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NC State finds teaching opportunity in 'Occupy' protests

Posted November 3, 2011

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— Professors and staff at North Carolina State University on Thursday planned a daylong "teach-in" on campus and at the state Capitol that's focused on the anti-Wall Street "Occupy" protests

Organizers say it's not a rally or a protest but a series of lectures ranging from the causes and consequences of economic inequality to free speech.

"You can learn both positively and negatively from the past, what worked and what didn't work," said David Zonderman, a history professor who spoke on lessons learned from past mass movements.

"They're already doing some of the positive things that past movements have done," he continued. "It's a true grassroots movement. It's very broad-based," he added. "It's very accepting of people of all walks of life, which I think is important for a successful movement."

Professors and staff from a range of disciplines, including history, communication, sociology and English participated in the event until 2 p.m., and then, with students, marched about 2 miles to the Capitol.

There, professors from Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro will also host a series of lectures on the movement and what it means in the broader perspective.

"(Students)" are really the core of the movement itself," said Steve McDonald, a N.C. State sociology professor.

He said young people are especially vulnerable to the growing gap of financial inequality. Approximately two dozen students sat in on the lectures at any given time.

Occupy NC State State teach-in examines 'Occupy' movement

"No matter how much you study something, there's always more to learn," N.C. State graduate student Michelle Lore said. "I definitely wanted to come out and support the movement and give it as much possibility as possible."

The Occupy movement started in New York City on Sept. 17 with a handful of demonstrators protesting on Wall Street.

By Oct. 9, it had spread to cities and towns across the country and then to other countries. Rallies have been held in more than 900 cities worldwide, including Raleigh.

Zonderman said he doesn't believe visibility is an issue, not yet at least.

"I think that if the movement doesn't sort of organize around a couple of key issues, they run the risk of either people losing energy or other people looking, saying, 'We don't know what you stand for, so why should we help you?'" Zonderman said.

"Are they going to develop a real platform or not?" he added. And what are they going to about getting involved in politics, if they are at all?"


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  • mep Nov 3, 2011

    Your Wiki source is poor... at best.
    The fact remains you can not tax in order to create a middle class. A flat fair consumption tax instead of income taxation would cure your desires for economic taxation fairness.
    I'll take trickle down economics over trickle up poverty through taxation any day.

  • godnessgracious2 Nov 3, 2011

    So its theft if the burden is shifted to the rich, but what was it when the burden was shifted to the middle class? Are you aware that after Reagan dropped taxes for the rich he raised them many times for the middle class?


  • meshearin Nov 3, 2011

    Allthepeople- You have some good thoughts there too- makes sense as well!

  • Duke _Nukem Nov 3, 2011

    If you want something to protest and make a stink about, how about viewing the film "Burzynski" and make the FDA explain why they are letting big pharmacuetical companies stiffle a cure for certain types of cancer because they won't get the money. Do something useful.

  • vraptor Nov 3, 2011

    Funny how these people don't complain are sport players & entertainers who make millions.

    Lets look at a sports team. Say the yankee's. Arod makes $32M / year. eNunez makes $420K / year. What do the staff members make? What do the stadium employees make? Hum. Huge discrepancy. Just like a corp. The biggest contributors make the most.

    But the ows's have no problem with this.

    There is a saying that if you divide up all the wealth in the USA. The wealth would be back in the hands of the wealthy in five years because they know how to make money.

    Lets look at Mike Tyson. He earned $300M. Blew it all. And owes another $30M.

  • Duke _Nukem Nov 3, 2011

    Blah, blah, blah. White noise from a left wing professor that is going to tell everyone what to think.

  • mep Nov 3, 2011

    You are partially correct. I too believe it is wrong for comapnies to be bailed out. PERIOD! Worse yet, a bailed out company that pays millions in tax dollars to its CEO as a bonus or golden parachute. I believe the govt has the responsibility to ensure PUBLICLY traded companies serve/protect the stockholders first! However, NO private company is morally obligated to support a country. Businesses exist to make profit. The key is for the govt to foster an environment where businesses choose to stay in that country to earn profit while the citizens enjoy the benefits of employment and the govt enjoys the tax revenues.

  • mep Nov 3, 2011


    Tax burden redistribution is just another name for theft.
    The govt can not "create" a middle class through taxation. At least not a self sustaining one.

  • All the People Nov 3, 2011

    Create your own wealth: Please enlighten us to, this information which directly contradicts what numerous studies have shown.

  • godnessgracious2 Nov 3, 2011

    (buzzer) Wrong.

    Share with us your mighty secret, oh ruthless capitalist!