Occupy Wall Street enters the classroom at UCD next semester

Polk.jpg
Stephen Polk.
Hey, remember Occupy Wall Street? The almost-revolution that rallied Americans to address our ever-widening income gap, yet ultimately splintered into obscurity due to idealistic infighting? Yes, that one. While the movement is mostly behind us, it played a major role in the last election. And that's why poli-sci lecturer Stephen Polk will be presenting a class on OWS this coming semester at University of Colorado Denver.

"Occupy opened up new ideas about who we are as a people, and new possibilities of where we are going as a global society," says Polk. "It was instrumental in shifting national dialogue around inequality, creating more space for the Obama administration to speak effectively on taxing the rich, and in developing a narrative of Romney as a wealthy 1 percenter out of touch with most of the American people."

Even though Polk will be teaching this class as someone who was actively involved in Occupy protests and gatherings, he says he'll welcome participation from students of varied political persuasions, creating an environment of "respect for difference of opinion, free from ridicule and disrespect, yet open to critical engagement."

In this class, Polk intends to analyze the Occupy movement from a variety of angles, looking at its historical precedents, its use of consensus building, the confrontation of publicly owned space for protests/camping, the recession and income inequality.

Polk graduated from the University of Colorado Denver with a masters degree in political science in 2011, and has since been hosting lectures in UCD's political science department. "The movements that I have studied were precursors to the Occupy movement, in that Occupy directly borrowed the same horizontal, consensus based tactics," he explains.

"I understand that Occupy is an extremely contentious movement; people's perceptions of it are more often vitriolic in nature," Polk admits. Still, he maintains that "education in a democratic society requires critical engagement with contentious issues. Whether you are a staunch Republican or libertarian, liberal or anarchist, critical engagement with diverse ideas that may be contrary to your own can serve to strengthen, rather than weaken, your political disposition. This is the freedom -- and also the responsibility -- that we are allowed in a democratic society: The ability to chose what we believe in. It is my job to equip students with the intellectual tools and resources necessary for critical engagement that forms coherent beliefs."

Polk's "Occupy America" begins in January at the University of Colorado Denver; for more information, contact him at stephen.polk@ucdenver.edu

From our archives: Photos: Cries of "Shame!" as camping ban passes at tense council meeting.




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9 comments
occupiedsole
occupiedsole

why bother writing about something if you're gonna give it such a negative spin?  like whats the point?  

Don Finley
Don Finley

The class will be called : Moron 101

Josh Moore
Josh Moore

Nah... I already know how to take a shower.

Robbie Ratay
Robbie Ratay

Yeah let me put that time and date in my iphone... pfft

whammy737
whammy737

lol property hating leftist. . . .My name is Chris, I am 34 ... The ENTIRE reason I joined occupy was that I bought a house for 64,000 in 08. worth 16 thousand when OWS started. . Dissident perhaps. . Cognitive always;). . . For those who say we are gone 

Global week, Global Conversation, community building, Strike, and celebration
National gatherings for all groups, to teach, communicate, and collaborate
To host a national coalition about the North east Pipeline, and alternative energy
A National effort to form an alternative media program
A strike debt concert aimed at student debt
A local neighborhood rebuilding program to give to homeless families
Building a bike generator theatre, and hosting Documentaries like “Bidder 70”. w/ a panel afterwards.
Training how to use DIY alternative energy techniques to charge your phone
and moe to be announced
Groups like Move to amend, Peaceful Uprising, the U.S.S.F. potentially participating

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1EtlKB69uYI3QmsA2b1q9fFTdE3GUbs3L2N9L6zj7hO8/edit

rockiesfever
rockiesfever

any of you homos call me frances ill kill you

rd1885
rd1885

The assertion that the Occupy movement played a major role in the last election is unfounded at best, hard to imagine any sober person thinking this assertion anything but laughable.

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

@whammy737 The "entire reason" you joined occupy was that you bought a house that devaluated...yeah, that makes sense. I'm familiar with the part about wanting to get out of debt obligations, and I did see the paperwork floating around that looked like the communist manifesto.

Focus helps. The Federal Reserve and the Federal Government's relationship with it is a good place to start. Bombings, riots, and occupying property that's not yours--not so much.

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