At Chicago Board of Trade: "We are the 1 percent" signs mocking Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Chicago protests

Arturas Rosenbacher (@USAanon) shot this photograph of windows in the building where the Chicago Board of Trade is located. The CBOT was established in 1848, and is the world's oldest futures and options exchange.

"We are the 1%," the sign reads, an apparent response to the Occupy Chicago (and Occupy Wall Street) protests. "We are the 99%" is one of the mantras of that movement for financial reform.

There's a related article at the Village Voice.


    1. This is more accurate to Marie Antoinette’s quote which she most likely did not actually say.

  1. Now there’s a parking structure that better run a few extra sweeps for caltrops for a few weeks.

  2. Come on. There’s no way that’s really some business tycoon with a marker and copy paper antagonizing the crowd. Being in the 1% is antagonism enough. Mission accomplished, drones. You got viral.

    1. That location would be either a trading floor or a brokerage office, so it sure COULD be the 1% – these clowns think they are something special – mostly, they are just gamblers. Unfortunately, unlike horse bettors or casino goers, they actually have the ability to screw up the entire economy when they break the law or gamble too wildly.

  3. …and not one of them would come downstairs carrying a sign that said that would they?  They do it from a multi – story building.  

  4. A peaceful mob is still a mob. Maybe – and I’m just thinking out loud here, kids – maybe taunting it isn’t the best idea in the world.

  5. …and not one of them would come downstairs carrying a sign that said that would they?  They do it from a multi – story building.

    I rather think that was their point. “We get to sit up here, you get to stand down there”

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the protest, but I also don’t think it’s going to change this: in six months, a few people will be sitting in comfortable offices in tall buildings and most people will still be standing in the street. Interpret this as literally or as figuratively as you like.

  6. What if this is a prank? You don’t know who posted that up in the window. Was it really someone who is the 1%, putting that up? Or could it be some prankster who is not the 1% putting it up? Kind of like non permanent grafetti.

    1. I suppose there is a small possibility that it’s a prank, but that is very, very, CBOT-like. Despite knowing a couple of fine people who have traded there, the place is, in general a seething den of self-absorbed, entitled prickery. They are so overwhelmingly insufferable, almost to a man (there are a few women, but they get treated very poorly), that as soon as they open their cigar hole, you know where they work, and that you need to relocate immediately.

    2. Do you honestly think that their security would allow a prankster in the building right now with a Sharpie and 10yds of butchers paper?

    3. Either way, useless trash who spend all day pumping up the prices of food and other things people need to live.  The whole lot of them need to be shoved out of their offices and put to useful work.

  7. Folks, unless the local, State and Federal government laws magically change overnight due to protestor pressure (and it won’t), NOTHING WILL HAPPEN TO THE 1%. NOTHING! REPEAT AGAIN: NOTHING, NADDA, ZILTCH, ZERO!

    A million people could march and nothing would happen. TEN MILLION could march and nothing would happen. We could even get ONE HUNDRED MILLION people to march against Wall Street’s excesses and NOTHING WOULD HAPPEN!

    They own everything: the banks, the printing of all nations money, your mortgages, the toll roads you drive on and the cops who protect them. There’s only ONE WAY things could change and I think we all know how that would come about.

    1. “There’s only ONE WAY things could change and I think we all know how that would come about.”

      So you’re suggesting we all go home and do nothing?

    2. “There’s only ONE WAY things could change and I think we all know how that would come about.”

      If you’re talking about what I think you’re talking about… we have to… unfriend them on facebook?!

    3. But where are we going to find that many rubber pants in our size at this time of night Brain?

      1. They get caught with their pants down and get government bailout money to use for executive bonuses, high fives all around?
        I’m sorry but what were you alluding to?

        1. All the things that have happened outside of the tunnel you’ve apparently been busy staring down, I guess.

    4. Couldn’t agree more. Marching is a complete waste of time. It’s noble, don’t get me wrong, and it’s lovely to see that people are thinking.

      But really, it’s like someone standing on a soapbox and saying: “I’d just like everyone to know that I don’t like eating shit. Thank you.’ – Steps off the soap box, goes back to the dinner table.

    5. If all of the 99% decided not not go to work for a few days or a week, it would hurt the 1% a hell of a lot more than the 99%.

