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EDITORIAL | 3
social justice occupy wall street & the 99 percent by muna cosic news editor Thousands of Egyptians relished at the prospect of a new government by waiting in long lines to cast their ballot votes for the past three days—a few months after the fall of Hosni Mubarak. The recent Egyptian elections are only a part of the many elections taking place in the Middle East, after the many protests throughout the region in hopes for social justice. Moroccans also went out and voted for a new government, toppling their 50-year one-party rule; while in Tunisia, the people voted for a democratic government, following a revolution that toppled the old regime. From the Arab Spring reinventing the policies in the Middle East this year–to the Occupy Movement voicing the frustrations and concerns of the “99 percent” across the world–social justice has become a factor in the global uprisings. Its workers and supporters fight against discrimination, hatred, injustice, and other inequalities that affect society on a daily basis. In general, social justice is social fairness. “Social justice is about equality and fairness between human beings. It works on the universal principles that guide people in knowing what is right and what is wrong,” according to the Social Justice Definition website. “This is also about keeping a balance between groups of people in a society or a community.” Social justice is a fair judgment about age, race, gender, laws, culture, traditions, and beliefs that are considered a good balance. It occurs when one does not harbor prejudices that are damaging to peaceful and productive relationships among others. According to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) website, “Social workers also apply social-justice principles to structural problems.” There are a number of social justice organizations, which run on social justice beliefs and ideals that convey awareness to society. The Arab Spring uprising began with the people wanting justice, fairness and freedom. The same can be said for the Occupy Movement, which has created a global impact; thriving to allow the voice of the “99 percent” to be heard. According to the Occupy Wall Street website, Occupy Wall Street is a “people-powered movement that began on Sept. 17, in Liberty Square in Manhattan’s Financial District, and has spread to over 100 cities in the United States and actions in over 1,500 cities globally,” and that they “are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve [their] ends and encourage the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants.” But social justice is not always seen with a positive outlook. “Forced redistribution of wealth with a hostility toward individual property rights, under the guise of charity and/or justice.” states Glenn Beck on his website. Social justice is a hard term to define, since one person’s views can differ from another’s, and the concept itself can be positive, negative or nonexistent. It’s meaning depends on a person’s personal beliefs and morals; there are many different points of view on social justice. How that concept is implemented towards society affects global politics, economics and relations.
Scott Smith / Corsair Occupy L.A. protesters were given a 20 minute notice that they had to clear there things and disperse the area, after no one left the police sent in the troops. Los Angeles, Nov. 11.
4 | NEWS
Michael Yanow/Corsair A member of the police stands in formation blocking a downtown intersection in the early mornings of Monday, Nov. 28 in Los Angeles.
By Regan Dyl Roger Morante Sam ribakoff
scott smith/Corsair The LAPD announces they will be removing any protesters that remain on the lawn just outside the Bank of America building in downtown Los Angeles, Calif. Nov. 11.. The Occupy L.A. protesters were given 20 minutes to pack their tents and belongings.
The Los Angeles City Hall groundsor what the protesters call “Solidarity Park”- swelled with occupiers on Sunday, who attended the camp’s nightly general assembly, where committees make announcements and issues are discussed in a democratic forum. Ron Kovic, writer, veteran, anti-war activist and author of the memoir “Born on the Fourth of July,” started the general assembly with his speech. “We’re going to have a victory here tonight. Make no mistake about it, we intend to stay. We will not be moved. The people are not going to be moved,“ Kovic said. “The eyes of the country are on Los Angeles tonight. The whole world is watching Los Angeles tonight. And we, we the people of this occupation, we the people of this beautiful, beautiful, democracy movement, we are going to make a courageous stand here tonight. We are going to inspire movements all over this country and all over this world, whether it’s in Chicago or San Francisco, or Memphis, or Tunisia, or Cairo, Egypt, or New York City this is only the beginning of a revolution of people, a nonviolent revolution.” The Occupy LA movement is the last of the large Occupy movements still standing- even after Monday’s midnight
NEWS | 5
Michael Yanow/ Corsair Protesters of Occupy Los Angeles take to the street and chant on Monday, Nov. 28 in downtown Los Angeles.
eviction deadline set by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the City council. The LAPD has not forcibly removed the protesters from the camps. The Occupy LA movement “cannot continue indefinitely” said Mayor Villaraigosa, who made his policy clear when announcing the eviction notice issued Oct. 25. Since then, LAPD has yet to take action while Occupy organizers have filed an injunction to a federal judge to put a restraining order against the city to stave off the proposed eviction. As of writing this article, Occupy protesters are expecting a raid from the LAPD to infiltrate their camp. The New York and Oakland protests both had their encampments shut down this November by police, who cited various code violations including crime, sexual assault, and one instance of death. Smaller camps, like in San Diego, Portland, and Seattle have all had similar fate. The Los Angeles encampment grew on Sunday, as NOFX played a concert in what some thought might be the final day of the encampment due to the eviction notice. Kovic continued his speech with stories of his protesting days during the 1960s against the Vietnam War, his 12 arrests, his injuries as a solider, and how this movement honors his and other veterans’ sacrifices. “Now they are threatening our freedom here at home, and we’re not going to let them take this democracy away from us. Because of you being firm and strong and showing courage of not being afraid and realizing this is your moment, this is your moment in history, my sacrifice and the sacrifice of so many young men in that war will not have been in vain because of this occupy movement,” Kovic said. The assembly continued with the group breaking into “breakout groups” to discuss the theme - “Why We Occupy.”
“I am here occupying for my education,” Explained a Cal State student from one of the “breakout groups” that formed. “Budget cuts are a mess, you guys, seriously. I pay for 18 units, tuition is rising, and you know what they told me last week? I can only take 15 units, why? Because Chancellor Reed is cutting our budget, that’s why.” Economic issues are one of the many concerns behind the protests, as the current economic situation appears to be challenging what the occupiers see as the core of the “American Dream”—life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Gesel Rosa, 18, who was at the protests with her whole family, including her grandmother and 11-year-old sister, said, “My family has lost our house, our car, and the jobs we can get aren’t great, that’s why my family is here. We’re not leaving, they’re not going to kick us out of here easily.” Other speakers at the general assembly explained the actions to be taken should a raid occur; how to be safe and where to meet if dispersed. However, it was information not needed that evening- as the police watched calmly over the protest with only a few arrests reported near 5 a.m. The police moved the protest back to the park, but no direct actions were taken to dismantle the protest as a whole. After seeing the police’s actions at other Occupy movement sites, many involved have feared the worst. “I am afraid the police will come and raid our camps in the middle of the night,” said Jenny, a registered nurse who declined to provide her last name. “Just wait until three days from now,” said Rex Burnett, a 62-year-old volunteer medic and Vietnam veteran. “That’s when the police will come down hard.” The use of pepper spray has become a popular issue since the University of California at Davis incident and a
photograph of 84-year-old Dorli Rainey’s condition after being pepper sprayed in a Seattle Occupy protest. According to a statement from the LAPD website published Nov. 14, Chief William J. Bratton explained that Los Angeles police officers are allowed to use pepper spray in lieu of other methods of containment. “Pepper spray can be used to overcome and control a suspect’s uncooperative actions when verbalization is unsuccessful and the officer reasonably believes, and can articulate why, when approaching the suspect would escalate the incident to a higher level of force or result in injury to the officers or the suspect,” said Bratton in the statement. “The primary objective of the application of force is to gain control of a suspect through the use of reasonable force.” No major police action was taken Monday morning, but the protesters did block two intersections at the south side of the camp, as people drove by, honking in solidarity with the crowd. A very active media force was present at the event and around 2a.m., some protesters formed a human chain on the sidewalk around the site, as no less than three helicopters flew survey overhead. Protester Matt Weathers, 23, said that early Monday morning, the police announced over a loud speaker that all people, including press, would be arrested if they did not leave the street in half an hour. Most protesters complied and stepped onto the sidewalk or continued to stay on the city hall lawn. At 5 a.m., the police arrested at least three people who were still occupying the street. “The LAPD was very slow and methodical with arresting the protesters,” said Weathers, who commented on the police’s manner as being “very, very, different here than it’s been elsewhere.”
