Mike Elk: There are a number of comparisons between the two [the “Arab Spring” and Occupy Wall Street]. In the protests in the Middle East you had people protesting for a number of reasons. . . . They are driven largely by social media, and then institutional actors like unions and other groups start joining in. So, we’re seeing that [in Occupy Wall Street], but you’re not seeing what really broke the camel’s back [in Tunisia and Egypt] . . . which was the unions going out on strike. Right now, these protesters are certainly . . . changing their public image, but they are not creating much leverage. They are certainly shaping public dialogue. They are not creating leverage that really puts corporations in a crisis where they feel like they have to settle. . . . It could be the beginning of a real change, it could also just be a false start. The key is . . . : Is this just gonna be a public statement or are we gonna really start taking on corporate power in specific ways?
Mike Elk is a labor journalist for In These Times. This video was released by Russia Today on 5 October 2011. The text above is an edited partial transcript of the interview.