The Upstream Podcast: Unlearn Everything You Thought You Knew About Economics

It’s pretty crazy to think that it’s already been a decade since Occupy Wall Street, but, at the same time, it also feels like forever ago. So much has changed since the encampment in Zuccotti Park, and subsequently, the thousands of encampments which popped up all over the world. But, sadly, a lot remains the same. And actually, if you’re looking at wealth inequality and the power of the financial sector — things might even be worse. 

But no matter what your thoughts are on the Occupy movement, it’s impossible to deny its sweeping impact, not just on the left, but much more broadly as well. You may have heard folks say that Occupy Wall Street was a failure — and if you’re talking about how the movement failed to, say, overthrow capitalism and usher in a new era of eco-socialism devoid of subprime loans and hedge fund managers, then yes, sure, Occupy definitely didn’t accomplish that. But to say the movement was a failure is to overlook so, so much. And that’s what we want to talk about in this episode: the things that Occupy gave us. The networks that were built, the ideas that were shaped around democracy — not just the electoral form of democracy that’s confined to the ballot box, but real, direct democracy — the space that was created to exercise the muscles of solidarity and cooperativism, mutual aid and political organizing, as well as the shifts in public discourse…in the next hour, we’ll look at how the chaotic, fervent explosion that was Occupy Wall Street manifested from the moments after the encampments were cleared to today — ten years later.

Featuring the following:

  • Chris Hedges – Journalist and author of many books, including Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt, and most recently, America: The Farewell Tour 
  • Ethan Earle – Paris-based political consultant who has written extensively about Occupy Wall Street 
  • Stephanie Luce – Professor of labor studies at the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies and also a professor of sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center
  • Ruth Milkman – Professor at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City
  • Nathan Schneider – Professor of media studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder and author of Everything for Everyone: The Radical Tradition that Is Shaping the Next Economy
  • Tamara Shapiro – NYC activist and facilitator, a co-founder of Movement Netlab, and currently the Program Director at the NYC Network of Worker Cooperatives
  • Esteban Kelly – Executive Director of the U.S. Federation of Worker Co-ops


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