David Sauvage is the co-founder and director of the new Occupy.com site. Occupy.com is a media portal for the global movement, featuring videos, articles, music, photo galleries, and more. The site is non-profit and supported by donations. Sauvage is also a documentary filmmaker and commercial director. Ironically his last work before joining the revolution was a commercial for The Wall Street Journal.
Q What’s the mission of Occupy.com?
A Our goal is to channel the Occupy movement into the wider culture. We would like Occupy.com to transmit the spirit or wavelength of Occupy to the millions or even billions of people who would agree with its intentions and join it if only they understood what it is about.
Q A lot of people feel that Occupy is already “over” after the failure of the occupations of public space. What do you see as the movement’s current relevance?
A It depends what you mean by Occupy. Occupy is only the temporary name for a larger process that began when one guy in Tunisia burned himself up – at that point, millions or tens of millions of people
suddenly realized they didn’t have to take it anymore, that continuing to participate in the system wasn’t worth it. Occupy was simply the name given to this global movement of awakening and liberation when it
came to the US. Personally, I am not invested in the word. I am invested in the idea.
Q What is that idea?
A The movement is as much cultural and spiritual as political. Occupy represents a shift from competition to cooperation, from self interest to common interest. It stands for the fundamental truth that everybody matters. Civic engagement requires a daily integration of ethics into your life – it can’t be outsourced, or reduced to votes or clicks. For me, Occupy is about the necessity of working for something greater than yourself in a real, not packaged, way.
Q In my work, I have been motivated by the environmental crisis that threatens the continuity of civilization and even humanity as a species. What motivates you?
A What I find more upsetting than the impending apocalypse is the domination of our culture by business people focused only on making money. I think it is pathetic that most TV shows and most movies are the same, that public discourse related to social and political issues is banal and utterly disconnected from our real problems. The media has a vested interest in superficiality, in keeping people distracted
and detached. The problems we face are on a massive scale. The solutions being put forth are trivial and manipulative.
Q What is the role of alternative media?
A The alternative media should be telling people to wake the fuck up or we all might die. If it is true that we are edging toward ecological catastrophe, if it is true we are seeing an erosion of democracy in the US and Europe, then from whom are we expecting our wake up call? Media makers have a serious moral obligation to awaken audiences to the critical importance of this moment.
Q Occupy.com will feature art as well as news. How about artists? What kind of contribution can they make?
A I’m not saying you should “make a point” with your art. That gets didactic. But you should be honest. You should make your best attempt to channel the truth. If you are a musician or a painter or a writer you have a moral responsibility to connect to something real, especially if you’re good. Doing that, you’ll be showing people the way. How you do it is your craft.
Q Most people don’t see the Occupy movement as reflecting their interests. What will it take for them to realize its importance?
A There needs to be more shame. It should be shameful to be CEO of Exxon Mobile or President of Bank of America at this point. These people should be pelted with rhetorical spitballs, not praised at banquets.
Our culture rewards people who succeed regardless of what they become successful for. We should make people who actually work for other people into our heroes – true artists, teachers, social workers and
genuine change-makers. Another way people will awaken is through catastrophic collapse. When the sea levels rise, the electricity stops working, or the crops fail, then all those people who have pretended
to lead while maintaining their privilege will be seen for the profiteers they are, and all the people who have been talking about how the world needs reordering will be heard.