Page 1


The California Dream Act


For today’s youth, recovery is far from sight


Editor’s NOTE Dear Reader,


hen I joined the Berkeley Political Review in the Spring of 2010, the magazine was on its knees: funds for the Spring and Summer issues had evaporated, staff were resigning, and the editorial board struggled to keep the website up-to-date. By year’s end, it looked as though Berkeley’s only nonpartisan political quarterly, which had provided a forum for thoughtful student analysis for close to eight years, was about to disappear from the shelves. The few of us who remained, however, refused to let the publication die. Late that summer, a group smaller than the one that founded BPR in 2001 (see founder’s article p. 5) convened to draw up a plan for the magazine’s rebirth. We had little money to our name, and could count the number of staff writers on one hand. But we were determined to succeed. We scraped together three issues in total, and recruited enough additional staff to fill all editorial board positions. In May of 2011, we were awarded ‘Best Journal’ on campus. Thanks to the hard work of last year’s team, BPR enters its tenth year with renewed vigor. We have a full staff of forty-three producing content in print and online. Our newly redesigned website ( features daily blog entries that dramatically expand our web presence. We are also one of the founding members of the Alliance of Collegiate Editors, a consortium of college political publications whose goal is to generate cross-campus dialogue at a national level. Most importantly, the magazine has returned to its founding mission: to provide an informed and much-needed student perspective on the most pressing issues facing California, the nation, and the world. Precisely because we have inherited a crippling recession, rising unemployment, and a distribution of wealth more unequal than at any time since the 1920s, college students have a duty to bring fresh solutions to tired political and economic puzzles. We are the next generation of journalists, policymakers, professors, and business leaders, and as such must prove unafraid to lead efforts to revive the state and the nation in the years to come. While these are difficult times, my hope is that you will find inspiration in these pages. Just as the staff refused to give up on this magazine, young people continue to forge a vision for a better future. May that passion propel BPR for another ten years.

Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Pilaar Deputy Editor-In-Chief Andrew Postal Managing Editor Mihir Deo Deputy Managing Editor Daniel Tuchler California Editor Jonathan Goldstein National Editor Luis Flores International Editor Hinh Tran Opinion Editor Alex Kravitz Arts & Entertainment Editor Melanie Boysaw Blog Editor Christopher Haugh Layout Editors Niku Jafarnia Feilisha Kutilike COVER ART Alyssa Nip Staff Christina Avalos, Norman Cahn, Chris Chan, Daphne Chen, Yu Jin Cheon, Josh Cohen, Zac Commins, Tom Hughes, Mandy Honeychurch, Alexandra Heyn, Elena Kempf, Nicholas Kitchel, Tanay Kothari, Alex Lee, Michael Manset, Amanda McCaffrey, Katie McCray, Wil Mumby, Nicole Orlov, Caroline Paris-Behr, Doug Perez, Brendan Pinder, Neetu Puranikmath, Brynna Quillin, Siddhartha Shankar, Arjan Sidhu, Harkaran Singh, Charles Smith, Eva Stevenson, Matthew Symonds, Dorothy Zuniga Web Editor Samir Makhani Advisers Susan Rasky Ethan Rarick


Jeremy Pilaar Editor-in-Chief 2

The content of this publication does not reflect the views of the University of California, Berkeley or the ASUC. Advertisements appearing in the Berkeley Political Review reflect the views of the advertisers only. They are not an expression of editorial opinion or views of the staff.


volume 11, No. 1

6| A dream devolved

California passes the DREAM Act

7| solyndra and the future of green technology 8| The corporate initiative

14| turkey’s turn to the east

9| kicking the plastic baning initiative

15| china’s less than stellar demographics


16| Yes, tunisia can! But can the middle east?

The “Amazon Tax” and the rise of corporate influence California attempts to ban singleuse plastic bags

10| the boomerang generation The neglected victims of the Great Recession

11| closing the income gap

Income-diverse admissions policies to grow the economy

international Erdogan’s drive for regional influence

How China’s dual demographic crisis may undercut its path to superpower status

The difference between Tunisia and the rest of the Arab World

17| recessions and riots, austerity and anarchy

A look at riots and protests in Britain and Berkeley

12| democracy for the marginalized?

18| don’t mess with dilma

13| the end of social security as we know it?


Accountability in the Information Age

How political rhetoric may devastate generations to come

a&e 22| political campaigns as reality tv

Does Snooki represent the Apocalypse?

23| Book review

Brazil breaks with the West for a new foreign policy

19| Switching to Tea

How the Tea Party can attract college students and proxy for Occupy Wall Street

20| toma hawk #1

What is TOMA?: An introduction to marketing lingo

21| an inconvenient beverage Brought to you by PepsiCo

Loyal to the Sky

October 2011


Leila Trabelsi


After having fled to Saudi Arabia, the former hairstylist and wife of Ben Ali, Leila Trabelsi, faces serious constraints in her way of life. Being part of the “Tunisian Mafia” does not excuse her from the conservative Wahabi interpretation of Islam, so she suffers severely at not being allowed to show off French Haute Couture in public anymore.

Chris Christie New Jersey Governor and once-speculated presidential candidate Chris Christie will announce that he’s endorsing Mitt Romney for president. A Romney staffer confirmed the news to Politico and the AP.

Scott Brown During a Democratic primary debate Tuesday, Warren said she kept her “clothes on” when asked how she paid for college. The questioner had mentioned Brown’s decision to pose nude for Cosmopolitan magazine as a law student. Brown laughed during a radio interview Thursday and said “Thank God” when asked about Warren’s comment.

Tim Pawlenty Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty says he might have stayed in the Republican presidential race longer had he known it would be this volatile. Pawlenty says he would have persisted in the race “if I would have known then what I know now.” He has endorsed former rival Mitt Romney in the race. He says he is pursuing private-sector career options but won’t rule out a future political run. Photo source: Associated Press


Anniversary SPECIAL

The original Berkeley Political Review crew took root in the summer of 2001 in Washington, D.C. We were a group of Berkeley students interested in sharing our newfound expertise in American politics through a public affairs journal to rival and eventually transcend those published at the expensive universities out East. By early September, we were ready to go. The first issue of BPR, entitled The State of California, was set to cover the burgeoning (and ongoing) economic crisis in California, the world’s seventh largest economy. A great subject, we thought, for a West Coast magazine attempting to push its way onto the media map. When the 9/11 attacks occurred, we immediately changed course. In less than a month we produced BPR issue #1 on the September 11th attacks and were soon the talk of the town (at least in campus political circles). Our role on campus caught the media’s attention, and soon my affiliation with BPR resulted in interview requests from various newspapers and radio stations. BPR even made a small cameo on CNN in those early days. Of course, we made many editorial mistakes. One day, while distributing the magazine on Sproul Plaza, an older man who claimed membership in the Black Panther Party (only in Berkeley) came up to tell me that he thought the numerous photos in our first issue of people waving American flags (not to mention our cover, which featured a reproduction of Jasper John’s Flag) discredited our claim to non-partisanship. In retrospect, I would have to agree. What’s more, I still regret not thinking to run an in-depth profile of Cal Alumnus Todd Beamer, who died leading a resistance to the hijackers on the fourth plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. Thankfully, we improved. More and more talented writers, editors, illustrators, and business staff joined BPR and we were blessed with the mentorship of three talented journalists from Berkeley’s faculty and staff: my dear friend Susan Rasky of the Journalism School, the great Jerry Lubenow at the Institute of Governmental Studies, and my mentor, the late Clay Felker. BPR would not be here today were it not for the dedication of individuals from those early days: Matt Odette, Liz Renner, Bret Heilig, Daniel “Street” Hernandez, Kevin Deenihan, Rajiv Batra, Ansel Halliburton, Victor Pineda, Anand Upadhye, Christina Hioureas, Dan Enemark, Aaron Azlant, Megan Glasson, Kristin Esbeck, Eric Ostrem, Pav Singh, Kristyn Garrity Roth, Chris Chang, Veena Parekh, Derek Yu, Anne Benjaminson, Jose Luis Lopez, Josh Defonzo, Malalay Arghestani, Brian Johsz, and countless others that I cannot thank enough. They were the best staff any editor could ask for and the friends that made my Berkeley experience so special. Political leaders told us that we were attacked on 9/11 because “they” (Muslims we could only suppose), “hate freedom.” Thankfully, later issues of BPR, led by the aforementioned staff, proved that most of us knew early on that there was something wrong with that xenophobic conceit. To the dustbin of history go those theories as the world watches the courage of the Middle Eastern and North African Mario and Maria Savios; Muslim, Christian, and non-religious alike. They are the men and women who are leading their people into an “Arab Spring,” into locally led movements against the tyrants of the region. A mass movement that, dare I say it, is fighting for the right to be free on its own terms. For those of us, like myself, who closely follow the Middle East, this outcome seems obvious today. How I wish we could have predicted this with absolute certainty in BPR issue #1. Then again, as Susan Rasky used to tell me, “in hindsight everything is 20/20.” Congratulations to the BPR crew for bringing the magazine into its tenth year. Those of us who came before you are infinitely proud of your accomplishments. Proud in a way that you will not understand for at least another ten years. Onward friends. Matteen Mokalla, Berkeley ’03 Matteen Mokalla is the founding editor of The Berkeley Political Review. He currently works as a producer for Al Jazeera English in Doha, Qatar and is at work on a book about Iran and World War Two. October 2011