1900 pico blvd. santa monica, ca 90405 (310)434-4340 EDITORIAL STAFF Jonathan Bue············· Editor-in-Chief c o rs a i r. e d i t o r i n c h i e f @ g m a i l . c o m Nathan Gawronsky·····Managing Editor c o rs a i r. m a n a g i n g @ g m a i l . c o m Cathy Arias········· Life & Health Editor c o rs a i r. l i f e s t y l e p a g e @ g m a i l . c o m Muna Cosic··················· News Editor c o rs a i r. n e w s p a g e @ g m a i l . c o m Juan Lopez··················· A & E Editor c o rs a i r. c a l e n d a r p a g e @ g m a i l . c o m Regan Dyl··················Opinion Editor c o rs a i r. o p i n i o n p a g e @ g m a i l . c o m William Courtney··········· Sports Editor c o rs a i r. s p o r t s p a g e @ g m a i l . c o m Hector Mejia··········Multimedia Editor c o rs a i r. m u l t i m e d i a @ g m a i l . c o m Anisa El-Khouri··············Photo Editor Amanda Bojorquez··········Photo Editor c o rs a i r p h o t o e d i t o r @ g m a i l . c o m Jenya Romanovsky··········· Copy Editor c o rs a i r. c o p y e d i t s @ g m a i l . c o m Roger Morante················ Web Editor David J. Hawkins····· Web Administrator c o rs a i r. w e b e d i t o r @ g m a i l . c o m Nathalyd Meza··············Design Editor Genesis Baltazar············· Design Staff Alfredo Avila·················· Design Staff c o rs a i r. d e s i g n t e a m @ g m a i l . c o m W R I T E R S Amber Antonopoulos, Vanessa Barajas, Eva Boguslawski, Jay Be Brookman, Aubryanna DiStefano, Maria Dimera, Morgan Doyle, Alyson Feldman, Janae Franklin, Jonathan Ghattas, Tabetha Harris, Myles Johnson, Luana Kasahara, Samanta Kubon, Jahnny Lee, Keijo Liimatainen, Zoie Matthew, Michael Mejia, Ashley Metcalf, Wayne Neal, Tatianna Paredes, Michelle Ponder, Melanie Rudkiewicz, Katherine Ruiz, Fatou Samb, Valerie Serrano, Mia Shilpi, Mai Sims, Ryan Sinko, Christina Sziatinsky PHOTOGRAPHERS Paul Alvarez, Chris Alves, Marisa Bojiuc, Jojo Cheung, Jeannie Cole, Ryan Cook, Reynal Guillen, Tiahna Hale, Cristina Maxwell, Marie Perez, Scott Smith, Silvia Spross, Lisa Weingarten, Michael Yanow, Sequoia Ziff FAC U LT Y A DV I S O R S S a u l Ru b i n Gerard Burkhart A d I n q uiries : email@example.com (310) 434- 4033
6|A+E On – Campus Social Justice Events *all events are free Thursday, Dec. 1 Panel Discussion: Men and Feminism 6:30 p.m. @ HSS 263 Panel discussion on men and feminism including: Shira Tarrant PhD, who is the author of Men and Feminism; Kalil Cohen; Pia Guerrero; Jacqueline Sun Feminist Majority Foundation; Hugo Schwyzer gender studies and history at Pasadena City College; and blogger Yashar Ali Thursday, Dec. 1 "A Better Life" with Filmmaker Chris Weitz 7 p.m. @ HSS 165 Multi-generational film about the immigrant experience in contemporary Los Angeles; The film tells the story of a father who finds himself raising a son alone amidst the urban landscape of East L.A. Together they experience the dangers and pitfalls of life in a new country, fighting to keep their bond alive and overcome all hurdles in search of a better future. Directed by Chris Weitz, best known for the smash hit Twilight Saga: New Moon and the Oscarnominated About A Boy. Wednesday, Dec. 7 Freedom Riders: A Community Conversation on Democracy in Action 7 p.m. @ The Broad Stage Facing History and Ourselves and The Allstate Foundation will host a Community Conversation featuring the film Freedom Riders by PBS American Experience. The program will include excerpts from the film and conversation led by former Justice Department civil rights attorney, author, and Facing History board member Gerald Stern. He will be joined by Freedom Rider Ernest “Rip” Patton Jr., who will share experiences as a participant in the Nashville Movement and the Freedom Rides. Patton was one of 14 Tennessee State University students expelled for participating in the Rides. They will also be joined by Geoffrey Cowan, Annenberg Family Chair in Communication Leadership at USC who volunteered with voter registration in Mississippi during 1964.
