Sunday, October 2, 2011
The Simpsons: Capturing the Zeigeist (Plus some notes about Occupy America and AEM's Fall Itinerary)
Doesn't get much more perfect than that!
On another note, I am currently writing a book about the student lending crisis, preparing to head to several occupy protests to interview folks in the Midwest and the South, and also getting ready for another trip to D.C. for the whole indentured educated crew. It's become "busy activist season!"
Help AEM get back to Washington, D.C. in November! Pitch in $10 today. Every dime helps.
As I just said, I am heading out to report on this nationwide protest in order to document it for historical purposes - something big is happening here, and it's only getting bigger. There's also another reason for why I'm heading to several cities, and that relates to AEM. For starters, I need to be out there meeting people. I need to be telling them about the student lending crisis, and emphasizing how millions of Americans have been turned into indentured educated citizens. One of you has already asked me to make a flier about All Education Matters and the problem - that's quite exciting. (If anyone else is interested in this flier and attending protests, shoot me an email - ccrynjohannsen (at) gmail (dot) com - and I'll send you copies, too). The problem of student loan debt and why a lot of these folks have decided to assemble across the country overlap with one another (as I've reported here at AEM and at The Loop 21.com). Many of the protesters are young, educated, and indebted. Just check out the links below to see how many of them are expressing frustration about having loads of college debt and absolutely no job prospects. They have joined millions of other Americans who are jobless, facing financial ruin, and slipping into poverty. This is because the U.S. has decided to stop investing in its youth and in Americans in general. This is why poverty is spreading like a terrifying disease across the country. Our cities that used to show promise, with clean, new buildings and sound infrastructures are falling apart. One by one, our communities - and people living there - are being devastating, because the state has become an oligarchy. Serve the rich, at the expense of every one else - that's the name of the game these days. But many Americans know this to be the case. That's why this movement has given so many of us hope. We're seeing a turn towards true democracy again, and we're organizing across the nation. We see young and old people out on the streets who are hungry for a fair, just, and balanced society. We see a backlash against the politics of hate, and that is through peaceful, non-violent resistance.
Think about what happened yesterday. Over 700 people were arrested by police officers in NYC. 700 people! And while they were being arrested they sang and chanted, and received support from their fellow protesters. Many of them were held in vans for hours. When they were released, did they go home? Nope, they headed back to Liberty Park in lower Manhattan, determined to stick with the occupation. Bless them for their bravery and patriotism, as the Protest Chaplains would say (incidentally, check them out. They are doing amazing things, and one of them is on the ground with the Occupy Boston crew this evening. These folks were the first to show up in lower Manhattan on Sept. 17th. Also, stay tuned for an interview with these folks - cant' wait to share).
As the Occupiers say - as we all say - we are the 99%, and we're here to stay. The movement is in its infancy, and that makes me ecstatic. The entire thing is ecstatically democratic, and something I've never witnessed before. There is so much possibility, so let us revel in its beauty for the moment. But to assume, because it is at this stage, that it is directionless is foolish. As historian and activist Angus Johnson explained in a recent piece over at Student Activism (and I recommend you read the entire piece - it's insightful): "If you think OWS [Occupy Wall Street] has no message, you’re just not paying attention."
Where it goes, well . . . stay tuned for that.
"Occupy Wall Street Movement Gets Support of Cornel West, Russell Simmons, Lupe Fiasco," The Loop21.com (September 30, 2011)
"'Occupy Wall Street' Becomes Nationwide Movement," The Loop21.com (Sept. 27, 2011)
"Occupy Wall Street - Tweet About Student Loan Debt And Medical Debt," AEM (Sept. 25, 2011)
"Dustin Slaughter's Picture: 'In Debt? You're Not Alone,'" AEM (Sept. 19, 2011)
"Occupy Wall Street - Begins Tomorrow, Sept. 17th," AEM (Sept. 16, 2011)