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Saturday, May 21, 2022

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Students, faculty talk politics at Speak Out


Associate Professor Fred Schiff spoke at Speak Out on Wednesday and advocated the use of Keynesian Economics in US financial policy. | Naheeda Sayeeduddin/The Daily Cougar

Associate Professor Fred Schiff spoke at Speak Out on Wednesday and advocated the use of Keynesian Economics in US financial policy. | Naheeda Sayeeduddin/The Daily Cougar

Capitalism, the war in Afghanistan and children’s rights were just a few of the issues speakers discussed at Wednesday’s Speak Out event, hosted by the Fair Action Committee.

Held at the UC Satellite, Speak Out events are designed to raise political awareness among students and to gather support for the Fair Action Committee. Students and faculty were encouraged to attend and speak about pressing issues in their communities.

Brendan Laws, a sociology senior and the head of the Fair Action Committee, emphasized the importance of fighting societal injustices, specifically targeting the ongoing 10 year war in Afghanistan.

“There is a serious problem with invading a country that doesn’t have a lot to do with terrorism, if any at all,” Laws said. “Its not even where the terrorists are from. A lot of companies are vested in the war.”

Among the speakers was Fred Schiff, an associate professor at UH. His speech focused on the economy, with an emphasis on Keynesian Economics, a school of thought that supports a mixed economy in which the government and the public sector play a significant role.

“The whole idea of current economic policy supported by Democrats and Republicans is a mistaken repudiation of Keynesian economics,” Schiff said. “In the last 35 years, some people have gotten super wealthy, but 80 percent of people in the US have had the same minimum wage for 35 years. There is class conflict — and the upper class has won.”

George Reiter, a UH physics professor, discussed children’s rights.

“As a society, we tend to look at physical punishment as a method of correction. This is a part of what is known as ‘internalized oppression,’” Reiter said.

“Rules and regulations we feel we have to follow as a society. Let the playful child be.”

Other speakers included Don Cook, an activist with the Green party and regular at Speak Out events, and Dustin Phipps, the lead organizer of Occupy Houston, who talked about the need for more political action among young people.

“Communication and interaction are key,” Phipps said. “Getting together as a group promoting popular interest is key. It’s time to create our own media. Share ideas. Don’t ever be afraid to do that.”


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