Before AOC Wore It On A Dress, Occupy Wall Street Called To "Tax The Rich"

Ten years after thousands gathered to protest capitalism, the message and mission of Occupy Wall Street still feels relevant.

This week, social media has been abuzz with critiques over Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Tax the Rich” dress, yet the sentiment is nothing new to those who witnessed the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011. Some may even argue that if not for the Occupy movement, a candidate like Ocasio-Cortez would not have been elected.

Since the organizing of Occupy Wall Street, America has aged 10 years and witnessed remarkable mass movements, including #MeToo, March for Our Lives, and Black Lives Matter. Occupy Wall Street was started in a time of recession and corporate bailouts for financial services, and the main messaging was centered around the divide between the 99 percent and the 1 percent. It was on Sept. 17, 2011, that a group of protesters launched the two-month-long rebellion calling for economic inequality reform. Hundreds of people set up camp in downtown Manhattan's Zuccotti Park, and thousands joined in daily protests until being forced to vacate the area in November 2011. Versions of the protest popped up across the nation; according to the Guardian, over 600 communities in the United States and 70 major cities saw OWS initiatives.

Occupy Wall Street sparked conversations and demands for a higher minimum wage and encouraged everyday people to question the status quo. Reading the messages scrawled across the signs in these photos gives us the opportunity to reflect on where our country stands today and how much further we have to go.

Group of protesters gathered outside City Hall in New York
A protester wears a dollar bill over his mouth
A man signs a large drawing of the Constitution at a protest in Washington, DC
A masked protester in front of a flag during Occupy Wall Street
The sign is a drawing of a noose turned into a necktie
Sign reads 1% Rich 99% Poor
Two men in suits hold a sign that reads 'greed' in downtown New York
A group of women wearing outfits that read "Granny Peace Brigade" take part in Occupy Wall Street
The sign that reads "Democracy Not Corporatocracy"
Sign reads "lost my job found an occupation"
A sign reads "the only way to experience the American dream is while sleeping"
The sign reads "WTF"
A man holds a sign that reads "slaves no more" at an Occupy Wall Street march
Sign reads "dollars should not vote"
Sign shows a heart with text referencing the Human Rights Act


Topics in this article