Friday, November 4, 2011

Occupy Non-Violence

It is not enough to say we are non-violent, we have to have serious discussions about violence and non-violence from the perspective of history, theory and ideology. If we can not establish clearly why we are not violent, we create the potential for violence.
In times of social upheaval and revolution, people will find themselves at a point in which violence, if not thoroughly understood, will seem only to be rejected out of political correctness or naivete. They will justify the use of violence as the tool of the most dedicated, as a necessary evil, etc. 
If we are unwilling to have these discussions it is likely because we are afraid of what we will find if we go down that road, which means that on some level we ourselves have not actually rejected violence. We need to open up this dialogue, and do it soon, because violence is not rejected because we are too gentle, or too weak, but because non-violence is actually much more radical and revolutionary than violence, and because violence does not work.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

#OccupyChicago in the News

What role should students play in Occupy Chicago? 

Students should, and absolutely do, play a significant role in Occupy Chicago (and all the other Occupy movements).

Students have accumulated massive debt in the hopes of getting jobs which pay living wages, but are now faced with a future of debt, low paying or no jobs, and a political system which does not represent their interests or hear their voices.The way things are going for students makes the future of the economy look dim at best. Students are already defaulting on their student loan debt because of lack of employment opportunities and costs of living, and will continue to do so in rising numbers for the foreseeable future.THAT is the next housing bubble, the next economic crisis, and yet people will act surprised when it happens.

On top of the defaults, we're also seeing a generation that is being priced out of the "American Dream" because they did exactly what they were told to. We were told "go to college, get a good paying job, and everything will be fine," we did that, and now we're suffering for it. To add insult to injury, we are mocked and called lazy even as we add protesting FOR JOBS to our already full plates. For those that still don't take this movement seriously I can only warn that creating a population of young, educated, low wage people, and then mocking them for doing what was expected in the context of a down economy, will only create greater social division and unrest.

Also, the number 30 or 40, mentioned in this article, was likely an estimate of Columbia students, not students altogether. The protest had up to 500 people yesterday, after only two days of planning, and a large number of those people were students. I'm a student at Columbia, and with Ryan Nanni, mentioned in the article, I have helped to start an unofficial Columbia College student group which has about 50 official members so far. Columbia is just one of many colleges across the city with an Occupy student group, we are planning to increase student involvement in the movement, put the skills and resources available at the different colleges to bear in support of the movement, and collaborate between colleges to strengthen and sustain the movement.

Weed Watch

"Decriminalizing Marijuana Could Help Cash-Strapped Chicago, Alderman Says"
Personally, I disagree with proposing decriminalization for economic reasons, if marijuana was indeed dangerous and created societal decay than economic reasons would not justify the decriminalization. I think what we have to recognize is not that we are at a point where we need the revenue so badly we'll do anything, but that the criminalization of marijuana was wrong from the beginning. 
Yes decriminalization would bring in revenue, but honestly that's not far enough, we need to legalize. Instead of trying to find creative ways to fund our city through the persecution of its citizens, for something we've all but admitted is not actually the problem it has been made out to be, we should work toward more just laws that don't criminalize the innocent. 
Besides, legalizing marijuana would likely bring in even more revenue through taxation of clinics and sales, and would save money by greatly reducing spending on law enforcement and prosecution of crime linked to the underground market for drugs.

This is why I don't watch TV.

Saw a few minutes of WGN morning news, they sent a reporter to SOFA (sculptural objects functional art expo) and her entire review and critique of the art was something along the lines of "Ohhh, pretty!" This was about the sophistication of the other coverage as well. I understand that she's hot, but could they please get someone hot that's not dumb?