Glenn Reynolds, the wizard behind Instapundit, is also a law prof at University of Tennessee. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Reynolds suggests a syllabus for courses that are starting to be taught about the Occupy Movement. Among the class sessions he recommends:
1) The Higher Education Bubble and Debt Slavery Throughout History. Since ancient times, debt has been a tool used by rulers to enslave the ruled, which is why the Bible explains that the borrower is the slave to the lender. One complaint of many Occupy protesters involves their pursuit of expensive degrees that has left them burdened by student loans but unable to find suitable employment. This unit would compare the marketing of higher education and student debt to today's students with the techniques used to lure sharecroppers and coal miners into irredeemable indebtedness. Music to be provided by Tennessee Ernie Ford.
2) Bourgeois vs. Non-Bourgeois Revolutions: A Comparison and Contrast. The Occupy movement left its major sites—McPherson Square in D.C., Zuccotti Park in Manhattan, Dewey Square in Boston—filthy and disheveled. By contrast, the tea party protests famously left the Washington Mall and other locations cleaner than they found them, with members proudly performing cleanup duties.
This unit would note that social-protest movements are sometimes orderly and sometimes disorderly as a matter of approach, and it would compare the effectiveness and ultimate success of such relentlessly bourgeois movements as the tea party, the pre-1964 Civil Rights movement, Women's Suffrage activists, and the American Revolution, against such anti-Bourgeois movements as the post-1968 Black Power and New Left movements, and the French Revolution.
Which accomplished more lasting good?…
4) Scapegoating and anti-Semitism in mass economic-protest movements. The Occupy movement began as an assault on "the 1%," a shadowy elite of bankers and financiers charged with running the world for their own benefit. Within a few months, the Anti-Defamation League was noting that anti-Semitic statements and sympathies seemed surprisingly widespread within the Occupy encampments. Compare with other such movements that led to similar results. Are such developments inevitable? If so, what strands in Western (and perhaps non-Western) culture account for this?
Read the whole thing (for free!) at the WSJ.
Speaking of anti-semitism, here's Reason.tv talking to a (now-former) L.A. Unified School District employee at Occupy LA:
For more Reason video coverage of the Occupy movement, including Peter Schiff among the protesters and Remy's protest song, go here.
For Reason.com coverage of Occupy, go here.