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Monthly Archives: August 2009

Marx's Grave

Marx's Grave



The third issue of 2009 is now available at

Volume 7 Number 3 2009 ISSN 1478-2103


Catherine Scott. The Culture of Teaching

Tim Vorley & Jen Nelles. Building Entrepreneurial Architectures: a conceptual interpretation of the Third Mission

Nils Lindahl Elliot. New Labour’s Skills Policy at the Intersection of Business and Politics

Charmaine Brooks. Teaching in Full View: GLA as a mechanism of power

Michael A. Peters & Ruyu Hung. Solar Ethics: a new paradigm for environmental ethics and education?

Vance S. Martin. Digital Systems Analysis

Robert Shaw. The Phenomenology of Democracy

OBAMA’S AMERICA: Michael A. Peters. Obama’s ‘Postmodernism’, Humanism and History

OCCASIONAL THOUGHTS: Henry A. Giroux. Ten Years after Columbine: the tragedy of youth deepens

Marx and Education (Robin Small), reviewed by Ergin Bulut

Access to the full texts of current articles is restricted to those who have a Personal subscription, or those whose institution has a Library subscription. However, all articles become free-to-view 18 months after publication:


Articles by Glenn and Ruth Rikowski at Policy Futures in Education:

Rikowski, R. (2003) Value – the Life Blood of Capitalism: knowledge is the current key, Policy Futures in Education, Vol.1 No.1, pp.160-178, online at:

Rikowski, G. (2004) Marx and the Education of the Future, Policy Futures in Education, Vol.2 Nos. 3 & 4, pp.565-577, online at:

Rikowski, R. (2006) A Marxist Analysis of the World Trade Organisation’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, Policy Futures in Education, Vol.4 No.4:


PERSONAL SUBSCRIPTION (single user access). Subscription to the 2009 issues (i.e. full access to the articles in Volume 7, Numbers 1-6) is available to individuals at a cost of US$52.00. Personal subscriptions also include automatic free access to ALL PAST ISSUES. If you wish to subscribe you may do so immediately at

LIBRARY SUBSCRIPTION (institution-wide access). If you are working within an institution that maintains a Library, please urge them to purchase a Library subscription so access is provided throughout your institution; full details for libraries can be found at

For all editorial matters, including articles offered for publication, please contact Professor Michael A. Peters (

In the event of problems concerning a subscription, or difficulty in gaining access to the journal articles, please contact the publishers at

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Summer Garden Party

Summer Garden Party




Ruth Rikowski describes beautifully (with pictures) the Summer Garden Party that we had at our home in Forest Gate on 22nd August 2009.

It was a lovely day, and the first party we have run for many, many years. I am sure there will be more!

A special thanks to those who brought food and wine, and to those who played musical instruments and sang, and Alexander Rikowski for running the barbeque!

See Ruth’s blog on the Summer Garden Party at:

Glenn Rikowski

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Learning at Work

Learning at Work



OUR MANDATE: The Centre for the Study of Education and Work (CSEW) brings together educators from university, union, and community settings to understand and enrich the often-undervalued informal and formal learning of working people. We develop research and teaching programs at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (UofT) that strengthen feminist, anti-racist, labour movement, and working-class perspectives on learning and work.

To change your subscriptions settings, visit:

For more information about CSEW, visit:



by D.W. Livingstone

“In a scorching and informative critique of the growing discrepancy between knowledge and human capacity and the available opportunities for decent work, D.W. Livingstone has written one of the most important books of the decade. This is a book that breathes new life into the much over-looked relationship between education and economic reform.”
(Henry A. Giroux)

Garamond Press or-Percheron Press, 2004 (2nd edition with New Introduction)

Available online from publisher, UTP, or by phone 416.978.2239 or from



The Canadian Labour International Film Festival (CLiFF) is now accepting volunteer applicants to help out with our inaugural festival. Our not-for-profit festival celebrates films about workers, for workers and by workers.

Volunteers can be involved in many aspects of the festival from suggesting recent films for inclusion to helping throw media-related events like the one we are planning for Labour Day! As our festival launch draws closer we will also need people to help distribute leaflets, assemble media kits, as well as helping manage other volunteers. During the festival itself we’ll also need help taking tickets and individuals to act us ushers. There’s a place for everyone.

Upon request, volunteers will receive a letter reflecting their commitment and involvement in the festival.  Don’t pass up this unique opportunity to see the inner workings of a festival in its first year!

All volunteers should be:

* 18 years of age or older
* willing to attend a mandatory volunteer orientation session
* committed, friendly, team players

The festival launches November 22nd in Toronto and runs until November 29th.  It launches country-wide November 28th. We will be holding volunteer orientations sessions in August through the start of November.

Please e-mail us at and with the word “Volunteer” in the subject line.


November 18-20, 2009

Living Our Values: Social Enterprise in Action 

Join hundreds of existing and prospective social enterprise operators from every region in Canada at the Third Canadian Conference on Social Enterprise taking place in Toronto, November 18-20, 2009.

The conference will consist of three days of training and work sessions toward a national policy agenda and action plan.

