Former student arrested in protest

By Graham Donohoe

Lumen Reporter

Adam Alexander, a 2010 Viterbo graduate and former Philosophy Club president, has involved him­self in the ongoing Occupy Wall Street protests.

He graduated with a double ma­jor in philosophy and psychology. Alexander moved to New York City in order to attend graduate school at Columbia University.

The Occupy Wall Street move­ment, initially organized by the anti-consumerist magazine Adbusters, is a leaderless opposition to global corporatization and consumer capi­talism. Well-known supporters of the protests include Cornell West, Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Jo­seph Stiglitz, Felipe Andres Coronel and Margaret Atwood, among oth­ers. Beginning Sept. 17, around 1,000 people began to march through the Wall Street area.

By the sixth day, the group had roughly doubled in size; by the third week, the gathering numbers neared 15,000. Alexander described this in­flux of people: “It took one night in New York for my email inbox to be­come so inundated with CouchSurf­ing requests that I had to pick a few surfers and set my profile to not ac­cept guests right now.”

He was on the forefront of the movement on Oct. 1 when an esti­mated 5,000 people marched toward the Brooklyn Bridge. Videos from the crowd indicate that the NYPD al­lowed the protesters onto the bridge and corralled them once a sizable group had accumulated. Alexander was among the 700 arrested for traf­fic disruption. Readers interested in the specifics of the events may visit the unofficial website, http://www.occu­pywallstreet.org.

“There’s a presence of institutions here in the city that makes working to understand and reform them a more serious and immediate proj­ect,” Alexander said. “The sleep and tears I learned to lose over society in the midwest remain, but now I’m learning to lose sweat and blood as well.”

The group uses the url http://nycga.cc/ to record its communal decisions about food distribution, public speaking, group needs, and definition of collective values, Alex­ander said. “The opportunities for academic, aesthetic, creative, and simply seri­ous talk are fulfilling a longing that I’m glad I had to work to cultivate”, Adam responded when asked about the community.

Alexander, expressed greater con­cern over the longevity of the upris­ing than its organization.

“The growth is fast at first as the people who already have amenable habits and life-worlds are picked up, but after that, it’s got to be ei­ther something like P4C [Integrated philosophy for children programs in educational curricula] or an ex­perience of crisis that’s required to reach out to more folks,” Alexander said. “I’ve never worried about fi­nancial collapse and the weather at the same time before, but if there’s to be a sense of international finan­cial crisis and corresponding pushes for austerity this winter rather than in the fall or spring when people can mobilize outside about it, that may be quite a tragedy.”

In regard to Alexander’s participa­tion and arrest, philosophy profes­sor Jason Howard said, “He’s taking the Marxist critique to its rightful terminus. I’m sure it’s informed by philosophical principles, which is what makes it so interesting.”

Alexander credited his Midwest­ern background with much of his conceptual framework regarding the events, confiding, “The Viterbo Philosophy club will forever remain the way I explain to others my con­versational endurance, lighthearted­ness, and desire to take theory out onto the streets so that the streets and the theory can change each oth­er.”

“I will work hard in the com­ing weeks and months to keep the movement solidly anti-capitalist as it tries to incorporate the visions of many new thousands of people,” Alexander said. “I will try not to deepen my plasticuff scars or mul­tiply my ‘misdemeanors’ out of im­maturity, but neither will I let myself and others be lulled into compliance with a violent system we can gain the power to change.”

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