The Occupy Wall Street movement, in its third week in Manhattan, is cropping up in cities from Los Angeles to Chicago, spawning similar demonstrations against corporations, political corruption, economic inequality and a host of other issues.
Whether the grass-roots movement will affect Main Street businesses eventually is impossible to know. In New York, demonstrators often appear to have no clear message as they gather around pizza boxes, huddle in sleeping bags or dress up as what they call "corporate zombies." Early reports indicate that rallies in other cities are equally loosely focused.
But the gatherings, which generally reflect the discontent among many Americans, particularly the unemployed, may pick up speed thanks to social media such as Twitter and Facebook and mainstream media exposure.
The implications for business owners could be far-ranging. Potential customers or employees may be among the crowds sounding off on their disparate talking points. As the 2012 election season gears up, politicians may seek to capitalize on the sentiments voiced at the demonstration, from raising taxes on the wealthy to limiting the power of the Federal Reserve. And some corporations, including those drawing protesters’ ire, may simply use the attacks as an opportunity to adjust their marketing to the zeitgeist.
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Here's a sampling of what’s happening at the Occupy Wall Street in New York.