Vendetta mask at Washington occupy protest

A V for Vendetta Guy Fawkes mask is set on the statue of Civil War Gen. James B. McPherson at the McPherson Square by Occupy DC protesters in Washington, D.C. Police raided the protest in February. (Jewel Samad / AFP/Getty Images / February 23, 2012)

That movement began last fall when protesters in New York City occupied a park near Wall Street. That protest popularized the distinction between the 1% of the richest Americans as those who exert a disproportionate influence over the economy and politics, and the remaining 99% who are, in effect, ruled.

From those humble beginnings, the demonstration grew into a movement with occupations across the country.

At the peak, cities from Washington to Los Angeles had occupations of one sort or another, and thousands of people were arrested. Traditional institutions such as unions and social groups helped spread the anger.

But colder weather, increasingly unaccommodating municipal officials and complaints from businesspeople led to the occupations being closed down, leaving the slogans as a echo amid the national political campaigns.

Liberals have now adopted the sentiment, stressing unfairness as one of their memes in the ongoing presidential and congressional elections. Conservatives reply that the campaign is an example of class warfare.

But ever since the autumn of discontent morphed into the winter of political hibernation, many have wondered what would become of the movement and whether what began in a burst of anger would simply evaporate or be content to be co-opted by existing political parties.

It's too soon to know what will happen, but at least one group has called for a retracing of the founding moments of the United States and the passage of the Declaration of Independence.

The group, which calls itself the "99% Declaration Working Group," is seeking the election of delegates from all of the 435 congressional districts and representatives from the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. All 876 delegates would meet July 4 in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia to sign a "petition for a redress of grievances" -- a conscious echo of the original Declaration of Independence in 1776.

The original Declaration was the formal announcement the colonies were seeking independence from Britain on the grounds the colonists had natural rights that came from a source superior to a mere Parliament, especially one that was thousands of miles away and unresponsive to colonial complaints. The document outlined colonial grievances such as taxation without representation and chastised King George III for failing to adequately address the colonists’ complaints.

By the time the document was voted on and passed,  the colonies and the mother country had already been at war for more than year.

According to its website, the organizing group -- an offshoot of the original Occupy Wall Street protests but now separate -- isn’t taking a position on what grievances should be included, but is merely a facilitator in organizing the national assembly.

Once the petition is completed, copies will sent to the White House, Congress and the Supreme Court.