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Occupy Wall Street 2.0: A chat with the editor of Adbusters

Kalle Lasn.

Cross-posted from Solutions Journal.

Founder and editor of Adbusters magazine, Kalle Lasn is largely credited for conceptualizing and starting the Occupy Wall Street protests in Zuccotti Park, New York City, which eventually spread around the world. Here, he talks to Solutions about his vision for the future.

Q. You have been trying to change consumer culture for years. How did the idea for Occupy Wall Street begin?

A. It began in early 2011. It was percolating in 2010. We were excited by the anarchist action in Greece and discontent among young people in Spain, and the Arab Spring began in Tunisia and spread to Egypt, and we saw how young people in Egypt were using social media to get tons of people out to the streets and pull off regime change. Our brainstorming sessions at Adbusters began and we said, “We need a regime change in America as well.” Not hard regime change like Egypt where dictators were torturing people. We are after a soft regime change. We felt the heart of American democracy and found that, in Washington, D.C., things were rotten and corporations were getting their own way with lobbyists and money power. Wall Street people have created a global casino, and meanwhile young people are having a hard time finding jobs and are losing their houses. So let’s try to create a Tahrir Square moment in America.

Q. How do you feel about how the protests ended? Did they flame out, or was it a success? What lessons were learned?

Read more: Living, Media, Politics


Naomi Klein: Serious about climate? Throw out the free-market playbook

Naomi Klein. (Photo by Ed Kashi.)

Cross-posted from Solutions Journal.

Perhaps one of the most well-known voices for the left, Canadian Naomi Klein is an activist and author of several nonfiction works critical of consumerism and corporate activity, including the best sellers No Logo and Shock Doctrine. She is currently at work on a book about climate change.

Q. In your cover story for The Nation last year, you say that modern environmentalism successfully advances many of the causes dear to the political left, including redistribution of wealth, higher and more progressive taxes, and greater government intervention and regulation. Please explain.

A. The piece came out of my interest and my shock at the fact that belief in climate change in the United States has plummeted. If you really drill into the polling data, what you see is that the drop in belief in climate change is really concentrated on the right of the political spectrum. It’s been an extraordinary and unusual shift in belief in a short time. In 2007, 71 percent of Americans believed in climate change, and in 2009 only 51 percent believed -- and now we’re at 41 percent. So I started researching the denial movement and going to conferences and reading the books, and what’s clear is that, on the right, climate change is seen as a threat to the right’s worldview, and to the neoliberal economic worldview. It’s seen as a Marxist plot. They accuse climate scientists of being watermelons -- green on the outside and red on the inside.

Read more: Climate Change, Politics