Register now at

Hosting the Third Canadian Conference on Social Enterprise is the Social Enterprise Council of Canada (



A new book outlining how unions can help their laid off members, protect those still working, and prevent the gutting of their hard-won contracts – and their very unions themselves – has been published by Union Communication Services, Inc. (UCS).

Union Strategies for Hard Times: Helping Your Members and Building Your Union in the Great Recession, offers how-to counsel for unions as the continuing economic crisis ravages workers and threatens to destroy decades of collective bargaining gains. Urging leaders to avoid falling into a strictly defensive posture, it outlines how unions can seize the time and turn crisis into opportunity.

The author is Bill Barry, director of labor studies at the Community College of Baltimore County and a 40-year veteran of the movement. Barry calls on his long history of activism and years of “what works, what doesn’t” discussions with other leaders to come up with strategies to survive these terrible times and even use the crisis to build a better future.

Union Strategies for Hard Times outlines a frank and systematic program for union leaders, stewards and activists who want to respond aggressively to those employers and financial interests that would have working people and their institutions just shut up, be nice and accept what’s given them.

Topics in the book include:

* Hanging Tough at the Table
* New Tactics on Grievances
* Aiding and Mobilizing Members on Layoff
* Confronting Financial Strains
* Effective Communications for a New Day
* Where We are and How We Got Here

The book describes today’s challenges to unions representing workers in every sector of the economy and offers concrete, Organizing Model tactics to deal with them. No union activists who want to help their members — working or laid off — while defending and even growing their unions should be without this important book.

Barry is the author of I Just Got Elected – Now What: A New Union Officer’s Handbook. Both books are offered by Union Communication Services, Inc., publishers of The Union Steward’s Complete Guide, Steward Update newsletter and other tools for union activists. Union Strategies for Hard Times is available for $15 plus $3 shipping and handling from, 800-321-2545, or UCS Inc., 165 Conduit St., Annapolis MD 21401.



Thursday 8 –Friday 9 October 2009

* What are the values and traditions of workers’ education and how did they evolve?
* Why is internationalism so important for workers’ education?
* What are the similarities and differences between various models of workers’ education as practised by IFWEA affiliates in different countries?
* Are any of these workers’ education models appropriate for dealing with rising social exclusion and extremism that characterises 21st century societies?
* How do these models address political education and the building of social organisation and mobilisation?
* Should workers’ education focus on individual or systemic change? Can it do both, and if so, how?

These are some of the questions that will be discussed at the Workers’ Education as a Global Challenge international conference, which will be run in partnership with the School of Management and Labour Relations at Rutgers State University of New Jersey, and the Workers’ Education Association (ABF) of Sweden.

For further details, click here:



For The Labor Studies Journal Conference Issue and Presentation at the United Association for Labor Education Conference
San Diego, CA
March 24-27, 2010

The Labor Studies Journal invites submission of papers on the theme of labor and environment. Best papers will be selected for presentation at the 2010 UALE Conference and afterwards will undergo the peer-review process for possible publication in the Labor Studies Journal Special Issue.

We welcome papers address issues including but not limited to the following:

* Coalition building between labor, environmental group, and other organizations in reversing climate change
* Organized labor’s effort in protecting workers or/and community from environmental harms
* Unions and workforce development for green jobs
* Unions’ role in creating a sustainable economy
* Unions’ political action in protecting the environment
* Labor and the environment in other countries
* International comparison on labor and the environment

Please send electronic copies of manuscript draft of 5 to 8 pages by December 10, 2009 to one of the guest editors, listed below. Full-length manuscripts are expected at the time of presentation at the conference in March.

Julie Martinez Ortega   
American Rights at Work   

Tracy Chang
University of Alabama at Birmingham

The Labor Studies Journal is the official journal of the United Association for Labor Education ( and is a peer-reviewed journal. It publishes multidisciplinary research on work, workers, labor organizations, and labor studies and worker education in the United States and internationally.



Position Number 5610-0015
Closing Date: August 28, 2009 at 3:30 p.m

Job Description: Under the direction of the Coordinator of Negotiations, the Negotiator acts as chief spokesperson and chair of PSAC negotiating teams for bargaining units in the federal public and private sectors, and in provincial and territorial jurisdictions and represents the PSAC in third party dispute resolution processes such as conciliation, arbitration and mediation, in the context of federal and provincial labour legislation and the PSAC Constitution, regulations and policies. The Negotiator also provides advice and guidance to PSAC collective bargaining committees, elected officers and members on issues related to collective bargaining, including strike strategy and collective agreement interpretation.

A detailed job description is available on our website: or upon request. Closing Date: August 28, 2009 at 3:30 p.m. Please submit your résumé stating how your knowledge, skills and abilities relate to the qualifications of the position by mail to: Human Resources Section, PSAC, 233 Gilmour Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K2P 0P1. By fax: (613) 248-4885, by e-mail:  If you apply by e-mail, do not send a duplicate by fax or regular mail.



