Members of the hacktivist collective Anonymous (in their signature Guy Fawkes masks) join the demonstration on the first day of Occupy Wall Street protest in Zuccotti Park, New York City, New York.
Photograph by David Shankbone, courtesy Wikimedia. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

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  • On September 17, 2011, about 1,000 people gathered in Zuccotti Park, in the heart of New York City’s Financial District, to protest corporate corruption. “Occupy Wall Street” became the first of hundreds of protests affiliated with the Occupy movement.
    Occupy Wall Street came after a long summer of criticism of the banking industry and its influence on government. Criticism came from a wide spectrum. Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich objected to the world’s growing income inequality. Financial leader Warren Buffett wrote an essay titled “Stop Coddling the Super-Rich.” The technological activists of the group Anonymous supported Occupy’s “plurality of voices.”
    Occupy is an international movement, largely inspired by the Arab Spring protests in North Africa and the Middle East. Occupy protests have drawn thousands, even millions, of demonstrators in Canada, Chile, Brazil, Israel, Germany, and Australia. The largest Occupy protests were held in Italy and Spain, countries experiencing severe economic depressions. 
    Today, the Occupy movement works with other nonprofit organizations in support of financial stability, and continues to encourage economic reform in business and government. An executive director of the Bank of England has said “Occupy has been successful in its efforts to popularize the problems of the global financial system for one very simple reason: They are right.”
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    activist Noun

    person who strongly and actively supports an issue or point of view.

    affiliate Verb

    to associate or connect to something else.

    Arab Spring Noun

    (2010-ongoing) demonstrations and uprisings supporting democracy throughout North Africa and the Middle East.

    bank Noun

    organization that loans, protects, and exchanges money to and from individuals and organizations.

    corporate Adjective

    having to do with a corporation or large business.

    corrupt Adjective

    dishonest or willing to take money for favors.

    demonstration Noun

    organized public display of support or criticism for a policy or event.

    depression Noun

    period of economic hardship, when employment and wages are low, and the value of businesses declines.

    economic Adjective

    having to do with money.

    encourage Verb

    to inspire or support a person or idea.

    financial Adjective

    having to do with money.

    gather Verb

    to bring together or collect.

    government Noun

    system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit.

    income Noun

    wages, salary, or amount of money earned.

    industry Noun

    activity that produces goods and services.

    inequality Noun

    difference in size, amount, or quality between two or more things.

    influence Verb

    to encourage or persuade a person or organization to act a certain way.

    inspire Verb

    to influence to act.

    movement Noun

    group of people or organizations with a common set of interests and plan for pursuing them.

    nonprofit organization Noun

    business that uses surplus funds to pursue its goals, not to make money.

    plurality Noun


    protest noun, verb

    demonstration against a policy or action.

    severe Adjective


    spectrum Verb

    continuous band of material with each piece differing in small amounts from the piece before and after it.

    stability Noun

    balance or steadiness.