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"The Newsroom" Season 2 Gets Occupied

The Newsroom is an HBO TV show about a news anchor, Will McAvoy, who decides he’s going to speak his mind on air, rather than pretending to be fair and balanced. Last year the show focused on the nascent 2010 Tea Party movement and this season (you guessed it) it is reimagining the beginning of Occupy Wall Street. In a sneak preview from one of the future episodes, McAvoy interviews a young woman involved in organizing Occupy Wall Street.

Here's a clip of The Newsroom's interpretation of an interview with an Occupy Wall Street activist:


We’re not sure exactly what the production staff had in mind when they cast this particular actor, but we think she looks quite a lot like Alexis Goldstein, just without the glasses. And while Alexis certainly isn’t our leader, she is great at explaining why the Wall Street banks deserve our anger.


And since we’re still around doing awesome things (much to the ignorance of the MSM) we thought we would pipe in and answer these questions for ourselves. Here are the answers from our editorial team.

The Newsroom interviewer asks (paraphrased):

Q: If a legislative official wanted to know what the demands of OWS were who would they meet with?

Scripted answer: We’re not looking for a meeting.

Our real answer: Many politicians got out of their chairs and came on down just to observe as if from on-high, and to capitalize on the media moment. But we weren't talking to them, we were speaking to each other, the 99%. Those local legislators that came to sincerely participate, they were willing to wait for their turn to speak just like everyone else. No, we aren’t petitioning our government for redress of grievances, because we don't feel our government as a whole is even capable of hearing us these days (they only listen in on us). What we're about is getting off the internet, and into the streets, to meet with each other in analog, to relate in person, to build community so we can build a stronger movement.

Because this truly was a spontaneous explosion - the occupation of Wall Street. And in the beginning, hardly any of us knew each other at all. And we didn't have demands because we wanted to leave space for people to gravitate to whatever mattered most to them. A year and a half later, all sorts of existing movements have gained steam, and new projects have been born, each with their own set of demands. And the identity of Occupy Wall Street, this brand new movement which raised the old issue of class for the first time in many decades - it has solidified. We seek the eviction of Wall Street from our system of governance, and the exile of corporations from systems of governance around the world. And we seek a sea change, system change, in lieu of climate change. We will continuously engage in direct action until we see a new democratic system, as direct a democratic system as possible, fully manifest.

Q: What happens after people ask themselves why OWS is happening?

Scripted answer: Change, we hope.

Our real answer: The words "change" and "hope" together have become something of a farce, yet we still believe. We believe and know that change does not start with hope alone, it starts with hope and action together.

And we are taking action every day. We’re winning local union struggles. We’re liberating people from the chains of debt. We’re preventing foreclosures through eviction defense and home occupations led by homeowners. We're researching like mad and disseminating reports on how to fix the SEC. We're building cooperative businesses and innovative approaches to banking. We are dreaming up, and living out, the world we want to see, all the while holding corporations accountable for corrupting our democracy.

Q: What’s your best case scenario for how this ends?

Scripted answer: That it doesn’t end.

Our real answer: We don't see this ending in our lifetimes. It won't end until we see real systemic change.

Dear fake news anchor: You make a typically dismissive move, in reinforcing the notion that OWS was all about camping out in a park. Certainly, the occupation of Zuccotti Park garnered significant media attention, but believe it or not, MSM: getting your attention is not what OWS is actually about.

Why? Because the State can evict people from a park down the way from Wall Street – as did the Obama administration, in a coordinated national crackdown on Occupy encampments all over the country. But it can't evict this notion - that yes we can, and must, confront Wall Street relentlessly. That we must keep our eyes fixed and focused on the companies traded on Wall Street, on a 24:7 basis. That idea has occupied minds around the world, and it's not going anywhere.

As we said on the very night the police stormed Liberty Square: “You can't evict an idea whose time has come.”

If it's not incredibly obvious that you shouldn't trust the Newsroom depiction, take a moment to review the Declaration of the Occupation. And if you want to the true story of what it was like in the park in the days that OWS unfolded go to Occupying Wall Street” by Writers for the 99%, a group of writers who were there, involved, and decided to write it all down as it was happening (proceeds go to the Occupy Wall Street bail fund). If you want to know more about why a certain issue relates to Wall Street (like ALEC, Monsanto, Citizens United, Goldman Sachs, Fracking, the Prison and Military Industrial Complexes, and the Fed) we encourage you to read the beautifully designed and well written Occucards.

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Image of Alexis on Democracy Now