1-2 September 2009

Understanding New Brunswick’s present by knowing about its past is the theme of a two-day bilingual conference on public policy and labour history to be held 1-2 September 2009 at the Wu Centre on UNB’s Fredericton campus.
The conference, Informing Public Policy:  Socio-economic and Historical Perspectives on Labour in New Brunswick, brings together researchers and community leaders from all parts of the province and also features keynote speakers from Laval, Harvard and Concordia universities.

Sessions include “ The Crisis in the Forest Industry”, “The Making of Labour Law and Public Policy”, “The Ongoing Crisis in Nursing”, “What Workers Need to Know: A Labour Education” and “L’Acadie at Work: The Survival and Development of Acadian Communities”.

Other highlights of the conference include the official launch of the New Brunswick Museum Nursing History Exhibition, a labour and business documents display by the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, and multimedia and research poster displays by graduate students. 

The conference is a major event associated with “Re-Connecting with the History of Labour in New Brunswick:  Historical Perspectives on Contemporary Issues,” a Community-University Research Alliance (CURA) project supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and led by researchers at the University of New Brunswick and the Université de Moncton. To learn more about the CURA visit

Speakers will present in both English and French, and simultaneous translation is provided.
Register at

For more information contact 453-4599 or email or



Thursday, October 1, 2009

Registration is now open for the 2009 Maytree Leadership Conference on Thursday, October 1, 2009, 12 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at 89 Chestnut Street, Toronto.

Join Toronto’s leaders and explore the universal power of storytelling, the art of creating compelling stories and how to use individual and organizational narratives as powerful tools for change. This year’s theme is Telling Stories; Creating Change. Keynote speaker is John Cruickshank, publisher of the Toronto Star. He’s followed by former Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister, Tim Murphy, in conversation with Deena Ladd of the Workers’ Action Centre, moderated by CBC Radio’s Mary Wiens.

Workshops will include Online Communities and Offline Action, Building Your Public Narrative, Pitching Your Story to the Media and The New Front Page: Telling Your Organization’s Stories Online.

The day will end with a tenth-year celebration of Maytree’s scholarship program along with the release of an anniversary publication telling the students’ stories. The publication will also include policy insights on Canada’s refugee policies and programs.

Click here for full conference program and registration:


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Call for Papers and Panels

A conference at the University of York, UK, 3-5 July 2010, in partnership with the University of Leeds and Manchester Metropolitan University

 Postcolonial Studies is firmly ensconced in the Anglophone metropolitan academy: the field has its own specialised journals, academic posts, postgraduate courses, and dedicated divisions within learned bodies. But how well have these configurations travelled to other locations, institutions and disciplines? What topics, questions and approaches remain unexplored? And what’s ‘theoretical’ about postcolonial theory anyway?

This conference will examine these and related questions through a set of interdisciplinary interventions aimed at assessing not only what postcolonial theory (still) doesn’t say, but also what we would like it to say: in other words, how we might best put the field’s cultural and institutional capital to use. Our intent, therefore, is not to repeat well-rehearsed debates about the field’s various failings, but rather to advance the discussion by identifying common goals and areas of enquiry. In order to promote a sense of coherence among the papers and interventions at the conference, applicants are encouraged to submit panel proposals, though paper proposals are also welcome. Possible subjects include, but are not limited to:

1. Institutional chronologies: the Reagan/Thatcher years and the rise of postcolonial studies.
2. Postcolonial theory as travelling theory: adoptions, adaptations, and critiques beyond the Anglophone metropole.
3. Neglected regions: East Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
4. Postcolonial theory and religion.
5. Postcolonial prospects: assets, liabilities and futures.
6. What’s left in/of postcolonial theory: activism, Marxism and globalisation.
7. What’s wrong with belonging? Rethinking diaspora, transnationalism and cosmopolitanism.
8. Postcolonial theory and the wars of the twenty-first century (Iraq, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe).
9. Postcolonial theory and the aesthetic: form, narrative, ‘Third World aesthetics’, the novel versus newer forms of cultural text (film, comics, graphic novels etc.)
10. Postcolonial contraband: secrets, silence and censorship.

Please send 20-minute paper proposals or panel proposals consisting of three papers, together with a brief bio, to by October 1, 2009.

Questions and queries can be sent to the organizing committee:
Ziad Elmarsafy (; Department of English, University of York
Anna Bernard ( ), Department of English, University of York
David Attwell ( ), Department of English, University of York
Stuart Murray ( , Department of English, University of Leeds
Eleanor Byrne ( , Department of English, Manchester Metropolitan University.