      1. I think after the #occupy movement fails to achieve change in a hopelessly corrupted system, General Strikes are the next most logical and peaceable corse of action.

  8. That photo is going to go viral and soon there will be some broken windows and not just at the Chicago Board of Trade!

      1. It probably would; but nonetheless you’re right with your rhetorical use of sarcasm: I retract.

    1. Bet they’ll still be smug and many will still be angry. Not much here to see, I’m afraid.

  9. “Capitalism treats men not as sacrifices for the public good, but as independent individuals with their own lives. From the professional on the trading floor to the kid selling lemonade, investors know that if you want something from someone else, you can’t simply demand it by occupation, you have to trade for it, just as others must trade with you.”

    I think the 1% are missing the point. We’ve nothing to trade. They stole it. The mob- given enough frustration- will happily steal it back. Democracy will have nothing to do with that process when it happens. And they will have only themselves to blame for it.

    1. Your government also _allowed_ them to steal it. They legislated for them to steal it. Democracy permit it to be stolen. Why is the Occupy movement forgetting this? Why seest thou a mote in thy brother’s eye, and perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

      1. So you still believe it’s our government? That seems pretty naive to me. From what I’ve heard the Occupy folks are pretty well organized- they vote on things, make decisions together and discuss the actions they want to take next. You know- like congress is supposed to do for all us- instead of just a piddling 1%.

        1. It’s both. Of course it’s both. It’s always both with the state. Any state. However, the rhetoric coming out of the Occupy folk seems squarely aimed at business, not government.

      2. So what? It’s not like we have any power to stop it. The system is corrupt. Voting is corrupt. Term limits are corrupt. Lobbyists are corrupt. How exactly do you expect anyone to stop it, armchair general? 

        It’s pitchfork time people.

        1. If I’m an armchair general, then so are the people in the Occupy movement. And so they should be. And so should we all be. That’s what activism is about, isn’t it?

          How to stop it? Get rid of government…any and all government? And hold the businesses to account?

      3. The government may have allowed them to steal it but they are still the thieves.  The anger is pointed at the correct gang.  The bankster and trader gang is notmade up of  my brothers.

    2. And if these guys were real investors or entrepreneurs like Warren Buffett or Steve Jobs, I don’t think anyone would begrudge them their wealth. But the Wall Street (and CBOT) class is just a bunch of rent-skimming middlemen between the true investors and their investments. These guys are just a bunch of Bernie Madoff wannabes. The only thing that stops them from pulling the same kind of scam is fear. Not fear they’d get caught – fear they can’t pull it off.

  10. History repeats itself, as any student of history knows.

    These assholes should read up on the French Revolution.

    1. And the Russian revolutions, (Bolshevik and Leninist,) and the Chinese revolution, (Chiang Kai Shek and Mao Tze Dong,) and the revolution that FDR narrowly averted here by creating the WPA and a few other government programs of dubious legality but of undeniable effectiveness.

      They are condemned to repeat the sins of the past…

    2. They probably prefer the analogy of the revolutions of 1848. Personally I think the 1890’s US Populist movement after the Gilded Age is preferable to either.

  11. What a wonderful civilized society we are where we feel the need to instigate conflict in this fashion.

  12. The sense of entitlement that these CBOT workers must have, and the arrogance that they display, I find really disappointing. “The Wealth Creators” in action. “Let them eat cake.”

    1. At a guess, I’d say travtastic is referring to the current wave of protest that is toppling dictatorships all over the middle east…or the royal wedding, one or the other

    2. You gonna try to troll me into some fitful response, or may we disagree politely? If you don’t actually know what large, populist events have happened recently, then I’m sorry to hear that.

  13. Geez the police and protesters are both trying their darnedest to not be violent. This is just asinine, kinda how I expected traders to be. 

  14. Now if they can only cover the building in ivory they’ll complete the picture. More victories like that and they’ll lose the war.

  15. While you might own the laws and the thugs, all it takes is less than a second for someone you’ve crushed underfoot and forgotten to put a bullet into you.  And then you get the added bonus of what little tax dollars you pay keeping them in jail, better off than they were before.  Because while we have rights to have guns, not everyone is a good shot.  Maybe crapping into a bag for the rest of your life, or needing a machine to breathe might help you gain a little perspective on why poking the hornets nest with your dick was a bad idea.

