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Ear to the Ground

The Origin and Future of the Occupy Wall Street Movement

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Posted on Oct 5, 2011
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Salon reporter Justin Elliott sat down with Adbusters co-founder and editor-in-chief Kalle Lasn to talk about the formation of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which began in print with a poster published in Lasn’s “culture-jamming” magazine in mid-July.

The conversation turned to the question posed at the top of the poster: “What is our one demand?” Three weeks into the demonstration, no single order has materialized, for which protesters are suffering harsh criticism from pundits and bloggers.

Lasn discusses his changing thoughts on the subject below. —ARK


Can you speculate about how these demands will emerge? Do you see leaders or spokespeople emerging? How do you see it playing out as a process?

The political left has always had problems with this. All my life I’ve been sitting in meetings where loony guys get up and talk, and eventually very little happens. This is the kind of weight that is dragging the political left down. We don’t seem to have the clarity of vision that for example the Tea Party has. This may be our undoing again. This whole movement may fizzle out in a bunch of loony lefty kind of bullshit.

Then again, at the same time, I’ve been in daily touch with dozens and dozens of people in cities all around the world who are involved in this. And I have a feeling that because of the Internet and a different kind of mentality that young people have, a horizontal way of thinking about things, this movement may not just come up with some really good demands and put incredible people pressure on our politicians, but a more beautiful thing may come out of this movement: a new model of democracy, a new model of how activism can work, of how the people can have a radical democracy and have some of their demands met. This new model may well be a new kind of a horizontal thing that in some strange way works like the Internet works.

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By Robert Dinkle, October 17, 2011 at 6:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Myself I am leaning more and more socialist as the way to go for the average person. Why do I say that? I can tell you that not one production facility in any socialist country has moved to China.

They have no unemployment. When demand goes down, everyone cuts back on the work week a bit and everyone keeps working.  Everyone has health insurance if you are sick and can’t work or are working.  Collage is free for everyone.

The huge horrible thing that I am sure no one likes under socialism is they have very few millionaires and no billionaires, and that is why the propaganda campaign has been so strong in America against it.

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By terry p, October 6, 2011 at 5:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

average guy - good comment. you said:

“If this is Capitalism…

I’ll take Communism any day”

You are on the money but what can be done?

Noam Chomsky referred to the Bailed out Wall Street banksters as, “not only too big to fail, but also [too big to jail.]”

The 99%er’s are doing their part to bring attention to the problem. Maybe this time a revolution, if enough people come together, will stick. Hopefully, the wizards behind the curtain won’t hijack the movement as they usually do. They have the resources to infiltrate. Brave people are in the streets today but what about tomorrow? There is a strong need for organization and leadership. Who can be trusted to take the lead. There is no charismatic Martin Luther King type appearing on the scene. Most major news coverage comes with it’s special commentary saying that there is no specific purpose of this movement while it is clear to the ‘average person’. The Feds and the Wall Street executives are the targets.

I’m hoping this is the beginning of a wonderful future for 99.9% of the people. And I’m hoping that those .1% who got us into this capitalist mess will join the likes of Bernie Madoff, Charles Manson, tricky Dick Cheney and George W Bush in jail.

Read the “Web of Debt” by Ellen Brown. Most of the Bankster tricks are revealed and a solution, other than Austerity measures, is presented. A big part of the solution is nationalizing the Feds. That is the way trickle down economics could work if the 12 Federal Reserve banks belonged to 100% of the people.


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By OzarkMichael, October 5, 2011 at 5:42 pm Link to this comment

from the article: “...Occupy Wall Street movement, which began in print with a poster published in Lasn’s “culture-jamming” magazine in mid-July.”

so what was Steve Lerner referring to back in April? A Wall Street picnic? “Days of Rage” was planned long ago. Somehow you guys just keep ignoring the facts.

Truthdiggers are pretty gullible. You got what it takes to be reliable Pawns.

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By gerard, October 5, 2011 at 11:38 am Link to this comment

A couple problems with choosing the “meme” or slogan and with naming (and thereby isolating) a demand:

So much is wrong that any one demand is insufficient to the need for changes.

The word “capitalism” is such a sacred cow and alternative ideas have been so demonized that for almost 100 years the country has allowed itself to be virtually caged.

Reminds me of a rare fossil my Dad once took out of his picket and showed me:  An insect in perfect condition trapped in what was once transparent tree sap, chrystalized and hardened into stone over thousands of years of time.

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By Leefeller, October 5, 2011 at 10:48 am Link to this comment

Ossification is always in the tool bag, the tea bag and the political bag of tricks!  Occupy Wall Street has a clear message, get money and corruption out of our republican democracy!  A tall order I suppose?

One person, one dollar, one vote!

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By Bisbonian, October 5, 2011 at 10:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Indeed he was, average guy.  The big problem with “Communism”, as we have seen it run, is that some powerful guys decided that “for the good of the people”, they were going to run it for them…and then acted just like a ruling class in so many other forms of government.  And the result was evil.  Not because it was communism (which it wasn’t), but because the ruling class were evil.  We have the same problem here.  Communism, capitalism, socialism, they could be made into workable systems, with checks and balances in place, until some rich guys who are smarter(?), faster, greedier than their peers take it upon themselves to run it for us.

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By average guy, October 5, 2011 at 9:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If this is Capitalism…

I’ll take Communism any day,

at least then I’ll have a job
a roof over my head
and food to eat.
not to mention better health care
and education that a poor guy
could ever get in ameriKa.

The only reason Communism “failed” anyway
is not because of some intrinsic weakness but
because it was undermined from the beginning
by the very same vultures at work today
and was never truly allowed to flourish.

In the end, being a virtuous system,
Communism could not compete in the medium term
with the pyramidal scheme of fiat money.

But today the fraud of Capitalism is here
for all to see.

By definition Communism is more efficient
since it excludes the profit motive
which reveals itself in all its glory and wreckage today.

Banksters and other parasites get it all
while the masses get but the shaft.

Were there shortcomings with Communism?

certainly, but it is clearly superior for
the common good than this charade we presently have.
And it is totally open for improvement…
as opposed to our failed system which simply
has decreed “it is the greatest system on earth”
(and thus the only changes allowed are to
lower the rich’s taxes, and socialize their loses)
when all evidence points to the contrary.

Call me a nut all you want…


Karl Marx was right.

How can you say it isn’t so if you never read it?
(The Capital: strangely still very current)

Actually, this is what the parasitic bankster class
is most afraid of…  ideas… these ideas.

Fighting the symptoms will get us nowhere.
Fight the root of the problem.

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By Bisbonian, October 5, 2011 at 9:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Duh.  Read the poster.  “What is our One Demand?  Occupy Wall Street.”  Start.  Point out what is wrong.  A solution will become evident once we address the problem.

Oh yeah, “bring a tent.”

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By surfnow, October 5, 2011 at 8:18 am Link to this comment

Just read a great quote in a piece on counterpunch- it’s from J.M. Keynes-  ” Capitalism is the insane belief that the most wicked of men, will do the most wicked things for the greatest good of everyone.”

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