Ziad Elmarsafy
Department of English and Related Literature
University of York
Heslington, YO10 5DD

Tel: 01904 433342
Fax: 01904 433372

‘Postcolonial Text’:

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Call for Proposals:

”The Archive and Everyday Life” Conference
May 7-8, 2010
McMaster University

Confirmed Keynotes: Ann Cvetkovich (An Archive of Feelings: Trauma, Sexuality, and Lesbian Public Cultures), Angela Grauerholz (At Work and Play: A Web Experimentation), Ben Highmore (The Everyday Life Reader; Everyday Life and Cultural Theory), Michael O’Driscoll (The Event of the Archive)

This conference will bring together academics, advocates, artists, and other cultural workers to examine the intersecting fields of archive and everyday life theory. From Simmel through Mass Observation to contemporary Cultural Studies theorists, the objective of everyday life theory has been, as Ben Highmore writes, to “rescue the everyday from conventional habits of the mind…to attempt to register the everyday in all its complexities and contradictions.” Archive theory provides a means to explore these structures by “making the unfamiliar familiar,” hence opening the possibility of generating “new forms of critical practice.” The question of a politics of the archive is critical to the burgeoning field of archive theory. How do we begin to theorize the archive as a political apparatus? Can its effective democratization be measured by the participation of those who engage with both its constitution and its interpretation?

“Archive” is understood to cover a range of objects, from a museum’s collection to a personal photograph album, from a repository of a writer’s papers in a library to an artist’s installation of found objects. Regardless of its content, the archive works to contain, organize, represent, render intelligible, and produce narratives. The archive has often worked to legitimate the rule of those in power and to produce a historical narrative that presents class structure and power relations as both common-sense and inevitable. This function of the archive as a machine that produces History-telling us what is significant, valued, and worth preserving, and what isn’t-is enabled through an understanding of the archive as neutral and objective (and too banal and boring to be political!). The archive has long occupied a privileged space in affirmative culture, and as a result, the archive has been revered from afar and aestheticized, but not understood as a potential object of critical practice.

Can a dialogue between archive theory and everyday life theory work to “take revenge” on the archive (Cvetkovich)? If the archive works to produce historical narratives, can we seize the archive and its attendant collective consciousness as a tool for resistance in countering dominant History with resistant narratives? While the archive has worked to preserve a transcendental, “affirmative” form of culture, bringing everyday life theory into conversation with archive theory opens up the possibility of directing critical attention to both the wonders and drudgeries of the everyday. Archiving the everyday-revealing class structures and oppression on the basis of race and gender, rendering working and living conditions under global capitalism visible, audible, and intelligible-redirects us from our busyness and distractedness, and focuses our attention on that which has not been understood to be deserving of archiving. The archive provides the time and space to think through a collection of objects organized around particular set of interests. If the archive could grant us a space in which to examine everyday life, rather than sweeping it under the carpet as a trivial banality, we could begin to understand our conditions and develop the desire to change them.

How can we envision the archive as a site of ethics and/or politics? Does the archive simply represent a place to amass memory, or can it, following Benjamin, represent a site to make visible a history of the present, thus amassing fragments of the everyday, which can in turn be used to uproot the authority of the past to question the present? In short, what happens when we move beyond the archive as merely a collection and begin to theorize it as a site of constant renewal and struggle within which the past and present can come together? Furthermore, how then does the archive as an everyday practice allow us to understand or change our perception of temporality, memory, and this historical moment?

Areas of inquiry for submissions may include, but are not limited to, the following topics and questions:

* The archive both includes and excludes; it works to preserve while simultaneously doing violence. Are the acts of selection, collection, ordering, systematizing, and cataloguing inherently violent?
* The question of digitization: the internet as digital archive and the digitization of the physical archive. Digitizing the archive renders collections invisible and distant, yet increasingly searchable and quantifiable. Does the digitization of the archive reveal new ways of seeing persistent power structures? Or does it hide them?
* National and colonial archiving: questions of power and national identity. * The utopian, radical potential of the archive as well as its dystopian possibilities.
* Indigenous modes of archiving.
* Visibility and pedagogy: while the archive often works to hide, conceal, and store away, it can also reveal and display that which otherwise remains invisible. Do barriers to access restrict this emancipatory function of the archive?
* Questions of collective memory and nostalgia (for Benjamin, a retreat to a place of comfort through nostalgia is not a political act).
* The archive as revisionist history.
* The archive as a form of surveillance.
* The role of reflexivity with respect to the manner in which the archive is constructed/produced/curated.
* Function of the narrative form for the archive: how does the way in which the archive reveals its own constructedness unravel the concept of the archive as “historical truth”?
* The future of the archive: preservation and collection look forwards as well as into the past. How should we understand the hermeneutic function of the archive and the struggle over its interpretation?
* The relationship between the archive and the archivist/archon.
* Mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion in the archive: who speaks and who is spoken for?
* The affective relationship between the archive and the body.

Following the conference, we intend to publish an edited collection of essays based on the papers presented at the conference to facilitate the circulation of ideas in this exciting field of inquiry.
“The Archive and Everyday Life” Conference will take place 7-8 May, 2010, sponsored by the Department of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario (John Douglas Taylor Fund). The conference format will be diverse, including paper presentations, panels, round-table exchanges, artistic performances, and exhibitions.
We encourage individual and collaborative paper and panel proposals from across the disciplines and from artists and community members. 

Paper Submissions should include (1) contact information; (2) a 300-500 word abstract; and (3) a one page curriculum vitae or a brief bio.

Panel Proposals should include (1) a cover sheet with contact information for chair and each panelist; (2) a one-page rationale explaining the relevance of the panel to the theme of the conference; (3) a 300 word abstract for each proposed paper; and (4) a one page curriculum vitae for each presenter. 

