Salon’s got a great series of videos exploring the lives and coping strategies of “the 99ers”—no, not the 99%, although they are certainly a part of that, too—the people who have exhausted 99 weeks of unemployment insurance and have nowhere else to turn.
In this most recent installment, Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Immy Humes listens to members of the longtime unemployed tell how the Occupy movement inspired them. There is something in the emotional core of this short film that captures perfectly, I think, the life-affirming realization of “Holy shit, this is really happening and it’s wonderful” that went on for those few months last Fall. Almost more than any other document I’ve seen about Occupy Wall Street, this one really speaks to the kind of experience I personally had there. It captures what it inspired in many people.
For our 99ers, an informal group of jobless New Yorkers who have exhausted their 99 weeks of unemployment benefits, the Occupy Wall Street movement came as a dream fulfilled.
As the protests took root in Zuccotti Park, the 99ers found a mass of people who care about the plight of the jobless and want to do something about it. As seen in last week’s episode of our video series, “Occupy Meets MacArthur’s Tanks,” Occupy Wall Street is just the latest in a long line of American protest movements demanding economic justice. The emergence of the Occupy movement, one 99er said, felt “like the early stages of a revolution.”
And then the question arose: What do America’s jobless want? As the video shows, the 99ers have some answers.