What The Occupy Wall Street Movement Is All About And Where It Is Going (VIDEO)

In September, a group of people, young and old, fed up with the lack of jobs, lack of money, and fed up with the vast disparity between the very rich and the rest of the country, captured the attention of folks in the U.S., but also across the world. Kanene Holder is one of the organizers of Occupy Wall Street, and she’s here to tell us exactly what the movement is all about and where it is going.

MR. MARTIN:  So, you’re no longer in the tent – right?

MS. HOLDER:  [Laughs.]

MR. MARTIN:  So, that – but that’s the first thing.  Folks need to understand all the folks involved in Occupy Wall Street are not outside, sleeping in tents acr- — all across the country.

MS. HOLDER:  Oh, no.  Of course not.  We – I mean I – I used to be the director of the history department at Harlem Children’s Zone, so we’re professionals, we’ve graduated from colleges; and we know exactly what’s wrong with the country, and we’re replicating the society that we would like to live in by having encampments which actually provide healthcare, which actually provide j- — food and jobs for various people.

MR. MARTIN:  One of the things that I’ve talked about is that the originator, if you will, in my opinion, of the Occupy movement really was Dr. King and the Poor People’s Campaign –


MR. MARTIN:  — where the plan was to do exactly what is happening now – literally, build shanties, have tents, have people – have poor people living on The Mall [in] Washington –

MS. HOLDER:  Um-hum.

MR. MARTIN:  — in 1968.  After he was killed, it still took place, but it did not go well.  That really was the first time where he said, “Let’s occupy The Mall [in] Washington” –


MR. MARTIN:  — to show America – put – put a – put a face on poverty.

MS. HOLDER:  Oh, most definitely.  I feel like the – the conversation about wealth inequality right now is the cause de [sic] célèbre.  Everybody’s talking about it, and that’s one of the key momentum shifters of our movement.  It has not been talked [about] before.  And I feel like towards the end of Martin Luther King’s career and his life, that’s when he really became radicalized, when he really started to talk about not just race – which, of course, is a central issue –

MR. MARTIN:  Right.

MS. HOLDER:  — because race is tied intricately to class – but also speaking about this notion of inequality here in America, the promissory note that was not granted to so many people, the exiles of America.  And that’s what the Occupy Wall Street movement is amplifying, giving voice to those voiceless issues.

MR. MARTIN:  Occupy Wall Street is presented as being absolutely chaotic.  There – th- — not having any leadership and no real ke- — real clear plan.

MS. HOLDER:  That’s the – that’s the role of some of the media – to del- — delegitimize and also to disfigure our movement, but we are centralized.  We are core.  We are passionate.  We are not only passionate, but we are engaged in this protracted struggle.  We know that “the arc of the universe is long, but [it] bends toward justice.”  And we’re working night and day, day and night, using all types of technology, using all of our intelligence to really map out a future that is much more encompassing and – and loving.  That’s the most radical thing, the notion of love.

MR. MARTIN:  Are we also seeing, though, the – the infrastructure come – come [in]to place?  I’ve talked to some people who’ve said, “Look,” you know, “I would love to give, but I” – “I do-” – “I don’t know who to give to.”  Also, the whole notion of what happens in terms of moving policy forward on the national level and the state level – are those pieces falling into place?

MS. HOLDER:  Oh, of course.  Well, one, there’s occupations happening all over this country and all over this world.  We are aware of and in solidarity with Tahrir, with all of the different uprisings that have been happening since the Arab Spring, and has been happening in Wisconsin as well.  The media does not portray that very well as w- — either.

So, we – we – we are in three stages, I see.  So, there’s awareness, which is what we have –

MR. MARTIN:  Right.

MS. HOLDER:  — definitely done.  It’s – it’s re- — reverberating through the halls of Congress right now, talking about this whole notion of inequality; also investigating these corporate –

MR. MARTIN:  Right.

MS. HOLDER:  — forces that are corrupt.  So, awareness, advocacy for our issues –

MR. MARTIN:  Right.

MS. HOLDER:  — right?  Housing, jobs, healthcare, education – you know?  So, they’re like, “Oh,” we don’t have demands.  There’s no need for demand.


MS. HOLDER:  Are you –

MR. MARTIN:  — so, awareness –

MS. HOLDER:  — happy?

MR. MARTIN:  — advocacy and the –

MS. HOLDER:  Advocac- —

MR. MARTIN:  — third piece?

MS. HOLDER:  — a- — awareness, advocacy and then accountability –

MR. MARTIN:  Okay.

MS. HOLDER:  — for whoever those forces are who are, quote/unquote, our “leaders” and in our government.  So, it’s nonpartisan, has nothing to do with Republicans or Democrats.  It has to do with an awareness of our issues:  “Can you do that?”  And I think that that’s way more powerful that we work outside –

MR. MARTIN:  Right.

MS. HOLDER:  — of the political structure and just advocate for everything.  So, Republicans are talking about it, just like you all – you had on the last panel –

MR. MARTIN:  Right.

MS. HOLDER:  — and also Democrats, and that – and that speech that you showed with Obama now talking about these issues – I mean these issues have been plaguing, you know, the brack [sic – phonetic] and – the Black and brown of America –

MR. MARTIN:  Well, we –

MS. HOLDER:  — and now also everyone in America for the past how many years?

MR. MARTIN:  Well, we –

MS. HOLDER:  And so –

MR. MARTIN:  — we – we’ve certainly talked about it on this show and –

MS. HOLDER:  — yes.

MR. MARTIN:  — certainly have been – have been doing so and will continue to do so.

Well, Kanene, we certainly appreciate it

.  Thanks a lot.

MS. HOLDER:  Thank you so much.

MR. MARTIN:  And there is an African-American who’s in Occupy Wall Street.