Please submit individual paper proposals or full panel proposals via e-mail attachment by October 15, 2009 to with the subject line “Archive.” Attachments should be in .doc or .rtf formats. Submissions should be one document (i.e. include all required information in one attached document).

Conference organizing committee: Mary O’Connor, Jennifer Pybus, and Sarah Blacker


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Work, work, work

Work, work, work



 Volume 3 No 1 of ‘Work Organisation, Labour and Globalisation’ is now available and is entitled ‘Working at the Interface: call-centre labour in a global economy’

Call centres illustrate the consequences of globalisation for labour perhaps more clearly than any other form of employment. Call-centre workers sit at the interface between the global and the local, having to transcend the limitations of local time zones, cultures and speech patterns. They are also at the interface between companies and their customers, having to absorb the impact of anger, incomprehension, confusion and racist abuse whilst still meeting exacting productivity targets and staying calm and friendly.

Finally, they take the brunt of the conflict at the contested interface between production and consumption, having to deal in their personal lives with the conflicts between the demands of paid and unpaid work. Drawing, amongst others, on organisational theory, sociology, communications studies, industrial relations, economic geography, gender theory and political economy, this important collection brings together survey evidence from around the world with case studies and vivid first-hand accounts of life in call centres from Asia, North and South America, Western and Eastern Europe. In the process it reveals many similarities but also demonstrates that national industrial relations traditions and workers’ ability to negotiate can make a significant difference to the quality of working life in call  centres.

Contributors include:
Ursula Holtgrewe, Jessica Longen, Hannelore Mottweiler, Annika Schönauer, Premilla D’Cruz, Ernesto Noronha, Simone Wolff, Claudia Mazzei Nogueira, Enda Brophy, Norene Pupo, Andrea Noack, Pia Bramming, Ole H. Sørensen, Peter Hasle, Päivi Korvajärvi, Vassil Kirov, Kapka Mircheva, and Ursula Huws.

Available in print and online
Read free taster article online at:

Order in book form from:

For further information go to

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A message from Rich Gibson


Dear Friends

This will be the last update until after Labor Day. This one should hold up for readers until then.

Action Oriented Links:

Please note and try to attend the Freedom in Education Meeting in Fresno this weekend:

Call for Papers, the Rouge Forum News Number 15:

The Rouge Forum Immortalized at Wikipedia:

Deadline For Nominations to the Rouge Forum Steering Committee is September 1.

We recognize with sadness: the doors at Room 101, an incisive radio program on KZUM hosted by Michael Baker, are closed. Mr Baker’s long run on the radio included interviews with key radical and progressive voices in education from Noam Chomsky to Wayne Ross and liberals as well. Congratulations to Michael Baker on a great run. Two, three, many Room 101s!

There are, at the beginning of the school year, 4,516 on our email list. Wish it was more? Send it along. Invite a friend.

Endless War:

Obamagogue Spins War News With the Best of Them:

Holy Cow! The Afghans are Not Helping:

Double Holy Cow! The CIA Threatens and Beats People!

“General Pickett, send more men.” “But, General Lee, I have no more men.”

Warlord Dostum Joins Karzai:

Council on Foreign Relations: Afghanistan is NOT a War of Necessity:

and Oh Yes it Is, It’s The Pipelines, Stupid:

William Calley: Sorry About That:

Mercs Outnumber US Troops in Afghanistan:

Aghanistan’s Rigged Election:

Brother Can You Spare A Dime?

Unemployment Uber Alles:

California Unemployment Hits Post WW2 High:,0,6343107.story

Detroit Unemployment at 28.9%

Nope, But if You Are A Banker, Here is $12.9 Trillion, No Strings, No Kidding. It is Yours. Woo hoo.

Video–Where is that Tarp? What Tarp? What Me Worry? “I have to tell you honestly, I am shocked to find out that nobody at the Federal Reserve, including the Inspector General, is keeping track of [the unaccounted for trillions].”

The Stim is Definitely Working? Forbes:

The Education Agenda is a War Agenda:

Ohanian on Duncan’s Merit Pay Schemes:

The Education Stimulus is a Merity Pay Stimulus:

Ravitch on Obama’s Awful Education Plan:

The State As an Executive Committee and Armed Weapon of the (Corrupt) Rich:

Holy Double Dog Cow: Hillbillary’s and Obamagogues Pals are Crooks:

Notorious Friends of Hillbillary:

John Pilger on Brand Obama:

