99 PERCENTERS: Occupy Little Rock has helped build a useful legacy.

  • 99 PERCENTERS: Occupy Little Rock has helped build a useful legacy.

NY Times today writes about one very solid accomplisment of the Occupy movement in just a couple of months:


Whatever the long-term effects of the Occupy movement, protesters have succeeded in implanting “We are the 99 percent,” referring to the vast majority of Americans (and its implied opposite, “You are the one percent” referring to the tiny proportion of Americans with a vastly disproportionate share of wealth), into the cultural and political lexicon.

This useful shorthand is powerful. Scoff if you want. But Republicans understand messaging better than anyone. It is not a coincidence that right-wingers have devoted so much time, energy and social media attention to tearing down the Occupy protestors and any who’d send them an encouraging word. Republicans have governed — and still govern — for the 1 percent down. See U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin, who speaks openly of ending public pensions, of privatizing Social Security, of ending Medicare as a government health program, of opposing payroll tax relief for workers, of enhancing tax breaks for the wealthy. He’s a one percenter.

Impromptu “occupations” at all sorts of places are also in vogue. It’s a healthy thing to stand up and be counted.


Republicans, again, made a lot of political mileage out of the silent majority message once upon a time. If you believe the polls — and I generally do — today’s silent majority thinks millionaires should share the 99 percent’s pain; that there’s merit in protecting the environment; that universal health care should be a part of the promise of our democracy; that the bankers have gorged themselves without accountability.

Which side are you on? The 1 percenters or the 99 percenters? The honing of that message is a good legacy.