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 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.

Related Links

"Occupy Wall Street Movement Gets Support of Cornel West, Russell Simmons, Lupe Fiasco," The (September 30, 2011)

"'Occupy Wall Street' Becomes Nationwide Movement," The (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)


One Who Survived said...

I perceive an equivalence between the "low" people of Occupy America, and the "low" Hobbits of Tolkien's very Catholic epic!

In the end, the "low" (and literally small) Hobbits were the ones who were most instrumental in defeating the Evil Empire of Sauron (whose "Two Towers" - two capitals - today are in New York and DC!)

And as Tolkien's epic was a very consciously Catholic one, at the end, at the "Return of the King" (King Aragorn being a metaphor for Jesus Christ's Kinghood), the King tells the apparently "little" Hobbits (as per Christ's words, "Many of the Last shall be First"):

"My Friends, YOU bow to No One!"

After 4:00 here:

Cryn, are you perhaps part Hobbit? ;-) Just SLIGHTLY more seriously, whenever I take any online tests titled "Which Tolkien character are you?", the result is always "Gandalf" even though I'd prefer to be someone else. But I'm happy with being Gandalf! ;-)

Hm, I can see a lot of Galadriel in Cryn:

One Who Survived said...

PS, re my above comments (if you decide to post them)... how and why all online "quizzes" say I'm like Gandalf:

Well, among other reasons, there's Gandalf's love of "Pipe Weed", aka cannabis, which Tolkien probably smoked too, back when it was legal:

Oh yes, as a self-described "reactionary", I advocate legalisation of cannabis, a far safer drug than anything the bloody pharmaceutical corporations are able to manufacture. On that note, about cannabis and America's Founding Fathers:

One Who Survived said...

And just for fun, I think my above comment about America's Founding Father's growing and smoking cannabis (um, at Independence Hall in 1776, the servants provided clay pipes on every desk, and the Continental Congress were NOT just smoking tobacco!)...

...I should add this, especially in view of "Occupy America's" grievances about money! Here's my hero, "Heavy Metal Guy" singing "Big Money":

One Who Survived said...

And slightly off topic (and happily inspired by good wine), just to remind you and your/our comrades in (what I hope is) the "Big Tent" (ideologically diverse) movement of "Occupy (many American cities)...'s a reminder about what was best in "Generation X" - in which I was born among the "elders" of Generation X (born mid-1960s)...

...and now, in 2011, we Gen-X-ers are all in early middle-age or at the end of our youths. And what's the difference really? Age 40 is the "Old age of youth and the youth of old age!"

(Hm, sorry to remind you, Cryn, but you, too, are on the margin of middle age! But the good thing is that "middle age" is an essentially constestable concept, and for some persons it can last from around age 30-something to 80-something...)

Anyway, for whatever it might be worth, here is what I regard as a kind of "anthem" of MY generation of Americans who came of age under Carter and/or Reagan.

Please enjoy, AND IF you might enjoy, then please also think about the backgrounds of many (slightly) OLDER Americans who are, or ought to be, this movement's natural allies!

Here ya go: