Frederick Douglass

"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will. Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them..." Frederick Douglass

Friday, March 16, 2012

Some Thoughts On Education, Capitalism, OWS, Unions, And Fascism

[Blogger's note: Save for the title, this was written by Rich Gibson, professor emeritus of San Diego State University, with whom I correspond. As I believe you will agree, his perspective is unique, and his give-no-quarter style is as entertaining as it is confrontational. Much worthwhile stuff can be found at his website, and he can be reached at I heartily commend his education blog to you as well, even if you are not especially interested in pedagogy.

As regular visitors to this blog will note, I don't blow a lot of smoke. There are not many "must read" exhortations and I don't abuse the word "important". But in this case I think what's written below is significant for three reasons: the perspicacity of the exposition, its exigent importance, and the general scarcity of this type of analysis in the popular culture.]

CFT and CTA assets, and NEA's newly-born poster boys on this list, might want to enter this fake fight between the two corrupt school worker unions (see the ad below from CFT).

CFT and CTA/NEA are carrying on a shadow boxing match over whose proposal is a better method to fool school workers into ballot boxes and the interim electoral frenzy that leads up to the vote. NEA will likely put 60 million dollars into the campaign, and hundreds of thousand of volunteer hours--people filtered away from real unionism, school workers and other unionites becoming tools of their own oppression.

Last year, the California Teachers Association spent more than $6 million in their electoral shams, with nearly nothing going on.

The two unions' main problems are (1) locking down support for the demagogue, Obama, and his wars, and bailouts--as well as the NDAA and Arne Duncan's expansion of schools as human munition factories.

(2) The state affiliates have problems, like the shifts to "right to work" laws in states that would radically reduce union tops' dues income (when unionites say "save collective bargaining, they really mean, "save our chance to force people to pay dues---a la Wisconsin, they have always been prepared to give up everything else). The unions were never created by majority state wide citizen votes, but by direct action on the job. But the last thing the union bosses want is a mass of class conscious workers so the last thing they are planning to do is shut down states that pass those laws.

California has a real budget problem that both CTA and CFT address in counterfeit fashion, below.

Third, the union bosses need to create an illusion of local action where there is really no action, like the Moveon scheme to train 100,000 people in "Non-violent" action---as distinct from the direct action that is necessary, mass strikes and general strikes, student strikes, and mutinies in the military. Moveon, a Democratic Party front, like Truthout, also serves as a bodyguard of illusions, preserving capitalism and its shaky empire.

This move is designed to let off steam from those, like in the San Diego EA, who might figure out that the only thing that will save jobs is direct action and civil strife--perhaps matched by some freedom schooling where students learn something other than loyalty and obedience.. SDEA is doing all it can to create a rank and file that believes its leadership is militant, when in fact the leadership works hard to demolish militancy.

The empire's bribe is very powerful. It will likely play out in another vote at the NEA RA, rejecting any discussion of the wars, as the RA has voted in the past, about 99 to 1. That bribe will poison each section, one to three, above. Keep your job. Shut up about the wars. Get paid; bribes that always boomerang over time. Evidence: the patriotic UAW, its members' lives demolished.

School workers are upset, now, about high-stakes testing. Yesterday, NEA boss Dennis Van Roekel said he was shocked by the level of despair on the job--an indicator of how distant his nearly $500,000 a year plus an expense account he can live on, makes him. That anger about testing, however, rose up when the more than obvious next step, merit pay, arrived. Before, the test fury went on for more than a decade with hardly a peep, not a good harbinger for the necessary student/worker solidarity that makes job actions possible.

The ghost dance that is the OWS, feigning leaderless when all kinds of shamans of illusions (Hedges, Moore, Giroux, the vile CPUSA and other sects) consistently leap forward claiming leadership, and faking no ideology when the OWS ideology is pluralism, capital's fave maneuver, largely forgot the wars and is about to be safely stuffed back into the quasi religious world of the election by union staffers, Democrats, and related liberals who, all, pave the way for the broader emergence of fascism as a popular mass movement.

All the structures of fascism are in place:
*the very real promise of perpetual war and war means work--jobs,
*deepening segregation and racism popularized,
*mass color coded incarceration leading to the deprivation of all civil rights when "freed."
*the continued use of black ops prisons that are unknown, and Guantanamo, the torture center we know,
*official mysticism elevated by the election (and Satan, of course, plus Magic Underwear, when are their speeches not glossolalia?),
*the eradication of whatever civil liberties may have existed (NDAA followed the Patriot Act),
*the extension of the spy and surveillance services into every aspect of life,
*the corporate state financial and auto bailouts which socialized loss and continued the capitalization of profits (an irreversible move, like the Afgan invasion, that cut the legs off of the working class youth of the US and underlined the reality of a corporate state),
*the relentless calls for all class unity (Mitt and Obamagogue),
*a military become a praetorian guard, isolated from the citizenry, filling up with Nazis, religious fanatics, and corruption (drug dealing rampant),
*spectacles heaped on spectacles and transparent diversions (Konyi vs the farcical Invisible Children),
*multiple alliances with openly fascist regimes (Kazakhstan, et al) and false praise for other fascists (Putin via Hlllbillary)
*the CIA no longer an intelligence agency but the President's private army with a secret budget,
*a society writhing in the glorification of violence, and its normalcy---and seething with anti-communism from all angles, Gates to the saps running OWS.
*a multi-pronged assault on the working class, hitting those with the least inherited wealth first and worst,
*a powerful propaganda machine matched by opportunistic liberals, fake radicals, and sects who play the organs on their own.

