When the Occupy Wall Street movement hit the nation in September 2011, many envisioned it as the beginning of a new revolutionary chapter in US history. Others dismissed it as nothing more than aimless leftist political theater that would fade away fast. But it was neither of those things – while the encampments did indeed fade away, the ideas sparked during the heyday of the Occupy movement have permeated the nation’s consciousness.
Today, there are multiple movements for higher wages by the lowest wage earners. Walmart workers are organizing. Fast food workers want $15 an hour. The Washington town of Seatac pushed through a ballot measure for higher wages. Los Angeles hotel workers want the same. And President Obama and Congress, in noting the groundswell of frustration at an economic recovery that has not benefitted 99% of Americans, are proposing raising the federal minimum wage.
But, ultimately the wealthy elite have remained untouched. There is little talk of transforming our economy entirely into something that by its nature would not enrich a tiny group of people at the expense of the rest.
GUEST: Arun Gupta, Independent Journalist and regular contributor to the Guardian, In These Times, The Progressive, and Truthout, and co-founder of the Occupied Wall Street Journal and the Indypendent. He’s also a graduate of New York’s French Culinary Institute, and a chef.