From Zuccotti to UC Davis: 99%–The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film


“We are the 99 percent,” chant the Occupy protesters as they set up a self-sufficient community in Zuccotti—renamed Liberty—Park to demand an answer to America’s wildly unequal distribution. 99%—The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film, a documentary made by over 100 filmmakers, gives us a look behind the barricades at these men and women who hoped to start a revolution on September 17, 2011. Though it largely sides with the protesters, the film does not find them faultless. For example, author Naomi Wolf criticizes the movement—after police forcibly evicted the protesters from the park—for being satisfied with “changing the discourse.” It’s a valid concern: After the outcry, what next? What is the solution? It’s easy to root for separating money from government, for wanting our votes to count. It isn’t news that greed at the expense of millions of others is bad. What is shocking is seeing the aggressive and malicious response to the movement: the growing police state where a row of nonviolent UC Davis students gets pepper-sprayed, an Iraq veteran’s skull is fractured by a flashbang grenade in Oakland, and members of the media have their press badges seized. The only time we hear from the 1 percent is when an unseen woman asks different people in suits if they’re going to the rally. When one man who says no is asked why not, he replies, “Because I make money.” And though the protesters may shout that money is not free speech, the reality is that it has the loudest voice of all.