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Real things that can be done in reaction to OWS

Occupy Wall Street OWS 2011

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#1 Hambil

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 04:55 PM

I will keep and discuss in this thread, links to thinks that catch my eye that I believe present possible real solutions to some of the problems facing us, and being brought to light by, the OWS movement.

This is akin (I guess, to Orpheus' thread, but more about discussing others ideas as I see them and like them, and it's not floating/roaming/whatever) :p

The first one is about the right to education. As you might know, there is no right to education in our constitution (the US) though various states may have something in their own constitutions.

The world has been working for some time now on an effort to create a universal right to education, and it's about time we got on board. Here is the link and a couple small quotes:

http://en.wikipedia....ht_to_education

Quote

The right to education is enshrined in Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Articles 13 and 14 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.[5][6][7]
The right to education has been reaffirmed in the 1960 UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education and the 1981 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.[8]
In Europe, Article 2 of the first Protocol of 20 March 1952 to the European Convention on Human Rights states that the right to education is recognized as a human right and is understood to establish an entitlement to education.

According to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the right to education includes the right to free, compulsory primary education for all, an obligation to develop secondary education accessible to all in particular by the progressive introduction of free secondary education, as well as an obligation to develop equitable access to higher education in particular by the progressive introduction of free higher education.

The right to education also includes a responsibility to provide basic education for individuals who have not completed primary education. In addition to these access to education provisions, the right to education encompasses also the obligation to eliminate discrimination at all levels of the educational system, to set minimum standards and to improve quality. The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has applied this norm for example in the Belgian linguistic case. Article 10 of the European Social Charter guarantees the right to vocational training.

Quote

The right is recognised in several national constitutions, including the Belgian constitution (former article 17, now article 24), Indian constitution (Under article 21(a)) and the Dutch constitution (article 23).

Quote

International law does not protect the right to pre-primary education and international documents generally omit references to education at this level. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to education, hence the right applies to all individuals, although children are understood as the main beneficiaries.

The rights to education are separated into three levels:

Primary (Elemental or Fundamental) Education. This shall be compulsory and free for any child regardless of their nationality, gender, place of birth, or any other discrimination. Upon ratifying the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights States must provide free primary education within two years.

Secondary (or Elementary, Technical and Professional in the UDHR) Education must be generally available and accessible.

Higher Education (at the University Level) should be provided according to capacity. That is, anyone who meets the necessary education standards should be able to go to university.
Both secondary and higher education shall be made accessible "by every appropriate means, and in particular by the progressive introduction of free education".


#2 D.Rabbit

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 08:52 PM

Education for all yes indeed, but that's not the biggest problem in the OWS movement.
It's about trading currency.
The planet's economics is a total mess atm because the minimum wage is not the same world wide and the dollar is not a dollar for everyone.

I've had a short lesson on making a killing in currency trading. But finding out that a Hong Kong Dollar is only worth close to 13 cents USD atm is disturbing.
North American industry can not compete with this vast difference in currency.

A dollar needs to be a dollar world wide, to level the playing field.

If one compares our declining standard of living to the elevated standard of living in the east, due to their devalued currency, one can see an evening out occurring. It's a rather harsh lesson to have to do without because others are starting to enjoy some of our perks that we take for granted, like owning an automobile.

The fact that we can't compete in the manufacturing fields is devastating to so many without the education to provide services that are regulated in NA.

Free education comes with a price.
Russia has or had free higher education, but you had to work where they sent you.
I'd love it if the government did that in Canada, especially with young Doctors.
Give them a free education on the stipulation that they take up general practice and work in rural Canada for a set number of years.

Hide: off topic
I can see the free higher education turning into a carrot held out by the military. Not a pretty sight IMHO. You join the army and they own you.  Then again, we would not need a military if the oil companies would stop buying up/off the inventions that will eventually replace them.
Not that we are not looking forward to $100 million pay off as opposed to a bullet in the head for the hydrogen fuel cells.
War is mostly about oil these days.

Our economy is war based. You do the math.
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#3 Anakam

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 09:29 PM

I posted a spiel about education costs in another thread, Hambil, if you think that's germane to this one.  It's not the shortest post so I'm reluctant to cross-post it.
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#4 Captain Jack

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 01:50 AM

There is no such thing as free. If you want an education, a roof over your head, a car, food, whatever, you're going to have to pay for it. Public education is paid by taxpayers for K-12. Community colleges are still very affordable for everyone with a job. Want a 4 year degree? You're going to have to pay the piper one way or another.
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#5 Anakam

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 04:01 PM

View PostCaptain Jack, on 28 October 2011 - 01:50 AM, said:

There is no such thing as free. If you want an education, a roof over your head, a car, food, whatever, you're going to have to pay for it. Public education is paid by taxpayers for K-12. Community colleges are still very affordable for everyone with a job. Want a 4 year degree? You're going to have to pay the piper one way or another.