Every effort to reform the system of capital, to buttress its state, its government that serves as an executive committee and armed weapon of the rich, only empowers that government and speeds the emergence of fascism as a popular movement. Every movement that disconnects capitalism, imperialism, and the corporate state from their many social appearances, like high stakes tests, only deepens the oppression of both the people forced into ignorance by those exams, and the opportunistic (if annoyed) people who proctor them. To ignore the role of the corporate, capitalist state is, flatly, to feed it, while its losing wars boom around us. Why participate in the mass hysterical conversion crises that cannot say: capitalism, imperialism, fascism, and revolution?

It isn't pretty. There is no easy way out , but the small time infighting, below, can be funny enough.

A tidbit for doubters

Why do CTA’s leaders oppose taxing millionaires to fund education and essential services?

CFT’s response to falsehoods about the Millionaires Tax
We regret that the California Teachers Association (CTA) leadership has issued a flier filled with misinformation about the Millionaires Tax to its members and the public. This effort to confuse and mislead is a grave disservice to everyone seeking new revenues for schools and services. The flier is factually inaccurate, both about the Millionaires Tax and the governor’s proposal. Here’s the truth about just two falsehoods.
CTA flyer: Unintended Consequences FALSEHOOD #1: In boldface, the CTA flier claims “This is direct text from the Millionaires Tax: "none of the funds can be used to support programs primarily funded by the state.""

THIS IS COMPLETELY UNTRUE. This quote appears nowhere in the initiative, and it runs completely counter to the purpose of the Millionaires Tax, which is to restore funding that has been cut from programs primarily funded by the state. Ask CTA’s leaders where this “quote” came from.

FALSEHOOD #2: The CTA flier claims that the governor’s tax will increase “Prop 98 funding by nearly $5 billion for the 2012-13 budget year.”

THIS IS ALSO UNTRUE. The governor’s own budget projects that his tax will bring in just half of that, $2.5 billion, to Prop. 98 [Governor’s Budget Summary, 2012-1013, p. 136, “the funding levels above reflect a $2.5 billion increase in the Proposition 98 minimum guarantee in 2012-13 assuming passage of the governor’s tax proposal.”].
CTA Leadership Stands with Business Roundtable
The same day that the CTA leadership issued its flier, the California Business Roundtable, representing PG&E, Chevron and other large corporations, came out in opposition to the Millionaires Tax. It stopped short of endorsing Governor Brown’s proposal, however. The reason? According to the Sacramento Bee (March 9), “Roundtable spokesman Kirk Clark said the business group was waiting to see whether Brown would come through with pension reductions as well as changing environmental laws and business regulations to make it easier for firms to operate in California.” The CTA leadership has now aligned itself with the most reactionary forces in California in opposition to the Millionaires Tax. CTA leaders are standing together with the 1%’s business lobby, which is actively working to undermine the hard-earned pension benefits of CTA’s own members, and seeking the destruction of public employee pensions as a quid pro quo for their endorsement of the governor’s tax.

Millionaires Tax: The Solution
The Millionaires Tax will bring in $6 billion to fund schools and services. It will tax only millionaires. It has just come out on top of the seventh straight poll assessing voter preferences for the three competing revenue measures. The newest poll also clearly demonstrates that in a multiple measure ballot scenario, the Millionaires Tax would win. A Public Policy Institute Poll released on March 8 shows the governor’s sales tax and personal income tax increase at just 52% support. Do you want to put all your hopes for new funding on that one measure’s uncertain chances?

At a moment when the students and families of California desperately need new revenues, it is astonishing the CTA leadership would attempt to create a political atmosphere charged with lies and confusion. All organizations that understand the need for revenues should be uniting around the ballot measure most likely to win. Poll after poll shows likely voters want to tax millionaires. President Obama has stated his support for taxing millionaires. CTA leaders, in their zeal for backdoor dealing and politics-as-usual in the service of the 1%, seem determined to poison the well and destroy the best opportunity for their members and the people of California to restore and refund our state.

For more answers to questions about the Millionaires Tax, click here for the “Rhetoric vs Reality” one pager.
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