March 1, 2012 Special Dispatch No. 4543

U.S. Professors and Activists Participate In Tehran University Conference On Occupy Wall Street

March 1, 2012
Iran | Special Dispatch No. 4543

U.S. academics participated in an Occupy Wall Street (OWS) conference held this month at Tehran University, in which, according to Iran's Press TV, "university professors and scholars from around the world discussed various aspects of [the] Occupy Wall Street Movement" and "talked about the nature of the people that take part in the Wall Street movement, what effects it has had up to now, and its future."

One academic, Prof. Alex Vitae of Brooklyn College, discussed the impact of OWS "locally and nationally" and pondered "whether or not this will have momentum that could have more far-reaching implications." Prof. Heather Gautney of Fordham University noted that the Occupy movement is "entering more into social institutions, and trying to pressure politicians or pressure leadership" and said that she thought "that the movement is going to be incredibly active in pressuring politicians to start addressing issues of social inequality." Both she and Vitae mentioned OWS's possible impact on the upcoming U.S. presidential elections.

Prof. John Hammond of City University of New York spoke of the future, mentioning a "big movement planned in New York City, called Occupy the Corporations," and demonstrations in Chicago in May where the G-8 summit is set to take place.

The Press TV correspondent concluded his report with the following statement: "At the end of the discussion, the speakers said that the Occupy Wall Street movement is just the tip of the iceberg, because a global movement is also on the way, which seeks to, and will, redesign the world order in favor of the 99% of the world." [1]

The following is the transcript of the Press TV report of the U.S. professors' remarks at the conference; the report aired February 22, 2012.

This transcript is followed by statements by other American conference participants.

For more coverage of the conference, visit and

Reporter: "The Occupy Wall Street Movement Conference in Tehran – university professors and scholars from around the world discuss various aspects of the Occupy Wall Street movement." […]

"Experts also told us about the impact of the movement and its future."

Alex Vitae, professor at Brooklyn College: "Well, we know it's had some impact both locally and nationally, but the impact has still been limited. I think many people are waiting to see what effect it may have on this year's national elections, and whether or not this will have momentum that could have more far-reaching implications."

Heather Gautney, professor at Fordham University: "The 'Occupy' movement is entering more into social institutions, and trying to pressure politicians or pressure leadership within those institutions to try to put money back into them and to support public programs. So I think that is one important aspect. The other is that we have elections coming up in November, and I think that the movement is going to be incredibly active in pressuring politicians to start addressing issues of social inequality." […]

John Hammond, professor at City University of New York: "I know that I will be returning to the United States on February 25, and on February 29, there is a big movement planned in New York City, called Occupy the Corporations. Down the road from there, in May, the G-8 Summit will occur in Chicago, and many groups are planning to converge on Chicago with some kind of demonstration." […]

Other American Participants at the Conference Include Imam, Rabbi, and Christian Organization Head

A number of U.S. activists were also at the conference. One of them was Abdul Alim Musa, imam of the Masjid Al-Islam mosque in Washington DC, who is known for speaking in support of jihad and martyrdom, as well as his anti-American and antisemitic statements, including blaming terrorist attacks such as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, 9/11, and the failed 2009 Christmas Day airplane bombing on the government (see MEMRI TV Clip No. 2326 – "Washington DC Imam Abdul Alim Musa: Attempted Christmas Day Plane Bombing – The Work of U.S. Government and the Mossad," January 5, 2012,

At the conference, Musa told Press TV about the OWS movement's mission of fighting "global Zionism" which, he said, uses "interest" and "debt" to "control the world." He said in an interview on the sidelines of the conference: "The people of Wall Street are not anti-Iranian, anti-Iraqi, anti-Islam. They are pro-humanity. They are against – They feel that all of us are part of the 99%, right? They are against one government killing a scientist, engineers, peaceful people, right? So they are naturally against Zionism." He continued, "And I believe that Wall Street is fighting the monster of the day. The monster is not the Shoah – the monster today is global Zionism. You're using riba and interest – the tool that they use to control the world, to control each state, and each area of the world, is debt." [2]

In his address to the conference on February 14, Abdul Alim Musa "deplored the ruling establishment in the U.S., insisting that there is no democracy and human equality in the country... Liberal Democrats in the U.S. claim that they advocate the equality of all human beings but they do not consider themselves as equal to blacks," he said, according to a February 15 report. He said that "the American establishment has also oppressed native Indians, occupying and confiscating their lands" and compared "the ruling system in the U.S. to the former Apartheid regime of South Africa and the Zionist regime (Israel) in the occupied Palestinian territories," the report stated.

"The U.S. is 'dead' in political, cultural and military aspects," he added, according to the report, and went on to "lash out at American officials for making efforts to spread Islamophobia across the globe but insisted that they would never achieve their wicked objectives on the issue." [3]

Also at the conference was Hank Hanegraaff, president of the Christian Research Institute. He told Press TV: "The reason that Occupy Wall Street is continuing to go on is because people are protesting the policies of the American government." He added, "Spontaneous activism which is organized by social media will always have a huge opportunity to make large economic and societal changes. Just like it did in Egypt with Tahrir Square, so it will, in various permutations or forms, continue to give the public that doesn't necessarily have economic and social standing an opportunity to make a difference, because in the land of the Internet, there are no kings or queens." [4]

Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss of Jews United Against Zionism, who along with other members of his organization also participated in the conference, told the channel: "Tens of thousands of hundreds of thousands in front of the White House, hundreds of thousands, against Zionism and the media doesn't cover that."[5]

Also At the Conference: Professors From Iranian Universities

For more on OWS, see the MEMRI page "Occupy Wall Street – Reactions and Support in the Arab and Muslim World,"


[1] Press TV (Iran), February 15, 2012,

[2] Press TV (Iran), February 15, 2012

[4] Press TV (Iran), February 15, 2012,

[5] Press TV (Iran), February 15, 2012,

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