Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Occupy Wall Street studied at American universities

It has recently been reported that the Occupy Wall Street movement is being studied at universities around the United States:

Chicago, IL -- The Occupy movement is starting to set up camp in university course catalogs, syllabuses and classrooms. There are new course offerings and a new focus in older ones.

Professor Jeff Edwards, who is teaching "Occupy Everywhere" at Roosevelt University in Chicago this semester, said a third of the political science majors are enrolled in the course.

Edwards said Roosevelt allows professors to teach a class one time before the official approval process as long as the department approves it. He says the Occupy movement, which started in September near New York's Wall Street as a protest against economic inequality, is having enough of an impact on American culture to stand alone in its own course.

"This movement is playing out in front of us and I thought it would be negligent if I didn't create a space for our students to evaluate it," Edwards said.

Several other universities have also moved quickly to fashion Occupy courses this semester:

•Brown University's visiting assistant professor Derek Seidman created a seminar: "The Occupy Movement in Historical Context" after an Occupy teach-in at the University in October attracted about 600 people.

•Channa Newman, a professor at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, teaches "Wealthy White Males," where "the 99% vs. the 1% is the premise for the course." Newman started teaching the course 10 years ago, but this year she has changed it to include the Occupy movement.

•UC San Diego professor Ivan Evans' course "Social Movements" is zeroing in on the Occupy movement this semester. "Now we focus on the organization and structure of social movements because of Occupy's unique model," Evans says.

•New York University is offering "Cultures and Economies: Why Occupy Wall Street? The History and Politics of Debt and Finance" taught by professor Lisa Duggan.
Channa Newman's course got me thinking: here we have a Jewish woman teaching a course for the past ten years analyzing "Wealthy White Males," where "the 99% vs. the 1% is the premise for the course." That's all well and good, but...

Could you imagine the outrage if a professor taught a course which focused on wealthy, powerful Jews and their history in American government, finance, media, crime, and culture (including the slave trade)? Would that be allowed at any university in this country? If we can study "Wealthy White Males," why can't we study international Zionism, Jewish crime, and Jewish power? Are these not important subjects for inquiry and analysis?

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Everyone should listen to, or read, the speech Mark Weber of the Institute for Historical Review gave last year titled, "The 'Jewish Question' Today." Maybe Mark Weber could teach a class on the "Jewish Question" and the history of anti-Semitism at a major university?

Some excerpts below:

“I think anti-Semitism exists for the same reason that Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, says it exists, and he laid out in his book, The Jewish State. He said that anti-Semitism exists as a natural consequence of the fact that Jews live in non-Jewish societies, but that Jews think of themselves and act as a separate people and promote their own group interests, and that these group interests often conflict with those of the people they live among.” That’s pretty obvious, I think. And in fact, that’s historically accurate.


Theodor Herzl felt that this conflict is inevitable as long as Jews live as a separate group — as a nation, he called them: a “Volk” in German – as a nation among other people, and that the solution to this, he believed – in fact in his diary he called it “the final solution of the Jewish Question” – was for Jews to become a normal people by living in a country of their own. [...]


... whereas in the past, the Jewish Question was an issue or a tension or a problem that existed in a particular region, or a particular country, or a city, and was usually followed by expulsion from that place, and then later, I think in the 1930s and ’40s became a continental-wide Question; today it is a global Question. It’s a global issue. Because the power of the organized Jewish community: the Jewish Lobby, the Israel Lobby, whatever you call it, is one that has a particular grip here in the United States, the most powerful country in the world, certainly the one with the biggest military, and is fortified by having a base of support in a country of their own, Israel, that is supplemental in addition to the power that already exists here in the United States: the one feeds off the other. [...]


There is no group in America, no single ethnic/religious group that has more power than the organized Jewish community. There is no significant policy carried out by our government that’s contrary to the interests and the will of the organized Jewish community. That’s not true of any other group, whether it’s fundamentalist Christians or Catholics (who make up something like 40% of the population.) [...]


And on all sorts of issues, time and time again, Jewish sensibilities and Jewish interests are paramount, absolutely paramount, nowhere more so of course than in our foreign policy, where our political leaders whether Democratic or Republican insist and swear by their defense of Israel under any circumstance, they absolutely pledge to their security, guaranteeing their security, and also in addition emphatically guaranteeing their support for Israel not really as a state or a nation, but as a specifically Jewish state, something the United States doesn’t do for any other country. [...]


For Jews, and organizations like the Anti-Defamation League, insist that Israel must be a specifically Jewish ethnic religious state. And that underscores the essential double standard, the essential hypocrisy. Not only in this regard, which is dangerous for the white race and indeed for all races, but underscores the double standard that prevails in American society, in political life, our cultural life, our social life, across the board. Because an appearance or a support of the interests and the agenda of the Jewish Zionist group, of that Jewish Zionist power means a betrayal of the interests of every other group in every other way.


I put it this way: if you are a sincere liberal, or if you are a sincere conservative, you must reject this Jewish Zionist power. If you are a sincere liberal, and you are consistent about the importance of egalitarian societies or justice, then your support for a state which has institutionalized discrimination against its non-Jewish population, which has violated numerous security council resolutions, which is the only state in the Middle East that occupies territory of its neighbors, is one that every liberal should understand and reject for that reason. And anyone who is a sincere conservative should equally be appalled by an organization or an organized community that promotes slogans, that promotes an agenda, that promotes policies that mean the destruction of everything worth conserving, everything worth holding on to. [...]


If there’s anything that needs to be stressed it’s this essential point that in our society no group has as much power – has the decisive power – as the organized Jewish community. We live in a society that is in the grip of this Jewish Zionist power. I know that a lot of Americans find that very disturbing. If you even talk about Jews as a separate group, that’s considered very, very dangerous. Because the ideology of America is that people come here and they all join in and we all become Americans. But the obvious untruth of that statement is that the Jewish community itself regards itself as a separate group with separate interests.


And the proof of that is that almost all Jews — in the United States or around the world, but almost all Jews in America – regard themselves as Zionists, as followers of Zionism. The essence of Zionism is Jewish Nationalism. It’s based on the premise that Jews are a separate and distinct nation, a distinct people, and therefore the Jews should and must have a primary loyalty to this nation-state, this group, this people. And to say then therefore that there’s no Jewish Question, is to ignore a reality that Jewish leaders themselves say. [...]


We have a tremendous opportunity to make tremendous impact by merely stating the truth, merely stating the reality. And these points that we’re making in this conference here this weekend, and the points that we try to make over and over again, are truthful, they’re real, they’re based on reality. And they need to be said over and over again.

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