Yes, We Told Them So: The Demoagogue

It is probably not all that helpful to announce that we told you so, but….Yup, we told many people so.
        The core issue of our time is the rapid rise of color-coded inequality and the emergence of world war met by the potential of a mass, class-conscious resistance.
        These are not “public” schools we see. They are capitalist schools in a society where capitalism trumped whatever vestiges of democracy existed a decade ago. They are segregated schools. That’s not merely the result of bad people doing bad things, exploiting others (though they surely are bad people) but also the consequence of a social system dependant on exploitation—meaning inequality.
        The education agenda is a war agenda. It is a capitalism in crisis agenda, a Regimented National Curriculum agenda, mostly to promote nationalism.
        Such a curriculum necessarily sets up anti-working class and racist high-stakes tests. Both teacher unions, the NEA and AFT, helped design both the national curriculum and the high-takes exams. They are in no position to stop the next step. The professional organization, from NCTE to AHA to NCSS and all in between, proved more than impotent, they too collaborated.
        Those tests necessarily and logically lead to merit pay which already exists in the deep divide in, say, Detroit and suburb pay and benefits.
         Militarization of schooling is part of the war agenda.
        To some degree, privatization and charters are part of the war agenda. Privatization serves some sectors of elites, and others not. Why fully abandon a huge, tax supported, funnel for war, ignorance, and inequality; missions for capitalism and their unwitting, ever so nice, missionaries.
        Restoring hope is part of the agenda, but it is false hope. The future is war, inequality, unemployment, horrible options for youth and it will not change without a mass social movement for equality.
        All of these interconnected attacks on life and reason have already happened, all over the western world.
        Merely opposing any one of these factors, like merit pay, but not the rest just reinforces the entire project. As we see, NEA now dishonestly speaks out about merit pay, but NEA backed the regimented curricula and high stakes exams, sharply attacked people like Susan Ohanian who spoke against them, and dumped the students who suffered most from them.
        Too late for NEA which is merely trying to keep the rubes sending dues money, but there is now nothing much NEA can do. Only direct action strikes, boycotts, etc., can halt the drive to the factors described above.
        NEA has done nothing at all to prepare for that, and is not likely to do so. The union leaders are completely corrupt and their structures don’t unite people. They divide people: city from suburb, students from teachers, teachers from other public workers and private employees—as easily seen in the California Teachers Association’s effort to pass off a tax on poor and working people just months ago, a project that cost dues-payers millions of dollars and failed miserably, convincing the public, again, that educators want to pick their pockets.
        What would be helpful is to wonder about the analytical and critical mistake that led to all that support for Obama, a demagogue.
Several things led to that.
        1. A misunderstanding of capitalist democracy which is now sheer capitalism and little democracy. There was no significant difference between the Bush/Obama/McCain or even Clinton policies. Obama has betrayed, if we take his consistency as a betrayal, nearly all of his liberal supporters who, for what have to be psychological reasons, still support his personification of the reign of capital which has, among other things, failed in every important arena of human life.
        2. A misunderstanding of the gravity of the current situation vis a vis the war of empires. The US is in rapid decline in relationship to Russia China and even Europe and Japan—economically and militarily, and the US has lost any ability to promote itself as a moral nation, internally and externally. This puts extraordinary pressure on elites who need soldiers, Boeing workers, prison guards, and teachers too.
        3. A misreading of the real internal crisis inside the US; the rapid rise of segregation and inequality–which has not, yet, led to civil rebellions. But everything is in place to lay the ground for those uprisings, except a left which can make sense of why things are as they are, and what to do. Lost wars. Collapsed economies. Immoral leaders caught with dozens of hands in a thousand cookie jars, war without reason pulling 1.5 million people into direct action—and the wreckage of their lives. All that should, and more, should mean massive resistance. But that has not happened? Why not? No draft. No left. Spectacles. Divide and Rule. Carrot and stick. The education system.  The same ways tyrants always ruled.
        4. The continuing appeal of racism and nationalism.
        5. Acceptance of the division of labor inside academia which means, for example, historians talk to historians and write books while literacy people talk to literacy people and write books, and few academics seriously organize anything at all, as the state of the campuses (and open willingness of the overwhelming majority of faculty to abandon their academic freedom in favor of standards) now. This also means historians, as in AHA, don’t pay much attention to teaching while too many education personnel don’t know much history.
        6. A general public so mindless about history and social processes that it can rightly be called hysterical, potentially dangerous. Steeped in spectacles and consumerism for more than a decade, so vacant about their location in the world that Chalmers Johnson says they cannot connect cause and effect (as with the endless wars, but in regard to schooling as well). Fickle to the core, they howled for Bush, abandoned him when things went wrong, then another bunch howled for Obama, and now we see a new crowd howling about health care–all leaping for thousands of forms of selfishness that keeps the the war of all on all that is the system of capital alive and well.
        Not recognizing the historical moment, rejecting the real whole of the situation, capitalism in decay everywhere, shatters analytical and strategic capability, meaning many people cannot tell left from right, muddle along looking for someone else to save us when no one but the collective Us is going to save us.
        This, written months before the election and originally published in Workplace, online, is now floating around the net. Those who are not angry and screeding a bit these days may not be witnessing the ravages of war, hunger, unemployment, and unreason itself.
        Yup. We told them so. Big deal. Those who have not made a big mistake in life can be absolved. We are all lambs among wolves. But we do not have to be lambs among wolves if we recognize, and act on, the role of class consciousness.

Good luck to us, every one.

