Tuesday, November 29, 2011

In Their Own Words: Professor Golden

My mother and father were working class…she a bookkeeper and he a truck driver. The person who stayed at home with us was my maternal grandmother,
a lesbian and a socialist. We were always on a tight budget and sometimes my Mom would have me go ask a neighbor for fire wood to help heat the home in the winter. I know they had to borrow from coworkers, etc. in order to feed us at times. We never had a new car, color tv, or a vacation besides camping. I know they worked very hard all of thier lives. Still, I felt
like I was better off than most people in the world.

When did you first become involved? 
I was involved in the origin of the Occupy San Diego in that I marched that first day to the
civic center with them. I went down there the follwing Saturday in
solidarity. I have sent food and blankets but I have not ‘occupied’ any place myself.

What made you want to be involved in this movement?

I respect that they are doing something. I was really moved by the

diversity of the crowd the first day. It really was a cross-section of society…and instead of us talking about our differences, we had a common thread amongst us all; we are the 99% that do most of the work but who receive little of the rewards. As a teacher, I have seen our class
offerings cut by 40% over the past three years. Students can’t get classes while UC has gone up over 100% in tuition over the past few years.

California is the 8th largest economy in the world, and yet we are 47th in spending on k-12 schools.

The data shows that the top 1% have been getting richer, while the rest of

the population has seen a drop in their income. Also, corporations are
making some of their highest profits in history.

How have you become involved in this movement?

I have marched twice, given blankets, food and some money. Not a whole lot

when you think about it.

What are the goals of this movement?

I don’t think there are specific, national and unified goals per se. I

think most importantly, they are bringing attention to the inequities in
the economic structure of this country. People ARE talking about the 1%
who hold much of the wealth in this country. Polls show that people are interested in increasing the taxes on the wealthy in general.

What are the benefits and positives coming from this movements?

I’m seeing more activism from my students. I’m seeing more discussions and more organizing among the students. This is good.

How would you respond to criticisms of this movement and what do you think

those main criticisms are?

Well, from the ‘Right’ it’s the same old shit. They are dirty, lazy, have bad hygiene, use drugs, and are the ‘entitlement’ generation.

I think they are like the Tea Party in some ways. They distrust the

government and institutions (including labor unions I think). I understand that, but I would like to see more organizing into some sort of socialist-minded organization. I don’t see that now. So, while I very much respect what they are doing, I don’t see it leading to much political power just yet. But they have started a very important dialogue…and besides, the ‘Right’ hates them, so of course, that just delights the hell out of me.

Where do you see the movement in 5 years?

I don’t. But I do see this as training for future leaders, much like the
Civil rights and the antiwar movement were.

What specific, tangible, and practical things do you hope this movement


I have low expectations, but I think they have put the income inequities in
this country onto the front page. I think there will be a movement to tax corporations and or the top 1% wage earners.

If there was one thing you would want people to know about OWS what is it?

They are bringing the incredible unequal distribution of wealth issue to
the front page. They are making it ok to challenge this notion that everyone is where they are due to what they ‘earned’ (too many people think they are poor because they deserve it….or that the rich are rich because they worked harder). It’s given more credibility to the discussion that
needs to take place…that is, are we all equally compensated for our efforts? Do the rich really work 400 times harder than me? Etc.


  1. Professor Golden, you say "we are the 99% that do most of the work but who receive little of the rewards."

    Can you explain this a little more? I had a conversation recently with the CEO of a major company and he was of the opinion that CEOS do a TON of work and are responsible for the entire company and have a huge amount of work to do. Can you explain and or justify the claim that 99% of the US does all the work and gets no rewards. Especially since the statistic is almost 100%. I feel so uncomfortable with these numbers and this rhetoric.

    When you say you see more activism from your students - is it for or against OWS?

    I was under the impression that California was the 5th largest economy in the world. Did it go down in the past few years?

    Were you a part of the counter culture of the 1970s and if so do you feel it appropriate to use those models of protest in the protest of today?

  2. Recently, a Wall Street Journal Post about Mark Zuckerberg (creator/owner of Facebook) making 24 BILLION DOLLARS as the company CEO.. and the author makes the claim that

    "most of what the movement focuses on is not the wealth of creators or innovators, but the wealth of gatekeepers and facilitators who as seen by some as contributing little or nothing but paperwork and funding. The focus has been anti-Wall Street, not anti-Silicon Valley,"

    Do you agree?

    The point the author finds interesting is that Zuckerberg and "Facebook’s positioning to do the IPO without offering investment banks their standard cut of the action is interestingly in line with the times."

  3. I guess my question is - do you think OWS supporters oughtta get off facebook if they don't want to support massive wealth, corporate domination, and the 1%?