The Banker and the Protesters: A Meeting of Minds on Germany’s Occupy Movement

Published on Spiegel Online International, an Interview, November 3, 2011.

The Occup movement has garnered support from all parts of the world, including Germany, where protestors have set up camp in front of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt. In an interview, SPIEGEL talks to Axel Fialka and Alexander Sack from the movement, and to Commerzbank CEO Martin Blessing … // 

… Despite all the media and political attention, it still remains unclear precisely what the movement, which is determining its goals through grass-roots democracy, actually stands for. Alexander Sack, a 22-year-old who is training to be an IT systems engineer and recently spent his vacation at the camp, Axel Fialka, a 31-year-old student of cultural anthropology and ethnology and trained retail salesman, and Martin Blessing, the 48-year-old CEO of Commerzbank, a major German bank, sat down with SPIEGEL to debate the aims of the Occupy movement.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Fialka and Mr. Sacks, why did you join the Occupy movement? What motivates you?

Fialka: When I read about the movement on the Internet, it immediately struck a chord with me because I’ve never been happy with the conditions and the unjust distribution of wealth around the world. I’ve always asked myself, “How can the world be organized so that as many people as possible are doing well?”

Sack: I’ve long been interested in what is happening with the financial markets, and I simply don’t agree with what’s going on.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Blessing, as a banker, how do you view the movement? … (full interview text).

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