    Maybe you were unaware Chicago 1%ers… the protests are spreading, we are the 99% and your ivy league education should give you a tiny insight that WE OUTNUMBER YOU AND YOUR THUGS.  You keep mocking people, and your going to push someone to far.  It shouldn’t happen in a polite society… but in a polite society 1% of the people should not be waging war against the other 99%.  You think it was class warfare before… keep pushing.

    I’m not advocating violence, but we have all seen people murdered for much less in this country.

  16. All this talk of violence is kind of stupid when majority still rules.  The game is certainly rigged, but at the end of the day the US has not fallen so far where you can credibly rig an election when one candidate blows the other out of the water.  You don’t even need 50% of the population with you.  You actually just need 25%, because only 50% of the population bothers to vote.  Get 30% of the public with you, toss forward someone to represent, vote, and put them in power.  

    Believe me, getting 30% of the population mad enough to, you know, spend 5 minutes voting 1 day every 2 years is a lot easier than getting 5% of the population to take up arms, go guerrilla, and get their ass kicked by professional soldiers and citizens who are not excited for a bloody revolution.

    I’m not trashing the movement, but I am trashing people that advocate violence.  Those people are going to kill the movement AND get their asses kicked.  The civil rights war was won by peaceful protest.  The public eventually game to their side and voted to change things.  If it had been a violent black uprising, it would have been bloodily crushed, and most people would have declared good riddance .

    If you are desperate to go prove you have the biggest balls of them all, offer to be in front when a police line charges.

    1. The civil rights war was won by peaceful protest

      The civil rights war was won?  That’s news to me.  Also, whatever concessions were won, were won at least as much by rioting in cities across the US as by peaceful protests. 

      1. The victories of the Civil Rights movement were tremendous.  I’m not implying that there isn’t a long ways to go still or that we live in a magical utopia of racial harmony, but comparing 1950’s America to 1970’s America is night and day.  The repeal of Jim Crow laws, the right to vote restored, and the various desegregation efforts were tremendous political and social changes the likes of which the US hadn’t seen since the Civil War.  If the OWS folks can do even a tiny fraction of that, they can go home feeling like they accomplished something.  

        Americans were not scared into that sort of change.  Fear of riots was not what caused any sort of change.  It was watching state police beating the shit out of protesters that didn’t fight back that brought about change.  It was brave men and women getting arrested over and over for standing up, peacefully, against power that shook America’s core.  

        It was the OTHER side that tried violence, and look where it got them?  The bombings, the police beatings, and all of that violence HARMED the segregationist.

        Violence and intimidation doesn’t work, if for no other reason than that when you resort to violence you can’t help but hurt the wrong people.  Once you start to riot you do as much physical harm to the people you are trying to help as you do to anyone else.  On top of that, as soon as you riot you lose much of your public respect and credibility.  OWS is slowly building support, in large part because it has been so peaceful.  Scenes of violence against protesters charge public support.  

        It would take just a handful of assholes to change everything.  Get violent, and suddenly police beating on people trying to rip apart the city doesn’t seem so bad.  Toss a tear filled convenience store owner in front of the camera crying about his life’s work being ruined, and suddenly the protesters look like the monsters.  Achieve a real state of disorder and someone is going to use that chaos to rape, harm, or kill an innocent person.

        The Rodney King beating were a horrible injustice, but America didn’t shed a tear when the national guard went in guns blazing restore order.  The US will respond exactly the same to a violent Wall Street protest.  Protesters peacefully getting the shit kicked out of them will receive support and sympathy from all ends of the spectrum and might actually stand a chance of enacting change.  Descend into violence, and  very few people will be shedding tears when the state uses brutal force to restore order.

        The history of violent revolution is a history of bloody failure and the occasional rare bloody success.  The history of true non-violent protests, especially when directed at a nominally democratic nation, while no sure thing, is filled with tremendous earth shattering victories.

        1. Violence, the threat of violence, and the demonstration that one is capable of retaliating with violence, are all potentially very counter-productive. But much credit for civil rights must go to people like Malcolm X and the Black Panthers, who let White America know that failure to accept justice would have real consequences. 