California passes the Dream Act

Source: Associated Press

By Tom Hughes, Staff Writer


hough the definition of who is an American has never been broader, the enduring question of who should be allowed to cross America’s borders and join its community remains without a clear answer. Recently, a new trend has emerged: U.S. states, especially those that share a border with Mexico, have been passing their own sweeping immigration laws while the federal government, paralyzed by partisanship, remains incapable of taking major action. Though major immigration reform at the federal level was passed during both the Reagan and Clinton administrations, Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama were unable to act through legislation. Bush saw a comprehensive immigration reform bill he supported blocked in the Senate, and Obama was unsuccessful in his attempt to push through the federal DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act, which would have given undocumented immigrants who came to this country as minors a path to citizenship conditional on higher education or military service. Instead, both presidents were forced to resort to executive orders to take more limited policy actions; Bush increased border security and expedited an existing guest-worker program, and Obama ordered the Department of Homeland Security to close many low-priority deportation cases. While the federal government has been unable to act, the states have done so, with border states taking the strongest measures. Arizona made headlines in 2010 with the passage of Senate Bill 1070, the strictest antiillegal immigration measure passed in decades. Texas and California, mean-


while, have followed in the spirit of the federal DREAM Act and passed college financial aid bills intended to assist undocumented college students. Both the federal DREAM Act and the “California Dream Act” were pushed by Democratic lawmakers in legislatures with large Democratic majorities. The debate on each followed similar lines. Proponents sought compassion for undocumented students, arguing that they have overcome enormous obstacles to reach college and that their legal status is no fault of their own. Opponents bemoaned potential increases in the deficit and warned that such laws would contribute to the problem of illegal immigration by attracting immigrant families looking for education for their children. Despite the Democratic majority, the U.S. Senate’s filibuster rule allowed the Republican minority to block the federal bill multiple times. In contrast, no such procedure exists in the California Legislature, where the bill passed. Passage of the California Dream Act is likely to cause some celebration among UC Berkeley’s undocumented student population, an estimated 75 students, and their friends and allies. The Act is composed of two bills that were recently signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. It allows undocumented students that meet instate tuition requirements to receive college-administered financial aid programs and Cal Grants, which help students at public universities pay for tuition, fees, books, and living allowances. Each year, 25,000 young undocumented immigrants, most of whom are in the state by no choice of their own, graduate from California

high schools, but are unable to legally work or apply for federal grants and financial aid. These AB 540 students, so called because of the law passed in 2001 that allowed them to pay instate tuition at California’s public universities, still struggle to pay for basic living expenses after having to pay in-state tuition without financial assistance. Professor Lisa Garcia Bedolla of UC Berkley’s Graduate School of Education notes that “having access to financial aid would make a huge difference in terms of their ability to pursue higher education.” However, without the federal bill in place, even California’s most academically successful “Dreamers” will still be denied citizenship, meaning that they will continue to live without certain rights most Americans are granted at birth. They will not be able to vote or run for office, will have a harder time finding jobs, and will remain ineligible for important social programs. But if the California Dream Act proves to be effective, it may be able to give new political life to the federal version of the bill. While the long-term political implications are unclear, there is no doubt that immigration will continue to be a major topic of contention in California, where Latinos are expected to become the majority of the population within a few decades, and in the U.S., which has historically maintained a dynamic culture by accepting and assimilating each new generation of immigrants. One thing is certain, though: if another serious national effort to comprehensively reform immigration is made soon, California will certainly be part of the conversation. •



By Wil Mumby, Staff Writer


espite President Obama touting Solyndra as a beacon for the future of alternative energy, on August 31, 2011, the Fremontbased solar technology manufacturer declared bankruptcy. The loss of this solar energy company, despite a $535 million federal loan, dealt a significant symbolic blow to California’s green energy sector because it demonstrated the industry’s instability. Supporters of green technology, like President Obama, also fear that the collapse of green technology companies like Solyndra may jeopardize further political movements for green energy. Severin Borenstein, professor and Co-Director of the Energy Institute at the Haas School of Business, explained that while there may not be a causal effect of Solyndra’s bankruptcy on the economy, the failure still signals trouble. “China has gotten into this business and is willing to spend a lot of money for a large market share… So they’re subsidizing manufacture heavily. And they’re taking away market share from U.S., German, Spanish, and other solar manufacturers. That’s real trouble if you’re a solar manufacturer.” While there has been much speculation as to the reasons for the bankruptcy, what is clear is that the government policy of investing heavily in specific businesses is not the most effective way forward. Despite China’s commitment to heavy subsidization of the industry, Prof. Borenstein remains convinced that this is not the best strategy for the U.S. to pursue. Given the competing political interests in the U.S., it would be impossible for the U.S. to try and compete in a subsidy race against China. In-

stead of playing venture capitalist, the U.S. government should consider other avenues to stimulate growth. One way to aid alternative energy businesses would be to invest more wisely across the entire green market sector instead of singling out specific businesses to receive large loans, a strategy that has been implemented by many Europeans nations like Germany. Using feed-in tariffs, which use long-term contracts of more widely distributed investments, German solar industries were able to flourish over time. However, unlike the U.S., Germany possesses a much more emphatic environmental movement, but they are still vulnerable to growing Chinese power in this sector of the economy. Therefore, Prof. Borenstein suggests a different method to address Chinese competition. “I think the money is much better spent investing in the potential for new science that could really change the renewable landscape…There is just no way that current solar PV technology is going to ever compete with coal.” In fact, research into future green technology has, thus far, been underfunded. The ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy), a branch of the Department of Energy responsible for funding renewable energy research, has a budget of $200 million for the 2012 fiscal year (less than half the money spent on the Solyndra loan). Consequently, research lacks sufficient funding to make the important breakthroughs to make green technology like solar affordable. Green technology industries inevitably rely on the ability of alternative energy to compete with fossil fuels. Currently, despite pressure for the U.S to become less dependent on

oil and coal, the government continues to rely on these sources to keep energy cheap in bad economic times. Other alternatives include a dirty energy tax, which would be crucial step forward for renewable energy as it would discourage the use of cheaper but more environmentally harmful fossil fuels. However, this initiative has failed to gain political traction, making it difficult to enact. Without a higher price on carbon, worries of energy security dominate the debate, which result in defaulting to cheaper, more accessible sources of energy, while neglecting the environmental implications. Despite the political difficulty of establishing a carbon tax, improvements in green technology science may help ease these political tensions by restoring the damaged credibility of solar in the wake of Solyndra. This will help reestablish the promise of a dependable green energy sector in the economy and may make other alternatives possible. However, while the green energy market is still growing, it will still need considerable time before it can take frontrunner status in the U.S. economy. Investment in research towards new solar technology is crucial to catalyze this process and help green technology win the fight against dirty energy like coal. New solar projects require more government funding than the companies that are currently struggling to compete with China. Scientists are currently researching new ways to make solar cell production cheaper and more efficient. With a larger budget, these discoveries could help pave the way for a greener energy future in California in a shorter time frame. • October 2011


California The “Amazon Tax” and the Rise of Corporate Influence

By Michael Manset, Staff Writer


nknown to many Californians, this month marks the centennial of a profoundly influential feature of the state’s politics: the initiative system. On October 10, 1911, Californian’s voters overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the state constitution to legislate this form of direct democracy. The campaign to amend the constitution was extraordinarily anti-corporate; the Los Angeles Times declared that the amendment “thrust from power the Captains of Greed.” Recent events, however, cast light on an increasingly prevalent aspect of the initiative system that would have astounded the Progressive thinkers behind the 1911 amendment: corporate sponsorship. Over the past few years, online retailers such as Overstock and Amazon have reaped large profits to the detriment of rivals engaged in more traditional forms of retail, such as Wal-Mart and Barnes & Noble. In California, many online retailers hold an advantage over their competitors since they do not maintain a physical presence in the state, and therefore are not required to collect sales tax. Efforts in California to change the definition of a “presence” to include affiliates of online retailers, and thus require the collection of the state sales tax by those retailers, were stifled by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was unsympathetic to the lobbying of the California Retailers Association and Democrats in the legislature eager for the estimated two hundred million dollars in revenues to assuage a budget deficit. In 2010, however, Californians elected a new governor who revived prospects for the “Amazon sales tax.” A year later, on June 29, 2011, Jerry Brown signed into law legislation mandating the collection of sales tax by Amazon and other online businesses with affiliates in the state. Amazon’s reaction to the bill was swift and aggressive, with the corporation ending its affiliation with thou-


sands of California associates. Most notably, a mere two weeks after the law took effect, the online retailer announced that it would advance an initiative to overturn the new law. This unusual move by a corporation to involve itself to such a degree in the initiative process gained national attention. Not long after the announcement, signature gatherers for the initiative were already patrolling California supermarket entrances. Despite all of its efforts to overturn the law, Amazon dropped the initiative after only a few months. Though the state legislature was fearful the initiative would succeed at the polls, Amazon was considering opening a distribution center in the state, which would subject it to sales tax no matter the success of the initiative. Thus, a deal was struck between the two parties in mid-September: Amazon would end its foray into Californian direct democracy, while the legislature would pass legislation deferring collection of sales tax by online retailers for one year. The bill was passed overwhelmingly in both houses of the legislature and signed soon after by Governor Brown. Despite the national attention it received, Amazon’s flirtation with the initiative process is hardly novel for a corporation. In 2010 alone, there were three major corporate-sponsored initiatives: Propositions 16, 17, and 23, respectively backed by PG&E, Mercury Insurance, and the alliance of Valero and Tesoro Companies. All three efforts attempted to institute legislation that would better each corporation’s bottom line. One wonders why a company would pursue that route over more traditional methods, like lobbying. According to Rick Claussen, a consultant for Goddard Claussen West with substantial experience with some of these campaigns, these efforts were undertaken due to the corporations’ “failure to

