Occupy this space

Teach-in to be a free event for the 99 percent

Apr 18, 2012 at 12:00 am

For those of you who thought the Occupy Detroit movement wandered into nonexistence once campers left Grand Circus Park last November, News Hits is here to tell you just how wrong you are. 

The occupiers have been holding regular general assemblies (more than 50 so far), and just last Saturday threw an ox roast as part of an open house at their "activist center" at 5900 Michigan Ave. Progressives of all stripes, we're told, are more than welcome there. In fact, liberals that the occupiers are, we hear that even Tea Partiers are welcome there. 

We bring this up now because there's going to be an Occupy-related daylong teach-in at Wayne State University's law school on Thursday, April 19.

The event kicks off with a screening of the documentary Inside Job at 12:30 p.m. The film provides a devastating look at all the Wall Street dirty dealing that led to the financial meltdown a few years back. University of Michigan philosopher and economist Frank Thompson will lead a discussion of subjects examined in the film immediately afterward.

Another highlight will be a talk given by Tom Weisskopf, professor emeritus of economics at University of Michigan.

We spoke with Weisskopf last week to get an idea of what topics he was going to touch on, and we're happy to hear that, among other things, he's likely to connect some of the dots between uprisings in places such as Greece with the consent agreement the city of Detroit just struck with Gov. Rick Snyder. (Much more on that issue can be found in this week's cover story.)

One of the parallels between the two places, he observes, is how the monied interests both there and here are imposing austerity measures that work against economic recovery. 

As we learned from the Great Depression, when the economic well dries up, government needs to prime the pump to get things back on track. But that lesson seems to have been lost along the way.

More recently we had an Ayn Rand disciple as prominent as former Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan crawl in front of Congress to recant his lifelong belief in the "self-correcting powers of the free market" and posit that more regulation would have helped prevent the mortgage crisis and subsequent financial meltdown. After that, you'd think even the dimmest bulbs on the right would be conceding that capitalism left unchecked will eventually consume itself.

But, no. 

Also on the agenda Thursday, as MT intern Patrick Higgins pointed out in a blog he wrote pimping the event, are three panel discussions: one dealing with America's military-industrial complex and the effects of ongoing wars, another about the increasing assault on civil liberties in the wake of 9/11, and a third looking at economic issues affecting the Detroit metro region and Michigan, including the impact of local foreclosures and the imposition of emergency managers appointed to take control of municipalities and school districts across the state.

The free event will be held at the Wayne State Law School's Spencer M. Partrich Auditorium, 471 W. Palmer St., from 12:30 to 8 p.m. For more information, contact Ron Aronson at 313-577-2525.

News Hits is written by Curt Guyette. Contact the column at 313-202-8004 or [email protected].