One of the most powerful parts of visiting Occupy Wall Street is experiencing the Human Mic and direct democracy in place there. This morning, I came across this incredible video that captures both that I will be showing in class on Monday (via Zaheer Ali / @ZaheerAli):
As impressive as the video is, it’s important to remember this is a piece of propaganda put out by the movement. We’ve been working on sourcing the past week, so this will give students a great opportunity to try out their sourcing skills.
I imagine most students will be pretty taken by the film, so to force students think more rigorously about the implications of direct democracy, I’ll follow up the video by reading this op-ed from the New York Times this week about direct democracy in California:
But as California, the nation’s most populous state, marks this anniversary, the accumulated impact of direct democracy has made it virtually ungovernable. A two-thirds vote was required in each chamber of the Legislature to approve new taxes as a result of Proposition 13, the fabled tax initiative adopted in 1978. Ballot-box budgeting locks in large portions of the budget; Proposition 98, passed in 1988, dedicates about 40 percent of the state’s general fund to public education.