We are the 99%

top one percent

We are the 99% is a political solidarity slogan and implicit economic claim that emerged from the ‘Occupy’ protests in 2011. It is a reference to the difference in wealth between the top 1% and all the remaining citizens of the United States. It started as a tumblr blog and became an Internet meme that went viral, showing a picture of a person holding a piece of paper with their story on it, ending with the phrase, ‘We are the 99%.’ New York times columnist Anne-Marie Slaughter described pictures on the ‘We are the 99’ website as as ‘page after page of testimonials from members of the middle class who took out loans to pay for education, took out mortgages to buy their houses and a piece of the American dream, worked hard at the jobs they could find, and ended up unemployed or radically underemployed and on the precipice of financial and social ruin.’

In 2006, filmmaker and Johnson & Johnson heir Jamie Johnson filmed a documentary called ‘The One Percent’ about the growing wealth gap between America’s wealthy elite compared to the overall citizenry. The film’s title referred to the top one percent of Americans in terms of wealth, who controlled 38% of the nation’s wealth in 2001. The 1% percent in the United States starts with household annual incomes of greater than $593,000.


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