Kalle Lasn talks about the Occupy movement


Kalle Lasn is the editor of the magazine Adbusters that is credited with being one of the brains that inspired the Occupy movement that in 2011 resulted in huge numbers of people occupying public spaces in New York and other cities to protest inequality and financial corruption. While many people have argued that the dispersal of the movement signaled its failure, when Jake Whitney interviewed him for the December 2015/January 2016 issue of The Progressive magazine, Lasn disagreed with that conclusion and said that the spirit of Occupy is very much alive.

Lasn says:

“It was inevitable that the first phase was going to fade out. But people who say that don’t get it, quite frankly. They expected the Occupy movement to make demands to the government and accomplish specific policy goals. That’s not what happened. Occupy politicized millions of young people around the world. It sent a message that if we’re smart and come up with smart strategies like occupying the iconic heart of capitalism, and if we use social media to organize, then we can create global big bang moments that change things.”

The Occupy movement definitely changed the political climate and dialogue in the US. The slogan “We are the 99%” has caught on to signal the potential power that can be unleashed if people unite against the exploiters. The idea that it is wrong for a tiny minority of people (whether the actual figure is 1% or 0.1% does not matter) to control such a large proportion of the global income and wealth is now seen as a serious political issue. Thanks to the Occupy movement, Wall Street has become toxic despite the money they shower on candidates. Mitt Romney undoubtedly suffered in 2012 from his being tainted by that association.

Bernie Sanders has made this inequality the centerpiece of his campaign and even the Republicans leading in the presidential race like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are shying away from public identification with Wall Street, even if they are secretly sympathetic to them. Watch how Hillary Clinton tries to laugh off a question about her speeches to Goldman Sachs for which she was paid $675,000.

Do people think that she will really try and curb the power of Wall Street after receiving so much from them?

Comments

  1. says

    Do people think that she will really try and curb the power of Wall Street after receiving so much from them?

    No. She’ll set Chelsea up for a career in power, if she’s interested.

    Most of the 99% don’t realize that foundations like the Clinton Foundation or Gates foundation are just tax shelters. The trick is you can give gigantic amounts of money to a non-profit foundation or charitable trust, then give your frogspawn kid* a highly-paid management job in the foundation. That way you’ve set up an annuity for the creature but it’s not visibly coming out of your pocket. Depending on how tax shelter foundations are set up, you can pay management fees to the foundations’ executives as high as 10% (15% is considered aggressive) they still pay taxes on it, but depending on how sketchy you want to get with the foundation you may have “perks” like car, travel, nice hotels, meals, sometimes a spiffy appartment in New York. Every so often the IRS tries to rewrite management perk tax law to cut back on this kind of stuff and immediately afterward clever weaponized accountants come up with ways of dodging around it.

    Anyhow, the whole bit about the gigantic dollarbags Clinton Foundation, and then getting Chelsea a job as a media talking head – sounded like a set-up. But maybe Chelsea is a decent enough person not to want to follow in her parents’ footsteps.

    (* Or if you’re the RDF, your founders’ mistress a $80,000/yr job)

  2. starskeptic says

    I seem to remember the ports on the entire West coast getting shut down – no small accomplishment…

  3. Trickster Goddess says

    I knew that the Occupy movement had accomplished something when I started hearing the term “one percenter” frequently popping up in the dialogue of TV shows.

  4. lorn says

    Marcus Ranum @ #1:
    “the Clinton Foundation or Gates foundation are just tax shelters. The trick is you can give gigantic amounts of money to a non-profit foundation or charitable trust, then give your frogspawn kid* a highly-paid management job in the foundation. That way you’ve set up an annuity for the creature but it’s not visibly coming out of your pocket.”

    Yes , such foundations might be used to channel money to heirs while avoiding taxes and scrutiny. But it depends, like so many other things, on the details of how it is structured and run. The Clinton Foundation isn’t what you are describing:

    From: https://www.clintonfoundation.org/about/frequently-asked-questions

    Q – Who contributes to the Foundation? Where can I find a list of Foundation donors?

    A – We are proud to have more than 300,000 contributors; 90% of our donations are $100 or less. Like all philanthropic organizations, the Foundation depends on contributions to pursue our work around the world.

    While not required by any law, but in keeping with a long-held commitment to transparency, the Clinton Foundation has for years listed all contributors dating back to the Foundation’s beginning on our website.

    Q- Do the Clintons receive any income or personal expense reimbursement from the Foundation?

    A – No. President Clinton and Chelsea Clinton, who serve on the Board of Directors, do not take a salary from the Clinton Foundation and receive no funding from it. Secretary Clinton did not take a salary when she served on the Board of Directors.

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