The protest movement that began in September as Occupy Wall Street swiftly spread across the nation as like-minded demonstrations were held against financial firms' excesses and the influence of corporate money in politics. Like the Tea Party, the Occupy movement has vented the public's rage against the D.C. political machine. Unlike the Tea Party, however, Occupy has not focused on influencing party primaries, challenging establishment candidates, or backing its own candidates.
In two short months, Occupy has spread from a protest in lower Manhattan to all 50 states, claiming support in states labeled both "red" and "blue" (plus those somewhere in-between). In that time, protesters from across the political spectrum have spoken out for the "99 percent" vs. the one percent richest in the country, seeking to change the national conversation away from government austerity and tax cuts (which dominated the debt ceiling negotiations earlier in 2011) to the corporate and lobbying money and influence that precipitates the political process.
Left: "Occupy Wall Street" demonstrators face off with police in New York's financial district, October 14, 2011.