Tag Archive: Occupy Wall Street


I owe regular readers an explanation for the lengthy hiatus on this blog.

As I had predicted would happen back in the summer, this semester turned into an extremely busy one for me.

Directing the Environmental Studies program at the University of Vermont is a large part of that busyness: it’s a large, interdisciplinary and cross-college program of nearly 500 undergraduate majors, which has seen its student numbers climb consistently over several years while faculty and staff numbers have actually declined. This has led to a barely sustainable staffing situation, though we are far from unique in that respect. Directing it involves a lot of advising (those 500 students) and overseeing of a somewhat complicated and highly individualized curriculum, reading and signing off on paperwork, organizing, leading and/or attending various kinds of meetings (in three different Schools and Colleges), overseeing the teaching of courses including our Students-Teaching-Students courses, putting out little fires as these arise on a somewhat regular basis, and so on.

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This list of demands is simple, yet demanding, as it should be. See below for explanatory notes. Please share these demands widely.

In recognition of the primary role played by oversized and deregulated financial institutions in causing the current economic crisis, WE DEMAND:

1) That all persons who have served as directors or chief executives of large financial institutions in the previous 10 years, and all persons who have accepted over $500,000 in campaign donations from employees of such institutions in the same period, be disqualified from running for office in Congress, Senate, and the Presidency and Vice-Presidency of the United States of America.

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The Occupation

The metaphor of “occupation” strikes me as a provocative one not only for what the activists in Manhattan and elsewhere are doing, but for what they are struggling against.

Some, and perhaps many, of these are people without traditional “occupations,” so they are occupying themselves by re-occupying the public spaces that have been occupied for too long by the values, habits, and appeals of the Occupation Force — the whole industry of slogans, gestures, come-hither looks, sales pitches, jingles, hooks, nods and winks (backed up by policies, and ultimately by laws and policing) that keep us steered into the spectacle of Politics-as-Usual-and-Consumption-Above-All.

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