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Cross-posted from http://occupywallst.org/...

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Students from across the country marched from Ohio State University Student Union to President Obama’s campaign office to hold a press conference yesterday, calling into question the injustices of our current economic and political system. In an era where our political process is gridlocked by the influence of money and corporate power, our society has systematically diverted resources from the bottom to the top to fund a frenzy of profit seeking.

The demonstration highlighted how our electoral system and politicians have failed our youth on the critical issues of education, gender equality, racial justice, environmental sustainability, and basic respect for human rights. Neither party has the audacity to confront these injustices, nor do they attempt to facilitate any type of connection with us on these issues, which disproportionately affect women, LGBTQ people, youth, and people of color.

Akin Olla, an organizer from New Jersey, states: “It is important to recognize that not only are racism and discrimination against people of color still present in the United States, but they are playing a huge factor in the future for the youth of color by limiting our access to education, personal liberty and the right to feel safe in our own communities.”

Although women and LGBTQ people have won notable gains in recent years, Raquel Valesquez of Arizona gets to the heart of how the current system is one of structural inequality: “As we speak, women and LGBTQ people are refusing to accept the old idea of what our rights should be and are demanding change towards the true needs of our communities. As we are denied security in the workplace and safety in the streets; as our survivors of violence are blamed for their traumas while perpetrators are excused; while the state tightens its grip on our bodies through criminalization, incarceration, and abortion bans, we demand more than the right to military and marriage.”

Along with gender and sexuality injustice, we have learned that no matter who we vote for, we cannot avoid the controlling interests of corporations such as Goldman Sachs and Exxon Mobil dominating our political process. The corporate framework dictates infinite growth and accumulation of profit no matter what the environmental and human costs are. Tabitha Skervin of Michigan State University sums it up by saying, “You can preach economic growth all day but there are no jobs on a dying planet.”

The United States currently maintains a massive military machine responsible for the inhuman attempt to maintain and increase domination over the planet. We are outraged that more than $1 trillion of the annual federal budget is allocated towards sustaining the military-industrial complex instead of socially beneficial services such as accessible education. Within our borders, youth are growing up in a militarized society. The United States military targets low income and youth of color with manipulative promises of enlistment being the doorway to education and enrichment. We do not condemn individual soldiers whose bodies becomes tools of the state, used and then discarded to suffer untreated from the traumatic consequences of their service. Aislinn Bauer from New York City states, “We believe that the massive expenditures of taxpayer money should be redirected towards enhancing socially beneficial services like accessible education rather than furthering the interests of multinational corporations such as Big Oil and agribusiness and monitoring and criminalizing our own population. Money for jobs and education, not for war and occupation!”

We are now raising our voices to join the rallying cry of student movements across the world, addressing common global grievances, and resisting a system that does not serve the majority of us. Noting that access to higher education has become increasingly out of reach for much of the population due to skyrocketing tuition and burdensome loans, Lainie Rini of Ohio State University compares our education system to a factory: “Our current education system denies anyone but the privileged access to quality education. It is farming students for profit rather than being a space for inquiry and thought.”

The current situation has demonstrated that we cannot passively depend upon our leaders to save our society. We call for American youth to take action much like students across the globe in places like Quebec, Mexico, Chile, Spain, and Puerto Rico, who are mobilizing to demand their rights. Democracy cannot exist without demonstration and debate in public spaces. This fall, regardless of where we lie on the political spectrum, it is crucial that we come together on campuses across the country to reclaim our future before it’s too late. Join us November 14th-21st as part of a global week of student action, demonstrating that we in the U.S. are committed to global justice and the international student movement. Here. Us. Now.

WEB: www.studentpower2012.org
TWITTER: @studentpower12 #HereUsNow
FACEBOOK: facebook.com/StudentPower2012

Posted this because this was something I was personally a part of.
I'm in the video too!

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Comment Preferences

  •  So why don't they also march on Romney? (17+ / 0-)

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 01:14:34 PM PDT

    •  I guess the answer would be... (6+ / 0-)

      ...that Romney is in no position at this time to address their concerns.
      I do find it interesting that OWS activists from all over the country chose to converge on an Obama campaign office in one of the most crucial swing states. You know, just interesting that a group that eschews involvement in electoral politics would make that choice.

    •  We also had (5+ / 0-)

      some students show up at Romney's appearance in Ohio as well but it was harder to access being that he was an hour a way and most of us did not have transportation.
      Part of showing up at Obama's office was because we wanted to direct some of the conversation at him. Part of what was said in the speeches was addressing that neither candidate has addressed these issues.
      Also, the Obama office was within walking distance from the conference that we were participating in.
      And many of the students wanted to direct the conversation specifically at him because they had been people who had voted for him and loved him in the last election and now just feel as though he's the less bad of the two candidates.

