Occupy Wall Streeters Aren't Republicans—Or Democrats

Attention, 2012 candidates: Most Occupy Wall Street supporters have no party affiliation.

Attention, 2012 candidates: When it comes to party affiliation, 70 percent of Occupy Wall Streeters label themselves "independent."

We've had to rely on pundits and Flickr photos in order to approximate the makeup of Occupy Wall Street—until now. Fast Company just released an infographic charting the results of a survey from, the protesters' unofficial online hub. The results prove once and for all that while it's a movement fueled by progressives, Occupy Wall Street isn't wedded to the Democratic Party. The numbers are the clearest proof yet that the protesters are disgusted with politicians in general, not just Republicans.

GOP presidential candidates have had a range of responses toward the burgeoning movement. Mitt Romney said that class warfare is "dangerous," but then admitted he was just trying to "occupy the White House." A few have even expressed support—Ron Paul called the movement a "legitimate effort," and a lesser-known GOP candidate, Buddy Roemer, even live-tweeted the October 11 march in downtown Manhattan. (Needless to say, their solutions to the grievances likely differ from the protesters'.)

But many, like Herman Cain, have had doled out some harsh words. Cain called the protesters "un-American" and "jealous," and told some Arkansas protesters to "get a job and a life." He also said the demonstrators were trying to deflect attention off Obama's failed policies. But according to the data, almost three-quarters of protesters don't support Democrats. Unemployment, health care, and the wealth gap are issues that cut across party lines. While "independent" is often code for Republican-lite or fiscal libertarian, this data hints at a different kind of independent voter—one that's left of the Democratic Party and hasn't been given much of a voice since President Obama was elected.

This chart should serve as a reminder that the protesters aren't interested in propping up one party in favor of the other. They're interested in changing the priorities of our leaders—who, donkey or elephant, have favored business over people for far too long.

Infographic designed by Jess3 for Fast Company.

Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

RELATED: Greta Thunberg urges people to turn to nature to combat climate change

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