DEBRIEF: Occupy the Future

No activist happening is complete without a proper debrief. We’d like to set up this space as a place for you to share your thoughts on Occupy the Future. Use the comment section of this post to reflect on today’s events, the direction of the movement, its rhetoric – whatever’s on your mind.

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10 thoughts on “DEBRIEF: Occupy the Future

  1. Undergraduate '14 says:

    If the majority of student organizers were black or low-income white, what does that say about the enormous population of privileged white students who weren’t at the rally? Aren’t they the folks who may need gentle reminders of the privilege they have? And how their privilege perpetuates inequality? What is Breakthrough: Occupy the Future at Stanford going to do to reach out to them?

    It seems to me that the challenge from here on out is going to be finding a shared purpose among all of the folks Breakthrough OTF wants to unite. And since this series of events DID NOT include consensus decision-making, we had no shared purpose. If the organizers continue to claim that “we didn’t have enough time” for consensus decision-making, we will never discover amongst ourselves a shared purpose. It seems to me that what our movement needs as it expands is some kind of polycentric governance or at least an attempt at having a few different centers of conversation and finding a way to unite all students, faculty, community members in something we can all relate to.

    I’m not sure what that is. I personally think we need to somehow, TOGETHER, create a culture of altruism and compassion that can’t exist in Stanford’s currently hyper-competitive self-promoting environment. But I honestly think that is our biggest challenge. And if we can over come it, imagine the potential power of this united collective.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I missed the teach-ins because I was at work, and I missed the rally because I was in class. I guess I thought (incorrectly) that the organizers would at least have the presence of mind to not schedule an anti-classist event at a time when low-income students are either (1) working to support themselves, or (2) attending the classes they work 10 hours per week (on average, often more) to attend. Oh well.

    • ESQG says:

      Did you come to the spoken word show, 7:30-9:30PM? It was amazing, I’m so glad I stayed on campus for it.

      I don’t know much about undergrads’ schedules around classes and jobs, when I was an undergrad people worked at all different times, during the day or in the evening until midnight. In any case, I imagine it’s tough scheduling rallies when people are likely to be able to make it, especially with short daylight hours. Myself, I only managed to catch the end of the rally near 3.

  3. Kyle Vandenberg says:

    I can say with reasonable certainty that the designers of the logo didn’t consciously design it to portray Stanford as an “imperial power,” and I don’t think it’s constructive to overanalyze how the S is “conveniently” over Africa (what do you even mean to imply by saying “conveniently?” If you think the designers were being racist/imperialist just say it, but I don’t think that’s what they intended at all).

    It’s not necessarily a bad thing to have straight white people on board with a social movement. I agree that it’s a shame that other demographics weren’t well represented among the professors involved, but as far as I know, professors volunteered themselves to give those talks, and it wasn’t some sort of conspiracy to stifle other groups.

    You make a solid point that there’s too much preaching and not enough practice going on, but it’s always painful to me when people say they don’t see enough action, and yet fail to do anything themselves, or even suggest anything themselves.

    Let’s try to be a little more constructive in our comments…

    Full disclosure, I wasn’t able to go to the actual event today, so if I made any mistaken assumptions, definitely call me out on it.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I just have a few questions.

    1) What’s with that logo? Are we trying to turn Stanford into the next imperial power? Isn’t that a bit ironic given the “Occupy” philosophy? Why is the S conveniently placed over the continent of Africa?

    2) Why are there very, very few people of color and women represented among the list of professors involved, not to mention other minority identities? I’m sick of straight white men lecturing me about inequality.

    3) Where is the actual action? All I see are professors turning real struggles into abstract intellectual conversations… It’s nice to see folks talking about inequality, but talking isn’t enough.

    The revolution will not be hosted at

    • Anonymous says:

      1) The complaint with the logo is useless. I do not think anyone reads an imperialist message into it and certainly no one chose it to emphasize something like Stanford’s colonization of Africa and the world, a ludicrous idea. It is a cool logo that mixes the Stanford “S” with the symbol of the globe in an attempt to advance the notion of global justice and the role that Stanford has to play in the world. Do not read into it that much.
      2) The Occupy students did try to get faculty of color, but they could not get enough because of the low percentage of Stanford faculty who are minorities. This is a legitimate concern, but these white men have great things to say on inequality, and while it would be better and more illuminating to have other speakers share their own experiences, we should not assume that anything a white man has to say on the subject of justice will be wrong.
      3) The last speech was a call to action and made it clear that the purpose of December 9th was to educate people and get them ready to begin a longer process, a movement. Talking is not enough, but talking is a good first place, and action must follow.

    • Sceth StXellus says:

      “All I see are professors turning real struggles into abstract intellectual conversations.”

      Those abstract intellectual conversations are among the most attractive and pressing reasons why O/Stanford can be productive. Experiencing a problem firsthand does not result in one understanding it any better than a distant observer with a vaster and more detailed survey, and those conversations attempt to precipitate a virtual such “observer” out of observations. From that point we can more efficiently formulate action algorithms.

      A big problem with, say, O/Oakland and O/SF was that people on the ground didn’t understand what they were complaining about. This solves that quite exactly.

    • Anonymous says:

      The majority of student organizers were black or low-income white.

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