(Clips from Vijay Prashad and Noam Chomsky’s speeches at Occupy Boston can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/user/dwgthed) By Christine O’ Connell
Over 50 Occupy Boston participants gathered at Dewey Square for a discussion with Vijay Prashad, Professor of History and International Studies at Trinity College and frequent contributor to CounterPunch and Z Magazine. Referencing the frequent refrain of the protests – “We are the 99%” – Prashad stated that the current economic system is completely inadequate. “To be educated is to be indentured,” said Prashad, referencing the issue of student loan debt, a major concern for many participating in the movement. To put it in clearly: Outstanding student loans will exceed one trillion dollars this year.
Prashad attributes international support for the Occupy movement to a hope that Americans will finally challenge their government to amend the massive inequality that exists in the U.S. “This is not about greed, this is not about personality. This is about economy and power, ” he said.
Prashad discussed how occupiers can continue to build the movement momentum. He suggested that the movement declare victory on the grounds that it has already succeeded in shifting the conversation in the mainstream media. The New York Times and The Financial Times both recently ran op-eds addressing the elephant in the capitalist room – inequality. Instead of making policy demands, Prashad suggested that the Occupy movement make symbolic demands – the resignation of Timothy Geithner, for example.
The event was organized as part of the Howard Zinn Memorial Lecture Series.