The Occupy Wall Street movement has not only been endorsed by celebrities like Susan Sarandon and Michael Moore – newspaper columnists are also cheering it on and a number of leading Democratic figures have expressed sympathy with the disgruntled Financial District campers. But the real proof that OWS is now the flavour of the month came with a statement of support from Ben & Jerry’s. The quirky, ‘ethical’ ice-cream company has become the first corporation to endorse the movement.
The Ben & Jerry’s board of directors said: ‘[W]e realise that Occupy Wall Street is calling for systemic change. We support this call to action and are honoured to join you in this call to take back our nation and democracy.’
But hang on, isn’t OWS all about challenging ‘corporate power’? Isn’t it about helping 99 per cent of Americans to wriggle free from the stranglehold of the Big Business one-per-centers? After all, the Declaration of the Occupation of New York City states that corporations are a threat to democracy and that OWS is a movement for all those who feel wronged by ‘corporate forces’.
When Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek/Doing things like ‘recycling Coke cans’ or buying a Starbucks cappuccino because a small percentage gets donated to the Third World doesn’t challenge the system, he suggested. At the mention of Coca Cola and Starbucks he was cheered, /buying organic food may also be classified as a ‘pseudoactivity’ /
In fact, for the hipsters of Zuccoti Park taking part in the OWS movement is itself a feelgood activity. There’s a carnival-like atmosphere, with drum circles, live blogging, workshops, a soup kitchen and a library. Far from posing a serious challenge to capitalism, they are exercising a shallow form of politics that easily lends itself to fashionable posturing.
I hope she is wrong.
There are now, allegedly 351 protests like this globally – in Spain, it is called ‘the indignant’.