unemployed hippies.

Posted 5 years ago on Jan. 29, 2013, 12:53 p.m. EST by imagine40 (383)
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More than a third of the people who participated in Occupy Wall Street protests in New York lived in households with annual incomes of $100,000 or more, according to a study by sociologists at the City University of New York, and more than two-thirds had professional jobs.

At the same time, the researchers found, nearly a third of the protesters had been laid off or lost a job, and a similar number said they had more than $1,000 in credit card or student loan debt.

The report (see also below), compiled by professors at the Joseph A. Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies, looked at the backgrounds and motivations of Occupy supporters as well as the impact of the movement. It was based on interviews with more than 700 people at a May Day rally in 2012.

Prof. Ruth Milkman, one of the study’s three authors, said that she and her colleagues, Prof. Stephanie Luce and Prof. Penny Lewis, became interested in examining the roots of Occupy Wall Street in the fall of 2011, when the movement took off. “It was the first major protest against the growth of inequality,” she said on Monday.

The research was financed the Russell Sage Foundation and assisted by about 50 graduate students, who spread through a crowd of several thousand that gathered at Union Square and then marched down Broadway on May 1, 2012.

Some of the study’s findings were unsurprising. Many participants in the movement had been involved in previous political demonstrations, and far from being spontaneous, the Occupy Wall Street protests were carefully planned.

But the study also suggested that many Occupy participants might have been more in the mainstream than some people might have guessed. Nearly 80 percent had at least a bachelor’s degree, the authors wrote, and about half of those with bachelor’s degrees had a graduate degree.

Despite the high level of education, the researchers found that a significant percentage of Occupy participants were underemployed, with nearly a quarter working fewer than 35 hours a week.

Professor Luce characterized the protesters who had problems finding full-time work as part of an emerging demographic that some commentators call the “precariat” — educated people forced into unsteady or insecure jobs because little else is available.

“These are the kids that did everything right,” she said. “They went to school, they graduated and then they faced this very problematic labor market.



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[-] 2 points by Narley (272) 5 years ago

A little off topic, but noting the higher numbers of degreed folks, it’s worth mentioning. Jobs today go to those with specific skill sets. For instance, auto mechanics, plumbers, HVAC maintenance, many medical related fields. A liberal arts degree is almost worthless. Businesses want folks who can perform specific tasks, they already have enough people with MBA’s.

[-] 1 points by imagine40 (383) 5 years ago

I support liberal arts degrees. Teaches people how to be considerate human beings. Isn't that good.?

[-] 1 points by Narley (272) 5 years ago

Yes, I do agree. But employers only care if you can do a specific job. They couild care less about your interest in modern art or poetry. All I'm saying is if you want a job, focus on specific in-demand skills.

[-] 1 points by imagine40 (383) 5 years ago

Perhaps we should insist on both.

[-] 1 points by Narley (272) 5 years ago

Yes, both is good. But if you want to work, focus on marketable skills.

[-] 1 points by imagine40 (383) 5 years ago

And if you want a good society and good quality of life focus on liberal arts as well.

[-] 1 points by inclusionman (7064) 5 years ago

Besides degrees in specific skill sets, everyone should be required to learn the liberal arts, and all business degrees should include the concept/value of giving back to the community. That idea has been abandoned and replaced with profits over people (just bringing the thread back to Occupy themes) Too many people never learn liberal arts and this is the kind of vacant selfish society you get when you devalue these important lessons.

[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (33490) from Coon Rapids, MN 5 years ago


[-] 1 points by inclusionman (7064) 5 years ago

Seems obvious don't it? Did you read the report? Very interesting. Download it and read it later. It's the 2nd link.

[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (33490) from Coon Rapids, MN 5 years ago

I have not opened the links - yet - but I saw the comment - and fully agree - the humanities need to be taught and expanded upon from day 1. Otherwise your children may be smart about how to make a buck - but not so much on how to make and maintain a healthy society in a healthy environment.

[-] 0 points by inclusionman (7064) 5 years ago

Exactly. more people must embrace this very "occupy" notion

[-] 1 points by flooglestreet (1) 5 years ago

Historically, revolution has come from the educated classes who were disappointed by society. The people who did everything right, ate all the cereal and still didn't get the plastic submarine.

[-] 1 points by imagine40 (383) 5 years ago

It's true. We need them, and the middleclass in general. If we can get suburbanites on board we are home free.

[-] 0 points by elf3 (3897) 5 years ago

Well that's about right the movement was overtaken by a bunch of elitist dush's who enjoy the idea of fairness and hate the idea of poverty but know nothing of either, is that why it fizzled ? They came in spouting every philosophical ideal their professors espoused but neither understood nor lived them and detracted from the true blood and sweat and point of the movement...lack of a formal education doesn't equal uneducated yet you made your voices louder than a whole movement out of vanity and ego now those who will never have a modicum of the comforts you enjoy will never be heard. They didn't need your voices they needed to be heard that opportunity only comes once in a lifetime.

[-] 1 points by imagine40 (383) 5 years ago

Occupy has not fizzled. I disagree absolutely. After only a little more than 1 year we have had good success. We will grow the movement and continue our progress. despite all the criticism.

[-] 0 points by OTP (-203) from Tampa, FL 5 years ago

I always loved hearing people scream "Get a Job" and watching everyone look around like "I have a job, and I think you do too, right?"

[-] 1 points by imagine40 (383) 5 years ago

The attempt to create a familiar (and despised) narrative/image similar to the unfair 60's free love drug using 60's radical has been in full swing. I think they have failed mostly. Although some who want to believe it are easy prey.

[-] -1 points by DKAtoday (33490) from Coon Rapids, MN 5 years ago


In 'Occupy,' Well-Educated Professionals Far Outnumbered Jobless, Study Finds http://nyti.ms/WnEzr9 The More U Know pls Share

[-] 1 points by imagine40 (383) 5 years ago

I think the salary level and employment status is of special note since the most frequent criticism is the 'get a job' silliness. spreading that one bit of info could be a potent response, & could bring more supporters on board.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33490) from Coon Rapids, MN 5 years ago

Agree Debunk misconceptions and misinformation.