Ben and Jerry dish it out for ‘Occupy D.C.’ protesters
WASHINGTON — The Washington offshoot of Occupy Wall Street indulged in some Cherry Garcia and words of encouragement Tuesday from the multi-millionaire founders of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.
Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield set up a stall in McPherson Square to show their support for Occupy DC, as they drop in on some of the protests against corporate power that have popped up around the United States.
“Today, corporations are essentially controlling our country in their own self-interest,” Cohen told AFP as several dozen youthful occupiers — plus a few homeless men — lined up for a free serving of ice cream.
“They control our elections though campaign contributions; they control our legislation through lobbying,” he said. “They doing very well — and the rest of society is suffering.”
Cohen and Greenfield sold their all-natural Vermont ice cream business in 2000 to the Anglo-Dutch multinational Unilever, which retained social consciousness as a key ingredient of the brand.
Acknowledging his own wealth and business success, Cohen said: “Ben and Jerry’s has proved that a corporation can support the community and use its power to improve the quality of life for everybody, and still make a profit.”
Having previously dropped in on Occupy Wall Street in New York’s financial district, Cohen said he and Greenfield would next be traveling separately to Occupy tent cities in Seattle, Philadelphia and Atlanta.
Their appearance in Washington came a day after police warned they might take a tougher stance towards Occupy DC after scuffles Friday involving police, protesters and participants at a conservative dinner event.