The Occupy Wall Street was not quite the populist movement that it said it was. Ruth Milkman, Stephanie Luce and Penny Lewis of City University New York have published a study that disrupts the carefully crafted narrative that the occupy movement portrayed in its heyday. The movement cast itself as unemployed, mostly young college grads, and suffering under crushing mountains of student debt. The movement itself was supposedly a spontaneous reaction to circumstances, when it sprang to life in September 2011.
According to the study, “OWS was not a spontaneous movement that appeared out of nowhere. It was carefully planned by a group of experienced political activists” who had been inspired by the Arab Spring.
As for who made up the OWS’ footsoldiers, they weren’t the plucky down-on-their-luckers that the media showed the world. “Highly educated young adults were overrepresented” among occupiers, according to the study. Additionally:
[T]he majority of participants were white and well-educated (76 percent of respondents had a four-year degree). Two-thirds of Occupy protesters had professional jobs, the sociology study found, with nearly a third living in households with incomes of $100,000 or more.
Were they really the 99%, then?