MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Those persons who disparage the Occupy Movement as having been just a failed blip on the radar screen don't understand how uprisings and paradigm shifts are usually the result of a series of events. It is unfair to judge one stupendously successful movement at getting income inequality on the radar screen of even the mass media by how easily the police literally crushed the public presence of the movement.
Nathan Schneider, author of "Thank You, Anarchy: Notes From the Occupy Apocalypse," shed light on the bum rap the Occupy Movement received (whatever its flaws) in a recent interview with Truthout.
The legacy of the Occupy Movement on the ground has spread across the country, and was most visibly nationally reported on when Occupy supporters became the de facto volunteer FEMA in many locations -- particularly hard-hit areas of Brooklyn -- after Occupy Sandy. But the Occupy-inspired uprisings of activism and volunteerism are spread across the nation -- and continuing to accelerate. Maybe they are morphing into new forms and new names, but the Occupy Movement was the kindling wood for many of them.
What is equally significant is that the 1%/99% meme of income inequality has inserted itself in the national discourse. It may not be present in the corporate mass media everyday, but it re-emerges frequently in unexpected ways.
Take CNN for example, which started an interactive news series that lets the readers determine the topic to be explored by a journalist. Coming in at number one in a survey of CNN reader votes was "America’s widening rich-poor gap."
This interest in economic justice is not a fluke. Without the Occupy Movement, it probably would not had made it to the top of the CNN list -- and the resultant series of articles on the subject. For example, today (October 30), CNN posted a piece entitled, "7 ways to narrow the rich-poor gap," by lead series writer John Sutter. I was prepared for some "centrist" corporate media pablum -- and there's some of that -- but there's also some surprisingly progressive proposals, including:
3. Raise the minimum wage to 1960s levels, at least
4. Tax the rich at a reasonable rate: "It's clear the rich are getting a big break on their taxes and should be paying more."
5. Give workers a voice in their companies
6. Reign in crazy-huge donations to political campaigns
7. Give money to the poor -- maybe at random
If ever there's a tribute that should go for thinking outside of the box to the Occupy Movement, it's number seven above.
But three through six in the CNN article list are also a welcome antidote to the corporate mainstream media shilling for the 1% in their daily framing of the "news."
And this article came about because readers of CNN online indicated that income inequality was number one in terms of their interest.
While a direct line from the Occupy Movement that spread like wildfire from Zucotti Park cannot be drawn to this CNN series and reader interest in the subject, you can be pretty certain that it would not be number one on CNN's "Change the List Project" if so many inspired souls were not drawn to lower Manhattan to publicly defy Wall Street and Mayor "1%" Bloomberg.
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