NRO sums up the findings of a recent study on the demographics of Occupy Wall Street:
According to a new study from sociologists at the City University of New York, more than a third of activists in the Occupy movement in New York City had household incomes above $100,000, placing them at the cusp of the top quintile of income distribution in America. Researchers surveyed 729 people who participated in a May 1 rally last year and were involved in the “occupation” of Zuccotti Park in the fall of 2011, and found that they were more affluent, whiter, younger, much more highly educated, and more likely to be male than the average New Yorker.
Upper-class radicalism is nothing new, of course. You need leisure time to start a revolution, not to mention time to read all those incomprehensible deconstructionists. It was the bourgeois National Guard that stormed the Bastille. More recently, Students for a Democratic Society, the storied left-wing group, drew its membership primarily from the affluent, as Paul Gottfried details in his book The Conservative Movement:
“…the campus revolution was largely an upper-class affair. Students were sensitive only to fashionable segments of the underclass but remained openly hostile to blue-collar workers. Michael Lerner, a former student radical, complained of the double standard by which the “respectable bigotry” of “an upper-middle-class peace matron toward a lower-middle-class mayor” is not scrutinized with the same care as a policeman’s bigotry toward blacks. The most prominent radical group, Students for a Democratic Society, was a predominantly upper-middle-class organization. At a time when family income in the United States averaged $8,000 a year, and the Harvard family average was $17,000, Harvard SDSers came from families averaging $23,000 a year. Stanton Evans’s informal survey of conservative students (taken about 1960) pointed to a family income of only $5,000.
The big difference between then and now is that the left used to be honest in articulating its goals. Heck, that it even had goals at all contrasts with Occupy Wall Street’s approach. Radicals love to warn about the dangers of co-optation, which can’t happen in the traditional sense with movement as amorphous as OWS. The flip side of that is a narrative vacuum MSNBC and even MTV were more than happy to step into. And as it happens, their target audiences just happened to coincide with the composition of the movement itself.