Russell Simmons On Occupy Wall Street: 'It Is My Moral Duty To Do This'
No celebrity supports the "Occupy" movement more fervently than Russell Simmons, founder of DefJam and GlobalGrind.com and author of Super Rich: A Guide To Having It All. Not only has he visited Occupy Wall Street nearly every day since the protests began, but he has started on a cross-country tour of different protest sites to gather grassroots support for his proposed Constitutional amendment that would ban private donations to candidates running for federal public office.
He recently told The Huffington Post that this could be one of the most important things he has ever done, explaining why he is trying to change the Constitution and why people should take him seriously.
You are a very successful businessman. Some might even call you part of the one percent. Why are you bothering with the Occupy movement?
It's part of human kindness and I feel it is my moral duty to do this. You give what you get. I want to do what I can to relieve suffering and improve the quality of other's lives. A yogi’s commitment to life is to relieve suffering, protect all beings and improve the quality of life for all.
A lot of people see you doing this and think, "Oh, another celebrity with a pet cause." How are you positioned to get this done?
I have the unique resources and relationships to make it happen. I can bring together multiple networks of cultural icons, black clergy and unions to improve the country for the better and a promote a greater, more honest and true democracy.
So what's the next step?
I need to continue to fuel the revolution by traveling around the world and engaging the good people that will do the work. I just hired and brought on Dr. Ben Chavis, the former national director of the Million Man March, to help coordinate efforts.
Which politicians are you hoping to partner with?
I'm not releasing or sharing names until there is strong bipartisan support. I have been speaking with top senators and congressmen who all say it is a great idea, but I know better than anyone that saying it's a great idea and getting it done are two very different things. If eight out of 10 Americans know big business and special interests have too much control of our government, I don’t see why we can't get this done. This is not a far-fetched dream.