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Jeff Sharlet: Occupy Wall Street Shows an "Incredible Display of Political Imagination"

StoryOctober 11, 2011
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Guests
Jeff Sharlet

author of the bestseller The Family and contributing editor for Harper’s Magazine and Rolling Stone. He is also the author of C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy and, most recently, Sweet Heaven When I Die: Faith, Faithlessness, and the Country in Between. Sharlet is an assistant professor of English at Dartmouth College.


Journalist and author Jeff Sharlet has spent days at the Occupy Wall Street encampment watching the movement grow. "This is the most incredible display of political imagination I have seen in my lifetime," said Sharlet, author of the book "C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy." "And I say that as a person who’s spent years immersed in the right wing." [includes rush transcript]


TRANSCRIPT
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Jeff Sharlet is here, who we usually see through a video screen at Dartmouth College, who wrote C Street.

JEFF SHARLET: C Street and The Family, yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: Who wrote the books C Street and The Family, teaches at Dartmouth. What are your thoughts right now, Jeff?

JEFF SHARLET: I think I have the same thoughts as everybody else. This is the most incredible display of political imagination I have seen in my lifetime, and I say that as a person who’s spent years immersed in the right wing and saying, "Man, the right has got a lot of energy right now." And this is it. This is the big imagination here.

AMY GOODMAN: And how does this tie into The Family and C Street, if it does?

JEFF SHARLET: It is the nightmare that religious fundamentalism really organized first 75 years ago in 1935. This was what they organized. This was set—I mean, 1935, these organizations began in response to the general strike of 1934 up and down the West Coast. They saw all sorts of people. They saw coalitions that terrified them. And that’s where that kind of authoritarian fundamentalism came from. This is it. This is—this is their best—their worst nightmare. And this is our, I think, our best dream.

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