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The faculty members continue:
More broadly, we share the outrage of Occupy Wall Street at a system that provides increasingly few opportunities for the majority–the 99%–while generating vast profits for a tiny minority. Along with the demonstrators, we are demanding an end to the extreme inequalities that structure our society. We share with many Americans acute anger at the government’s unconditional bailout of bankers and Wall Street firms that drove the economy to disaster. Our country urgently needs to address not the problems of Wall Street but the problems of the 99%: massive unemployment, the erosion of our social safety networks, our decaying infrastructures, social and education programs, and workers’ wages, rights, and benefits. We join Occupy Wall Street in calling for urgent action to increase employment and to protect programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, in part by requiring the wealthy, the investment bankers, and the large corporations to pay their fair share of taxes.
Who’s to blame for increasingly few opportunities for the majority? How about colleges that churn out thousands of graduates with majors completely unsuited for employment? The Daily Beast, hardly a bastion of right-wing journalism, has compiled a list of the 20 Most Useless College Majors. Potential students might want to peruse it before deciding whether college is worth it. Temple faculty members who signed the petition with their names and what they teach, much of which makes that Top 20 list, might also want to look at the list–and perhaps in a mirror as well.
As for the social safety net, massive unemployment, decaying infrastructure, etc., it should be noted that the Obama administration has spent more than a trillion dollars in Keynesian economic stimulus and added almost $5 trillion to the national debt, immediately following eight years of a “compassionate conservative” Bush administration which also added $5 trillion to the debt. That’s some fairly “urgent action” in the space of eleven years. Unfortunately, none of it has stopped or even mitigated the runaway freight train that is entitlement spending. As for large corporations paying their fair share, thankfully none of the professors who signed the petition teach economics. Here’s a reality check for those that did sign the petition: corporations invariably pass taxes on to consumers.
The faculty members wind it up:
We also join the protesters in decrying the disastrous effects of the costly wars that the United States has been conducting overseas since 2001. Only by identifying the complex interconnections between repressive economic, social, and political regimes can social and economic justice prevail in this country and around the globe. We applaud the efforts to keep the protests peaceful and democratic. As teachers we express our conviction that without social justice, education is a shell game. And as scholars we celebrate the creative and intellectual work of Occupy Wall Street as an essential partner to our own efforts to facilitate the emergence of a better social order and a smarter commitment to its lively perpetuation. As individuals proud to be members of the Temple Association of University Professionals, we join our colleagues in the labor movement, especially teachers unions, and at other universities and colleges, in supporting this peaceful and potentially transformative movement, and we call on all members of the Temple community to lend their support.
Perhaps it never occurs to such people that maybe the reason there’s been no reprise of 9/11 in any other American city–like in Temple University’s home city of Philadelphia for example–is because we’ve managed to keep Islamic jihadism off balance since 2001. As for the next bit, one can identify all the complex and repressive interconnections one desires–without an iota of so-called economic justice prevailing. Or, to put it in terms a non-academic can understand, talk is cheap.
With respect to education being a “shell game” without social justice, I point the professors to the differential between their own compensation and that of the average Pennsylvanian and ask the following question: how much of a pay cut would they be willing to take to simultaneously achieve a modicum of that social justice and make college “accessible and affordable to all”?
As for the OWS movement being “peaceful and transformative,” numerous instances of stealing, reports of rape, violent clashes with police, exhibitions of anti-Semitism, and professed support for the OWS movement by the American Communist and Nazi parties indicate otherwise.
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