Occupy Wall Street’s Children

Remember when New York cops pepper sprayed peaceful protesters during the Obama administration?

Imagine if that happened today under Trump?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Occupy Wall Street. A common criticism of it at the time (2011) was that the protesters didn’t have clear demands.

And that criticism might be appropriate. Or maybe it missed the point?

One thing OWS did do was popularise the idea of the 1% and 99%.

Which, of course, Bernie Sanders used to made his surprising rise as a credible voice in American federal politics, nearly upsetting the entire DNC applecart, causing major rifts inside the organisation, as they had to resort to rigging the primaries to shut him down.

What many people don’t remember is that OWS was started by Kalle Lasn, the publisher of AdBusters magazine. He was inspired by this podcast I did with him back in 2009 (kidding… or am I?).

Kalle and his team released this poster with the infamous hashtag #occupywallstreet.

Now Sanders didn’t win the DNC primary, let alone the White House – but what he did achieve was the partial rehabilitation of the word “socialist” in American politics. And here we are a few years later, where “Four in 10 Americans prefer socialism to capitalism” according to an Axios poll.

What do I take away from all this?

A poster and a hashtag can have consequences well beyond a protest.

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