Nadeem Mazen ’02 Leads Occupy movement

Though the Andover alumni network extends across the globe, Nadeem Mazen ’02 has returned to a cause close to “home” as the spokesperson for the Occupy Boston movement. As spokesperson, Mazen is the primary contact for media questions about the Boston protests. Mazen has been an active participant in the movement since its nascent phase in 2008. He has investigated the economic meltdown and proposed new economic strategies to prevent another crisis. “I got involved early, mostly because the people organizing [Occupy Boston] had a similar ethos: they were upset that the political process is subverted by wealthy people. Wealthy people have an unreasonable and unjust amount of access to politics today.” said Mazen. “It’s not one dollar per vote. It’s one person one vote. There’s a very clear undermining of American democracy.” As spokesperson, Mazen said he recognized that critics of the Occupy movement claim that protesters are unfocused, unemployed individuals, but he argues that the participants are well organized and enthusiastic. He also noted that the Occupy movement was not solely concerned with unemployment. Mazen said, “The numbers are real. We’re not being represented in a way that actually builds the middle class or works to serve the lower class. We need to build the economy from the bottom up, as opposed to the top down.” “We commonly turn our noses on people who are willing to get down and dirty on the democracy we all depend on. I think the whole attack is founded on ignorance,” he continued. The protests that sprouted in Boston and New York last fall are only the beginning of a ten year effort, according to Mazen. “We’re really imagining a future that’s out and for and by the people. We just hope to expand it so it’s more inclusive in the founding of our nation, racially, geographically, socioeconomically. It’s very empowering but still early,” he said. Coach of the varsity Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) men’s squash team, travel enthusiast, aspiring artist and co-founder of “Danger! Awesome”, a laser-cutting and etching studio in Cambridge, MA, Mazen juggles several interests in addition to his involvement with the Occupy movement. Mazen desire to work with international and domestic development emerged when he matriculated at MIT. While in college, he first discovered that politicians were serving corporate interests rather than human ones. While a student at Andover, Mazen maintained a connection to events occurring beyond the “Andover bubble” by taking an interest in All-School Meeting speakers. According to Mazen, his decision to attend Andover was a decision that would forever change his life. Beyond feeling “empowered” by physics class with Clyfe Beckwith, Instructor in Physics, Mazen appreciated the speakers that the school brought to All-School Meeting. “After every inspiring meeting, you come out thinking you’re going to change the world. You see people around you who are also striving for a change,” said Mazen. Mazen noted, however, that he realized during his time at the school was that the work and activities at Phillips Academy distracted students from partaking in political transformations. “It’s difficult to jack in. Real life hits you. You have homework to do, assignments to complete… you tend to forget about the change. It’s not until later in life that the Andover experience gives you the feeling not just to hear and be riled up, but to act,” said Mazen. Mazen believes that to make a change one must make an ongoing commitment. “If you put change as a secondary task, then it only stays within your periphery,” he continued. Mazen was first inspired to apply to Andover because of his father. Mazen’s father, who immigrated to the United States from Egypt, later became a professor who traveled around the world. “My dad’s main motto was to attain the highest degree of education as possible and to seek centers of learning, so I decided to apply to Andover at my father’s suggestion. We thought it would be a good investment,” said Mazen.