the faces behind v masks By zoie matthew Staff Writer
The effect of social media on Occupy By valerie serrano . Staff Writer
The striking images of Rodney King being beaten by a group of policemen from the Los Angeles Police Department sent shockwaves through the already frustrated Los Angeles African American community. It didn’t take long for the tape to extend those shockwaves not only throughout California, but the entire nation. The L.A. riots, which officially started on April 29, 1992, arose as a response to what a frustrated and impoverished mixed-race community felt was racial profiling and abuse by the police that had long gone unchecked, after a court acquitted all four officers under investigation of any wrongdoing. The rioting resulted in 53 people dead, and over $1 billion in damages. With the Occupy movement catching much of the nation’s attention, a couple of questions could be asked about the powerful role the media could play in igniting similar backlash.Will a signifying moment make the movement take the next step into action? How will our wired generation process such images today? According to The New York Observer, the Occupy protesters have a mixed agenda in which they aim to protest against several different things, including the mortgage crisis, health care, war, and college tuition, among other issues. The Occupy Wall Street protest began in September as a small encampment of activists with mostly inscrutable objectives that were largely ignored by the media. As time passed, it exploded into a nationwide series of demonstrations, drawing support from unions and mainstream liberal groups. The protests then went on to earning comparisons in the media with the Tea Party movement and revolutionary pro-democracy protesters in Egypt’s Tahrir Square in Cairo. Santa Monica College Political Science professor Steven Kurvink sees the next step depending a lot on what happens after the failed eviction of the Occupy LA encampment on Monday. If any sort of police brutality occurs, Kurvink is certain it will be recorded and transmitted through the advanced forms of technologies that are available to a greater number of individuals than ever before. “One thing that hasn’t changed since ‘the old days’ is that protest movements still need to mobilize their base while winning over various ‘third parties’ such as public opinion, potential allies, the media and political elites,” Kurvink said. “What has changed is that today’s protestors now have new and innovative ways of achieving their goals.” According to Kurvink, our wired generation will process such an image
It’s 1604; five men are hunched over at Duck and Drake Pub on a foggy London evening. They’ve got whispers on their lips and schemes in their minds. Their plot: to overthrow the English government by blowing up the protestant parliament building. The men were captured before their “Gunpowder Plot” was completed, but the first of them captured, a man with a distinctly curly moustache by the name of Guy Fawkes, was to become celebrated as a symbol of protest, and influenced the violent main character “V” in the renowned 1989 graphic novel “V for Vendetta.” Now, Fawkes is influencing a new generation of anti-government sympathizers: the Occupy Wall Street protesters. From LA to New York, occupiers are donning the caricatured mask worn by “Vendetta’s” main
illustration by david j. hawkins through social media and YouTube, to facilitate the rapid dissemination of these images. “Today, since just about everyone has a camera with them at all times, there are ample opportunities to record newsworthy events even if the news media is not present,” Kurvink said. “We saw this with the pepper spray incident at UC Davis.” If such an image were to go viral, Rachel Wright, executive editor of non-profit news site DailySource.org, thinks it would further mobilize the wired generation and get the support of greater America. “There have been several striking images and videos to go viral, yet they have not caused a national reaction like that of Rodney King,” Wright said. She pointed to recent incidents of pepper spray use against demonstrators, including a young woman at Occupy Portland being sprayed in the mouth as she yells, and an 84-year-old woman being helped after a pepper spraying at Occupy Seattle. “I’ve heard the Occupy movement is our version of the Arab Spring,” Wright said. In early 2011, connected Middle Eastern youths were critical in uprisings by doing all they could to let the outside world know about their experiences, igniting protest and spreading across the Arab world.
character and taking to the streets. But the question is, how did the mask move from radical political figure to mainstream symbol? It’s reported that the first use of the mask in a protest was during a series of 2008 rallies against the Church of Scientology by the “hacktivist” group Anonymous. Since then, the masks have been utilized globally in protests of all sorts. “The Guy Fawkes mask has now become a common brand and a convenient placard to use in protest against tyranny,” said V for Vendetta Artist David Lloyd in an interview with BBC News. “I’m happy with people using it, it seems quite unique, an icon of popular culture being used this way.” In “V for Vendetta,” the graphic novel that popularized the mask, Lloyd and “Vendetta’s” author Alan Moore created a dystopian future
Wright stated that citizen images and videos of the UC Davis incident were being compared to the iconic, historic images of Kent State, aside from the fact that the UC Davis incident did not cause the same level of violence. “Sadly this type of violence would raise [attention of] the Occupy movement to that of Kent or the LA riots,” said Rachel Wright. Another missing link to the Occupy movement, according to Wright, is that the Occupy movement has failed to capture the hearts of the majority of Americans. “Perhaps because we don’t have a key image or video clip,” she said. “And even though we all experienced the Great Recession and its continuing aftermath, it’s not clear what end outcomes the Occupy movement is trying to obtain.” In response to the legal actions the Occupy LA protestors are taking to protect their occupancy of the Los Angeles City Hall lawn, Kurvink said, “I think that the protestors can claim victory. Their voices are being heard. The caution [so far] exercised by the city and the police enhance the legitimacy of the movement.” He also adds, “On the other hand if the police do react with brutality, that too will add to the legitimacy of the movement.”
UK, in which an anarchist character named “V”– who wears a Guy Fawkes mask—begins a showy and violent revolutionary campaign to overthrow his government. Therein lies one of the key differences between Guy Fawkes, “V,” and the Occupy protestors inspired by these two symbols: the former two utilized violence as a form of protest, whereas the Occupy protesters have attempted a more peaceful form of demonstration. What makes them the ideal anti-establishment symbol is the principle of the matter; the fight against a powerful governing body. “My feeling is the Anonymous group needed an all-purpose image to hide their identity and also symbolize that they stand for individualism,” Lloyd told the BBC. “V for Vendetta is a story about one person against the system.”
women’s struggles on display at Skirball By samanta kubon . Staff Writer
50,000 words, 30 days
#5: A Novelist Mission By Mia Shilpi Staff Writer
The end of the month is fast approaching, and the end of National Novel Writing Month with it. Over the course of the month I have typed my fingertips off from typing at a speed achievable only by the seven gallons of caffeinated beverages I have consumed this month. NaNoWriMo is mostly a mad rush of words. Writers being encouraged to “just write”’ and not think too much about what they are writing, lest they slow down and fall behind; editing can come later, the time right now is for writing. But while reflecting on your own writing is a bad idea, reflecting on writing in general is not. Writing is the sharing of information. For thousands of years it was the only way to record thoughts. Even in the modern age of music, movies, and media, it usually starts with someone writing down the lyrics, script, or ideas first; before branching out into a whole new medium. Many novelists participating in NaNoWriMo are writing novels that are strictly fun or entertainment; a passionate romance or comedic memoir, which are certainly thoughts but do not depend on deep ideas or seek to change people’s minds. I, however, am not one of them. I am among the small group of writers who hopes to get published, and hopes to put their words in other people’s heads, and their ideas in other people’s minds. Right now the world is standing on an edge, and the potential for drastic change has never been greater. There are many paths we can take and many mistakes we
can make, but one thing is for sure – we have to move forward. Even if it won’t stop some people from trying, digging in our heels and staying put is no longer an option. Albert Einstein once defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” There are many people around us who refuse to move forward and refuse to see that the old ideas no longer work in the modern times. Set in a dystopian future of 2084, I explore the idea of an entire society “going insane” – what happens when the people who refuse progress are the ones in power? It isn’t pretty. World War Three and the Second Civil War ruin the Los Angeles of 2084. It takes all the very worst parts of our culture and amplifies them, while mourning how our best traits have all vanished into the mayhem of our fictional future. I question the structure of society, the nature of faith, and the very identity of humanity itself. I am sure if I ever get published, I will get hate mail, or even threats for some of the ideas I represent. When I rip apart respected institutions of our day and age and imply that our salvation lies in the dregs of society, I don’t expect otherwise. People will be furious at me for pointing out the flaws in their faith, their culture, and their very world view; and in such a sardonic matter. But it does mean that they are thinking about my ideas. And as a writer, that means one thing: mission accomplished.
