Back to the "Old Ways": Getting Students and the DCC involved in Activism

Those involved in founding the marxist/radical/critical criminology of the late 1960s and early 1970s, were also often members of groups that engaged in various acts of protest designed to stimulate social change. These criminologists spent much of their time being activists. Their activism was shared with and by the college students they taught, and they spent at least part of their time engaged in activities that brought their social change theories to life.

Today, college students are not very active politically, and are very unlikely to be engaged in acts of resistance. In order to stimulate activism, I often design my courses to include an option to engage in a community activist project in lieu of a term paper. The assignments vary depending on the course. In environmental law and crime, the students are encouraged to map out hazardous waste sites and dangers within a local, economically deprived community, and set up a meeting to share that information with community members. Students have also become involved in the community by attending City Council meetings and becoming members of committees on community problems related to crime, justice or the environment. Students in one of my graduate classes, for example, became experts on water distribution rules and rights, and helped guide decisions made by Hillsborough County about expanded water rights requested filed by water bottling companies that sought to increase the amount of water they were allowed to bottle. The student committee, using information it gathered on the past behavior of the companies who had applied for expanded water rights in other communities, helped conviced the Hillsborough County executives not to expand water pumping rights. To spread the idea of activism, I have also served as the student advisor to a group that protested animal experimentation on campus.

Summarizing the New US Census Bureau Report on Income and Poverty: The Rich Continue to Get Richer

The US Census Bureau released new figures on the economic health and well being of Americans on August 29th in its annual report. Below I summarize some of the important aspects of this report. To view this report: www.census.gov/prod/2006pubs/p60-231.pdf

1. Real median household income rose 1.1% in 2005 to $46,326. Real median income is an inflation adjusted measure which indicates the income amount that divides US families at their midpoint, with one half of families earning less than $46,326, and one half of families earning greater than that amount.

2. Although real median household income rose last year, the rise was not sufficient to overcome the impact of the recession that ushered in the 21st century in the US. Real median family incomes in the US in 2005 remained 0.5% lower than real median family incomes in 2001.

Environmental Crimes

The public has been convinced that the biggest threat to their health and well being is terrorism. This has legitimized a massive military build up designed to intervene in Middle Eastern nations. The war on terrorism and terrorist (WOTT) has helped drown out increasing bad news about the health of the world's environment (from global warming to pollution and species extinction), and the shrinking supply of oil. At the same time, the WOTT has provided a means to satisfy the oil supply crises looming in the US.

About critcrim.org

The critcrim.org site is available to organizations and individuals working to critically analyze, and change, the justice system. At times, this site has been used by the American Society of Criminology's Division on Critical Criminology and the Critical Criminal Justice Section of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. Members of these organizations are welcome to post information to the site, although there is no formal relationship between these organizations and critcrim.org.

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