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2012 Top Memes

The term MEME itself went viral in 2012, and there is still no sign of cute-cat-photo-fatigue. Our list of Top Memes considers memes used or created by our social movements to challenge the status quo, and the mass memes shaping politics and pop culture. For us, memes spread meaning through story, via symbols and practices and are transmitted through writing, speech, gestures, images, rituals, and phenomena.

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TOP 13 MEMES OF 2012

We've chosen 13, to celebrate the coming of the new year.

13. Voter Fraud

The GOP claimed we faced a voter fraud epidemic in 2012, and introduced bills to tighten voting laws in 46 states, effectively suppressing suffrage for People of Color, young people and seniors. As Mother Jones said flatly, "UFO sightings are more common than voter fraud." MORE 

12. Home Economics

As the right wing meme Right to Work faced off against the struggle for Rights at Work and Wal-Mart workers walked out on Black Friday, the groundbreaking report Home Economics by The National Domestic Workers Alliance exposed just how dire conditions are for critical caregivers in an unprotected workplace. MORE

11. Undocubus

Last year we called out Undocumented, Unafraid as a top meme. This year young immigrants continued boldly and bravely with a national bus tour and their meme of the migrating butterfly, calling on President Obama to stand on the right side of history. MORE

10. Dreaming in Public

The Occupy Wall Street movement continues shaping discourse with campaigns like Rolling Jubilee, Strike Debt, Occupy the Farm, Occupy Sandy and MORE.

 9. #Kony2012

The "white savior industrial complex" & what an Atlantic writer calls "The Soft Bigotry of Kony 2012". MORE

 8. Sh*t Girls Say

This meme created an opening for racial justice activists in 2012, starting with "Sh*t (White) Girls Say (to Black Girls)". MORE 

 7. The NRA Kills Our Kids

2012 will be remembered as a year of tragic shootings in the US. The murder of Trayvon Martin saw national mobilization against racial profiling and the NRA and ALEC-backed "Stand Your Ground" gun laws with the Million Hoodie Marches and Skittles becoming potent memes. Mass shootings in Colorado, Wisconsin and Connecticut appalled the nation, and CODEPINK infiltrated NRA press conference to tell the world that they are killing our kids. MORE

 6. Call Me Maybe

Did anyone escape this pop tune? Social movements made it their own. MORE

 5. Bank VS America

Called the top twitter handle in recent history, this meme changed the story around foreclosure at the Bank of America shareholder's meeting and beyond as part of the 99% Spring and #99power. MORE

 4. Climate Silence

The presidential debates sidelined climate, Frankenstorm Sandy crippled New York, and activists called for an end to the silence. MORE

 3. Fiscal Cliff

There's no escaping this meme, the legislative drama, the pundit battle. MORE

 2. #IdleNoMore

Canadian First Nations Sovereignty Mobilization sparked by attacks on land and water rights has gone global. Breaking news! MORE

 1. 47%

The political narrative of 2012 was dominated by the contest of Romney vs. Obama. We've aggregated powerful memes from the election - from R-Money to Big Bird, and we believe that the most critical blow was the famous "47% speech" that Romney thought was staying in the room. Hats off to Mother Jones for breaking the story! THIS AND MORE ELECTION MEMES HERE!

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