As young women in America, we can go to school, become lawyers, doctors, artists. We have power over our bodies, can decide whether and when we want to have children, or even choose an abortion. We benefit from the work of feminists throughout history, and despite still existing inequalities between the sexes, most of us live a pretty cushioned life compared to women all around the globe. In a year, where three women won the Noble Prize, it is easy to assume that gender equality has been achieved and there is nothing left to fight for; but when walking around the exhibit and learning about women’s suffering in detail, it is a harsh wake up call. Inspired by the bestselling book “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide” by Nicolas D. Kristof, a columnist for the New York Times, and his wife Sheryl WuDann, the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, opens its doors to the exhibition “Women Hold Up Half The Sky.” The exhibit uses images to tell the stories of injustice and gender oppression around the world, combined with a glimpse of hope. One of the Skirball’s docents, Myrna Gordon, who taught a group counseling class for women at UCLA Extension, tells the story of Nyabenda Goretti. Goretti is a mother of six, frequently beaten by her husband, never allowed to leave her hut, making her completely dependent on the good will of her spouse. When Goretti hears of so-called “women’s solidarity groups,” supported by the humanitarian organization CARE, she joins and receives a $2 microloan, to extend her garden. While her husband is out at the local pub, drinking traditional banana beer with his friends, Goretti is working overtime.
Making $7.50 with her potato crop, Goretti is able to pay her loan back, including interest, providing the opportunity for another woman to take out a microloan, and starts her own banana beer business. Now that she is making her own money, her husband respects her and even seeks her advice, when it comes to business. But not all of the stories have such a positive message; when author Kristof was traveling through the eastern Congo, he was trying to interview one of the many victims of routinized rape. To ensure the victim’s privacy, they walked over to a tree to talk about the crime committed. Within 10 minutes a long line of women formed nearby. When asked what the women were doing, the woman in front answered, ”We’re all rape victims. We want to tell our story, too.” As tragic as the line-up of grey colored shadows displayed on one the walls of the exhibit is, it is encouraging to hear that women start to speak up and by telling their stories, defending themselves, seeking justice and a better future for generations to come. Divided into three main sections, “Women Hold Up Half The Sky”, teaches the visitor about human trafficking, maternal health and gender-based oppression. To intensify the exhibit’s title, the ceiling is covered by sky-imitating sheets, full of white, cloudlike pockets, that are filled with wishes, visitors can write on blue and purple colored papers, at the end of the exhibit. Every week, the wishes are collected and put into the “sky.” When “Women Hold Up Half The Sky” ends its run on March 11, 2012, the wishes will be collected and send to women in the Congo, to strengthen their spirit, to give hope and a feeling of shared identity.
Silvia Spross / corsair Two Skirball visitors stand in front of a wall that represents rape vicitims from East Congo, Africa. The lined up silhouettes symbolize someone speaking out for the first time. Saturday Nov. 26 in Los Angeles.
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8 | SPORTS
Cashing in on their performances, however, is perfectly fine, just as long as no one gets caught. by wayne neal staff
Cristina Maxwell / CORSAIR At the Santa Monica College basketball courts money gets slamdunked into the net as a statement. "Do the players play for money?"
by maria dimera staff
In a society where sports exploitation has become acceptable and the media hype machine is running at all hours, is there a chance that professional athletes stopped caring about the game and more about the money? Yes, in certain cases some athletes may care about the money more than the game, but can you blame them? The media has portrayed professional sports as a veritable “promised land,” and is notorious for overhyping an athlete’s talent, often influencing their decision to declare for the pros earlier than expected. While the money looks tempting, these athletes lose the time in which they should be developing. The problem is that this type of situation occurs far too often. Many college athletes would rather get a paycheck than an education, which has sent many of the more exciting athletes to the pros. One fact still remains though: college athletes play with a different passion than professional athletes, because supposedly the former are not getting paid. I wish that were the case, but now everybody appears to benefit in their own way. Earlier this year, the PAC-12 Conference signed a $3 billion college football television deal for the next 12 years. How much of that money do the players get? Zero, and that’s because under NCAA rules, it’s illegal to pay college athletes out in the open. Cashing in on their performances, however, is perfectly fine, just as long as no one gets caught. I’m not saying that every college athlete does this—there are athletes who care about the game more than the money, but those athletes are being traded out for the more dynamic, eye-popping speedsters.
During my time as a Nike employee in London, I had the opportunity to meet a wide range of athletes, such as Michael Jordan, Carlos Tevez, Adriano, and Luol Deng. Living in a city where soccer is like a religion, everybody goes to at least one Arsenal match. Four years ago, I had the opportunity to attend one of these matches. My party and I had good seats and were enjoying the game until a white man stood up and shouted, “Come on, you black bastard, how you going to miss the goal.” To my not so great surprise, his party encouraged his sentiment and the racial remarks worsened. Even though this incident happened years back, I remember it like it was yesterday, especially with the recent slew of racial incidents within the world of soccer. According to the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) website, the Bulgarian Football Union was fined €40,000 by UEFA’s Control and Disciplinary Body, after home supporters chanted racial slurs during the Euro 2012 qualifier against England back in September. When a sport matters to so many different people, it is very important that people conduct themselves in a positive and
For example, the only thing stopping young football hopefuls from jumping to the pros straight out of high school is the rule that an athlete can only go pro three years removed from high school, no exceptions. Unlike football, basketball prospects only need to be out of high school for one year until they can enter the draft. In this year’s NBA draft, 69 underclassmen declared for the draft, but there are only 60 picks actually in the draft. The media plays a huge part in these athletes not continuing school, opting to instead take the money. Not every NBA player is playing solely for the money, but it’s slowly getting to that point. A good example is Greg Oden, the highly regarded center for the Portland Trailblazers. He was one of the premature players who tried to jump straight to the league after one year of college basketball. Due to an injury, he has seen very limited action. If these injuries ultimately end his playing career, it would have been nice for him to have a college education to fall back on. Consider the recent NBA and NFL lockouts. The media tried its best to make it seem like it was all on the players and they were just money-hungry. Yes, that may be partly true, but those same people who were complaining about them making too much money are the same people turning on their televisions, amazed by that touchdown catch, or that insane dunk. The public should stop complaining that players make too much money; I would like to see you try to make a 40-yard pass under pressure, or throw a half court alley-oop. It’s not all about the money—some of these athletes just want to play.
respectful manner - whether fan, player, or coach. Of course racism exists outside of sports, but sport itself unites people from all over the world, it is even more imperative to lead by example. UEFA also announced that Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) and their network partner in Poland, Never Again, will have specially trained stewards at the UEFA Euro 2012 games in cohost country Poland. It’s good to see that UEFA is taking responsibility and are acknowledging the racial problems that exist in the soccer world, rather than hushing it and pretending the problem doesn’t exist. Recently, the FIFA President Sepp Blatter said in an interview with CNN’s Pedro Pinto that, “there is no racism” on the pitch, and suggested that if such an incident occurred, players should shake hands after the game. When it comes to coaches, managers, owners, and even FIFA executives, the majority of sports are white-male dominated. For Blatter to make such remarks, it feels as if the treatment of racism in sports, especially soccer, is taking two steps forward and five back. Of course
everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but to deny that racial issues exist in the world’s most popular sport is almost like a slap in the face for any soccer fan. Especially after the Football Association charged Luis Suarez, after allegedly racially abusing Patrice Evra, and John Terry. Anton Ferdinand also had a racial incident in November. These types of race-related stories usually blow up in press and media outlets. Consider that time Rush Limbaugh, who was then an ESPN sports commentator, made inflammatory remarks concerning media coverage of quarterback Donovan McNabb back in 2003. The incident gave rise to racial debates, as the media viewed the incident differently. I don’t think there is any one way to eliminate racism in sports, as it will probably be around for many more years to come. The fact that it’s not being disguised or ignored is a great start. Campaigns, fines, and suspensions shouldn’t be the final answer, but they will help guide the issue in the right direction. At the end of the day, fans want to watch sports for the excitement, not for the unnecessary drama.
