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.