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.
“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?