Congratulations to Sharon, Amber and the gang at a wonderful new school. Thanks to Adam, Wayne, Gina, (Good health to Bob), Donna, Erin, Taylor, Jody, That Great Family, Irene and Tom, Della, Emily W, Sherry, Marc, Mary and Paul, Joe L, The Susans (always), Lucita, Marisol, Vincente, Arturo, Allen, Greg, Carrie, Harv, Norm, Frank, Teeyah, Glenn R, Dave (happy wedding), and Candace.


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Youth Unemployment

Youth Unemployment




Youth Fight for Jobs is to have a national demonstration against youth unemployment. Youth Fight for Jobs is supported by the RMT, the PCS and the CWU, and will be calling a national demonstration on 28 November around the slogans “for real jobs – for free education”.

Ben Robinson, Youth Fight for Jobs chair, said “There is absolutely no evidence of this recession ending for young people. Job losses continue to rise, vacancies are still falling, and the unemployment figures continue to rise.”

“What does the government offer? For college students hoping for university places next week, tens of thousands of them will be unable to get in because of Browns penny pinching. For all those in education, there will be over £65 million worth of cuts enforced. Against a background of lowered living standards for the majority, the Westminster consensus is university fees will rise. For young people on the dole, the Future Jobs Fund will be wholly inadequate and is open to exploitation of young people.”

“That is why we are getting organised and fighting back. We are calling a national demonstration on 28 November to bring together young people and trade unionists to call for a real program of job creation, for a decent education system open to all. We are also calling a lobby of Parliament in September to coincide with the next set of unemployment figures.”

“Our members have been down to picket lines supporting the CWU postal workers on strike today, building unity amongst workers and young people to say that we won’t pay for the bosses’ crisis.”

Youth Fight for Jobs was launched through a ‘March for Jobs’ to the G20 meeting in London on 2nd April. Over 600 unemployed youth, young workers, graduates and school leavers marched through four of the poorest boroughs in London before rallying at the G20 meeting. Youth Fight for Jobs is supported by three major trade unions, the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT), the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) and the Communications Workers Union (CWU).

For more information on Youth Fight for Jobs see:

Video of the Youth Fight for Jobs march, Thursday 2nd April, at:

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Money Menace

Money Menace



January 14th to 16th 2010, New York City

The world is changing, there is no going back, and the future from here is difficult to imagine. The daily crisis of life in capitalism has made itself felt in the highest places, and is accelerating everywhere. Our conversations have become more urgent. Some attempt to piece back together the neo-liberal or Keynesian paradigms of the past, while others are hesitantly re-discovering Marx – Marx the theorist of crisis, Marx the prophet of social change, even Marx the materialist philosopher of nature, anticipating the ecological perils of modern capitalism. Yet a thorough grasp of Marx’s work and the tradition he inspired remains largely absent from these discussions. In organizing the first US Historical Materialism conference we hope to remedy this lack, to open a space for critical, rigorous and boundary-pushing theory, to explore and provoke our understanding of capital and communism with a critical eye to the traditions of the past, whilst confronting the crises and struggles unfolding around us.

Historical Materialism (HM) is one the foremost journals of Marxian theory, known both for the breadth of the articles it publishes as well as for their intellectual rigor. Every year HM holds its major conference in London, drawing hundreds of scholars from around the world. Beginning last year, a group in Toronto held the first ever HM conference in North America. Based on the success of that event and the growing demand for critical Marxist understanding of this moment, another Historical Materialism conference, the first in the US, will be held in New York in January, 2010.

The conference will be held from January 14th to 16th at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. It will be free and open to registered attendees, although donations towards the running of the conference will be solicited. All conference participants are encouraged to stay for the whole duration of the conference. The organizers will attempt to arrange panels according to broad threads running through the conference – e.g. crisis, land/labor, communism – allowing for an extended exploration of particular themes. The deadline for abstracts is November 1st 2009.

Further details, see:
Historical Materialism, New York 2010 Organizing Group
Center for the Study of Culture, Technology and Work
Graduate Center
City University of New York
365 5th Ave
New York, NY 10016

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Call for Papers

Autonomism, Class Composition, and Cultural Studies

2010 Cultural Studies Association Conference – Berkeley, CA – March 18th – 20th, 2010

Coordinators: Stevphen Shukaitis (Autonomedia / University of Essex) & Jack Z. Bratich (Rutgers University)

The publication of Hardt and Negri’s Empire (2000) brought new attention to a previously ignored current of revolutionary theory and practice, namely that of autonomist Marxism, or more broadly, autonomism. While the work of Hardt and Negri have receive quite a deal of attention within cultural studies research and writing since then, this have tended to neglect the vast wealth of engaged theoretical reflection contained within the history of autonomist thought and organizing, reducing it to the work of a few recent works by particular authors. For instance, the concept of class composition, or the ways in which class formations emerge from contestation and the primacy and determining role of social resistance, shares much in common with various strains of thought in cultural studies. Similarly, workers’ inquiry as a method of inquiring into the conditions of working class life to rethinking its ongoing subversive political potentiality, functions in similar ways to how early cultural studies shifted to an analysis of the everyday based on renewing and deepening radical politics.