PHOTOSTORY | 9
David Berrios soaping up a car on Monday Nov. 28 at Bonus Car Wash, located at 2800 Lincoln Blvd. Santa Monica. Bonus Car Wash owners are environmentally conscious and promise to use water as efficiently as possible.
Santa Monica car wash sets standard for social justice October 25, 2011 was a historic moment for labor unions in the United States. After years of fighting deplorable workplace conditions, workers at Bonus Car Wash in Santa Monica secured the first carwash contract in the country. For decades, thousands of carwash workers have suffered abuse including pay that’s as low as $35 for a 10-hour day, and exposure to toxic chemicals without protective gear. Under the terms of the new agreement, workers at Bonus will receive a pay raise and safety protections. The contract also provides protections for immigrant workers, such as translating work rules for those who don’t speak English. Ticket writer Vence Tenison said injuries aren’t a problem at Bonus, where he has worked for eight years. “The contracts will mostly help at other car washes, where owners fire their workers on the spot. Now they will have someone standing up for them.” The agreement is the first victory by the Community Labor Environmental Action Network (CLEAN) Campaign. Organizer Chloe Osmer said Bonus owners care about their employees and wanted to set an example so other “carwasheros” won’t be afraid to stand up and join the union. “It’s our job to make sure that Bonus remains a model carwash,” Osmer said. “We want consumers across Los Angeles County to know where they can take their car for a union wash that also supports social justice.” Story and Photos by Lisa Weingarten
Bonus Car wash has been in Santa Monica for over 20 years and has maintained a good reputation. The owners care about the workers and their job environment. they want to set an example, so other “carwasheros” won’t be afraid to stand up and join the union.
Eduardo Tapia puts the finishing touches on a car he just finished cleaning. Angelinos rarely think about the thousands of workers who keep their cars clean. Immigrants like Tapia are giving Los Angeles unions a new face.
“Union contracts give employees dignity and protection”
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HEALTH + LIFE | 11
a culver city high school teacher’s pedagogy of compassion
By Cathy Arias . Health & Life Editor
As you walk into Carlos Valverde’s classroom, you are welcomed by rows of colorful world flags draped beneath the high ceiling, the sometimes-provocative student artwork decorating tall walls, and stadium seats. Its bright, open atmosphere is unlike most high school classrooms, reflecting the unique lessons taught within. For the past decade, he has created and taught a high school course that challenges students’ morals and beliefs, discussing topics ranging from transsexuals to closet racism. Though Valverde originally sought a career in film and television, the organizations he got involved in at Santa Monica College transformed his career into one dedicated to leading young people into an awareness of issues they would face in the real world. “The class is teaching the students some very sophisticated issues and themes that I don’t think any other high school in the area is providing,” says Valverde. Jasmine Delgado, Vice President of the Associated Students, took Intercultural Literature and Practicum, Valverde’s course, before she arrived at SMC. “It gave me the tools to have a critical analysis of [Occupy LA], what’s happening, and why it’s happening, and it helped me a lot more because he always pushed me to question a lot of things,” says Delgado. Valverde, 39, attended SMC from 1990 to 1993. While here, he became the president of Club Latino United for Education (CLUE), and vice chair for the Inter-Club Council. He actively participated in the Latino Leadership Network, National Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán, and the creation of the SMC Adelante program.
It was through volunteer Cathy Arias / Corsair work for Carlos valverde, sitting in one of the desks in his culver city high school classroom. these groups “One of the things I try to do in the class is The class, which started with 27 students, that Valverde discovered the satisfaction in just to give students the ability to be able to has now expanded into an eight-section making a difference through teaching. “My recognize that they have a voice; a voice in course and is taken by most of CCHS’s idea of social justice, the idea of inequality, society that matters. I really want students seniors. The class gave Valverde a key the idea that there are groups out there to know that they have the ability to impact resource of information for his dissertation that need more attention, that’s where others. If I can give them that, then that to in social justice, specifically Educational the idea began. It started all with SMC, me is like inspiring them to say, ‘look, you Leadership for Social Justice from LMU. with all those organizations and meeting have potential to affect others. That means “The course of study was towards a people that were very like-minded.” says that this world doesn’t have to be as bad pedagogy of compassion, reflections, and Valverde. as it is, and we don’t have to dismiss it as teaching an intercultural literature class Being the most diverse district in Los it’ll never get fixed if you know that you in high school. I’m trying to open the Angeles County, some Culver City High can affect those around you,’ then that’s a door in realizing that teaching can include School teachers, including Valverde, were start,” he says. compassion; and maybe you can’t teach in the midst of making plans to incorporate Valverde says the class changes every year it, but maybe you can lead towards it by multicultural curriculum in classrooms for due to his belief that it is an ever-evolving creating the right opportunities and lessons. students. Teachers and students began class, calling for modifications in order So I think the greatest empowerment is that attending special training on diversity to adapt to new students, environments, someone’s compassion can affect others,” with the Anti-Defamation League and to stay current, or simply to teach an says Valverde. other non-profit organizations, while improved class. Valverde is involved in launching a Valverde was simultaneously studying Menelik Tafari, a senior at Soka University program called Solution for Peace, in which interculturalism and diversity at Loyola of America, is a former student who high school students are encouraged to Marymount University. His experiences, was affected by Valverde’s Intercultural create public service announcements to be plus the No Child Left Behind Act revoking Literature and Practicum course. “It can presented to their peers at a mini assembly. his privilege of teaching Spanish, led to the definitely be partially attributed to him “What’s really powerful about this conception of what was originally called that I’ll most likely be pursuing an MA in program, is that it’s no longer the teachers Multicultural Literature and Practicum. Bilingual Education. But I guess the true and the adults telling students what not to “The class is really to teach about the testament to his impact on my life is that do or be aware of certain issues, it’s the themes dealing with cultural diversity, the one day, I hope to surpass him, and become students themselves,” he says. themes and issues of race, culture, ethnicity, a Professor of Intercultural Education,” His main focus in the meantime though, prejudice, discrimination. I wanted to Tafari said, jokingly. “And for me, that’s the is being a good father, husband, and create a space where kids feel safe to discuss secret to his success: his love and passion teaching. He says, “For now, I’m truly these kinds of issues from a personal for those who share his classroom is what enjoying what I’m doing. I need to feel the perspective so that the class teaches itself guides the questions he asks and the topics same satisfaction as I’m feeling as a teacher in a sense. So I wouldn’t become the sole that are deliberated and tested. For me, if I ever move on. There’s nothing more provider for information, it would come he defines the Bodhisattva of the Earth,” satisfying than to work with young people from the kids,” says Valverde. he said, referring to the Sanskrit word for and go home every day knowing that It also empowers students and teaches enlightened. you’ve done something good." them compassion and critical thinking.