Credit: Aaron Glantz of the Bay Citizen

achieve their legislative goals through the legislative process.” Therefore an alternative to lobbying was taken. It is certainly possible that Amazon’s success in forcing the legislature to strike a deal might inspire other corporations to also seek to put initiatives on the ballot. The political make-up of the legislature might also influence those decisions: Claussen believes that a Democratic state legislature and a Democratic governor might provoke more pro-active behavior by businesses. Claussen also suspects that if the new legislative districts and the top-two primary “produce a more moderate legislature, then… that will reduce the overall reliance on pro-active ballot measures by the business community.” Despite the populist origins of the initiative in California, the resources of powerful interests like corporations allows these groups to circumvent traditional lobbying and bring about favorable policy through the ballot. The past few years have seen several notable examples of this practice, including Amazon’s attempt to overturn unfavorable legislation. One suspects that if the political calculus does not change, then Californians will not have seen the last of the corporate initiative. •


By Caroline Paris-Behr, Staff Writer


lastic bags are a seemingly standard fixture in our American lifestyle. We use them to carry our groceries, protect our belongings from the rain, hold our lunches, and pick up after our pets. But as frequently as they appear in the average home, we also see them drifting along state beaches, clogging gutters and storm drains, and lingering indestructibly in garbage heaps. A groundswell of opposition to the ubiquity of plastic bags began in the late 1990’s, but the issue was really brought into the spotlight in 2007, when the Los Angeles Times’ exposé on the millions of plastic bags that were clogging the ecosystems of the Pacific Ocean won the Pulitzer Prize. Since then, bills forbidding or limiting the use of plastic bags have been adopted in Malibu, Santa Clara, San Francisco, and Santa Monica. Despite those successful movements to outlaw plastic bags in several California cities, AB 1998, a bill forbidding plastic bags in California, failed to pass in 2010 and does not seem likely to fare any better when it will be reintroduced in 2012. Environmental activists argue that single-use bags harm the planet from the time they are produced from natural gas and petroleum by-products - both non-renewable natural resources - to their end as urban waste damaging coastal ecosystems. Furthermore, they note that the massive pollution the bags cause is also expensive to the taxpayer: because less than 5% are actually recycled, the state spends $25 million annually on their disposal. Principal proponents of the bill include Assemblywoman Julia

California Attempts to Ban Single-Use Plastic Bags

Brownley (D- Santa Monica), the Sierra Club of California, many California grocers, former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Heal the Bay. Assemblywoman Brownley, who authored AB 1998, has long been an advocate of reusable bags and has succeeded in getting single-use grocery bags banned in her congressional district. However, her efforts were not as victorious on the statewide level. “It was a David and Goliath fight, and we were not able to accomplish - at least last year - what we all know is the right solution: a statewide ban on plastic bags”, said Ms. Brownley in a speech in November 2010. The main opponents of AB 1998 were “industry backers” who manufacture plastic products, such as Exxon and Dow Chemical, both of whom are represented by lobbyists for the American Chemistry Council (the A.C.C. did not respond to a request to comment for this article). In a statement released after the bill failed to pass, the A.C.C. reasserted that the legislation threatened “1,000 well-paying manufacturing jobs for hard-working Californians, placed a hidden tax on grocery bills and created a $4 million new state bureaucracy” as well as recycling infrastructure built around the institution of single-use bags. Lower income shoppers, too, would have to shoulder the additional monetary burden of purchasing reusable bags to replace the formerly free singleuse ones, although food kitchens or other “public eating establishments”, nonprofit organizations, and customers on government assistance programs would be exempt from the ban. Several of the Republican law-

makers who objected to AB 1998 also claimed discomfort with the level of control the bill would give the government over citizens’ daily personal decisions - a debate that, in general, is sparking heated discussion on a national level. However, the actual language of the proposed law describes its purpose as encouraging establishments and consumers to make informed decisions, and readily cedes that certain clauses are severable if found to be unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction. With these two socially driven counterarguments virtually negated by the facts of the law, the most obvious reason for dissent by large corporations is, understandably, the profitability of producing the 19 billion single-use bags that are used in California each year. Legislation requiring the use of reusable bags has been successful in many other countries, including China, India, and the majority of Western Europe. While the degree of interest in adopting comparable programs in U.S. states is lower, given the successful citywide movements throughout California, it still remains to be seen what the longterm effects of such a bill would be. If the citywide bills prove effective at reducing pollution with little cost to the consumer, it may only be a matter of time before a statewide ban passes the California legislature. Nonetheless, while opponents of such measures would argue that imposing such a ban would be costly, as Assemblywoman Brownley emphasizes, “banning single-use plastic bags is no longer just an environmental and economic issue.” •

October 2011




generation By Katie McCray, Staff Writer

I’m constantly worried that I won’t be able to find a job and support myself. I never planned on moving back in with my parents, but I feel like I might have to,” says Berkeley senior Nicole Xu, aptly echoing the sentiment felt by many other students her age as she describles her post-college plans. The economic downturn in the United States has hit the youth (people aged 15-25) workforce harder than any other. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the youth unemployment rate in the United States is 18.1%, almost two times higher than the national unemployment average of 9.1%. Young people are generally less educated and experienced, and are often the first to be laid off when the economic climate encourages employers to cut corners. Though youth unemployment seems easy to ignore, losing the early years of one’s career has serious long-term consequences. Youth unemployment is an issue that the United States must face upfront and take steps to prevent. Youth who are out of school face many consequences of unemployment that threaten to plague them for the rest of their career. The Economist succinctly describes the phenomenon as a “wage scar” in its article “Left Behind,” stating, “Take two men with the same education, literacy and numeracy scores, places of residence, parents’ education and IQ. If one of them spends a year unemployed before the age of 23, ten years later he can expect to earn 23% less than the other.” This takes a significant toll on those who struggle to keep up with their peers. This downturn has created what journalists are calling a “boomerang” generation of young adults who leave home for college, but are forced to return because they cannot find steady employment needed to live on their


own. According to the Pew Research Center, the number of people living in multigenerational households grew by 2.6 million between 2007 and 2008. This has had troubling effects on the attitudes of young workers. The feelings of failure due to unemployment have been linked to higher risk of heart attacks later in life, lower life expectancy, and higher rates of suicide. The first step to solving joblessness among our country’s youth is adequate preparation for employment from an early age. Programs such as the Career Academy Support Network ( C A S N ) , based out of UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education, create learning communities and career academies in high schools that focus on preparing students for college and beyond. According to David Stern, Berkeley professor and principal investigator for CASN, “one of our main activities is to work directly with teachers, administrators, and local employers in strategically chosen sites around the country.” CASN has also been modeled to adapt and change in order to best serve its students. According to Stern, “We plan to incorporate data analysis into an ongoing process of self-improvement for the career academies… One of the ultimate goals is to contribute to the continuing improvement of the academy model itself.” Germany is one of the only countries that has been able to boast lowered youth unemployment rates in recent years, largely due to its unique

apprenticeship system that employs two-thirds of German high-schoolers and is utilized by 25% of employers. Apprenticeships offer part-time salaries (a cost shared by the company and the government) for students in vocational schools to spend about three days a week working as an apprentice for two to four years, frequently resulting in job offers. Though this model has worked well for Germany, it must be adapted to the cultural and economic climate of the United States. President Clinton’s “school to work” initiative, which was based on the German apprenticeship model, was cut down as a secondrate education. Rather than simply filling jobs, more focus should be put into creating them. Entrepreneurship may be an underSource: exploited means of reducing youth unemployment. In 2008, the University of Miami began “Launch Pad,” a program dedicated to sending the message that starting your own company is a viable career option. Stephen A. Schwarzman, the billionaire head of private equity firm Blackstone Group, was intrigued and inspired by the notion and began a similar program at the Wayne State University and Walsh College in Michigan. He plans to expand to five more cities, promising $50 million over the next five years. With the right programs and a unified push toward solving youth unemployment, future students will anticipate graduation with excitement, rather than anxiety. •


Income-diverse admissions policies to grow the economy By Nicholas Kitchel, Staff Writer


hat do Warren Buffet, Michael Bloomberg, and Eric Schmidt have in common? You may have been able to guess: A) They are all multibillionaires, and B) they all attended prestigious American universities. While 80 percent of children that fall into the top economic quintile will enroll in college (and many in prestigious colleges), those in the bottom quintile only have a 34 percent chance of receiving a postsecondary education. Those who attend college are much more likely to have higher paying jobs, so when the bottom quintiles are vastly uneducated, it is not surprising to find that the top one percent of Americans own about 35 percent of the wealth and the bottom 80 percent own 15 percent. These great disparities in income levels have caused the United States economy to become very vulnerable. “With so much income at the top, the vast middle class doesn’t have the purchasing power to keep the economy going at or near full employment – without going deep into debt. As we’ve so painfully seen, that strategy isn’t sustainable,” said Robert Reich, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at UC Berkeley. In addition to reforming the tax system, Reich, who served as Secretary of Labor under the Clinton Administration, claims that improving education of children from lower income households will aid in repairing our economy and strengthening the middle class. California’s public universities are well known for being world-class institutions but also for having very

