The Abject Intellectual Bankruptcy of the CUNY Occupy Researchers

I’ve been too busy to post lately, what with moving.  And staying put.  But sometimes the universe plants a goose egg so giant that you have to say something about it just to squeeze out the door.

Changing the Subject: A Bottom-Up Account of Occupy Wall Street in New York City

by Ruth Milkman, Stephanie Luce and Penny Lewis 

And so we have this, a 51-page “study” by the esteemed sociologist of SEIU apologetics, Ruth Milkman, and her peers: Stephanie Luce (living wage academician and activist) and Penny Lewis (ACORN shill/labor prof).  These three ladies practice their activism and their academics on your dime, taxpayers, at the portentous-sounding Joseph P. Murphy Institute for Worker Education of the CUNY School of Professional Studies, which is not to be confused with the CUNY School of Unprofessional Studies, which is not to be confused with a dead parrot.

The JPMIWWE openly claims to be building the union movement and serving “the educational, policy, and research needs of unions and their members,” also all on your dime.

I bet you didn’t know you were paying for that.

Frances Fox Pivens is an associated scholar at the program, which explains a lot, though it doesn’t quite explain what someone whose contribution to society consists of encouraging people not to work actually does in a Labor Studies department.

Just one more drop in the ironic abyss of the intelligentsia.

A Dead Parrot

 Frances Fox Pivens

The Occupy study, which is delighting journalists and Media Studies Professionals everywhere by reinforcing their belief systems, asserts that Occupy Protesters are actually well-educated and employed, with a full third earning more than $100K per year.

Gee, how do you do that while living in a tent and banging on drums all day?

Well, it’s done with magic.  The magic is called sociology, an obscure religion practiced, according to Iris Murdoch, by people “who had got into an intellectual muddle early in life and never got out.”  Because sociologists don’t have to do things like build bridges or solve math problems or cure cancer, their definitions of science can be a bit loosey-goosey.

How loosey-goosey?  Well, this much: the Occupy study, which is 51 pages long and paid for with your tax dollars, arrived at the conclusion that all those Occupiers who slept, raped, pooped, and drummed in the streets for months on end were actually educated, employed, and well-off.  The researchers arrived at this conclusion by surveying an entirely different group of people who showed up for a different event months after the Occupy camps were disbanded.

In fact, only 10.3% of the people they surveyed said they had stayed in an Occupy camp.  The other 89.7% did not.

In case you’re wondering what the labor professors actually do when they aren’t doing this type of thing, it looks a heck of a lot like this.


7 thoughts on “The Abject Intellectual Bankruptcy of the CUNY Occupy Researchers”

  1. Well, interestingly, the study itself doesn’t really emphasize this fact above other findings. It’s the media that picked up on it and ran with it, and hostile media like the Post started the discussion, I think.

    If you read the whole study — and I did last night, but only because I couldn’t sleep and thought it might be a good soporific — there’s just a little bit of analysis of the numbers. The point seems to be the subjective analysis, which takes up most of the space and can be summarized this way:

    Occupy is a magical international uprising that is perfect and entirely transformative of reality and politics and makes us one with the Arab Spring, except, the people of color we’re promoting as being every other leader to be inclusive keep telling us we’re too white and male and transphobic, but I guess that’s why we asked them to yell at us anyway.

    I’m paraphrasing a bit.

    There’s also some astonishing and quite irrelevant piffle about how the Tea Party is astroturfed but Occupy gets no funding — except that 7 mil in donations they managed to burn through, I suppose, and all the other cash sources funneled through academia, including this study and the Brennan Center and the alphabet soup of legal and environmental groups and all the media studies folks and comp lit and everyone else on the academic gravy train.

    It’s not really a study: it’s a opportunity to let Lisa Fithian and a bunch of other nasty people rant while pretending they’re studying modalities of organizing or some such crap. The “researchers” don’t even try to aim for any type of legitimate research model.

    It’s a fanzine.

  2. Piven is both a decent scholar and an ideological hack, eh life’s complicated. And if I get the dead parrot/ Piven joke right, it’s unnecessarily cruel and yet also hilarious and apt.

  3. Yes, I am a party pooper, clinging resentist, full of vengeance, according to many humorless commenters, and etc.

    I cry myself to sleep at night clutching a gun and an old Norton Anthology, the one that doesn’t have Barack Obama’s speeches in it.

  4. Tina – incredibly happy to find your site. Did the back link through your March 9 post in Sultan Knish. I live in the Atlanta area so your experience was of great interest to me. I’ll be following. Thanks!

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