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12 | HEALTH + LIFE
Health a factor in shutting down Occupy LA By Roger Morante . Web Editor
A nasty cough has been circulating the Occupy Los Angeles camp outside of city hall in Los Angeles, and living conditions have been steadily declining throughout the month of November. Originally the idea was that the camp would clean up their mess, but that idea has turned sour, and now trash litters the area around the tent city outside city hall, and the once lush green grass has turned to mud. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa issued the deadline to protesters at a Friday press conference in front of city hall of 12:01 a.m., Monday Nov. 28, effectively giving Occupy LA protesters the weekend to pack up and move their tents out of the park. The protesters are refusing to leave, so authorities cannot clean up the mess. Villaraigosa cited health concerns as the number one reason for the eviction, and along with Police Chief Charlie Beck, announced that the park would be closed and reopened for public access once it had been cleaned. This decree to “clean up” the park also has not been enforced. “There is a concern when it comes to health,” said Jimmy, a 20-year-old community college student who declined to provide his last name. “People are coughing around each other and everybody lives close together here. That means that we’re all susceptible to illness.” Jimmy wore a mask and hospital gloves in order to limit the contamination. But his age group wasn’t the only one involved in the Occupy LA movement. Many homeless, who normally live on Skid Row on South Alameda and 6th St., have migrated over to city hall and joined the movement, sharing the space outside of city hall. “They are the neglected people of our society, and part of the injustice that people are involved in,” said Jenny, a registered nurse who runs a wellness tent in front of city hall (she also declined to provide her last name). “These are the reasons why social services and medical are rising up against and fighting for money to supply more services to the most vulnerable of populations.” Jenny operates under the Good Samaritan Law, and this allows her to attend to people who have scrapes and bruises. She also provides other services to Occupy LA protestors camping around city hall. “If someone needs some Vitamin C because they
have a cold or if they need an emergency blanket, we provide that,” Jenny said. Jenny explained that people are aware that her tent isn’t a hospital, and doesn’t provide acute medical care. “Medical issues are being dealt with here versus Skid Row,” said Jenny. “The fire chief has come to our tent and shook our hand and told us that basically we have an emergency hospital at the sidewalk for us.” Recent state budget cuts to courts have been causing the normal legal proceedings that people go through when their home is in foreclosure to slow down causing banks to repossess houses by default. According to a recent ABC news consumer report by Bill McGuire, “Some 29,240 default notices were reported in California in October.” As winter approaches,along with colder weather, rain, and more homeless, more people are expected to get sick, which has some people in the community worried. In order to combat the spread of disease, Jenny goes into each encampment and interacts with the small communities that have banded together in protest against the social injustice they believe to be occurring in California. “I identify people who are possibly getting sick and I make sure that I am monitoring people, and if somebody has a cold and needs access to heath care, that we will provide free medicines,” said Jenny who made it clear that her organization needed donations in the form of rolling gauze, medical tape, Vitamin C, cough drops, and herbal tea. “We don’t supply anything that has something drowsy in it.” While health and social situations of the people taking a stand against what they believe to be faulty government, the once green grass the protestors stood on is quickly turning into mud. “There are tents on the lawn and we are dealing with it,” said Jimmy, who acknowledged that the Occupy LA protesters presence was killing the grass. “We all know that if you put stuff over the grass, then the grass will eventually die and cause a bunch of dirt to take its place.” Regardless of declining health and deteriorating living conditions, the Occupy LA protestors remain adamant in their cause, and have solidified around the theme of social injustice that is occurring to, as one protestor’s shirt read, “99” percent of the population.
A Practical Guide for
the Urban adventurer By Zoie Matthew
EXPLORATION #5: Justice for Animals at the Old LA Zoo If you had decided to take a trip to the Los Angeles Zoo anytime during the first half of the 20th century, odds are your reaction would have been less “Lions and tigers and bears oh my!” and more “Diseased lions and tigers. And bears in tiny, dark cages. Oh my.” It turns out that Griffith Park is home to a row of abandoned cages that played a role in the dark tale of an oft forgotten struggle for animal rights in Los Angeles. The tale of the old LA Zoo. The story begins in 1913, which is when, according to a historical account by Glendale College professor Mike Eberts, the city of LA moved its small collection of animals from Eastlake (now Lincoln) to Griffith Park, hoping to promote, as the Los Angeles Examiner wrote, “healthier and more attractive” zoo animals. And it was all downhill from there. Only three years later, the zoo had its first health crisis, and was almost shut down for its sewage leaking into the river. Things only got grosser when, during World War I, the city council decided to stop letting the zoo’s meateating animals eat beef. The staff couldn’t find any buyers for the animals, and obviously couldn’t turn them loose, so they had to resort to feeding them horse meat. This resulted in massive animal casualties, killing many of the carnivores, including most of the cats. The condition only worsened, until finally, in the 1930s, the Works Progress Administration put unemployed men to work renovating the zoo and building the cages and grottos that can still be seen today. However, these cages are grossly inhumane by modern standards, and even back then, it became a popular political ploy to bash the zoo. Belle Benchley of the San Diego Zoological Society is said to have surmised, “Frankly, there is so much wrong with the Los Angeles Zoo—fundamentally wrong, I mean—that it could not become a real zoo, or even a (much) better zoo.” Finally, in 1958, voters decided to pass an $8 million bond issue to build a new zoo. And in 1964, the old zoo was completely abandoned for the new (and thankfully more humane) Greater Los Angeles Zoo. Today, you can still walk around (and inside of, if you’re crafty) the old cages of the zoo. They’re pretty cool to see, but the real thing to note is the graffiti. There are some great pieces. Don’t forget to take a look at the hilarious historical plaque, which offers a much lighter version of the zoo’s history, ripe with euphemisms. Reads the sign: “Although these historic enclosures are no longer appropriate for housing animals, they can be home to memories of family visits to the Griffith Park Zoo, as well as an opportunity to better understand advances in the zoological sciences.”
Directions Go past the carousel until you find the old LA zoo picnic area. The area is located just after the park ranger headquarters and Shane’s inspiration, below Harding golf course.