Source: The Daily Record

economically diverse student bodies. According to the US News, 37 percent of UC Los Angeles and 36 percent of UC Berkeley undergraduates receive Pell Grants, while the number of Pell Grant recipients at schools like Yale, Harvard, and Stanford hovers in the 13-17 percent range. The reason behind this can be traced to the methods in which the admissions offices make their decisions. At California institutions, the ability to overcome significant obstacles – like being raised in a low-income family and not having access to benefits such as private SAT tutoring – is seen as an indicator of ambition and the capacity to become very successful. At many other selective institutions, legacy and SAT scores are more highly valued. “If your ultimate goal is to try to make America a better place, one way of doing so is to make sure you have low income students, who are deserving and have worked hard, to eventually become graduates from those [prestigious] universities,” said Henry Brady, professor and Dean of Goldman School of Public Policy. Institutions like the University of California indeed set an example for others to follow, but these colleges alone cannot remedy the ailing economy and fortify the middle class – many more colleges must adopt similar admissions standards. There are two things that all universities in the United States should seek to do: Admit a higher number of deserving, low-income students and ensure these students can afford the education by guaranteeing appropriate aid. Henry Brady, in collaboration with Michael Hout and Jon Stiles, con-

ducted a study in 2005 that proved just how valuable college education is to boosting the economy. The report shows that for every additional dollar that California invests in getting 18-year-olds in and through college, it will gain an additional net return of $3 from tax contributions and reductions in expenditures for social services and incarceration. Even in a cut-all economy, policy makers must realize that investment is required for future growth. This additional revenue would assist in funding dwindling services affected by government budgeting woes. Private institutions would benefit, as well, from increased diversity and the byproducts that come with an educated populace: higher employment rates, higher productivity, lower crime rates, and so on. Amherst College is a golden example of a private institution that realized the value of admitting more low-income students and then implemented the policy to do so. When Anthony Marx became President of Amherst, more than seven years ago, he set out a goal to serve a “greater national purpose” by admitting a higher number of low-income students and using endowment funds to aid them. Over the course of his tenure, the number of students receiving Pell Grants increased from 13 to 22 percent. To bring America out of its current slump, to foster a stronger middle class, and to allow for a more equal dispersion of wealth, postsecondary institutions must begin to admit greater numbers of low-income students and must use their funds, in conjunction with state and federal aid, to provide afforable education. • October 2011



Mobilizing the Internet Generation By Amanda McCaffrey, Staff Writer


brand of activism unique to our generation has emerged and, judging from the controversy that surrounds it, the tactic seems to be working. “Hacktivists,” frequently characterized as national security threats and technologically adept teenagers, imagine themselves more nobly as defenders of the public good. But whether their activity is well-intentioned, illegal, ill advised, or all of the above, online activists are out of reach of the arm of the law and escape the public eye. Unlike the activists of yesteryear, they prefer to work in obscurity. Following the dramatic fall of Julian Assange and Wikileaks, a loosely affiliated collection of hackers called Anonymous has come to dominate online activism. The group’s name is the crux of the challenge it presents to law enforcement: with as many as 9,000 volunteer computers involved in each attack, Anonymous’ directors’ web addresses aren’t traceable from the scenes of their cyber-crimes. PayPal, one of Anonymous’ former targets, has had unique success tracing the attacks, producing evidence that led the FBI to dozens of arrests this summer. But these defendants aren’t the brains of the operation; they are lower-level hackers who work under the command of coordinators. This system of activism is decentralized and unpredictable, making it difficult to manage, much less police. However, it is not entirely unfamiliar. In many ways, hacktivism is a re-imagination of nonviolent protest. Organizers choose a target they feel is infringing on public liberties, and deploy protesters to halt the target’s business; when framed this way, hacktivism, with the exception that it’s online and participants are not


accountable, does not sound all that different from an occupation or a sit-in. Anonymous’ attacks are carried out in the name of freedom of information, freedom of speech, and avenging Wikileaks. Some feel that attacks by Anonymous and similar groups constitute cyber terrorism. Professor Daniel Farber at Berkeley’s Boalt Law School points out that while “one part of free speech is certainly the right to criticize, [...] trying to punish one’s critics by harming their ability to operate is itself a form of censorship.” Professor Farber notes that the legality of online activism can be unclear, but feels that hacktivism may not do justice to its alleged cause. Professor Carlos Muñoz of UC Berkeley’s Ethnic Studies department, an expert on social movements, agrees. He is unconvinced that civil mobilization efforts using the web as its prime meeting place can be effective. Muñoz finds email petitions and other online attempts to make the public heard to be inadequate, “depersonalized” versions of their pre-internet equivalents. In this new genre of communication, “there’s a mistrust” that results from invisibility. “Right now I think that what is missing,” Muñoz says, “is the person-to-person contact.” In protests past, participants were “not just allies, but friends,” people with real face-to-face relationships that Muñoz considers integral to a movement’s success. Internet activism can breed apathy by filling up inboxes with propaganda and stealing thunder from protests. Muñoz has no-

ticed small turnouts at protests and other events in recent years; he thinks people feel less compelled to show up when they can show their support from their computer at home. For Muñoz, the act of gathering is paramount in activism. Coming together for a cause creates camaraderie, and gives policy-makers and the public a chance to see the faces behind a movement. Those are strengths that Muñoz thinks the web lacks. “The bottom line,” he says, “is you cannot build mass people’s movements online.” But online activism is dynamic, and recent developments contradict Muñoz’ bottom line. The Occupy Wall Street movement that’s made its way into headlines is partially the result of online organization, including an endorsement from Anonymous, which increased public interest in these protests directed at the US response to the global economic crisis. Like Anonymous, this movement is loosely defined and has no clear leadership. Nonetheless it’s a unification of individuals with shared complaints against government and policy, and may represent new potential for the translation of online protests to in-person action. As Berkeley students we inherit a legacy of activism, an inheritance that is increasingly shaped by technology. Online activism has its limitations, but in its ongoing development many of those may be overcome. As this fall’s events on Wall Street unfold, the future of activism will come into focus. •


How Political Rhetoric May Devastate Generations to Come

By Zac Commins, Staff Writer


he Republican presidential primary debates, focused principally on decreasing the size of government, have reignited the debate over Social Security. While most use the program as an example of the inefficiency of government initiatives, some like Texas governor Rick Perry have likened it to an illegal “Ponzi scheme.” Concerned politicians claim to oppose the program in the name of our generation, on whom they say the burden will be placed. However, many economists disagree with this popular narrative. How dire are the institutional and demographic problems facing our nation’s largest entitlement program? The number of workers per retiree has decreased from 40 in 1940 to 3.3 today. Consequently, according to the Social Security Board of Trustees, the Social Security Trust Fund will be exhausted by 2036 if Congress does not act. Ronald Lee, a professor of demography and economics at UC Berkeley, points to an aging population as the main cause of the depletion of the Social Security Trust Fund. “The number of retirees per worker will approximately double relative to current levels and we are just in the first stages of that happening,” he said. “That happens partly because people are living longer but the main reason is that fertility is lower than it used to be earlier in the century. Lower

Source: New York Times

fertility means that the labor force, which used to be growing rapidly, is going to switch to growing very slowly while the number of elderly Americans is going to grow rapidly and may grow more rapidly in the future.” However, Lee notes that demographic issues are minor relative to those faced by other industrialized nations. “The US has fertility at around replacement level whereas other industrial countries typically have fertility at, instead of being two children per woman, about 1.5 children per woman, which causes much more rapid and extreme population aging,” Lee said. Yet, even though the Social Security’s woes are much smaller than those of comparable programs in other nations, politicians have exploited misleading statistics to advance their personal agendas. “Perry is right that Social Security has long-term problems and they should be addressed and most politicians would rather not think about it, Lee said. “That said, his rhetoric is over the top but politicians’ rhetoric is often over the top. I think we have a good system and think we should stick with it.” Lee suggests a multi-prongued approach that would both reform the payroll tax system and increase the retirement age; possibly to 70 by the time today’s undergraduates retire.