      •  Okay (13+ / 0-)
        And many of the students wanted to direct the conversation specifically at him because they had been people who had voted for him and loved him in the last election
        I think these students would be well advised to understand that change doesn't come about easily or quickly, and by that I mean in a single presidential term. Maybe they need to sit down with some of our great Civil rights leaders who spent DECADES on the streets, marching, singing, walking, organizing before even one piece of legislation could make it's way to congress. They need to GROW UP and occupy the voting booth in November instead of lashing out at the very people who have their backs and can help them eventually accomplish the changes that they claim they seek.

        It's disingenuous to pretend this president has not taken actions that would put this country along steps to achieving the equality for the groups referenced here - people of color, LGBTQ, middle-class, students, women, disabled, veterans, etc. It is disingenuous to push the idea that simply because you "voted for and loved" a president in 2008, then he ought to just magically make things happen exactly as you want it in a span of 3 years - without taking into account the massive and coordinated obstruction that exists in various branches of government (including the Supreme Ct).  

        If they really wanted the President's ear on a particular issue, why swarm his campaign office in Chicago a few months before an election when he is pre-occupied with the campaign, traveling all over the country, right before a major Convention? Why not organize marches in Washington after his re-election when he can spend time.

        And I respectfully disagree with the sentiment that President Obama is just the "better of the two candidates." He is a good president, has an excellent record by ANY STANDARD, and is the best candidate for this country at this time, period.

        •  I agree with what you said there. (5+ / 0-)

          But I can also sympathize with activists who are constantly being told that "this is not the time" for them to act.  The fact is, from the perspective of political establishments, it is never "the time" to challenge them.  

          •  No one has said over the last four years (6+ / 0-)

            that "now is not the time." And many young people with specific interests and goals HAVE been acting. For instance, PowerShift Midwest met in Cleveland last fall — college students from all over the region. They were meeting about energy and specifically the Keystone Pipeline. They marched to a coal plant and to the local county Democratic office, which of course has no input on this and was closed on Sunday. But they were very clear they were being symbolic, and they were very clear in their ask. In addition, two of them talked about how they had collected money from fellow students to attend an Obama fundraiser in St. Louis so that they could insert shouted request to stop the pipeline into a pause in his speech. They were not thrown out, as they would have been from a Romney fundraiser. He acknowledge their concern. We'll never know the degree to which they may or may not have influenced him but they were heard. And one reason is they had a clear issue and clear goal.

            In fact, the last four years have BEEN "the time," and many have pressed their issues. Among the most prominent: the LGBT community. They yelled, pouted, complained, threatened — but made it clear what they wanted. And they got some big results.

            I just think a bunch of generalized "We don't like the way things are" is ineffective.

            Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

            by anastasia p on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 02:11:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I personally do not believe he's the "lesser of (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MKSinSA, Andrew F Cockburn, tethys

          two evils" I'm just stating what I heard from some of the people there.
          I will be proudly voting for Obama and I do believe in what he has done for the country.
          I DO understand that change takes time and so do the people there. But the more we unite on the issue and stand up for what we believe in, the faster it goes.
          Change doesn't come about from people staying quiet about the issues important to them.
          And I don't see how this is taken as such a huge attack.
          And the article specifically says that YES measures have been taken

          "Although women and LGBTQ people have won notable gains in recent years"
          We're not pretending that measures haven't been taken.
          But it doesn't mean we can't ask for more and show that that's what we want as well.
      •  His CAMPAIGN is not the place (7+ / 0-)

        to debate issues of injustice. His CAMPAIGN is battling against a well-funded barrage of cynical lies. And his campaign office in Columbus isn't empowered to speak for the policies of his administration. Once Romney is President, your grievances will multiple a hundredfold and there will be no opportunity to protest or to engage in dialogue. I remember only too well the impossibility of gaining access to a Bush campaign event in 2004. President Obama has been open to discussion; Republicans slam the door in your face and padlock it.

        Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

        by anastasia p on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 02:06:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Good question (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MKSinSA

      I've always been puzzled by the agenda and goals of this Occupy movement. Very puzzled.

  •  Do they think Romney/Ryan would be better? (6+ / 0-)

    For women? For LBTGQ? For people of color?  For students?  For children?  For families?  For workers?  

    I am a bit confused by their tactics during an election campaign.  After Obama is reelected, sure they should organize, march, and push for the changes they want.  Put to attack the better of the two candidates running for president seems a little misdirected.  There will only be two choices, one will be much better than the other.  One will take the country backwards on every dimension on which they are expressing concern.