Suggested Exploring Supplies: -Decent shoes -A picnic
All Men are created Equal
It seems as though we as a nation have forgotten what is written in our own constitution, which clearly states, “all men are created equal.” And all men should in deed be treated equally, which means everyone is entitled to their rights. Harvey Milk understood this, and he died trying to make other Americans realize it as well. Milk was the country’s first openly gay elected official; as such, he led one of the greatest protests for gay rights in the city of San Francisco. On his election night, Harvey Milk said the following, “This is not my victory, it’s yours. If a gay man can win, it proves that there is hope for all minorities who are willing to fight.” We as Americans like to say we are “the land of the free,” that we fight for freedom. But as long as we are keeping minorities like gays deprived of equal rights, we as a country will never gain complete freedom. The main gay rights issue we face today is whether or not same-sex marriage should be legal. Only a few states in America have accepted homosexuals and offered them complete equality. New York recently became the sixth state to legalize gay marriage, behind Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, and New Hampshire. California has yet to legalize gay marriage, but the hope is it will be sometime soon. Our media and entertainment industries have been integrating homosexual characters into television
and film plots for decades. Familyfriendly stations like ABC Family are even portraying homosexual characters on their shows, like “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” and “Pretty Little Liars.” The Oscar-nominated film “Brokeback Mountain” even made an impact on the public and brought awareness to the cause. With the rise of this group in popular culture why is it they are treated different? Why are they still being oppressed? There are a lot of excuses regarding the ban of gay marriage and my favorite would have to be the notion that “gays will destroy the sanctity of marriage”. It may be a shame to burst the bubble of those who believe this, but it is completely naive to think that statement is correct. If you ask me, the sanctity of marriage has already been destroyed by all those short-lived celebrity marriages, green card marriages, by abusive husbands, and cheating spouses, so it is hard to see how gay marriages are going to make it any worse. If the sanctity of marriage is so important then it’s celebrity marriages that should be blamed, since it is these high profile people that the public will mimic. As for family values, gay couples are perfectly capable of raising children. Take Caroline Shores for instance. She grew up in a happy, loving home with two gay dads. “Growing up with two gay dads taught me to have an open mind and
OPINION | 13 By Christina Sziatinszky . Staff Writer
be accepting of all types of people,” said Shores. She is the 18-yearold daughter of playwright and screenwriter Del Shores, who has been married to entertainment artist Jason Dottley for nearly eight years. The elder Shores and Dottley legalized their marriage back in 2008, right before California passed Proposition 8. But Caroline Shores didn’t have it easy growing up with a gay father, and her family was constantly frowned upon. “My friend told me that her dad wouldn’t allow her to sleep over, because he didn’t feel comfortable leaving her in the care of a gay man,” said Shores. “As I got older I realized I would always run into some ignorant idiot who wouldn’t be accepting of my family.” A child should not grow up believing that the world would always be judgmental. But by denying Americans their rights, regardless of their sexuality or even race for that matter, future generations will grow up with the mentality that equality does not actually exist. “Someone else’s love doesn’t affect those who are against it,” said Shores. “It has nothing to do with them, so they should just mind their own business.” The 14th amendment stipulates that we cannot discriminate against anyone, including homosexuals. They deserve to live like anyone else, to get married, to raise children, and to be perceived as equals. So it is time for America to open its eyes, and welcome equal rights for all.
14 | OPINION
the internet and its looming censorship By Mel Rudkiewicz . Staff Writer
...SOPA bill says it is “To promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes.” Big Brother is stepping up his online surveillance! Not only will consumers be under threat from the new Internet censorship bill as their Internet service provider regulates viewing content, but large domains will be at risk from the ramifications of users accessing or committing copyright infringement. Piracy is costing the United States dearly, but the introduction of a new anti-piracy bill which gives juridical powers to Internet service providers to scrutinise consumer content and shut down Internet domains is in breach of the Fourth Amendment - protecting citizens from unreasonable search and seizure. The government’s new bill is a grab for greater control over our Internet searches and purchases. Don’t even think of purchasing pirated films, music or other consumables. You will be placing yourself, third-party companies like PayPal and advertising companies at risk. The bill titled Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) or H.R. 3261 was introduced to the House of Representatives on Oct. 26 of this year. Harvesting empowerment, the government and copyright holders will accelerate eradication of online ‘rogue’ websites selling counterfeit merchandise and copyrighted intellectual material. Previously rejected by the Senate, Protect IT (Pipa) Act will be re-submitted for later this year as companion legislation to the SOPA bill.
The Senate’s new SOPA bill says it is “To promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes.” This bill is being debated by congressmen and large organizations that believe that it will give too much power to shut down domains, and take away civil liberties from individuals. The motion picture and music industry are two giants who are economically disadvantaged by the prevalence of pirated content. “It’s clear the bill is designed with input from and to benefit major entertainment companies,” said Parker Higgins, activist for Electronic Frontier Foundation. He adds that it conflicts with the interests of the public for a free and open Internet. Under the bill, internet service providers will serve a ‘technical obligation’ to the government by monitoring subscribers’ online searches. On detection of an infringement by a subscriber, the bill states, the internet service provider will be empowered to “prevent access and modify its network facilities to limit access.” Those paying for unlimited Internet will be cheated by the new bill. The service provider can slow or ‘throttle’ the user’s connection, block a site or kick them out altogether. A filtering system under the bill will stop Internet subscribers from accessing ‘rogue’ sites. “SOPA will not necessarily succeed
in curbing infringement any further,” said Higgins, as ‘rogue’ sites can find a way of getting around filtering systems. The new bill is open to abuse and errors. “Problems could arise from private companies or rights holders who send DCMA takedown notices in bad faith, or from the government, as when it erroneously seized 84,000 sites hosted at Mooo.com last February,” Higgins said. Higgins showed concern that “technical considerations were not a factor in drafting the bill.” Electronic Frontier Foundation, Yahoo, eBay, Google, YouTube and Twitter are all opposing the bill as they perceive this will eliminate the very essence of the Internet; sharing of online material. The biggest group targeted by the bill are “sites that host user-generated content” which Higgins suggests are many of the most popular sites on the web. Higgins says people should be concerned about the major effect on the security of domain names. He said “some clauses of SOPA are incompatible with DNSSEC, a set of security enhancements that have been designed to make sure the website you arrive at when you enter a URL is the correct one.” With enough opposition, the bill can be defeated. Opponents described the original hearing as an attempt to “grease the skids and pass the bill without fanfare,” said Higgins. Campaigns such as American
Censorship Day on Nov. 16 received enormous support from congressmen, companies and individuals opposed to the bill. The once-innocent use of copyrighted material on social networking sites and YouTube will have severe ramifications. The new bill will empower the Attorney General to ban advertisers and payment facilitators such as PayPal from doing business with sites in breach of copyright laws. Unauthorized streaming of copyrighted material would be illegal. No longer will administrators of sites like YouTube and social networking sites be protected. Individuals are encouraged to make known what sites are in violation of these new laws. One accusation may be enough to ban an entire website from access. Immunity will be granted to those who comply with orders served by the Attorney General in the removal of access to infringement related material or Internet sites. The bill will blacklist websites and control Internet subscribers viewing content. We cannot be sure whether the new bill is mainly to prohibit piracy or simply to increase government surveillance of Internet users. The creation of our very own Thought Police, how wise Big Brother is, we can only hope the Ministry of Truth doesn’t get a hold of this article.