          Apartheid was not abolished solely by peaceful means (Mandela was jailed for non-lethal terrorism), and slavery certainly wasn’t abolished by peaceful means. Neither was UK control of the thirteen colonies. Suffragettes had to riot to get the vote for women. Gay rights were not taken seriously till after the Stonewall riots. Even the anti-draft movement had to fight cops to be able to march. The anti-trust movement followed 20 years of pitched battles and militant strike activity, which saw the US army and militias called out thousands of times. And if there was never any possibility of a communist revolution, there’s a fair chance that capitalist states would not have accommodated workers rights and basic redistributive spending and social programs in the mid20th century.

          Peaceful protest coupled with a saintly acceptance of mace and batons may or may not be enough to bring about needed change in the USA, but lets not misrepresent history.

    2. If populist rhetoric and voting actual made a difference, these 1% fuckers would have had it outlawed a long time ago.

    3. yeah, well, you’re right about that follow-up post. but the problem is, not everyone who is pissed off at these scum is as rational as you. case in point: me.

  17. From the article :

    “Shipped with excerpts from Leonard Peikoff’s The Ominous Parallels, each authentic Reichsmark coin contains 5 grams of silver and serves as a foreboding reminder of the dangerous evil of sacrifice for ‘the public good,'” he (trader Hoenig) writes.

    Uhhh. . . wait. . . what exactly did the Nazis “sacrifice” for the “public good”?  They killed off a large portion of their own society and plundered their belongings, not exactly how I understand either “sacrifice” or “public good.”

  18. The civil rights movement worked (for the most part) because much of America was ashamed at what they finally saw (peaceful protesters being violently attacked), but we lost that viginity a long time ago.  Now we are used to footage of protesters being attacked, and we also have a large portion of the media (that has a rabid following) focused on demonizing the protesters as either dangerous marxists or clueless hippies.  We also had congressmen who were a lot more independent and willing to cross party lines (what would it take to shame Paul Ryan into changing his ideological tune?)

    The only real power we have is in the voting booth, except we can’t get good candidates, because in order to make a serious run you have to amass a small fortune, and that corrupts everything.

    Money controls all, and they have all the money.

    I’m not advocating violence, I don’t think that will help.  You have to find a sneaky way to make Wall Street want to change its ways, or create a bipartisan movement to get money out of politics. 

  19. Something I think it’s quite sad so many are forgetting – To much of the rest of the world, YOU are the 1%. You have clean water, plentiful food, and plentiful free time, along with general human rights and freedoms generally afforded to you.

    It’s nice to get yours, sure, and I’m not saying you shouldn’t be up in arms against these rich assholes, but be mindful you do not forget about everyone else while you’re busy getting yours.

    1. We have much less of those things than we *think* we have, and what we still have is rapidly disappearing.  

    2. you have a VERY good point.
      please hang on just a little bit longer while we re-establish the fucker/fuckee relationship in our rich western democracies , i’m sure your grievances shall be addressed as soon as decent people are in a position to do so.

  20. Meh. More proof that the one percent aren’t in the least inconvenienced by all of this.

    Shut off their nannies, their cooks, their groudskeepers, and then see what they say.

    If there’s no general strike by the end of the year, this is another failed movement.

  21. Well thank you, anonymous Master of the Universe, for clearly demarcating who I ought to tax the bejeezus out of first.

    1. If you think the power lies in the White House instead of with the elite business class in the country’s financial sector then it’s you who’s intellectually out to lunch.

    1. The last time people mocked others for being poor, they got their asses guillotined…

      Their asses? Somebody must have skipped reading the instruction manual for that thing.

  22. rocks, caltrops and lynchings, oh my!  And guillotines, too!!
    Step back, take a breath. Calm blue ocean. 

  23. I think that is someone calling the 99%’s bluff. They know that there is no peaceful solution to this problem, and they also know that the people don’t have the stomach to solve it themselves. They will toss a few bones in the direction of the 99% to keep them below the violence threshold and everything will go back to status quo. If people were serious about change they would take the protest mobs to the homes of the 1% rather than Wall Street. There would be a very different reaction when the protest shows up on your doorstep.

  24. Consider that the tea party are berated, called names, mocked and threatened, (by the likes of people on this site and the media) yet you don’t hear this sort of outrage or calls for vandalism and violence.  I’m certainly not one of the 99% that advocates that sort of behavior no matter what you believe.  

