Dispelling the ‘Young Dirty Hippies’ Myth Surrounding #OccupyWallStreet

We’ve all read the propaganda/disinformation on the Occupy Wall Street protest: “The protesters are dirty hippies.” “They don’t clean up after themselves.” “They’re all unemployed 20 year-olds.” You get the picture. But now it’s time to dispel the myths that are invented simply to propagate fear.


As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

These two World War II Vets can hardly be categorized as Marxist-Maoist-Communist-hippies. Our vets in this picture dressed in uniform instead of wearing the Tea Party of today revolutionary garb, can hardly be shrugged off. Or, is it only patriotic to play dress up at Tea Party rallies, instead of wearing real uniforms worn while fighting for our country? The Vet on the right’s sign reads, “Make Wall Street the tomb of Greed.”


But, it’s not simply one or two in the crowd. This activist has wheels.

Even some Marines attended. As reported here, they came to protect the protesters from police brutality.

Greed is the main focus of the protests.

Meet Leida

While traveling on the bus today with the morning paper in hand, a woman sitting next to me noticed what article I was reading and said, “Are you going to the Occupy Wall Street protest?” I was startled at first because this young looking 72 year old woman was so aware, and perhaps even I after being to the protest myself, had been buying into the notion (but only for a New York second) that the protesters were young even though I’m no spring chicken myself. Her stop wasn’t too far away so the conversation was brief. I told her no, not today but only because I was visiting a loved one in the hospital. I told her I had been to the protest on the first day and had plans to go back. Ms. Leida said, “I am going. I really want to go.” After pursuing this and asking why she was keen on attending she said it was because of all the greed that is so prevalent today. “We should be working together for everyone”, she said.


Ms. Leida is a well spoken, educated personable woman so why don’t we see more like her at the protest? The police harassment and brutality is making it close to impossible for it to be an all-age event. Also pictures taken and sifted through, then choosing to publish only angry protesters are utilized specifically for each paper’s political agenda — right wing or left. The Leidas are there, or at least the ones that don’t fear the police harassment we’ve recently grown accustomed to reading about.


As far as not cleaning up after themselves, they have and they do. They’re quite organized actually in each section, whether it be media, arts for sign making or sanitation. The Sanitation Committee is a team whose purpose is to maintain the park’s cleanliness, where they have designated areas for their garbage, and nothing is left on the ground. In essence, the park is cleaner than when they arrived. Anything less would make them a group of self-defeatists.


Unemployed? Not this guy.

Yes, some are unemployed which is one of the reasons they rage. This shared sacrifice on the Middle Class where jobs are scarce is stifling.







None of the above can be stereotyped as dirty hippies. In fact, no one at the protest can be brushed with that same stroke of disinformation. The people that have slept at the park, living there on a 24/7 basis, have given up the comfort of their homes to stand up passionately for a cause that’s not bereft of worthiness. This event is striking into the heart of Wall Street – a group of people who are not afraid to stand up to a giant and storm the greed in the machine that almost crippled America. These people, the hardcore protesters now living in the park, do not have daily access to a shower, much less a bed to sleep on. How dare anyone call them dirty or try to demean them in anyway.


What have you done to correct the economy except for bitch and moan, or place blame on your opposing party’s feet? This protest has room for all parties and finding commonality shouldn’t be too difficult. A few libertarian readers have said the same, one stating, “We have more in common than you think.”

Ms. Leida, I really hope I see you there — coffee is on me.


Images of Vets: @USDayofRage with thanks.

Image: @LPeynado



  • Sally

    Great story on the most important thing happening in this nation in decades! The GOP ‘leaders’ talk about jobs, period. They do nothing but give more breaks to their corporate bosses and take away from the good of the nation. We are either a nation that cares about everyone, everyone, or we are nothing. I choose care!
    Also, I LOVE that every single sign I’ve seen has been spelled correctly right down to the apostrophes! It’s marvelous, and a true indication of who these people are…educated Americans with a cause.

  • Jeff

    99% of the ows people are bored, lazy, dirty hippies who have done zero research on how political and economic systems function in the real world. highlighting the 1% and claiming diversity is unjust reporting.

    Capitalism has resulted in women’s suffrage, ending slavery and empowering anyone to follow their dream.

    Communism/socialism has resulted in genocide and oppression.

