October 24, 2009

University students attend teach-in on banking crisis

Students and residents of the South Side gathered in Cobb Thursday night to go over the causes of the current economic crisis, in promotion of an upcoming protest of banking power. The meeting was organized by University’s Southside Solidarity Network (SSN).

Jake Warner, a graduate student of history, conducted a teach-in - a phrase that recalls student protests in the late 1960's - about the causes behind the economic crisis.

Warner blamed the current economic downfall on the unconstrained financial sector for the increase in speculation and the prevalence of securities in the American market, which has extended into people's everyday lives.

Next Tuesday, top financial executives and lobbyists will convene in Chicago for the American Bankers Association’s Annual meeting to network and discuss solutions for the current financial crisis. In conjunction with unions and other workers rights organizations, SSN have chartered buses downtown to demonstrate in front of the Sheraton.

Thursday's session linked the effects of market fundamentalism to the local level. Warner said that the reduction in industrial jobs and wages continues to plague Chicago and causes the “social consequences of disparity,” such as an increase in incarceration and violence.

For that reason the members of SSN want people to join in at the upcoming protest. Sam Zwiebel, a fourth-year in the college, said it is important for University’s students to join the protest, “because [the University of Chicago is] building the Milton-Friedman Institute." Zwiebel said the SSN's values are incompatible with plaudits to Friedman, a prominent advocate of the free market who taught at the University.

“[The] protest is the best chance and maybe our last chance to change the debate on this issue,” Warner said.