“I think we have a pretty well-balanced system,” Lee asserted. “I don’t think we got to this point by being particularly clever or farsighted but, for whatever reason, I think we’re in quite a good place and we ought to protect Social Security mainly by raising payroll taxes but by also cutting benefits in the sense of raising the retirement age. I myself would also be in favor of eliminating the cap [on income used to determine payroll taxes] just as already is the case for Medicare.” Although the public’s outlook on Social Security has become increasingly pessimistic over the past few years as a result of the ongoing recession, the Trust Fund’s countdown to bankruptcy, inflammatory rhetoric, and a distrust of government, Social Security will remain relatively stable for decades to come. “Personally, I believe Social Security will exist [as a safety net to current students] and it won’t be so very different from the way it is now,” said Lee, contradicting the mainstream tide of pessimism on the subject. “I don’t think the fixes proposed are particularly painful. And this generation is way too pessimistic about the future of Social Security. I would, personally, advise this generation to count on Social Security being there in some form not too different from the way it is now.” • October 2011



Erdogan’s drive for regional influence

By Christopher Chan, Staff Writer


urkey’s Prime Minister Recep Erdogan became a hero to many in the Middle East when he stood up at the 2009 Davos World Economic Forum and accused the Israeli delegation of “killing people!” Since then, Turkey has begun a surprising shift under the leadership of the AK Party towards increasing assertiveness in both domestic and foreign policy. As a result of the Arab Spring, newly liberated countries are looking to build new governments, and Turkey appears to present a model form of democracy. Since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey has been guided by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his later successors in the military and the CHP Party, which has been for decades the fiercely secular and modern leaning bastion of the Middle East. However, after years of gradual transition from military rule, the electoral victories Recep Erdogan and his Islamic-leaning Justice and Development party (AK) won in 2003 and 2007 were heralded as a new era in secular Turkey. It was one of the first times that Turkey had not only allowed an Islamist party to have a seat at the table, but also take a majority of the seats in the legislature, displacing the venerable CHP Party as the leading coalition in Parliament. Indeed, with the AK Party firmly in control of government, Erdogan has moved quickly to roll back military-era restrictions, while pledging to maintain Turkey’s modernist and secular policies. They have reversed anti-terror laws used to muzzle free speech and dissent and have also liberalized policies towards the country’s embattled Kurdish minority. More significantly, Erdogan has managed to subordinate the powerful military to


Credit: Associated Press

civilian control; since the beginning of the Turkish Republic, the military has overthrown five separate governments that it perceived as violating Ataturk’s modernist and secular legacies. The climax of the struggle came with the sacking of several heads of the Turkish military and the arrests of several high ranking officers over “Operation Sledgehammer”, a military drill designed to simulate a coup d’état. Turkey has also made significant shifts in its foreign policy. Although Turkey applied to the European Union in 2003 and began the long process of aligning its policies to European standards, the frustration of Turkey’s European hopes by countries such as France and Germany has led it to shift its aspirations to the East. In recent years it has improved ties with countries such as Syria and Russia, even paying a state visit to the latter in May 2011. The AK government has also improved relations with the Arab world through increased diplomatic activity and trade agreements. This shift has led Turkey to become an alternative to regional leaders such as Iran or Saudi Arabia and even arguably the United States. Erdogan has also severed the country’s long-standing alliance with Israel, following the Mari Mavmara incident and has since expanded Turkey’s presence in the Arab world, even as tensions with Israel continue to escalate. Indeed, Turkey took a leading role by urging President Mubarak of Egypt to resign from the beginning and recognizing the rebel government in Libya soon after NATO forces intervened. Furthermore, Turkey has taken a strong line in the Syrian protests, threatening to intervene in Syria if the government sponsored bloodshed

continued and creating buffer zones on the border to protect Syrian refugees. The Turkish military, the second largest in NATO and experienced after years of activity against the PKK rebels, has also engaged in military maneuvers near the Syrian border to send a strong warning signal to Damascas. These steps demonstrate Turkey’s ability and willingness to assert its influence in support of both its own interests and the Arab Spring. The ascent of Turkey coupled with the Arab Spring leads to the question: can and will Turkey become the leading force for democracy in the Middle East? While Saudi Arabia and Iran have long jockeyed for leadership of the Muslim world, Turkey’s foreign policy has evolved from “cause no trouble” to increasing assertiveness. Despite clashing with the United States on the Israel-Palestine issue, Turkey has also been widely praised by both the West and countries such as Russia for its role in promoting democracy and stability. Nevertheless, its ascent will not come without opposition. Iran’s influence permeates Iraq and Assad remains a staunch Iranian ally, while Saudi Arabia, concerned at the collapse of several of its authoritarian allies, has invited Jordan and Morocco, both monarchies, to reinforce the Gulf Cooperation Council, an organization formerly consisting of wealthy Gulf monarchies. Ultimately, Turkey’s rise in prominence has not only inspired recently liberated states but shifted the geopolitical balance in the Middle East. All of these factors point to both why Turkey is the best model for democracy in the Arab world and why Turkey will have a lasting influence in the wake of the Arab Spring and beyond. •


How China’s dual demographic crisis may undercut its path to superpower status By Alexandra Heyn, Staff Writer


or the past several years, China has experienced a meteoric rise in global power and status. The nation’s unprecedented combination of capitalism and communism intrigue scholars and strategists while a booming population and economy has enabled it to become a strong contender for world superpower. Its exports are found the world over, and its national language is the fastestgrowing among new learners. However, it is quickly becoming clear that China, with the world’s largest population of 1.3 billion, may in fact not have enough people. The controversial one-child-policy, while successful in its intended slowing of population growth, has led to both an imbalance in the male-female ratio and a rapidly aging population. This two-fold demographic crisis has profound implications not only for China, but also neighboring developing countries, like India and Bangladesh, and trading partners, such as the United States. Although much has been made of the nation’s population boom, the population growth rate has actually dropped from 1.67% in 1987 to 0.37% in 2010. When paired with its increasingly low fertility rate (1.3 children per woman, rather than the 2.1 needed to maintain a stable population), it is not surprising that 74% of the Chinese population is 15-64 and mostly male. While the reduction in population growth has in the short term alleviated the problems of overpopulation, the dramatic drop in fertility has resulted in a population that is top-down and aging at a highly-accelerated rate. As a result, by 2015, the population is likely to peak and then decline. By 2030, one-fourth of the population will be over the retirement age of 65, giving the nation two elders for every five workers. While the strong role families play in taking care of the elderly has resulted in a weak pension system that is limited to urban, government workers, the added costs of a shrinking worker to retiree ratio meas that there will soon simply not be enough care-

givers, both formally (through pension burdens) and informally (through family care). Improvements in the healthcare system have also increased the country’s life expectancy, which exacerbates the demographic strain. On the positive side, the large, current working-age population has been key to the rise of China’s political and economic influence. As this changes, an aging workforce will mean less competition for jobs and higher wages especially, as Chinese companies vie for the shrinking number of workers. While many companies are moving inland to the more rural areas of China to access cheaper labor, this will eventually lead to a rise in rural labor incomes, and thus a narrowing in the wage gap and a higher standard of living. As a result China’s comparative advantage is expected to shift to less labor-intensive, more complex manufacturing (more electronics, less lead-laden toys), which opens the door for other developing countries such as India and Thailand to fill the simple manufacturing gap. China’s cultural history has also been a strong factor in the country’s demographic fluctuations. In Chinese culture, having a son means the family name is passed on to the next generation, and elderly parents have someone to take care of them after retirement. Daughters are married off, and thus are less-valued in terms of so-called “returns on investment”. However, the one-child policy is, like many things in communist countries, not always applicable to the elite. Richer families can pay a fine to have a second child. However, with the existing social pressure to have a son, this loophole has done precious little to prevent a shortage of females in China. The institution of the one-child policy has resulted in what has been termed a “missinggirl” crisis, with many baby girls being aborted or killed. The true number of missing girls that would have existed in China today is unknown, but is speculated to number in the millions. The current gender imbalance of 100

girls to 119 boys is expected to create social tension in the near future, as more and more Chinese come of age. Historically, this had led to increased violence, crime, and social unrest, which may pose a challenge to China’s authoritarian government. Despite all this, China’s prospects are not yet entirely grim. In the short term, as a younger generation takes over, we can expect to see increased consumption and social progress. In the long term, as the country ages, simple manufacturing will wane, while more complex industries and the service sector will boom. With China’s present disproportionately-large working-age population, there’s still time for consumers to spend more and save less, and hopefully limit the amount of damage this issue is likely to cause. There’s also still a chance (however slim) that the Chinese government will revise the one-child policy to allow two children. Of course, since any seachange in the population would take 20-plus years to show results, even if the one-child policy is reversed tomorrow, any improvement wouldn’t start to show until after the negative impacts of the population crisis have surfaced. China could also lift its immigration restrictions to mitigate the aging of its population. But lifting such restrictions has historically been proven to only serve as a stopgap measure, as well as putting considerable burdens on an already-strained infrastructure. The solution that seems most likely to help China now, when all seems bleak and quite literally grey, is to both raise the retirement age and encourage fertility. Unfortunately, an aging population is a problem shared by many countries, including much of Europe and Japan, and is without a solution. Whatever China eventually decides to do, the impact of the one-child policy is undeniable, and at least some of its consequences will be unavoidable. The full effects of this unexpected demographic crisis have yet to be fully realized, but it is clear that China’s rising star may not be so bright. • October 2011



By Elena Kempf, Staff Writer


ine months after the self-immolation of the Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi, the outcome of the Arab Spring is still undetermined. The optimism surrounding the relatively peaceful resignation of two autocrats early this year has disappeared, and the Middle East now faces fear and uncertainty. The event that started everything, Bouazizi’s self-immolation, took place in the small village of Sidi Bouzid in central Tunisia on December 17th 2010. The protests that followed led to the ouster of President Ben Ali less than a month later, on January 14th 2011. Protesters in Egypt, inspired by Tunisians, began assembling in Tahrir Square in Cairo on January 25th. Within a month, Hosni Mubarak was history. Since then, however, revolution has become much bloodier. Libyan rebels, organized under the National Transitional Council, have fought an eight month long civil war against Colonel Muammar Qaddafi, only recently capturing the capital of Tripoli and all but overthrowing the Qaddafi regime. In Syria, activists still demand President Bashar Al-Assad’s resignation, whose family has ruled for 41 years, even as government forces respond with brutal violence. In all these revolutions, people unified to get rid of brutal, corrupt autocrats. But Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution, which catalyzed all the following uprisings, is special. In Tunisia, people always asked why the country was not a democracy. It is little surprise that Tunisia’s democratic reforms are moving forward, while tensions mount in Egypt against the ruling military council. How feasible, then, is democracy in the Middle East? Except for Turkey and Israel, a Jewish enclave of the West, there are no democracies in the Middle


