So many celebrities have visited Liberty Plaza, Allison Kilkenny - only half-jokingly - referred to Occupy Wall Street as a modern-day Studio 54. Michael Moore made an appearance early on (giving the movement a much needed boost), Mark Ruffalo marched with the protesters and they've had numerous teach-ins featuring prominent authors and Nobel-prize winning economists. These high profile appearances have done much to help Occupy Wall Street grow and to energize the movement.
But what about occupations in smaller towns? How can they have teach-ins (which, obviously, are needed as much in smaller occupations as in the larger cities)?
These were the thoughts that led me - pretty much on a whim - to see if I could convince high profile academics to conduct virtual teach-ins for everyone, but especially directed to smaller occupations. Joseph Stiglitz's wife replied almost immediately and told me that although Professor Stiglitz was out of the country, she was sure Jeff Madrick would be willing to help - it says all anyone needs to know about Jeff Madrick that she would be so certain of his generosity. And indeed, she was correct: Without hesitation, Mr. Madrick agreed to lend his expertise to Occupied Media. For those of you not familiar with Mr. Madrick, here he is appearing on Countdown with Keith Olbermann:
Once Mr. Madrick agreed to the virtual teach-in, the members of our very small occupation began to scramble (Mr. Madrick was more than happy to be interviewed, but he was leaving for Europe in two days). None of us had any experience and a flurry of frantic tweets and emails ensued. But very quickly, we conducted the interview via Skype and due to the willingness of so many to lend a helping hand, we found a way to edit and post the piece to our newly-formed YouTube channel (in addition to members of the Occupy Missoula Communications Working Group, I was assisted remotely by many generous individuals donning Guy Fawkes masks). Now we need our fellow occupiers as well as our allies on twitter, in the progressive blogosphere and in the alternative media to make sure Occupied Media generally and this virtual teach-in in particular reaches the hundreds of smaller occupations across the country.
It is my sincere hope that many smaller occupations will contribute to Occupied Media. Anyone interested in participating - or with inquiries regarding Occupied Media - can contact me via twitter or email.
A fascinating and deeply disturbing tale of hypocrisy, corruption, and insatiable greed. But more than that, it’s a much-needed reminder of just how we got into the mess we’re in—a reminder that is greatly needed when we are still being told that greed is good.
Video cross-posted at OccupyMissoula.wordpress.com.