Upset about the Occupy Wall Street protests? Blame Canada

Steve Mertl
National Affairs Contributor
Daily Brew

Americans who are growing increasingly impatient with the Occupy Wall Street protest that's been, well, occupying New York's financial district for the past few weeks now have someone to blame. Canada.

At least you can blame (or credit) Canadian publication, according to The Globe and Mail.

Kalle Lasn, co-editor of Adbusters, says the Vancouver-based anti-corporate magazine was the first to call for a people's occupation of Wall Street.

"The way this has bubbled to the top is quite amazing," he told the Globe. "We really didn't expect it."

Hundreds of purposely leaderless protesters who've recently been joined by union members are camped out on the streets of the symbolic heart of American capitalism.

While they've made no specific demands, they're angry about the dominance of corporations in U.S. life and politics. Supporters have likened it to the Arab Spring that's overturned dictatorships across in North Africa.

Lasn said the protests grew out of a brainstorming session at Adbusters last summer.

"We just felt America was ripe for a Tahrir moment of its own," said Lasn, referring the demonstrations in Cairo's Tahrir Square that ended in the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak.

The group came up with a centre spread for the July edition of the magazine, showing a ballerina balancing on Wall Street's iconic bull. The caption read: "What is our one demand?....#OCCUPYWALLSTREET, September 17, Bring tent."

The slogan quickly caught on with Adbusters' 90,000 "culture jammers," the Globe said.

"We just did this thing and watched as it started to grow and grow," Lasn marvelled. "Then some groups in New York got behind it. The buzz grew, and suddenly it took off, and now it's a real movement."

Lasn said the protest has the potential to revive the political left in the United States, the way the Tea Party movement catalyzed the right.

"I was scared the loony left would take over again, and the whole thing would fizzle into nothing. But real, substantial people are turning up, people with a bit of backbone," said Lasn. "They are starting to have the same sort of chutzpah that the Tea Party has. That's what the political left sorely needs."

The Occupy Wall Street movement will have a homecoming of sorts with protests scheduled for Oct. 15 in Toronto's financial district, as well as other major Canadian cities, including Vancouver.

Meanwhile, Lasn is relishing Adbusters' role in sparking the movement.

"This was all cooked up right here at Adbusters," he said. "It's a Canadian adventure."

(Getty Images)