Credit: Elena Kempf

East. Turkey strives for free elections and pro-Western policies. However, free elections alone do not ensure a legitimate democracy. Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, of the Islamist-leaning AK Party, once said “Democracy is like a train: you ride it to your destination, and then you jump off.” This illustrates the dangers to democracies that display autocratic tendencies. Before the revolutions, the authoritarian leaders of Egypt, Libya and Syria led the countries to economic, social and political stagnation, but they also fought religious fundamentalism. In the current situation, however, it is likely that religious extremists will win at the polls. Religion and democracy usually are not mutually exclusive. However, it is hard to determine whether political Islam paves the way for oppression, or whether it is a legitimate expression of a person’s individual identity. Either way, the religiously and culturally determined domination of men challenges active female participation in political discourse. One reason why political life has been shaped by religion is that governments have failed to provide essential social services such as health care. Islamist groups filled that gap, and a tradition of trust in religious leader-

ship has evolved which is missing in regards to political institutions. Islamists are therefore able to influence free elections because needy, mostly uneducated people are susceptible to their promises. This is made possible in the first place because the rural population of the Middle East has a long tradition of religious, ethnic or tribal identities rather than national identities. The foundation of every democracy is a people’s cumulative identification with their state. This is not given in many Middle Eastern countries. While all these claims hold true for most Middle Eastern countries, Tunisia has a different story to tell. The existence of an educated middle class, a secular society and national pride that manifested itself in the slogan ‘fier d’être Tunisien’, make a legitimate democracy likely to succeed. Ultimately, the world should have a deep respect for what the Tunisian people did when they stood together patiently and fought for that one common idea, a free Tunisia. However, while it is remarkable how the Jasmine Revolution inspired people across the Middle East to strive for freedom and democracy themselves, these countries still have a long and troubled road ahead. •


By Charlie Smith, Staff Writer


n December of 1964 Jack Weinberg sat in the back of a police cruiser surrounded by 10,000 student protesters. Weinberg’s crime was political organizing on campus, which the Regents of the UC system had recently banned. The police car holding Weinberg was unable to move for 36 hours as students surrounded the vehicle day and night, even mounting it to give speeches. Among the men who spoke from the top of the police car was Mario Savio, the leader of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement. Days later he famously told thousands of his fellow students to “put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus”, to send a message to the Regents and grind the school to a halt. Nearly 50 years later across the Atlantic Ocean riots erupted across England after the controversial killing of one Mark Duggan in an exchange with police. What began as a peaceful protest ended in an estimated £200 million worth of property damage and several dead. These outbursts of civil unrest are divided by time and place but are both wedged in forces of economics. In Mario Savio’s speech he discusses the comparison between his school and the structure of a business. Savio, the son of a Sicilian steel worker, framed the conflict in terms of a struggle over resources “this is a firm, and if the Board of Regents are the board of directors, and if President Kerr in fact is the manager, then I’ll tell you something: the faculty are a bunch of employees, and we’re the raw material!” The connection between recession, austerity and riots is clear. According to a study by the Center for Economic Policy Research there is a strong correlation between austerity measures and civil unrest. Once cuts reach 3% of spending incidents of unrest double; austerity measures preceding the rioting were at 10% of total spending. Who were the rioters themselves; where did they come from? Rioting erupted primarily in parts of North

London like Tottenham and Birmingham. In Birmingham 1 in 4 are unemployed. British Member of Parliament David Lammy stated that Tottenham has the highest unemployment rate in London and that there are at least 23 people chasing every job opening. The austerity cuts preceding the rioting included tuition hikes and cuts to public services. With 20% of the workforce in the public sector, as opposed to less than 10% in America, these cuts will inevitably be damaging. Riots also flared in cities like Birmingham where over 1 in 4 are employed in the public sector. Activism in Berkeley was in many ways fundamentally different from unrest across Europe. Protest at the University is an intellectual affair. It was spurred on by clear administrative action. The riots in London ignited after a death unrelated to the rioters economic troubles, suggesting deeper social and structural roots of the riots than the protests in Berkeley. College students do not suffer from the same trials of unemployment as the Londoners of Tottenham. They also represent a group of privilege while the rioters of London certainly do not. Thus, the degree of destruction in Britain is perhaps reflective of social despair. Protests on campus are now largely centered on economic issues of austerity. In 2009 students barricaded themselves in Wheeler Hall to protest fee increases and in 2011 students chained themselves to the roof of the same building in protest of further fee

increases. “No cuts, no fees, education must be free!” has become a mantra for the Berkeley protest movement. The most recent September 23rd protests made the economic forces behind Berkeley protest explicit. Upper Sproul Plaza was lined with not only students but also many labor leaders of the UC Berkeley staff. Speakers described the joining of the student movement with the labor movement. Picket signs read, “Workers and Students United” and “Workers and Students Against Cuts”. Professor Walker explains the importance of unions to the modern campus protest movement, “In California the most important progressive political force over the past decade has been the labor movement”. Professor Walker, referring to recent campus protests, remarks,“I have never seen this level of mobilization of the campus unions before…this is something new.” The presence of unions exposes the clear economic sources of protest. Organizing on the Berkeley Campus, however, has had mixed results. Recent protests have struggled to reduce budget cuts and the crowds at the September 23rd protest pale in comparison to those of the 1960s. However, as austerity sinks in, and inequality grows, these movements may gain support. Perhaps no better example is Occupy Wall Street. •

Credit: ShockYa October 2011



By Tanay Kothari, Staff Writer


atin American history is rife with the struggles of citizens at the hands of military leaders. Responsible for appalling abuses of power ranging from Augusto Pinochet’s “Caravan of Death” to Jorge Videla’s “Dirty War” to Rafael Trujillo’s “Parsley Massacre” (in which 20,000 people were killed for mispronouncing “parsley”), the traditional caudillo, or military strongman, has largely been shown the door as an archetype for Latin American leaders. In Brazil, this transition occurred in 1985, when the nation’s final military regime fell and democratic elections began. Since then, the nation has adopted a new constitution, undergone economic reforms that have led to historic growth, and opened its borders to foreign investment. Much of this progress has been attributed to former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who stepped down at the end of 2010 to the highest approval ratings of any leader in Brazil’s history. Lula’s hand-picked successor, Dilma Rousseff, channeled his popularity into her own campaign, promising that her coalition would work “for Brazil to keep on changing”. However, Rousseff, who spent years imprisoned by the government for her role as a Marxist guerrilla before ascending through the ranks of Brazilian politics, has fashioned a distinct identity, specifically in foreign policy. While Lula’s term was marked by pragmatic, conciliatory measures intended to establish Brazil as a credible global power, Rousseff has seemingly taken the next step, using Brazil’s newfound influence to stake out more provocative foreign policy positions. Western observers would be remiss to assume that Brazil’s foreign policy will align it perfectly with the United States or Europe much longer. After so many years spent culti-


Credit: China Confidential

vating economic and diplomatic ties with the West, President Lula proposed a nuclear deal between Turkey and Iran in 2010. Shortly afterward, Brazil voted against U.S.-backed sanctions on Iran, marking the first time in history that Brazil voted against the United States at the United Nations. While this will largely be remembered as Lula’s most substantive statement on the global stage, Rousseff has been shakier in her approach to Iran. Although Rousseff evoked her own traumatic experiences in prison to bash Iran for its human rights record during her campaign, her nation has grown closer to Iran during 2011. Rousseff’s refusal to meet with Iranian Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi, a women’s rights activist who spent years in prison for opposing Iranian judicial policies, alarmed many in the international community who saw the two as logical allies on human rights. Rather, it seems, Rousseff has focused her attention on maintaining friendly relations with Iran’s government, hoping to expand trade in the future. Given that most developed nations have stopped trade with Iran, Brazil has much to gain by filling this void. From a pragmatic standpoint, none of this should come as a surprise. The rise of Brazil is directly attributable to economic liberalization. As one of the world’s largest sources of raw materials ranging from gold to oil to coffee, the nation has grown by finding willing consumers in global markets. By keeping a low profile on most controversial issues, Lula made Brazil an appealing trade partner for nations with widely varying conditions, including the United States, Venezuela, and Syria. With the prospect of economic and social tumult in many of these states, Rousseff must forge a decisive foreign policy identity for Brazil.