    Then I go over to the and the site mentions Socialism 660 times. (according to google).  Some against but most in favor of.  Yesterday on the radio i heard people from the actual protest calling it socialism.  I’ve asked questions several times about who defines wealthy?  What is wealthy?  Who decides who gets what?  No one can or will venture a guess.  My gut tells me because its a can of worms no one really wants to open.  Thats the first step towards corruption.I agree, corporations should be out of politics, lobbying should be illegal and each candidate should get X dollars and have to quit their current job to run.   We as a nation should help those who really need help, feed the poor and care for the sick.  What I don’t know is how to do those things.    But you lost me, you lost me at socialism, vandalism and violence.

    Start a political party and follow the virtues you demand of others.  Effect change by changing the system from within.  Get a coherent list of not just demands, but actual solutions.  Demanding social/economic justice but offering nothing as a solution will lose steam.

    Here are some ideas I have.  

    1.  Lobbying of any kind becomes outlawed.  Gifts of any kind given to elected officials are not allowed and both giving and accepting gifts is a criminal act, jail time is mandatory if convicted and neither party may run or be involved with politics further.  This includes the loss of voting rights.

    2.  No one may donate to a candidate, nor can a candidates personal wealth be used for campaigning.  No people, no corporations, no one.  Instead,  Candidates are limited to a set amount of money to spend provided by taxpayers.  Each candidate receives the same dollar amount and must account for each dollar spent.  Candidates who lose must pay back the used dollars to the taxpayers.  I think $100,000 is fair.  Thats more than most people make in a year.  Thats what you have to spend, spend it wisely.  The amount of money spent here is sickening.  Imagine what could be done with it otherwise.  Donations to candidates could still be accepted so long as they donation in its entirety is passed along to a charity or cause of the candidates choosing and is publicly disclosed.  Enact severe penalties for those who would not comply, much as above in number 1.

    3.  Congress can no longer vote for raises for themselves.  Instead each congress person receives a flat wage.  Each month approval ratings are calculated (how i can’t say atm) and wages go up or down based on the approval ratings.   How about $65,000 per year as a starting point?  The median is 50%, approval rating of 60%?  that means a 10% raise for the month for all members.  40%?  thats a 10% pay cut.  Do your job and what the people want or pay for it… literally.

    4.  Congress members must show up to work, every day.  Gone are the long breaks, the spring break, the summer break, the fall break etc… LIke the rest of us working dogs they work most every day of the year with a few weeks of paid vacation and paid sick time.

    5.  If you or I want to run for a political office we’d have to quit our day job to do so.  The same should be required for career politicians.  Step down from your current job and then you can run.  Otherwise, focus on what you’re put in office to do.

    6.  End lifetime healthcare for congress.  Instead, take that revenue and put it towards lifetime healthcare for those who serve in the armed forces during wartime in combat.

    7.  End all pork barrel spending.  Make it a crime to add these sorts of things to a bill to get votes.  Its bribery and its sickening.  Both the person offering and the person accepting are held accountable and jail time is mandatory if convicted.

    8.  Enact a simple tax system, a national sales tax.  If you buy more, you pay more.  People who are more well off will spend more and therefore pay more taxes.  Those with less will pay less.  No one rides for free.  States may have their own sales tax and choose whether or not to have an income tax.  But fed personal income tax is gone.  don’t tax on what you make, tax on what you spend.  If people aren’t spending, the government has less money.  So it behooves the government to encourage spending by individuals.  10% national sales tax and a 10% corporate tax on all profit plus they also pay the national sales tax on purchases.

    9.  Create jobs with common sense.  Companies with 25% or more of their workforce or assets outside the US have a 15% fee levied on all products and services they sell in the US.  This goes for foreign and domestic based companies.  You want to sell us your goods?  Give us the jobs to make them here. 

    10.  Impose import tariffs on all goods entering the US.  Put our focus back on ourselves and the health of our nation as a whole.  We’re being destroyed from the inside out by lowball products and materials from the likes of China.  Put a stop to it, now.

    11.  We live in dangerous times.  The border must be closed and protected.  We simply must document everyone coming and going.  If you enter illegally, you are deported immediately and remanded to the police in the originating country for processing.

