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Listeners weigh in on the Occupy movement


Thousands of students and other protesters converged on the Capitol today to protest cuts to public education. Tuition and fees at the University of California 10 campuses are up 21 percent this year, according to the College Board. Students and faculty say the constant cost increases are pricing out most Californians.

Among the demonstrators were members of the Occupy movement. In our on-going coverage of the evolution of Occupy, we’ve asked listeners to weigh in on the budding movement and here are some of their thoughts.

MILLIE BARRSCH: I’m thoroughly, completely, passionately in favor of Occupy. If I weren’t old and blind, I would have gone to join the crowd. But it’s not a place for a blind person. When black troublemakers (in masks), came in, I wasn’t that happy. But I thought that wasn’t the fault of the occupiers.

MARIE (Last name not given): Occupy needs to be totally, completely, 100 percent responsive to each locale where they are situated. So, whatever people living in Oakland want, that is what Occupy should be delivering. Occupy should not be making up its own agenda and imposing that on the people of Oakland. That’s bulls**t. And secondly, if you eat a piece of OccuPie, hopefully you will have a very good movement.

MARK MASON: 1968-1972, those were the golden years of middle class anti war dissent. In the U.S. we have no institutional memory, no persistence in the progressive movement. Disunited. The struggle for a variety of human rights: African-American civil rights, free speech movement, Anti-Vietnam war movement, women’s lib movement, environment movement. Each of these was realized in the 60s and early 70s. The Occupy movement embraces all of these within a framework of class warfare. It’s about the bankers and it’s not about the bankers. It’s about the power structure of America. It’s about the commons and the community. It’s about tangible money and intangible ideas. Why do I own a ladder? I use it a few times to check the furnace filter and do a few other fix it tasks. Why do I own a ladder? How many ladders do we have in our neighborhoods collecting dust. How many of my neighbors do not own a ladder but need one when mine is idle? Occupy is not reclaiming the commons stolen from us but is reclaiming a new idea, a new attitude, a new concept of communal. The commons is the ladder in my garage, but, also, it is the intangible sense of community that is missing from our internal cultural clock. The landscape of a culture of America. To share a ladder is radical social change because to the share the physical requires sharing the conceptual. Identity and community are ideas. We are given the capital “I” in “I.” Occupy gives us the capital “W” in “We.”


CrosscurrentsOccupy Commons
Holly Kernan is the architect of the award-winning Public Interest Reporting Project. She is currently news director at KALW 91.7FM in San Francisco. In 2009 she was named Journalist of the Year by the Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Kernan teaches journalism at Mills College and the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and has taught at Santa Rosa Junior College, Youth Radio and San Francisco State University's Lifelong Learning Institute. She lives in Oakland with her husband, Mike, daughter, Julia, and retired greyhound Benjamin Franklin.