    • Laurie

      @Jeff, I think you haven’t done enough research on what the Occupy Wall Street movement is.

    • http://FreakOutNation.com Anomaly100

      @Jeff, Obviously you didn’t read the article dispelling the lies. You will believe only what you ‘choose’ to even when presented with facts.

    • Friday

      @Jeff, You don’t seem to understand history at all. Capitalism encouraged and continues to encourage slavery, subjugation of women, and keeping people down. It was only through years of sacrifice and collective action that people have gotten things like workers rights, political equality, and basic health and safety protections. You can thank labor unions, civil rights protests, and women’s movements – people just like the OWS people, who had to face the same kind of ignorance, violence and hatred you are putting out, but who thankfully continued to fight for what is right.

    • Kathy

      Hi @Jeff, or should we just call you by your title, “government disinformation agent.”

    • TZX4

      And I will add, yours is an all too common tactic used by the contemporary right. Don’t argue the issues (IMHO because so many right wing positions cannot stand the light of truth), just smear, demean, and make fun of those who are prositiong the antithesis of your right wing beliefs.

    • http://www.ram.org Ram Samudrala

      @Jeff, REGULATED capitalism is what led to the American dream, particularly AFTER the 1930s. America was the most envied country of the world from until the 1980s. It still is envied, but not as much.

      Financial sector deregulati­on is our problem; regulation­s from the 1930s kept banking stable. With deregulati­on, mathematic­ally it can be shown that we created instabilit­y subject to boom/bust cycles. Soros in Inside Job has a good oil tanker analogy: it is built with compartmen­ts to keep oil from sloshing heavily (which it would in a single compartmen­t). That’s why we’ve had three boom bust cycles since the 1980s deregulati­on (S&L, dot com, housing/fi­nance collapses)­, each worse than on the one before. And we still have not fixed the problem that well. Dodd Frank is a start, but whether it is enough is not clear; I feel we should break up the banks, have the FTT, and perhaps we might not need to go back to Glass-Stea­gall. But I do think that deregulati­on idea was not a bad one in the 1980s. I think it went too far. So this is where the Ron Paul philosophy fails. He would say “deregulat­e more” and I can guarantee that they’ll be dealing with OTC derivative­s to the nth power.

  • pogi

    Hey Sally, I expect more when people proclaim biased shit like yours but on this page in this article is a sign that contradicts your statement… You also misused “I’ve”…. And you really posted calling people out on Grammar, what a fool!!!

    It seems to me that people who think they are great are marginal at best…

    • Bob


      “Also, I LOVE that every single sign I’ve seen has been spelled correctly right down to the apostrophes!” — as in “every single sign I HAVE SEEN” — where is the grammatical error here?

      Although the “have” is present and the “seen” is past, it is still an acceptable usage of the words.

      There may be other errors in the sentence …

      Spelt vs. spelled, a comma after ‘correctly’, some active/passive conflict…but come on, how fucking technical do you want to get?

      Simply put: what you are pointing out makes YOU the idiot.

      I believe your last sentence describes yourself perfectly.

      If you’re going to attack people with such stupid shit as what I’m doing to you and you did to Sally…take a little more care with it next time.

  • OWS Person

    @Jeff, political and economic systems are entirely imaginary, invented by people who want to concentrate wealth at the top of a rigid hierarchy of power. Structurally, the differences between a Communist and Capitalist nation are largely cosmetic. I can say Communism led to universal health care and astoundingly high literacy rates. So what? Both systems have rich fat cats gaming an unfair system, it’s just that one of them is far more effective at convincing people like you that it isn’t true.

    Occupy Wall Street has nothing to do with Communism, Socialism, Capitalism, o any sort of -ism. It’s not a movement attempting to remove the state, or to institute an entirely different system of government. It simply wants to improve the American system; it is an attempt to make America more like the meritocracy we all want it to be rather than the country of undeserved privilege it has always been.

  • Tiffany

    @Jeff This protest has nothing to do with capitalism. It’s about stopping our nation from continuing to be a Plutocracy: rule by the wealthy, or power provided by wealth.

  • http://www.chefbob50-inmyhumbleopinion.blogspot.com chefbob50

    Jeff sounds like one of the people the plutocrats love. Speaking on a subject he knows little about and probably votes against his own self interest too like most tea-baggers…