    12.  Develop and define a path to citizenship for anyone here illegally now that has no criminal record here or elsewhere and is employed.  Immediate family (spouse, children) are included so long as they have no criminal record and the children are under the age of 18.  For children over the age of 18 they must be employed.  The path includes learning English and 1000 hours of community volunteer time.  Spouses and children must also learn English and spouses must complete 250 hours of community volunteer time.  Criminal infractions (to be defined)  by any member of the immediate family as defined will result in deportation of the entire family unit to the country of origin where they will be remanded to the police of that country. 

    13. End absentee voting for all but deployed military personnel.  It would be nice to extend it to others but it would be far too hard to track and leaves things wide open for stealing elections.

    14.  Require picture ID and a voter registration number to vote.  This is a no-brainer.  Show proof of identity with a federally issued ID, it gets swiped and you can vote.  With all the tech we’ve got I cannot believe we can’t do checks to make sure its not someone dead voting or someone who’s already voted.

    15.  Legalize Marijuana and Hemp.  Allow it to be grown and used and regulate it like alcohol with taxes and usage laws.  Release current inmates on marijuana possession charges so long as the charges are for possession only.  No resisting arrest, fleeing the police etc…  Any other charges and you stay in prison for the amount for that charge only.

    16.  End government subsidies for farmers.  let them grow what they want and bring to the people in a fair market.  With tariffs on produce entering from Mexico and South America farmers in the US will get more of a fair shake in the marketplace.

    17.  Stop seed monopolies.  Farmers can and should be able to keep the seed of their crop.  Make it a criminal act to stop them from doing so.  You get rid of lobbying and donations and these sorts of things are easier to enact.

    18.  Develop our own fossil fuel assets.  Yes, alternative power is necessary and must continue to be developed but it isn’t ready for prime time across the board.  In the meantime, lessen dependence on all foreign oil by safely developing our own.

    19.  Unemployment compensation requires community service. 20 hours per week per individual until you become employed again.  Imagine the projects that could be taken on and the sense of contribution from folks who want to work but can’t find employment.  Give back to the community that is helping you.

    20.  2% of every dollar of the national sales tax goes towards funding Healthcare.  Now of course, i haven’t done the math so the number could be adjusted.

    Thats my 20 point manifesto with clear concise solutions.  You may like them, you may not, the point is they are solutions.

    1. Teemo? The majority of things you list there are great ideas, but a national sales tax would be the death knell for the lower and middle classes. Allow me to explain.

      Let’s first address the lower income family under our current tax
      system. A family of four currently receives deductions of 24,300 (not
      including Earned Income Credit, Child Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax
      Credit). So the first $24,300 that family earns is (income) tax free.

      Many families actually make less money than this, but we’ll use
      $24,000 as our example. Now, to bring in the sort of revenue that our
      current income tax system does, a Federal Sales tax would need to be set
      at 25%. A family making $24,000 could expect to pay close to $3,000 a
      year in new Federal Sales tax, above and beyond what they already are
      paying in state and local sales tax. The reason for this is simple, the
      less money you make, the higher the percentage of your income must be
      spent as opposed to saved. When we factor in that they will receive no
      Earned Income Credit for their children, a refundable tax credit that,
      in this case would be $3,255? This family essentially loses over $6,000
      to a Federal Sales Tax versus what they are paying under our current
      system. This continues to shift a greater portion of the tax debt to the

      Flat taxes, they always SEEM like a good idea….

      1. I am sure smarter folks than I can sort out how to help those who need help.  Thats what we do now with the credits, it would just need to be thought through.  Good points, thanks for continuing the discussion.

    2. Why is it inherently negative that the site mentions socialism? That in itself is not a bad thing. You can’t make an argument on mentioning a word alone. You should say why you disagree with socialism.

  25. Is this where I say “Your ideas are interesting and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter”? 

  26. No, the sign wasn’t put up by the 1%. It was almost certainly put up by the 5% – the young, just-out-of-college assholes who *want* to be in the 1%, like their bosses.

  27. comments: TL;DR, so if someone already said this, my apologies:

    IF you go to “work” in that building, you are not part of the 1%. YOU are still a lackey and a goon for the 1%. You may think you’re doing well, you make think you’ve got it made, but you’re still small potatoes compared to the real 1%. How’s that ass above you taste?

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