I don't recall asking for a free education.  A four-year school with costs that haven't more than doubled in a little over a decade, yes.  But not free.

One cannot earn a four-year degree from a community college or earn a post-graduate degree there.  I am admittedly biased, but I think people with higher degrees make reasonably valuable contributions, so it's not really an 'ooh, that's the person's choice' to go for something beyond the associate's, and I think the job market still exists for those types of jobs.

Community colleges are affordable if you have a job depending on the job and what else you have to do with the money you earn from the job.  I have had horribly desperate students with one to three jobs, taking a full course load, and a family who needed to keep using loans and maintain certain eligibility requirements for either yet more loans or grants.  Although at least that will leave them with less debt than taking out loans for the same number of credits at a four-year school.  So I agree they are affordable, but I don't fully agree.

Someone may want free education and be demanding it.  Of that I've no doubt.  We do love free things.  I have never asked someone to give me a free education post high school.

#6 Hambil

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 05:29 PM

Why I think this resolution is important, and free higher education is important, is because of the knowledge gap (http://en.wikipedia...._gap_hypothesis) which in my mind directly contributes to the elitism seen in the current political/economic and even educational systems.

We have seen the power of knowledge. Through social media, regimes have been toppled. Fund knowledge not war.

I also believe there is a growing divide in the level of knowledge required to perform useful functions for society (e.g. jobs that can't be automated), and the average education level.

I am not for 'compulsory' higher education, but making it available to everyone if they want it and qualify for it, is very important.

Edited by Hambil, 28 October 2011 - 05:32 PM.


#7 Raina

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 12:13 AM

I'm not actually sure that making higher education more accessible will make things better. I had an interesting conversation on this topic once with a roommate of mine who's an older lady (in her 60s maybe?). She observed that the jobs that, back when she was my age, you could get with only a high school diploma, you now need a college diploma or university degree for. And the jobs that used to require a bachelor's degree now require a master's degree, etc. I've had similar conversations with other people from her generation, as well. The impression I've gotten is that over time, either due to increased availability of student loans or increased university spaces, a higher percentage of people nowadays have university degrees than they used to. This means that the education requirements for jobs goes up one level, to filter out applicants.

So I wonder whether, if a free bachelor's degree were available to everyone, it would just mean that people would get into huge debt paying for the master's or PhD that will actually make them employable.

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#8 Hambil

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 09:47 AM

Well, part of the higher education program should be streamlined trade school like courses, if one wants or needs to take a more direct path. Knowledge = power is true. We must have a better educated population for a 21st century world. Otherwise, we may not have a 22nd century world.

Edited by Hambil, 29 October 2011 - 09:47 AM.


#9 Captain Jack

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 11:48 PM

View PostHambil, on 29 October 2011 - 09:47 AM, said:

Well, part of the higher education program should be streamlined trade school like courses, if one wants or needs to take a more direct path. Knowledge = power is true. We must have a better educated population for a 21st century world. Otherwise, we may not have a 22nd century world.

I agree.
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#10 Niki Jane

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 11:58 PM

View PostRaina, on 29 October 2011 - 12:13 AM, said:

I'm not actually sure that making higher education more accessible will make things better. I had an interesting conversation on this topic once with a roommate of mine who's an older lady (in her 60s maybe?). She observed that the jobs that, back when she was my age, you could get with only a high school diploma, you now need a college diploma or university degree for. And the jobs that used to require a bachelor's degree now require a master's degree, etc. I've had similar conversations with other people from her generation, as well. The impression I've gotten is that over time, either due to increased availability of student loans or increased university spaces, a higher percentage of people nowadays have university degrees than they used to. This means that the education requirements for jobs goes up one level, to filter out applicants.

So I wonder whether, if a free bachelor's degree were available to everyone, it would just mean that people would get into huge debt paying for the master's or PhD that will actually make them employable.

I completely agree with this. I think there needs to be a definite cost reduction though, because in my area the cost of obtaining even a basic bachelors degree is prohibitive to most in this economy. My husband has been struggling for years to get his PhD but he has to take a few classes at a time, whenever we can afford it. Even though we no longer have to count our parent's income as we did when we were younger and our collective paychecks allow us to just barely skate by, we apparently make too much to be qualified for the FAFSA.

I was actually told by someone in the financial aid office of a local university that will remain nameless that if I were to get pregnant I would be eligible for the FAFSA. She presented this to me as though it were a valid option.

Some reform needs to be done because for those on the lower end of the pay scale, a college education is looking like a pipe dream.

But I also agree that if free bachelor's degrees were available to the public at large, it would become just as meaningless as a high school diploma. Also, such an influx of students to the same ratio of professors would likely decrease the value of this education as there would just be too many students to comfortably teach.

#11 Hambil

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 12:07 AM

Universities can still have all the criteria they want - pick the best students. I'm just saying that no student should ever be barred from any level of education they qualify for just because of cost.