Thus far, she has pursued a foreign policy increasingly independent of that of the West. Since Rousseff took power, Brazil has opposed the West on a variety of issues in the United Nations. As a growing trade partner of Libya, Brazil opposed NATO’s air strikes on that nation. More strikingly, Brazil’s envoys to the United Nations defended Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s record on human rights while the Security Council pondered the possibility of freezing Syrian financial assets. Though these actions, taken individually, do not necessarily threaten Brazil’s relationships with Western nations, Berkeley professor Barry Carr argues that they are symptomatic of changing attitudes within Brazil. Professor Carr states that Brazil’s recent actions demonstrate a “greater commitment to cooperation across borders”, and that Brazil is “following an agenda that is no longer the one which Washington was setting.” In the coming years, much lies ahead for Brazil. The nation has proposed bailouts for the European Union, signaling that it wants to serve as a global creditor while its economy grows. The Brazilian government recently approved 25,000 scholarships to send promising students to prestigious global universities. Three years from now, Brazil will host the FIFA World Cup; two years later, the sprawling city of Rio de Janeiro will welcome the world for the Summer Olympics. Between now and then, it is likely that a Brazil led by Dilma Rousseff will pursue its own economic interests independently of Western opinion. The new Brazil will attempt to skirt the divides between the “West” and the “rest” that define global politics today, and if it succeeds, it will be because of its Mama Grizzly. •


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On college campuses across the nation, mention of the Tea Party elicits snickers and scoffs. It has become, to many, something to be laughed at merely because it is custom to do so. Such widespread misunderstanding is a big problem for this relatively new movement, as it desperately needs new adherents. Regardless of whether the movement merits the indifference it receives from college students, it must focus on appealing to our generation. If it fails in this endeavor, it will likely die. Therefore, we ask: What needs to be done to keep the movement healthy and pumping new blood? The main problem with the Tea Party is its leaders’ inability to stay focused on its strongest fiscal points. Religious and moral overtones aside, the economic ideas of the movement should appeal to the average college student. At their core, Tea Partiers are merely misunderstood libertarians. Unclouded by their less economically-themed points, the party platform would sound something like this: smaller government; less economic intervention; and, most importantly, fiscal responsibility in Congress. Today more than ever, college students involve themselves with fiscal policy. Case in point: the Occupy Wall Street movement, which Joe Biden recently compared to the Tea Party. Composed largely of young people, Occupy Wall Street voices a message economically fraternal to its tea-toting counterpart. If the Tea Party keeps its fiscal points at the forefront, it can capitalize on the college generation as well. Another problem is the group’s excessive emphasis on very specific reli-

Cre dit :

By Brendan Pinder, Staff Writer

gious and “family” values. Such values are changing today, and many college students are shying away from the traditional conventions of organized religion. Yet the Tea Party continues to commit that highest of political sins: mixing theology with politics. For a group that draws heavily upon the Founding Fathers, the Tea Party must remember that during the forming of our great nation, the authors of the Constitution paid careful attention to ensure that the State never mandates a particular set of religious beliefs. In order to prove its true adherence to the ideals of our Forefathers, the Tea Party must likewise establish itself as a secular movement. In addition, the Tea Party’s current demographics raise concerns about long-term efficacy. A New York Times/CBS survey found that 75% of those identifying with the Tea Party are over 45. Clearly, the movement is in desperate need of new blood, and, as we saw in ’08, the youth vote can be the key to success. And just as the party needs students, so, too, do students need groups like the Tea Party. Thousands of young people now occupy the streets of cities across the nation, frustrated and unemployed, but lacking a platform from which to articulate demands. The Tea Party could be that platform. Failure to capitalize on this new generation will result in the Democrats claiming the Occupy Wall Street movement for their own, just as the Republicans co-opted the Tea Party. Furthermore, being merely anti-

Obama is not enough. The Tea Party must organize itself not as a group 100% opposed to a single president, but as a movement seeking to reform the runaway spending in Washington. Instead, the Party saturates its rhetoric with unnecessary vehemence; its passion is too often misconstrued as anger, and its frustration as hatred. It must prove itself a positive movement, and not just a party of “no.” Finally, the Tea Party needs a strong, conversation-fostering publication to be circulated and discussed on campuses nationwide. Nobel Laureate for Economics Joseph Stiglitz gave a teach-in at Occupy Wall Street on October 2nd; the Tea Party, too, must attract such luminaries. Only through a serious academic journal can the Tea Party inspire college students and reverse the tide of intellectual backlash against its seeming anti-intellectualism. If the Tea Party makes itself more appealing to students and dispels any illusionary notion that its members are fanatics, it will command more respect in the years to come. It must prove that it is not merely an offshoot of the radical, evangelical right, but rather, it is a forwardthinking party of reform. It must stick with its fiscal points, capitalize on the growing discontent of young voters and drop the folksy, fiery, Palin-esque rhetoric that has only served to feed the media vultures. These changes are imperative if the movement is to generate support from the college community and thus attain any sort of long-term influence in American politics. • October 2011



By Alex Kravitz, Opinion Editor TOMA is an acronym for Top Of Mind Awareness, a term used in marketing to indicate the continuous goal of a particular campaign. Weekly on the BPR blog at, I provide examples of TOMA campaigns and analyze them through an interdisciplinary perspective. As TOMA Hawk™, I employ a keen eye to detail instances of TOMA, and, with razor-sharp talons, dissect it publicly on this blog. My purpose is thus: To highlight prominent and (usually) innovative ways corporations (known to some as “business”) enshrine or destroy values and places both domestic and foreign through gossip chains that land their campaigns in the realm of “newsworthy”. However hotly contested a campaign or technique might be, if it succeeds in breaking into the “newsworthy” category, it has succeeded, and the longer it stays in the news, the more its success expands. Off the Top Of my Mind, I’m not Aware of any instance in which a Big TOMA campaign has backlashed on its originators more adversely than it has changed [enshrined/destroyed] conditions [values/places] for the short-term benefit of the company. In the preceding paragraph, I used the qualifier “Big” to describe a variety of TOMA. Big TOMA is what makes a moment “Kodak” or the word “priceless” a MasterCard psychological monopoly (despite the inability to trademark “priceless”). Band-Aid and Kleenex number among the most successful Big TOMA campaigns of all time, so much so that they worry about losing profits due to the generi-


fication of their names. We must distinguish Big TOMA from “small” or “local” TOMA. I use both Small TOMA and Local TOMA in a mostly interchangeable fashion, excepting case studies where local TOMA is Big or Small TOMA is spread across multiple GMAs (Greater Metropolitan Area). Small/Local TOMA is the nickel-and-dime stuff you see all over the place, the ads you instinctively ignore unless a certain image, color or catchphrase pops out and you and seduces your ego. Local TOMA can dramatically improve conditions for small businesses, but only if it complies with the conventions Big TOMA dictates. Corporations are generally successful at convincing municipalities that public space is better “used” than “wasted”, so they wrangle billboards, naming rights to public places and, in some cases, street signs (for their headquarters) from their rightful owners, the demos (the people). Once corporatized, a municipality accepts Big TOMA conventions as just and natural, leading small business owners to overspend on marketing and causing city-dwellers in general to become out of touch with their own neighbors; those big blue eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg do not watch us, but we fixate on them rather than our surrounding life forms, hoping one day to achieve that vantage point and -- maybe then -- affect some sort of real change. To be a TOMA Hawk™, one must look upward, toward the Eckleburgs. We do not desire Eckleburg’s vantage point for ourselves, only for our research. We must understand what those who put Eckleburg in his place see as we remind ourselves that Eckleburg sees nothing. What we see in

Eckleburg is generally what teams of very psychologically insightful individuals want us to see. Such teams have become so skilled that they now openly reveal their processes to the public in the form of television shows such as Mad Men, knowing all the while that the patterns they dictate are so ingrained in our lifestyles that inundating us in the “icy water of egotistical calculation” (to quote Marx) will not chill our cancerous drive for consumption. On the contrary, Mad Men is a premium show for advertisers; its influence has proved itself through the creation of new “vintage” Pan Am bags and an accompanying television show. TOMA controls the way we perceive both time and space, but, even more saddening, it also controls the way we perceive our own identity. In March, MIT Sloan School of Management marketing professor Joshua Ackerman found that men generally say “I love you” sooner than women do, and they also feel happier hearing an unprovoked “I love you”. Ackerman immediately used the language of the marketplace and social Darwinism to describe his findings, pinpointing a difference in cost-benefit analyses between men and women as the primary cause of female reluctance and male enthusiasm: Women are saddled with the costs of children while men benefit from passing on their genes. Such knee-jerk reactions dishearten we who believe humanity cannot be reduced to a spreadsheet. • Please send comments, inquiries and examples of TOMA about which you’d like me to write to

