The Port Huron Statement and the Declaration of Occupy Wall St.

As it is coming up on the 50th anniversary of The Port Huron Statement (PHS) (full text of the documentby the Students for a Democratic Society I thought it might be worthwhile to compare it with the first official “Declaration of the Occupation of New York City” of Occupy Wall St. from September 30, 2011. Admittedly, this is hardly a fair comparison. The process of generating each of the documents appears very different to me.

The opening from the PHS goes like this:

We are people of this generation, bred in at least modest comfort, housed now in universities, looking uncomfortably to the world we inherit.

When we were kids the United States was the wealthiest and strongest country in the world: the only one with the atom bomb, the least scarred by modern war, an initiator of the United Nations that we thought would distribute Western influence throughout the world. Freedom and equality for each individual, government of, by, and for the people — these American values we found good, principles by which we could live as men. Many of us began maturing in complacency.

As we grew, however, our comfort was penetrated by events too troubling to dismiss. First, the permeating and victimizing fact of human degradation, symbolized by the Southern struggle against racial bigotry, compelled most of us from silence to activism. Second, the enclosing fact of the Cold War, symbolized by the presence of the Bomb, brought awareness that we ourselves, and our friends, and millions of abstract “others” we knew more directly because of our common peril, might die at any time. We might deliberately ignore, or avoid, or fail to feel all other human problems, but not these two, for these were too immediate and crushing in their impact, too challenging in the demand that we as individuals take the responsibility for encounter and resolution.

The Occupy Wall St. declaration opens with this:

As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.

As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.

In many ways, these both set up describing the conditions of widespread economic inequality. The PHS goes further in linking it with racial inequality.


Mexican American Studies in Tuscon AZ

Some speak of “political correctness” on the political left. There is also a form of conservative political correctness to particular ideas which brooks no interference from pesky facts.

Defying Community, Split Tucson School Board Sacks Mexican American Studies Director Amid Confusion

After more than two and half hours of a “call to audience” open mike, where passionate Tucson students, alumni, teachers, parents and community members exclusively praised the Mexican American Studies program’s achievements, values and rootedness in the city and dressed down the Tucson Unified School District”s (TUSD) disconnection from the community, a bedraggled school board emerged from chanting and protests to quickly manipulate a 3-2 vote to dismiss the MAS director Sean Arce tonight.


Despite an exhausting 2-year-long witch hunt (dating back to 2006, in truth) against the acclaimed Mexican American Studies program by the Tea Party-led state legislature, tonight’s school board meeting in Tucson was possibly one of the most bizarre and confusing in an already demoralized school district. Yet, not a single person, among scores of tireless speakers, spoke against the program. Nor did a single school board member opt to respond to any questions–including a local academic’s query on why his own writing was banned from the District’s classes, as part of the canceling of Mexican American Studies curriculum.


“I might as well be speaking to the wall,” said one student. “But we’re not going anywhere.”

ALEC in Trouble? I hope so.

ALEC Annoyed at Losing Sponsors? It Breaks My Heart

And from ALEC Exposed:

Through the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council, global corporations and state politicians vote behind closed doors to try to rewrite state laws that govern your rights. These so-called “model bills” reach into almost every area of American life and often directly benefit huge corporations. In ALEC’s own words, corporations have “a VOICE and a VOTE” on specific changes to the law that are then proposed in your state. DO YOU?

Feministe on SAHM Kerfluffle

Given: I’m not writing much here yet.

Correlate: Links to posts elsewhere I find worth reading are useful blog fodder.

Additional correlate: Blog derives from weblog, itinerary of interwebs site-seeing.

Axiom: Links, even without expository commentary, are good.

Thus: A few thoughts on Hilary Rosen, moms and work

A Society of Fear

The USA in the post 9/11 era has become a fearful society. We are afraid of terrorists and we’re afraid of losing jobs and income. We are afraid of speaking out against injustice and we’re afraid of our government. We are afraid of calling too much attention to ourselves.

The popular media manipulates us, substituting vacuous scandal for deep values. We live impulsively.

We need to dream bigger and deeper. Fear should not be the defining quality of our society.

The goal of terrorism is not to externally destroy a country with bombs; the goal is to cause a society to destroy itself. The US government is doing a dandy job at that.

Top Secret America by Dana Priest and William Arkin documents some of the ways that the US government has responded to the “crisis” of 9/11. Note particularly how much money has gone to pay for these “protections”.

And, no, I don’t feel safer.

False Equivalence in Journalism

Perhaps one of the most pernicious and corrosive aspects of modern popular journalism is the tendency to present stories in a so-called “he said/she said” format. For example, the Democrats say one thing, the Republicans say something different, and the views are presented with little-to-no factchecking. The views are also presented as equivalent, no matter how skewed or wrong the facts might be on one or both sides. This is sometimes known as “false equivalence”.

The Beat the Press blog at Center for Economic and Policy Research mentioned that NPR Ends He Said/She Said journalism. I had some trouble finding the specifics at NPR’s Ethics Handbook. Still, this is a good sign. Partisan reporting certainly has its place but not in broad news producers.

I find it particularly noxious when Fox, which is a decidedly partisan organization, proclaims a slogan like “fair and balanced.” Quite a newspeak kind of assertion.