    Explain the logic, please.

    “when Democrats don’t vote, Democrats don’t win.” Alan Grayson

    by ahumbleopinion on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 01:25:28 PM PDT

    •  A President Romney is better for their recruitment (0+ / 0-)

      An OFA Campaign Web Ad is the new Reid "sternly worded letter".

      by Jacoby Jonze on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 01:39:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  NO WAY Romney/Ryan is better. Ever. In any way. (0+ / 0-)
      •  Except we show up and rally in front of Obama (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Smoh, allergywoman

        office and blame him for not doing enough and saying we might not vote at all.  

        An OFA Campaign Web Ad is the new Reid "sternly worded letter".

        by Jacoby Jonze on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 01:44:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This didn't say "Obama's fault" anywhere (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          The Hamlet, annecros, splashoil

          but it doesn't mean that we can't express how we feel. None of it was saying that he was to blame for everything. But it doesn't mean that we can't evolve and strengthen the ideas brought into politics beyond what is being done right now. And if anyone is to listen, it would be Obama and other left wing legislators wouldn't it? Why go to Romney when we're not blaming, pointing fingers or attacking and rather expressing the need of more anti-discrimination motions.

          •  Except the Republican propaganda machine (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RoyaHegdahl, allergywoman

            may use your actions against you and soon you may be starring in ads about how much students are against President Obama and supporting Romney.  You have to be aware of how your actions may be used to thwart your cause instead of advancing it.  

            The right wing is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to attack the President with lies and propaganda, hiding their agenda and trying to discourage and suppress voters who do not agree with them.  Are you playing into their hands and inadvertently making the situations you care about worse instead of better?

            “when Democrats don’t vote, Democrats don’t win.” Alan Grayson

            by ahumbleopinion on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 02:32:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  For people with a critique of power... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Smoh, MKSinSA, Lawrence

    ...they have a strange idea of how power works, or more specifically of how it can be challenged.

    Mitt Romney '12: Berlusconi without the sex and alcohol!

    by Rich in PA on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 01:34:11 PM PDT

  •  It wasn't an attack. (4+ / 0-)

    The swing state part was not intentional. It was the place in which we had organized and met for the student power convergence based on the decision of the people who were putting it together.
    This is separate from the occupy movement. People who had been involved in Occupy were also present but this wasn't an occupy demonstration and that's why it was posted by occupy because people who were a part of it were there.
    It was to state what issues are important to us. And of course not a single person there wants Romney to win but at the same time, many people there may not vote for Obama if he's not addressing some of the other issues at hand.
    I personally am voting for Obama regardless of the fact that he hasn't addressed some issues and has acted in ways I didn't agree with because somethings he's done I do like and Romney Ryan would destroy America so of course I'll do what I can to make sure he doesn't win but it doesn't mean that we can't state how we feel about how obama has handled certain issues and state the reality that some people are less likely to vote or less excited about voting for Obama that previously were because of how some things have been handled or not handled.

    •  I don't get it (9+ / 0-)
      And of course not a single person there wants Romney to win but at the same time, many people there may not vote for Obama if he's not addressing some of the other issues at hand.
      Again, this makes absolutely no sense to me. If you're (I don't mean "you" personally) of age to vote, it means you're an adult, and you need to act like one. This is not a game, not a time to feel "excited" or get a tingle up your leg in other to go to the voting booth and exercise a right that people died for.  Real change is NOT exciting. Real change is NOT titillating. Real change is not fast. Real change is slow, tedious, laborious, painstaking, boring, at times almost imperceptible.

      But real change CAN and DOES happen when people don't quit midway and take their ball and go home. Real change CAN and DOES happen when people maintain their focus and stay the course, and not get distracted by this shiny new object over here or that shiny new object over there.

      NO PRESIDENT is going to make anyone 100% happy or satisfied. All Presidents have had to make tough choices that displeased various segments of the population at one point or another. But lets put things in perspective and look at the broad picture here.

      Sitting at home is NOT an option - unless you really don't mind Romney being President, and if that's the case, then you really aren't interested in the things you claim to care about. That's just my take on it.

