CPE Members Join URPE & Occupy Chicago to Protest Mainstream Economists’ Role in the Financial Crisis

Occupy Chicago teamed up with the Union for Radical Political Economics (URPE) to organize an “Occupy the American Economics Association” event at its annual meeting in Chicago, January 5-8. Economists streaming out of the conference hotel for lunch on the first full day of the conference were met by a large group holding signs such as “Economists — Complicit in the Financial Crisis,” “Occupy the AEA,” and “Danger! Capitalist Economists at Work!” as well as some street theater. Then, a spirited group of about 40 marched through the downtown, carrying a homemade banner poking fun at the concept of “trickle-down economics.” It showed a Very Important Man relieving himself over ordinary people standing below. An accusation from a Chicago police officer that the banner was blocking the sidewalk led to the arrest of one particularly active protester which provoked a loud outcry from the crowd.

The protest was followed by a teach-in at nearby Roosevelt University.  Local CPE member (and Roosevelt University faculty member), June Lapidus, arranged for the teach-in rooms. CPE member and UMass-Amherst professor, Nancy Folbre, gave a short presentation on “the political economy of human capital” followed by a great discussion with the participants. CPEer Elaine Mccrate also joined in. The teach-in continued on Friday and Saturday afternoons. Occupy Chicago is hoping to develop an economics education and outreach program in greater Chicago, and Lapidus will be the CPE liaison there.