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Campus Joins Occupy Movement

The Occupy Wall Street movement reached Isla Vista yesterday with a campus teach-in regarding corporate control of the economy and media on the lawn across from the Student Resource Building.

The first Occupy Isla Vista event, officially titled “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” featured slam poetry, songs and speakers from various organizations and academic departments. Attendees were encouraged to talk with speakers and voice their opinions over the microphone from 12 to 4 p.m.

In a joint presentation, Associated Students Director for Media and KCSB staff advisor Elizabeth Robinson and KCSB General Manager Eric Wolff, a fourth-year sociology major, emphasized the media’s role in the movement.

“Make your own media,” Wolff said. “It is valuable to make media in a grassroots way. Recognize that we are the public and we have the right to demand communication and media outlets with certain responsibilities to serve the community.”

According to Wolff, conglomerate control of the industry stems from the Communications Act of 1934, which established the Federal Communications Commission, and has since been exacerbated by measures like the Telecommunication Act of 1996, which encourages entrepreneurial competition in the market of media.

While Robinson and Wolff advocated for a public recall of news sources, third-year economics major and Spanish international student Jose Perez-Arda said the movement also emphasizes the issues of global inequality and wealth disparity.

“Over a billion people in the world make less than one dollar a day,” Perez said. “It is time we address the issue of the top 1 percent versus the bottom 99 percent in the world.”

According to Geoffery Bord, a former employee in the mortgage industry, greed often motivates irresponsible subprime lending, which spiked before leading the U.S. into an economic nosedive in 2007.

“I’ve seen fraudulence; I’ve seen loan officers lie; I’ve seen false compliance with false lending laws,” Bord said. “A criminal mentality occurs in mortgage companies.”

UCSB Orfalea Center Research Associate and Huffington Post contributor Jack Ucciferri said his experience with large businesses spurred his interest in corporate accountability.

“Every day I go to work and confront people who are clearly practicing illegal behavior but hide behind a corporate mask,” Ucciferri said. “There is a myth about publicly traded corporations — there are none. Corporations aren’t people; they are legal fictions, and if you have a job with a corporation then you are a partial owner and should have a say. If you have a retirement account or you own any stocks you own a piece of corporate America.”

Occupy I.V. Education Committee member Allison McManus, a first-year global studies major, said the teach-in allowed all parts of the campus community to come together in unilateral support of the national movement.

“The role I took was to reach out to faculty to speak,” McManus said. “Overall, the organization has been a group effort. Everyone involved has been super collaborative and willing to contribute.”

According to Ucciferri, the movement is gaining ground as one of the most significant steps toward contemporary social and economic progress.

“We have the wind of history behind our backs,” he said. “This movement is not going anywhere until change is made.”

Occupy I.V. organizers will hold general meetings Tuesdays at 10 p.m. near Coffee Collaborative and Sundays at 5:30 p.m. near People’s Park. For a complete schedule of events and to get involved, visit occupyislavista.org.

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2 Comments

  1. Sub-prime lending wouldn’t have been a problem if the Federal Government didn’t place a quota on the percentage of loans that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had to purchase from “low- and moderate-income families”. At one point, HUD actually urged “creativity” to make that happen.

    That someone in a mortgage company saw that you could issue horrible loans and simply sell them to the Federal Government’s entities — because those companies had to purchase a specific (53%) proportion of mortgage loans from (in all practical terms) unqualified borrowers — doesn’t make those people inherently greedy; it makes the people (ie. politicians) that made doing such a thing profitable inherently stupid or inherently greedy themselves (if done for political gain).

  2. Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Maybe we need to teach the 99% how to fish and not steal or want something for free?

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