Tag Archives: #Occupy

Our Distorted Moral Reasoning About Debt

by Lewis Marshall, PhD Candidate in Chemical Engineering

“The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt […] That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.” — Barack Obama

“[T]his debt is a mortal threat to our country. […] It is immoral to bind our children to as leeching and destructive a force as debt. It is immoral to rob our children’s future and make them beholden to China.” — John Boehner

I have bad news. America does not understand debt.

We understand personal debt well enough, and we are super judgmental about it. The iconic howl of rage at debtors [1] came from Rick Santelli in 2009, right after the financial collapse:

“The government is promoting bad behavior [with mortgage modifications and the stimulus.] How about this, President and new administration? Why don’t you put up a website to have people vote on the Internet as a referendum to see if we really want to subsidize the losers’ mortgages; or would we like to […] reward people that could carry the water instead of drink the water?” Continue reading

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The Port Econ Statement

By Peter “Shotgun” McDonald, ‘11

This is really long, but you’re going to read it anyway. If you think it’s rambling and pretentiousness, congratulations. I kind of agree with you. There’s no need to leave a comment indicating as such.

We are people of this generation, bred in at least modest comfort, housed now in universities, looking uncomfortably to the world we inherited, attending a university that helped create it, and capitalism is some bullshit.

When we were kids the United States was the wealthiest and strongest country in the world: the proprietors of a technological revolution, prevailers of the Cold War, an initiator of a mass cultural/entertainment force that we thought would distribute American influence throughout the world. Freedom and equality for each individual, government of, by, and for the people, of both the corporeal and corporate variety, — these American values we found good, principles by which we could live as people. Many of us began maturing in complacency.

This month will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Port Huron Statement. Anyone who says that college students are incapable of understanding the complexities of the modern world has not read this statement. Whatever we understand to be the 1960s would not have happened without it. Two days after May Day, a panel of activists brought together for the sixth lecture in the Occupy Art series argued that radical change was not only possible but necessary, and there was no need, indeed no time, to wait to act toward it. This week, hundreds of students will take exams on economic models created in an era when phrenology and phlogiston were still accepted parts of science. Continue reading

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The L.A. Riots and the Myth of Multiculturalism

by Holly Fetter, ’13

At tonight’s Occupy Art lecture, Jeff Chang asked, “How did the L.A. Riots change Whiteness?”

My answer? It didn’t.

Twenty years ago today, cleanup efforts began throughout the ravaged cityscape of Los Angeles. For four days, masses of outraged people – primarily people of color – reacted to the unjust acquittal of the four LAPD police officers that beat Rodney King.

I was only two years old when the Riots broke out, a small girl with no memory of this tragedy. All I have is the complicated knowledge that it was the military and police officers that protected my White neighborhood from encountering the flames and violence that were engulfing other parts of the city. The L.A. Riots are a site at which I can begin to excavate my own history of privilege, begin to understand the ways that institutional privilege saved me from being one of the 53 people killed or the thousands injured. By re-visiting the living archive of this uprising, I can understand the world of racism that I inherited, a world hasn’t changed much in 20 years.

When reading about the Riots, one encounters tales of inter-ethnic struggle, of a city destroyed by its own low-income residents of color. But the assigned texts for this week’s Occupy Art lecture allowed me to reflect on the role of White folks during and after the Riots. Continue reading

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Stanford, Class of ’11 graduate arrested in the name of public education

by Luke Wigren, ’11

At 6:10pm on Monday, March 5th, I sat in a hallway of the California State Capitol risking arrest and contemplating the importance of education, civil rights, and my own immediate personal freedom. The Capitol had just officially closed for the day and, for a few brief minutes between chants of “education should be free” and nonviolent resistance training, a weighted hush hung over the chessboard-checkered floor.

All around me, whispering, were 100 students from over a dozen state schools, community colleges, and several high schools. A few legal observers, as well as a handful of teachers and one mother also risking arrest, stood guard along the wall. What we were doing – trespassing on state property – we all knew to be illegal.

I asked a Berkeley student next to me if she was going to stay once the police issued a dispersal order. She wasn’t sure yet. She didn’t want her mom to find out, and then added nervously that this would be her first arrest. I said it would be mine, too. We held a brief smile despite the pressing circumstances.

After a daylong people’s assembly inside the Capitol, discussing what to do about the distressing and increasingly unaffordable state of California public higher education, we were all exhausted. Continue reading

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Occupy Education

by Emma Wilde Botta, ’14

Go to Berkeley on March 1st.

March 1st is a Thursday. It is a Thursday dangerously close to the end of the quarter. I know that you probably have class or work or other important things going on that day. Nevertheless, I ask that you set them aside, if you can, and go to Berkeley.

You may think that you going to Berkeley means nothing and does nothing to further the cause of public education. I understand your hesitation. I challenge you to go anyways. If you go and are absolutely unmoved or unchanged by the experience, then you spent a Thursday off campus.

I predict that you will not be disappointed.

I have found that when you join with others to stand for an issue that you deeply care about, you feel a powerful sense of oneness with those around you. Continue reading

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Moment or Movement?

by Michael Tubbs, ’12

About a month ago, Michael Tubbs asked us whether our gathering in White Plaza for the Occupy the Future rally would be a moment or a movement. Listen to his speech if you missed it or need to refresh your memory.

Listen here: “Moment or Movement”


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Occupy Wall Street West

by Anna McConnell, ’14

Stanford! Ready to get involved in the global movement and see what Occupy is really about? Come out on Friday to Occupy Wall Street West! January 20th is the anniversary eve of the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling which further privileged corporations over people in our Constitution. There are actions in both San Francisco and San Jose to protest this ruling and our country’s current economic and political state. Please fill out this form or reply to me directly (almcconn@stanford.edu) if you are interested in going! We are organizing transportation, so if you are ready to fight for equality and your rights as a REAL person, join us on Friday.

Continue reading

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How to Occupy Your Education

by Holly Fetter, ’13

When I tell people that I’m studying race and ethnicity, I get one of two reactions. The first, undoubtedly inspired by my pale skin, is the inevitable “Why did you decide to major in that?” The second comes from a more practical perspective: “What are you going to do with that?”

It seems that the dominant perception of a college degree is that is must be lucrative. It’s fine to use one’s undergraduate years to experiment with new hairstyles, narcotics, and sexual orientations, but the end result must be a good shot at a six-figure salary. College is only “worth it” if you gain some marketable skills.

As soon as I declared my love for interdisciplinary thinking, I felt that I had to make a decision — would I major in Econ and be ushered into Stanford’s college-to-consulting pipeline, or shun that world in favor of classes in which I could write about queer rappers and racist Halloween costumes? I entered sophomore year with a notion that these were two divergent tracks, and that it was imperative that I pick one over the other lest I spend my post-graduate years in some sad, unemployable limbo.

I think this dynamic helps explain the infamous Stanford apathy. Embedded in our campus culture is the notion that pursuing a pre-professional major and getting an activist education are mutually exclusive acts. Continue reading

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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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