We are the 99 Percent

We are the 99 Percent

Part of a series on Occupy Wall Street. [View Related Entries]

Updated May 12, 2014 at 04:12PM EDT by Brad.

Added Oct 12, 2011 at 05:48PM EDT by Brad.

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“We are the 99%” is a catchphrase spurred by a single topic Tumblr of the same name created in August 2011 in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement.


The title for the single topic Tumblr for “We are the 99 Percent”[1] came from a General Assembly poster shared on the official Occupy website in early August 2011. The name reflects the opposite of the nation’s richest 1%, who control nearly half of America’s total wealth, according to various research studies.[10] The blogger behind the project, a 28-year-old New York City activist only known as Chris, created the Tumblr on August 23rd, 2011 to put faces and stories to the nameless “99%.” In its first post, the blog asks readers to submit a photo of themselves holding a sign with a single sentence about how America’s financial situation is affecting their lives. The blog began curating photo submissions on September 8th, 2011. As of September 2012, the blog is still active but with a much smaller volume.


Within the first month, the blog was featured on numerous online news publications during the coverage of Occupy Wall Street protests, including Mother Jones[2], the Stranger[11], Buzzfeed[12] and the Daily Kos.[13] On September 18th, 2011, a Facebook fan page[14] for the site was created, though it is not a direct affiliate of the Tumblr blog. By October, the blog was posting nearly 100 photos a day and Chris invited non-profit worker Priscilla Grim[15] to help him curate the submissions. In the final months of 2011, the blog was featured on Business Insider[16], the Huffington Post[17], the Psychology Today blog[18], the Economist[19], Campus Progress[20] and Forbes.[21] In December 2011, it was named the “top meme of 2011” by TIME Magazine.[22]

Notable Examples

The phrase has evolved into a slogan used by protesters throughout the country in Occupy protests, as well as in merchandise sold on Cafepress[23] and Zazzle[24], including t-shirts, bumper stickers and hats.

Parodies & Spin-off Blogs

As early as October 2011, parodies and counter-messages mimicking the style of photos featured on the “We Are the 99%” blog have circulated on social media bookmarking sites like Reddit, where an image about left-handedness titled “We Are the 9%”[25] was posted on October 10th, 2011. These parodies were soon picked up by other news sites including The Washington Post[5] and CBS[6], internet culture blogs like GOOD[26], Uproxx[27] and Slacktory[29] as well as the Free Republic message board.[28] In addition to spin-off blogs on Tumblr, other one-off variations based on the snowclone “We are the X Percent” have been observed as well, such as “We are the 2%”[31] for people with red hair and “We are the Nyan Nyan Percent”[32] as a parody slogan with an allusion to the 2011 YouTube viral video Nyan Cat.

We are the 53 Percent

The first response blog was launched by conservative blogger Erick Erickson as a rebuttal to the Occupy movement slogan on October 3rd, 2011. Titled “We are the 53 Percent,”[3] the blog claims to represent the 53 percent of Americans who pay federal income taxes, referring to a 2009 TaxPolicyCenter report[4] which revealed that 47 percent of Americans did not pay net federal income taxes in 2009. The blog ceased posting in February 2012.

We are the 1 Percent

Another single topic Tumblr called “We are the 1 Percent”[7] was created on October 12th, 2011, showcasing photographs of people holding signs that claimed that even though they are among the wealthiest 1%, they still stand with the demands of the 99%. The blog was featured on the Washington Post[30] the day after its creation, however it ceased posting in July 2012.

Search Interest

External References

[1]Tumblr – We are the 99%

[2]Mother Jones – We are the 99% Creators Revealed

[3]Tumblr – we are the 53%

[4]TaxPolicyCenter – Who Pays No Income Tax?

[5]Washington Post – We are the 99 percent sees spinoffs

[6]CBSConservatives launch “We are the 53%” blog in response to Occupy Wall Street

[7]Tumblr – We are the 1 percent

[8]Reddit – I am the 1%

[9]We are the 99% – First post

[10]Huffington Post – Half Of American Households Hold 1 Percent Of Wealth

[11]The Stranger – “We Are the 99 Percent”

[12]Buzzfeed – 14 Reasons Poeple Are Occupying Wall Street

[13]Daily Kos – “We Are the 99 Percent” – A Photo Diary That Will Bring Tears

[14]Facebook – We are the 99%

[15]Gothamist – Priscilla Grim

[16]Business Insider – Stories Of American Disillusionment

[17]Huffington Post – ‘We Are The 99 Percent’: Stories Of The Great Recession’s Victims

[18]Psychology Today – We Are the 99%

[19]The Economist – Straining for the populist mandate

[20]Campus Progress – Top 15 ‘We Are the 99 Percent’ Signs From Young Americans

[21]Forbes – Outside of Wonkland, ‘We are the 99%’ Is a Pretty Good Slogan

[22]TIMEWe Are the 99 Percent

[23]CafePress – We Are The 99 Percent Gifts

[24]Zazzle – 99% Gifts

[25]Reddit – I am the 9%

[26]GOODIs Occupy Wall Street the Tumblr Revolution?

[27]Uproxx – Ken Jennings Is The 99% And Other 99% Parodies That Don’t Suck

[28]Free Republic – The Unofficial 99% Parody Thread [post your parody 99% testimonials – vanity]

[29]Slacktory – The Best “We Are the 99 Percent” Parody Pictures

[30]Washington Post – Occupy Wall Street protests get support of the one percent

[31]Blogspot – We are the 2 Percent

[32]eBaumsworld – We are the Nyan Nyan Percent

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