A protest sign from Occupy Washington D.C. that frames the importance of creating public space for open discourse.
Last month, while contemplating the growing discourse around the Occupy movements globally, I blogged about how philosopher and professor of critical theory Slavoj Zizek openly addressed the Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York City. Since then, a growing number of diverse, high profile, and well respected academics have been popping up at Occupy demonstrations around the world-- post-structural philosopher Judith Butler, cognitive scientist and linguist Noam Chomsky, professor of genetics and environmental activist David Suzuki, philosopher and civil rights activist Cornel West, and American economist and professor of sustainable development Jeffrey Sachs-- all raising awareness and providing more of the critical conversation needed to language the movement's core concerns. With the power of social media at the center-point of these demonstrations, the messages are now being broadcast well beyond their original audiences. Notice the emphasis in all addresses on the need to maintain a public space for open democratic dialogue. You will also witness the power of the human megaphone in action. Here is a selection to consider, reflect upon, and most importantly, discuss.