OPINION | 15
dollar. voice. By Vanessa Barajas . Staff Writer In capitalism, money is power, and the way the public spends its money, determines who holds the most power. Any time an individual purchases an item, he or she is voting for the product to last longer in the market. “The original theory of capitalism is that it’s a clever way of society voting on what goods it wants made,” says Wallace Michael Shawn, actor and playwright who was educated at Harvard University, studying history, politics, and economics. In Capitalism: A Love Story, by writer/director and producer Michael Moore, Shawn speaks of capitalism and the voting process built into the system. As soon as one item becomes popular and successful with the public, many more companies attempt to replicate or enhance the product in some way so that they too can gain the profits. Shawn explains, “Society votes. They like the way this guy makes ice cream. But the other guy, they don’t like his ice cream that much and they don’t buy it, and so it fades out.” Now, the money that the individual spends on any given product is used by that company to pay for labor, production and distribution of more of the same products. If a company has positive production methods, like making charitable donations and helping the environment, every penny they make supports this system. So if members of society see a company with unfavorable production practices, by not purchasing its goods and services they have just made an impact that will change the market, and in turn, the world. According to the Consumer Activism Project, consumer activism is defined as “citizen action aimed at influencing corporate decisions, corporate power, or the allocation of societal goods and values.” This process also includes
boycotts, green investing, or other actions which influence supply and demand. Carrotmob is a worldwide consumer activism body that has organized “mobs” all over the world. This is a new way in which consumers attempt to reward companies for going the extra mile in efforts for social and environmental improvement. By rewarding the company, consumers “mob” the business by spreading the word and advertising the company to friends and family about its efforts. One has to be an educated consumer when negotiating loyalties; it helps to understand not-so-publicized partnerships. Companies such as Colgate and Palmolive are partnered with one another. If an individual were to not support the Colgate Company for whatever reason, he or she will also have to stop supporting Palmolive products as well. Other partnerships include the World Wildlife
Foundation and Coca-Cola, Volkswagen and Audi, and Fisher-Price and Mattel. Evelyn Murphy, President of The WAGE Project, Inc., a national grassroots activist organization, was quoted on buyinginfluence. com, saying: “Corporations will keep doing things the way they’ve always been done, unless they face ongoing public scrutiny, or a real threat to their reputation and selfrespect.” America’s system of capitalism essentially allows an individual or companies the freedom to make a profit, get by, or fail. It is a system of free enterprise, and though it does not guarantee success, it allows the market, or the consumer, to dictate it. This forces suppliers to be competitive in services and prices, while putting the consumer in the driver seat. “Free enterprise is a form of words that is intended to conjure up in your mind a little town with different shops and the guy who runs the best shop has the most customers,” says Shawn. The same situation occurs in voting polls in any election for governor, mayor, or president. Monetary issues are no different. When you look at it that way, every penny, dime and dollar is a vote, and spending practices are the most influential way for the average American to take control and have a voice. The Occupy Wall Street movement’s slogan, “We are the 99 percent,” implies that the 99 percent majority of America will always outnumber the wealthiest one percent in any voting situation. So even with our country’s great wealth disparity, if 99 percent of the population buys something, the one percent would have to buy a hundred of that same product to have a greater impact. People’s greatest power lies in their consumer choices. One dollar, one voice. So let your voice be heard.
increased police brutality on non-violent protesters, gandhi would not approve Peaceful protest, is an American citizen’s right by law, but in the chaos brewing from the many Occupy protests, it seems as though the police may have forgotten that. It also appears they only know how to respond with brutal force, like using pepper spray, mace, tear gas, rubber bullets and other non-lethal devices. Citizens have a constitutional right to voice their opinion and to protest America’s corrupt financial system. Some protesters are breaking no laws but are still being attacked with pepper spray or finding themselves arrested as if they were criminals. According to the United Nations Blue Book, “law enforcement officials shall at all times fulfill the duty imposed on them by law, by serving the community and protecting all persons against illegal acts.” It also states that they must “respect and protect human dignity and maintain and uphold the human rights of all persons.” Normally, I respect the tasks performed by officers, especially when they catch the bad guys and make our streets a little bit safer, but when it comes to the protests, I have to disagree with the actions they are taking. First off, the actions by the UC Davis campus police were completely shocking and out of line. One officer pepper-sprayed a group of students in the face for simply sitting on the pavement and interlocking arms, and another officer arrested 10 students. The amount of security that was placed on the protesters also seemed excessive. The incident at UC Davis is a great example of how cops are failing to uphold human rights. There was another instance in which Dorli Rainey, an 84-year-old woman, was hit with pepper spray by a Seattle police officer. But what did she do wrong? Well, she just wanted to show some support for the 99 percent and instead got sprayed in the face with the chemical irritant. The officers did say it was an accident that never would have happened if they weren’t so anxious to break up the protests. It appears as though they will attack anyone that gets in their way, just like Rainey did. The Seattle Police followed this up with an unsettling statement that pepper spray “is not age-specific. [It’s] no more dangerous to someone who is 10 than someone who is 80.” Even so, this doesn’t give them the
right to use it on an 80-year-old or a 10-year-old for that matter, especially when they pose no threat and commit no crime. The worst police attack however would definitely have to be at Occupy Oakland. Officers, in an attempt to break up the street parties, used tear gas a total of three times and began firing rubber bullets at anyone who refused their orders. Many were brought to the hospital for treatment and about 60 people where arrested. This incident occurred when protesters were celebrating the success of their strike that temporarily shut down the port city. Police had every right to end the party, especially since protesters were destroying property, but the situation could have been handled less violently. If you’ve seen the footage, the police response turned the situation into something of a warzone, where civilians were carrying the injured away from this violent police encounter. The incident brought back memories of a similar attack on anti-war protesters back in 2003 when cops fired wooden bullets and beanbags creating the same violent affect. At a critical time like this, citizens can’t seek help from trusted officials as they have proven that their loyalties do not lie with the people. It seems that every time the people voice their opinion, the cops feel as though they have to retaliate against them. It’s also ridiculous and a bit unnecessary that so many cops are being assigned to police these protesters. A survey by the Associated Press estimated that a total of $13 million was spent on police overtime and municipal services for the Occupy protests. Taxpayers are basically paying to get maced for exercising the rights given to them by the first amendment. But what the politicians do not understand is that these increases in law enforcement only make them look weak and afraid of what the people might accomplish by resisting. After all, the cops have resorted to attacking innocent, nonviolent protesters, so they must be afraid of something. All I have to say is that there is definitely something wrong with America if unarmed, non-violent citizens are being brutalized for simply practicing their First Amendment right to a peaceful protest. Home of the brave we are, but land of the free, we are not.
By Christina Sziatinszky . Staff Writer
Santa Monica College Newspaper