NPR anchor Robert Siegel interviewed Occupy Wall Street's inspirational force, Kalle Lasn of the Canadian group Adbusters, on Tuesday night's All Things Considered and discussed how ripe America was for a socialist revolution. Lasn brought up comparisons to 1968 and the hope for a "full-fledged, full spectrum movement that operates on all levels." Siegel suggested back then, it inspired violent revolutionaries like the Weather Underground. (Well, violence wasn't mentioned.)
Lasn warmed the heart of Bill Ayers by saying America is riper now for revolution than it was in the Sixties:
SIEGEL: You know, I covered things that happened in 1968; some of them done by friends. And one thing that happened after that year was some on what was then called the New Left, misread big protests, crackdowns by police, and thought that the United States was in a revolutionary situation.
SIEGEL: And so a few provocations would bring the house down.
LASN: Yes. Yes.
SIEGEL: Hence, the Weather Underground and things of that sort. How do you judge the weakness or the stability of the U.S. political and economical system today?
LASN: Well, I don't think it's ever been as unstable or as shaky as it is now. I think that in the last just few years, America suddenly caught in these triple crises. And it's quite obvious to many people in this movement that our leaders, they don't really what the hell they're doing. You know, that they're just in crisis management mode. You know, we're in a world where the climate change tipping points are hovering on the horizon, where our political system is thoroughly corrupt with moneyed interests. And on top of that, we have this financial crisis that could well turn into something much more ugly than even 1929 or the 1930s.
SIEGEL: You don't think - I don't know if you were in the U.S. in 1968, but you don't think...
LASN: I was actually, yeah.
SIEGEL: You don't think the summers of riots in those days, the fear that permeated many American cities, the George Wallace campaign for president, the Vietnam War protests - you don't think that that was a shaky time? You don't think that...
LASN: But it was shaky in a different way. I think that it was shaky because maybe you could be drafted into the Vietnam War or - it was shaky in its own way. But I think that, at the risk of sounding a bit grandiose, I think this human experiment of ours on planet Earth is in deep trouble suddenly on a number of fronts. And the young people look into their futures, see a big black hole and they see leaders that don't even understand. So I think the young people today are scared in a way that they never were back in 1968.
SIEGEL: Mr. Lasn, thank you very much for talking with us.
LASN: Oh, delightful talking to you.
Radical leftists have a "delightful" time talking on our taxpayer-funded radio network. Lasn may have been speaking with braggadocio because he admitted the "occupying the parks phase" was pretty much over.
The interview touched on 1968 because Siegel noted that the OWS movement has made some foreign-policy noises against neoconservatives and "Some people think you're out of bounds identifying who are Jews among prominent neoconservatives." The anchor wondered if the movement should take on foreign policy as well as domestic issues, and Lasn said yes. Siegel also suggested the movement hadn't exactly seen any legislative accomplishments yet, which caused Lasn to insist OWS was more powerful than the Tea Party:
SIEGEL: Let me ask you about what you just mentioned, and something else. On the one hand Occupy Wall Street protesters did urge people to move their money out of banks that were increasing their debit cards fees.
SIEGEL: And instantly, people forced a big bank to back down.
SIEGEL: A success. On the other hand, when it comes to banks, protesters called commonly for the restoration of the New Deal banking reform law, the Glass-Steagall Act. Something much, much weaker than Glass-Steagall, the Volcker Rule barely survived the Dodd-Frank bill, which was all that a very, very Democratic Congress was able to pass.
SIEGEL: A lesson from that is, you know, citizen action, consumerism, you can get results. Legislation, you're a pretty far cry from achieving what you want.
LASN: Yeah. No, I think that this movement, unlike the Tea Party movement, I think it has a lot of power because it's asking for fundamental systemic change within the American system. Most of the Occupiers that I know, they all feel that America is in decline and it's got corruption at the heart of Washington, D.C.
And then the financial people on Wall Street are controlling too much of the way the economy works, and that the whole of America somehow degenerated into a kind of a corporate state, rather than being a vibrant bottoms-up democracy. And I think this Occupy movement will try to pull off some rich systemic change in America and worldwide in the global economy.