Martin Bashir | May 03, 2012
>>> marked around the world by ordinary working people protesting against the inequality of wealth and for labor rights . the occupy movement was was in detroit, cleveland, seattle and los angeles . while the demonstrations were back, many were smaller and drew far less media attention than those that seemed to grow organically last fall. russell simmons is the chairman of global grind.com and has been involved in the occupy movement from its inception. good afternoon. how are you? good to have you with us. do you sense that on this occasion, may day , that the occupy movement had by all accounts lost much of its drive? lost much of its potency?
>> i think the drive to promote the discussion about inequality is still, we're about it now.
>> we are.
>> it is important that we continue to dialogue. and i have a reason why i occupy, which you know that i believe occupy wall street for a good reason. and the discussion around wall street 's control and special interests , undue control of our government continues. there is a new constitutional amendments being proposed. so long as we're having this discussion, we're on the right track. we know our democracy is totally corrupt.
>> on that point from your website global grind, you explain why you okay pix i want to read a portion of what you write. you said because our democracy has been hijacked, the corporations and special interests pay our politicians to do their bidding instead of the people's. this legal bribery has to stop. those are strong words.
>> i can go home now. that's right. i wrote that because it is absolutely true. why else would you pay a politician? a corporation, why would you underwrite some politicians' initi initiatives. look at the money, $20 million. and many, many billions out of our tax system on laws that we know are not functional. and -- functioning. and such proof, the disease individuals who are train in criminal behavior, they destroy communities and then send them back to the jails again. they fill the hotels. there's one example. the jobs that move overseas.
>> what about the presidential campaign ? do you reserve the same criticism, if i may ask you, for the president as you would for the republicans who are -- mitt romney has a war chest like no other. all of the republican contenlders for the nomination have accused him of burying him with million of dollars in the campaign.
>> that's the system we're in. i don't expect the president to live under a different system. i'm hoping he would make it a legacy issue if he has a second term, that he would know that getting the money out of politics is one of the greatest accomplishments he could have.
>> and yet you and i know that citizens united has made this ten times worse because now there are these super pacs that can raise untold and unlimited amounts of money and that's where politics is in this country.
>> everything. almost everything you can come up with. that disempowers thor pooh, the middle class , any american, most every class. even, a minute part of the 1%. there is a tax break . i can give you 100 reasons why money and politics is separate like church and politics should be separate. this is what we have to do to protect our democracy or promote a pure democracy . it is crystal clear . whether you're a tea party member, a republican or a democrat or a progressive, a conservative. everyone would love to believe that the politician that they put in office works for them and not some special interest the reality is it doesn't matter where you are on the political spectrum . everybody is using money to fight the election.
>> if i promoted a constitution aldal amendment which dennis kucinich put, in it needs to come out. we need a sound bite . a public discussion that is crystal clear and we all agree, everybody agrees that special interests control our government. everybody agrees we have to change that. it is a question of can we create enough of a, any president says make me do it. we have to make the president do it.
>> are you disappointed that the president hasn't done more?
>> on this subject, he's been as vocal as any president we've had. next time around, after he's been competitive and if he wins, maybe he can go to work and solve this major problem in our country's politics. are you confident that he'll do that?
>> i'm hopeful that he'll do that. and he has spoken more about it. mitt romney said maybe we should have the money go directly to him and forget the super pacs.
>> yessie don't we have one guy buy the whole government and work for him.
>> why not?
>> the coke brothers --
>> i want to move on. not just your political interests and your commitment to occupy that has driven you recently. you're also quite a spiritual person. you know that today is the national day of prayer . is that in any sense related to what we have?
>> the effort is a prayer . i'm a yogi. 500,000 kids have learned to meditate through the david lynch foundation. i keep pushing prayer and meditation to kids and to everyone. your actions, it is right there in the quantum physicalics. we know that our prayer matters. go about the work. you have to start with a prayer .
>> you know that religion and politics --
>> i'm not a religious person. these are prayer beads but not religious beads.
>> prayer can be just a look inside to find the strength from inside.
>> so you're not praying to god.
>> well, the prayer , there's many ways to look inside. you could say god inside you but you don't have to. silence and stillness is a very critical thing for every human being . anyone who can sit still for 20 minutes a day needs two hours. so i recommend people sit still and look inside for strength and for whatever they want to do to change the world or how they want to contribute to the world. so prayer day is an idea. a universal idea. not a religious idea.
>> indeed. russell simmons , thank you for coming in. thank you.