Nice piece from Megan Garber here.
It actually hadn’t become clear to me how much the discourse had shifted until I taught urban poverty and inequality this past week to my Anthropology 101 students at Baruch College. I have taught urban poverty and inequality every year for the past 3 years and every year have similar debates in my class: when I start the section off by asking them why people are poor the first response I usually get from students is that, simply put, people are lazy and they don’t want to work. I see my job then to be to explain the structural causes of poverty and that simply saying, “People are lazy and don’t want to work” is actually a really problematic way of thinking. Explaining all of this has been so much work in my classes that usually I dread the week on poverty and inequality because it is a week where I am tired.
But last week when I asked my students this question the first response I got in my classes was that “People can’t find jobs” and the next one was, “There is a huge wealth gap” and the the third was that, “We have an economic system that needs poor people”. I was shocked. I have never gotten responses like this before. And then I found myself explaining to my students that it was because of all these reasons that I am anti-capitalist. I felt like I was coming out to them, exposing myself in a way that I haven’t before. And they listened, they were interested, they thought I was being crazy and idealistic but they cared and it felt really good to have these debates with them. I left teaching that evening feeling energized by our discussions.
ows news occupy wall street
— OCCUPY WALL STREET PROTESTER, reading her sign to a WCBS AM radio reporter.
Demonstrators are now in Union Square, on 5th Avenue and on Broadway, heading toward Foley Square north of City Hall.
Keep it peaceful, Occupiers. Don’t hit police officers; don’t strike at them unless provoked.
Retired Philadelphia Police Captain Ray Lewis was in Zuccotti Park last night with the Occupy Wall Street protesters. Mr. Lewis showed up in uniform carrying signs a pair of signs imploring New York City cops to join the protests. “NYPD Don’t Be Wall Street Mercenaries,” one read. Mr. Lewis was interviewed on one of the Occupy Wall Street livestreams at about two this morning. He was sharply critical of the NYPD’s conduct during their raid on the protest encampment Tuesday. “This bullrush–what happened last night is totally uncalled for,” Mr. Lewis said.
A Philadelphia Police Department spokesperson confirmed to the Observer that Mr. Lewis was a captain prior to retiring in 2004. He was photographed at the protests yesterday afternoon as demonstrators ringed Zuccotti Park in the wake of their eviction.
In his late night interview with the livestreamers, Lewis said police in New York City should have dealt with Occupy Wall Street through negotiation rather than forcefully removing protesters from the park.
“You should, by law, only use force to protect someone’s life or to protect them from being bodily injured OK? If you’re not protecting somebody’s life or protecting them from bodily injury, there’s no need to use force. And the number one thing that they always have in their favor that they seldom use is negotiation–continue to talk, and talk and talk to people. You have nothing to lose by that,” Mr Lewis said. “This bullrush–what happened last night is totally uncalled for when they did not use negotiation long enough.”
Mayor Bloomberg has stated the raid was necessary because the protest encampment carried with it a risk of crime, fire and health hazards. Mr. Lewis called that rationale “a farce.”
“They complained about the park being dirty. Here they are worrying about dirty parks when people are starving to death, where people are freezing, where people are sleeping in subways and they’re concerned about a dirty park. That’s obnoxious, it’s arrogant, it’s ignorant, it’s disgusting,” Mr. Lewis said."
I suddenly love Philadelphia, for giving us this person.