Credit: ShockAlex Kravitz


By Doug Perez, Staff Writer If Philip Morris offered UC Berkeley an annual $1.3 million sponsorship fee for the right to sell cigarettes on campus, there would be a public outcry. As of now, however, the administration is finalizing the terms of a $1.3 million contract with PepsiCo with little opposition. This seemingly hyperbolic comparison is warranted for the following three reasons: 1. Soda is loaded with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), and groundbreaking new endocrinology research strongly suggests that the liver cannot handle our current intake of fructose, leading to heart disease and type 2 diabetes; 2. Epidemiological trends prove sugar consumption has increased alongside incidence of these diseases since the 1980s; and 3. The corporate stake in creating lifelong customers outstrips any sense of obligation to inform the consumer of the health and environmental risks associated with the production and consumption of the product (notice this sentence applies to tobacco and soda corporations equally). In his lecture, “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” (viewed 1.7 million times on YouTube), UCSF childhood obesity expert Dr. Robert Lustig presents strong proof of a link between sugar consumption and metabolic syndrome, which affects 75 million Americans and is -he contends -- the primary risk factor for obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Metabolic syndrome involves

the cells of the liver becoming insulinresistant, which results from the way sugar -- fructose in particular -- is metabolized. Unlike glucose -- which is metabolized by every cell in the body -- fructose is metabolized primarily in the liver. If consumed quickly and in large enough quantities (as fructose in liquids like soda generally is), the liver will convert most of it to fat. Fat in the liver leads to insulin resistance. In a study earlier this year, Yale School of Medicine’s Varman Samuel found that “if there is too much fat in the liver, the ability of insulin to activate [metabolizing] signals is impaired, making those cells resistant to insulin.” Gerald Reavan of Stanford found as early as 1987 that a 66% fructose diet is the quickest way to induce insulin resistance in rats. Colorado State University’s Michael Pagliassotti followed Reavan in the 1990s, proving that cattle fed diets comprising 60-70% sugar developed fatty livers within days, and those fed 20% sugar (similar to a typical U.S. diet) reached the same result after several months. For both groups, removal from the sugary diet led to speedy liver health recovery. Beyond the cellular level, epidemiological and caloric consumption data also pin sugar as the culprit for the American chronic illness trifecta of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Beginning in the 1980s, rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes greatly increased, and cardiovascular events increased at a more moderate rate. The increasing incidence of these diseases closely followed the skyrocketing consumption of sugar as HFCS began to dominate the U.S. food system. (For more information, see The Omnivore’s Dilemma or Food, Inc., in which Michael Pollan details the extent to which HFCS has invaded nearly every

consumer food product currently on the market.) Surprisingly, consumption of dietary fat as a percentage of total calories has actually decreased since the 1980s as consumer demand for low-fat products has increased; manufacturers generally replaced dietary fats with sugars, especially HFCS. U.S. citizens now consume on average 140 pounds of sugar per year, rejecting the FDA warning that consumption of 40+ pounds per year is hazardous to one’s health. Unfortunately, despite compelling health-related reasons for rejecting a PepsiCo contract, to this University -- producer of 25 alumni Nobel Laureates and home to 22 faculty Laureates, 9 of them currently teaching -- money trumps science. The current contract stipulates not only $1.3 million in sponsorship fees, but also $235,000 in promotional marketing funds and a “sustainability” support program of $15,000. What this last point entails, we don’t know, but we assume it doesn’t involve stopping the sale of bottled beverages since that seems to be occurring unabated by last spring’s resolution passed against bottled water; University Health Services’ Health*Matters program manager Trish Ratto even goes so far as to suggest that actually instituting the popular bottled water ban (passed with 84% of student votes discounting abstentions) will negatively affect student health by pushing students to drink soda. Furthermore, the environmental repercussions of plastic bottles are the same regardless of their contents. UC administrators apparently find no irony in allowing a soda corporation to sponsor our athletes and help us market ourselves as the world’s greenest campus. Perhaps Philip Morris should make us an offer. • October 2011



By Nicole Orlov, Staff Writer


ay in and day out, infamous local fixture Yoshua informs Berkeley students that the end of the world is imminent. Credibility of colorful Berkeley characters aside, the man may have a point. And in regards to political discourse, Yoshua may actually be a little late with his prediction. Doomsday has already arrived. With the 2012 Presidential Election but a year away, the nearly twoyear media circus that has come to characterize American presidential elections is already in full swing. With artificially heated arguments and political figures moonlighting as television personalities, these days it is getting harder and harder to differentiate reality television from political news coverage. Former G.O.P nomination hopeful and Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty may have said it best when he stated on a recent Colbert Report appearance that the campaign races are, “taking on more and more of a reality TV component…You’ve got to have not just money but an entertainment component, too.” Regarding his decision to drop out of the race, Pawlenty went on to say that he “brought forward a record of serious policy approaches…to the campaign,” but the electorate was “looking for something else.” According to Jason Wittenburg, Berkeley Professor of Political Science, although it is true that politics have taken on a more reality TVlike format, the former is in no way a symptom of the latter. Wittenburg said that this phenomena is, “a function of underlying cultural changes” and, given technological and struc-


Credit: Elena Kempf

tural changes in media, there has become an increasingly “huge incentive to package things in a way that sells.” Despite this, Wittenberg claims that the entertainment factor of politics is not necessarily something new. “The gory details” of public policy issues,” Wittenberg says, “cause people to fall asleep.” Thus, creating an entertainment factor has always been a go-to strategy for political campaigns. The bigger problem may lie in the similar path news coverage of these campaigns has taken in recent years. According to a University of Missouri at Columbia study, the average length of a typical political news story decreased about 20% and the number of political news stories dropped by 20% between 1968 and 2008. To make matters worse, those stories that do make it into the news have become more focused on polling numbers and horse race style reporting than concrete policy matters. As a result, the populace is growing increasingly reliant on receiving their political information from campaign commercials instead. The Missouri study found that, although voters have a good idea of which candidate is likely to win the presidency, they are far less knowledgeable about politicians’ respective stances on issues. Declining meaningful political coverage is further exasperated by the manner in which it is delivered. Where America used to have Walter Cronkite providing them with their news in a generally trust-worthy, impartial manner, it now has multiple highly polarized news sources capitalizing on the sensationalist nature of the 24-hour news cycle. Cronkite’s straightforward style of reporting has

been replaced with that of Rachel Maddow and Glenn Beck. Political personalities like these spoon-feed viewers their own opinions instead of reporting in an unbiased, thoughtprovoking manner. Even more sectors of the population have turned to the faceless blogosphere or political campaign ads as the foundation for their voting behavior. Given all of this, it is truly difficult to blame candidates on either side of the aisle for their use of reality TVesque tactics on the campaign trail, or even the news outlets themselves for that matter. We exist in a society where Jersey Shore cast members can command up to $10,000 for a single appearance and a video of a cat doing pretty much anything can secure upwards of a million hits on YouTube. The decline of political debate and coverage is really best viewed as a microtome of the decline of American civil culture as a whole. When it comes down to it, an honest exchange of ideas about policy has never been particularly sexy or captivating. It certainly does not lend itself to the 2-minute format our YouTube generation has come to expect. These sorts of exchanges do not gain access to the publics’ hearts or pocket books. Catchy one-word slogans, polling-based reporting, and emotionally, ideologically, and often times religiously charged rhetoric, however, does. So, what motivation does the politician, who wants and needs votes, or the media, which is dependent on viewers, have to change? As it stands, the prospects for improvement appear rather bleak. In the debate over political debate, everyone loses. •

a&e Book Review By Christina Avalos Staff Writer An attempt to escape the inequalities of apartheid Africa brought Marisa Handler and her family to America in the hopes of living in a country of true freedom and democracy. In her first book, Loyal to the Sky, Handler recounts her experiences as an ambitious Berkeley student who comes face to face with the adversities of the international justice movement. In her novel, Marisa Handler wittingly crafts her memories of a relentless campaign for global justice. She weaves her passion and knowledge of human rights into her stories in a way that ignites sympathy in the reader. Yet, Handler

also maintains a professional style of writing in both her personal and journalistic accounts on the current state of affairs. At times, this bridles the enthusiasm she is trying to convey and her stories become a bit more verbose than necessary for such a personal account. This is partly because Handler originally intended for the book to be published as an academic piece. “My publisher..proposed to me that I write a memoir..that would be a much more powerful vehicle for these ideas.” Beyond the literary veil, Handler’s activism covers issues that are heavily present on the current global stage. She reports on the corrupted monarchy in Nepal, the inflamed conflicts

between the Hindus and the Muslims in India, the Free Trade Area of the Americas campaign, and the dangers of oil excavation to indigenous peoples in South America. Tales of arrests, police chases, personal dilemmas, and fruitful travels take on a seemingly intimidating and cumbersome character. However, during our interview she pointed out that most of the movements she was involved with were grassroots efforts, affirming that “small groups of people can accomplish amazing things.” With her relentless passion and benevolent rhetoric, Marisa Handler hauls her audience through her adventures in the global justice movement. It should come as no surprise if you

find yourself nodding in fervent passion toward the causes she fights for and, perhaps, developing the impulse to get off of your couch and let your inner activist out. For those daring to join the ranks, she urges, “build your own vision and people will come.” And with Loyal to the Sky, Marisa Handler has done just that. •

October 2011


Cal-in-Sacramento Fellowships Now Accepting Applications! The Cal-in-Sacramento Program is the University of California’s largest—and one of the nation’s most prestigious—campus-based public service fellowship programs. For over three decades, more than 500 Cal students have gone to Sacramento to experience politics, government, and public service under the program’s auspices. Fellows experience California’s exciting political milieu for eight weeks in the summer. Cal-in-Sac Fellows work in Sacramento internships in the offices of Senate and Assembly members, the governor’s office, state agencies, nonprofit groups, or media organizations. Typical intern duties include: organizing public hearings, researching legislation, developing new bills, and monitoring crucial issues. Apply today!

Information session:

5 p.m., Tuesday, October 25, 2011 IGS Library, 109 Moses Hall Applications available in 111 Moses Hall or at:


Applications are due at 5 p.m., Monday, Nov. 7, 2011, in 111 Moses Hall or by email to

Fall 2011  

The Berkeley Political Review's Fall 2011 Issue.