      •  I'm voting for Obama but I'm passing along what (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hopefruit2, annecros

        was expressed by some of the people there.
        And I agree with you 100%, that is what change comes from, and the sentiment of this action wasn't that this one thing is going to change everything either and it WASN'T an attack.
        I personally tried to fight the non-voting sentiment from some of the people (which was not a majority) but some of those feelings were there.
        And according to what you said

        But real change CAN and DOES happen when people don't quit midway and take their ball and go home. Real change CAN and DOES happen when people maintain their focus and stay the course, and not get distracted by this shiny new object over here or that shiny new object over there.
        I think what a lot of these people wanted to get across was exactly this.
        Yes there have been large steps for LGBTQ communities and women but we can't stop there. We need to keep fighting for justice.
        •  I appreciate your taking the time (4+ / 0-)

          to read and heed the comments here. I don't have a problem with people marching and voicing their concerns in a democracy. But strategy is key here. And I think our President is the first person who would encourage this rather than try to suppress it.

          But to not vote is the surest way to guarantee that none of the desired changes will ever happen.

          •  I totally agree. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Hopefruit2, Lawrence, annecros

            Some of what I'm saying is restating some of the opinions of some of the people there, that's why I'm not saying I believe it unless I do.
            And if the message isn't clear and the place doesn't seem appropriate those are criticisms I can take back to others who were there.
            So thank you.
            And don't worry I will be voting and I have donated to the Obama campaign and argued for him with all the people I know.

  •  Then do something productive instead. (7+ / 0-)

    Like taking over your local Democratic Party and getting good liberal Democratic candidates to vote for in the House and Senate. The President doesn't have a magic wand and can't get this done without Congress.

    Like making sure you're all registered to vote and ready to vote.

    This solves nothing IMO.

  •  In Egypt the progressives failed to unite for (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Smoh, MKSinSA, erush1345

    the election, as a result the top two candidates that were left were from the old regime, and the Muslim Brotherhood. That was a real shame.

  •  Gotta love the guy in the video (0+ / 0-)

    with the "HERE US NOW" sign.

    ....no longer in SF.... -9.00, -7.38

    by TFinSF on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 01:57:48 PM PDT

  •  I'm completely confused by this post (10+ / 0-)

    First of all, who is this group? How big a group is it and who organized is? From this essay it strikes me as another of these catch-all types of demonstrations where people are protesting such an assortment of injustices ranging from the trivial to crucial that it's easy to tune all of them out.

    What's the goal? You want Obama to talk about ... well, EVERYTHING? On each of these issues you raised, the President has a record, on some better (in fact, pretty excellent), on others not so good. Whoever Raquel Valesquez is, she needs a wakeup all. "Structural inequality" is not abolished by the waving of a wand or a presidential decree," but in the last year, the President has moved farther along this road than we could have imagined, given the far-right resistance.

    And you want to attack the PRESIDENT for racial issues? He's on the side of the victims here! What do you think the crap about his birth certificate is about?

    I also feel uncomfortable with the idea of descending on a campaign office filled with young people who are just trying to move the debate along and get inside the door so they CAN change things — an opportunity neither you nor they will have if Romney/Ryan is elected. In a sense, you are undermining their efforts.

    You talk about a worldwide "student movement." What does that mean? What is this movement and what is its goal? How are the issues in this country different from issues in other countries, in many of which higher education is free?

    We get that there is rampant injustice in the world. Here in Ohio, we are fighting pitched battles against the worst of that injustice. Without clarification of your goals and how you will HELP move us toward justice, I have to wonder if some people don't just like to hear themselves yell.

    Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

    by anastasia p on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 02:03:55 PM PDT

    •  I agree with anastasia (5+ / 0-)

      Find one issue, and organize a march on that issue.  Perhaps on immigration reform, and find some DREAMers to speak out in support of the President, and reach out to fellow young voters and tell them if we want progress on immigration, vote Democratic this November in all races.

      A public showing of having the President's back on immigration would be noticed.

  •  Thank you everyone so far for the comments... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MKSinSA, Smoh, ekgrulez1, Lawrence

    I agree that the message wasn't necessarily clear and I will bring the feedback back to people who organized this demonstration.

  •  I'm late to this diary, but I can tell you that if (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ahumbleopinion

    I still were a student, I'd be worried as hell about having my voice being denied at the voting booth by all the Jim Crowesque Republican Governors and secretaries of state.  I really don't see how converging on an Obama campaign office(where lots of volunteers are donating their time and energy to try and protect the student vote) like this is productive or helpful.  You can do protests all day, but it won't mean diddly if Republicans deny you your right to vote this November and your voices thus remain unheard.

    You might want to read the following diaries and pass that info on to your student friends:

    I was denied free voter ID today: Pennsylvania

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    Is the Ryan Pick doubling down on Voter Suppression?

    http://www.dailykos.com/...


    Florida Today and I witnessed what we are up against !

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    Study Shows Voter Fraud "Virtually Non-Existent", Red States Eliminating Legal Voters

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 04:09:37 PM PDT

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