We've made knowledge dependent on wealth, and wealth dependent on knowledge. And we wonder why %1 of the people control the world?

And why is this changing now? You're using it - the Internet. The %1 are losing control of knowledge, and with that their control of wealth is also threatened.

In my humble opinion, elitism begins in, and is perpetuated by, the worlds educational systems. Are you mad at Bush? He went to Harvard. So did Obama, in case you are mad at him instead :)

Edited by Hambil, 30 October 2011 - 12:14 AM.


#12 Raina

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 07:50 PM

So Hambil, what you're suggesting is that they make a bachelor's degree free to everyone, but still maintain approximately the same number of spaces in universities so that the overall number of university graduates stays about the same? If so, that makes sense to me. I can definitely see how lower income families would end up in this horrible catch-22 where they can't get a high enough education to make money because they don't have the money to get the education.

I think that another problem with our education system is that a university degree is touted as the end-all-be-all. When I was in highschool, the attitude that our teachers and parents all had was that if you have high grades, you go to university. If your grades are so-and-so, you go to college and hope to transfer into a university. If you're not smart enough to do either, you resort to doing an apprenticeship. And then we keep on hearing about how much of a shortage of electricians, plumbers, etc. there are and how well it can pay compared to jobs you can get with a bachelor's degree. I've also read in the newspaper recently that more and more college students these days are actually university grads, who had to go back to college to get a diploma that could actually get them a job (I was thinking about doing this myself). I think that this attitude that if you're smart, you need to go to university, needs to change.

Now granted, you may need a university degree to be in the "top 1%", but you don't necessarily need a university degree to live comfortably. So I think that rather than presenting college or an apprenticeship as a backup option, they need to present them as a different option for people whose career aspirations don't require university.

Edited by Raina, 30 October 2011 - 07:57 PM.


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#13 Cheile

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 08:33 PM

View PostNiki Jane, on 29 October 2011 - 11:58 PM, said:

I was actually told by someone in the financial aid office of a local university that will remain nameless that if I were to get pregnant I would be eligible for the FAFSA. She presented this to me as though it were a valid option.

schools aren't the only ones doing it.  welfare offices do it too--telling women that they should get pregnant/have another child they don't need to get approved for state aid.

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#14 Niki Jane

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 12:07 AM

View PostCheile, on 30 October 2011 - 08:33 PM, said:

View PostNiki Jane, on 29 October 2011 - 11:58 PM, said:

I was actually told by someone in the financial aid office of a local university that will remain nameless that if I were to get pregnant I would be eligible for the FAFSA. She presented this to me as though it were a valid option.

schools aren't the only ones doing it.  welfare offices do it too--telling women that they should get pregnant/have another child they don't need to get approved for state aid.

It's absolutely ridiculous. I'll probably want kids at some point in my life, but not at the moment & when when my kid asks me to tell her the story of how she was born I'd really rather be able to say "because mommy & daddy loved each other" instead of "because mommy wanted her masters."

#15 Hambil

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 02:18 PM

Round 2: Repeal or reform Right-to-work laws, created specifically to weaken unions. They are not right to work laws, they are right to fire laws.

http://en.wikipedia....ght-to-work_law
http://en.wikipedia....aft-Hartley_Act

Quote

Union leaders did not like the bill when it was proposed. Harry Truman vetoed Taft-Hartley, but Congress overrode his veto. More Democrats joined Republicans in voting for the bill and the override than voted against it.[9] Despite this, union leaders in the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) continued to support Democrats and vigorously campaigned for Truman in the 1948 election based upon a (never fulfilled) promise to repeal Taft-Hartley.[10] Organized labor nearly succeeded in pushing Congress to amend the law to increase the protections for strikers and targets of employer retaliation during the Carter and Clinton administrations, but failed on both occasions because of Republican opposition and lukewarm support for these changes[citation needed] from the Democratic President in office at the time.

Edited by Hambil, 01 November 2011 - 02:21 PM.


#16 Hambil

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Posted 02 November 2011 - 05:36 PM

Okay, I guess I'll just assume everyone agrees with that, and move on to #3:

Bring back fairness doctrine.

Quote

American thought and American politics will be largely at the mercy of those who operate these stations, for publicity is the most powerful weapon that can be wielded in a republic. And when such a weapon is placed in the hands of one person, or a single selfish group is permitted to either tacitly or otherwise acquire ownership or dominate these broadcasting stations throughout the country, then woe be to those who dare to differ with them. It will be impossible to compete with them in reaching the ears of the American people.

Rep. Luther Johnson (D.-Texas), in the debate that preceded the Radio Act of 1927 (KPFA, 1/16/03)

He was right. And it has proven impossible for far too long. If you want a public broadcast license for news, you should be subject to the fairness doctrine.

Edited by Hambil, 02 November 2011 - 05:37 PM.




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