Many politicians have been wary to identify with the Occupy Wall Street protesters, but Massachusetts Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren has taken credit for planting the intellectual seeds that spawned the movement.
“I created much of the intellectual foundation for what they do,” said Warren in an interview with the Daily Beast. “I support what they do.”
The Occupy Wall Street movement started Sept. 17, according to occupywallstreet.org, and despite massive turnout, the movement didn’t receive much media attention until weeks later. Protests have since spread from multiple cities across the U.S. to cities as far away as Tokyo.
While Warren might claim credit for sowing the initial seeds, the Occupy Wall Street website says the movement drew inspiration from the Arab Spring movement in Egypt and Tunisia.
“Elizabeth was making the point that she has been protesting Wall Street’s practices and policies for years – and working to change them,” said a spokesman for the Warren campaign in a statement intended to clarify. ”Wall Street’s tricks brought our economy to the edge of collapse, and there hasn’t been any real accountability. She understands why people are so angry and why they are taking their fight to the street. She has said repeatedly everyone has to abide by the law. Elizabeth is working for change in a different way, to take this fight to the United States Senate.”
Still, some in the Occupy Wall Street movement feel a strong connection to the Senate candidate, even if they downplay her inciting role in its inception.
“Bankers and the illegal activity that’s gone on crashed our economy, and so Elizabeth Warren being one of those people that have highlighted that and been on the right side of that story have provided a foundation for what the people at Occupy Wall Street are doing,” Jeff Smith, a spokesman for Occupy Wall Street, told ABC News. “But to call her a founder, leader or responsible is akin to calling Abraham Lincoln responsible for the civil rights movement.”