Autonomist political analysis involves something very much like a form of cultural studies, exploring how the grounds for radical politics are constantly shifting in response to how capital and the state utilize social insurgencies and movements against themselves. How do cultural studies and autonomism converge and diverge over matters of power, the state, and subjectivity? The panel will explore the future behind our backs, focusing on how autonomist politics and analysis can inform cultural analysis and vice versa. Possible topics for consideration could include:

– Autonomy through and against enclosures

– Class composition and the creative class

– Immaterial labor and cultural production

– Libidinal parasites and desiring production

– Escape and the imperceptible politics of the undercommons

– The multitude and its dark side

– Affective labor and social reproduction

– Work drawing from/on particular autonomist theorists (Tronti, Virno, Fortunati, etc.)

– Precarity and the autonomy of migration

– Post-hegemonic & post-dialectical interventions

– Schizoanalysis & class formation

– Autonomism and the political


Send proposals of 500 words to Stevphen Shukaitis (

The deadline for submissions is September 7th, 2009.

Stevphen Shukaitis is an editor at Autonomedia and lecturer at the University of Essex. He is the editor (with Erika Biddle and David Graeber) of Constituent Imagination: Militant Investigations // Collective Theorization (AK Press, 2007). His research focuses on the emergence of collective imagination in social movements and the changing compositions of cultural and artistic labor. For more on his work and writing, see

Jack Z. Bratich is assistant professor of Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers University. He is the author of Conspiracy Panics: Political Rationality and Popular Culture (2008) and co-editor of Foucault, Cultural Studies and Governmentality (2003), and has written articles that apply autonomist thought to such topics as audience studies, reality TV, secession, and popular secrecy.

Stevphen Shukaitis: Autonomedia Editorial Collective,,

“Autonomy is not a fixed, essential state. Like gender, autonomy is created through its performance, by doing/becoming; it is a political practice. To become autonomous is to refuse authoritarian and compulsory cultures of separation and hierarchy through embodied practices of welcoming difference… Becoming autonomous is a political position for it thwarts the exclusions of proprietary knowledge and jealous hoarding of resources, and replaces the social and economic hierarchies on which these depend with a politics of skill exchange, welcome, and collaboration. Freely sharing these with others creates a common wealth of knowledge and power that subverts the domination and hegemony of the master’s rule.”  – subRosa Collective

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Yami boat

Yami boat

Vol.9  No.1

June 2009


Research Papers

Becoming a Feminist Teacher: The Sense-making of Feminist Teachers Identities and Practicing, Hsing-Chen Yang (pp.1-40)

Are the Achievements of Mountain Indigenous Students Lower Than Those of Plain Indigenous Ones? The Possible Mechanisms of Academic Achievement Gap among the Indigenous Tribes and the Han Elementary School Students in Taitung,  You-I Wu & Yih-Jyh Hwang (pp.41-89)

Community-based Education in a Taiwan Aboriginal Complete School, Kuan-Ting Tang & Shou-Yen Tseng (pp.91-134)

Examining the Core Ideas Practiced in Taiwan’s Community Universities, Te-Yung Chang (pp.135-174)

Taiwan Association for the Sociology of Education Website:

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Crisis Theory

Crisis Theory



Call for Papers

A Special Issue of tripleC ( Information and Communication Technologies and the Current Crisis: How Are They Connected?

The Crisis that began in 2007 continues to convulse the world. Labelled by some as merely a recession, yet it is associated with dramatic changes in national and global power. Others frame the Crisis as merely a consequence of over-promoting a narrow range of financial transactions associated with subprime mortgage instruments. These were indeed overly aggressively oversold by deregulated bankers, but this was likely only an important trigger of the Crisis, not the primary cause.

In this special issue, we will explore the notion that much of the basis of the Crisis should be assigned to financial transactions not just made possible but also strongly afforded by use of computer technologies. Thus, those operating at the highest levels of algorithmic capacity bear substantial responsibility for the Crisis.

For students of technological innovation and diffusion, many questions emerge about the connection between the Crisis in general and computerization. Some of the questions involve the tight relationship between cultures of technological empowerment and financial elites. Others questions, while appearing initially to be purely economic, turn out on examination to articulate strongly with the public interest, civil society, policymaking, and public discourse more generally.

These in turn lead to further, perhaps quite new critical questions about the emerging relationships between capitalism, democracy and the data-information-knowledge-technology nexus. Thus, equally important for responsibility is specification of what is known within computer science about the technological dimensions of the Crisis of this crisis. Ultimately, a rethinking of the very notion of “crisis” itself may be needed.

Some specific questions authors may choose to address include:

* What kind of crisis is this, how is it different from previous ones, how are these differences related to automated ICTs and the changed practices they have afforded?

* What role do computer professionals have in the crisis?

* Does this crisis suggest a dystopian post-human future?

* What media theories best explain the crisis, or has the time arrived for newly radical approaches in this area?

* How does public policy fit in the private world of computerization?

* What historical guides are available as tools to foster better analyses of technological crisis?

* Will the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China) be the “winners” of this crisis?

* Are there artistic innovations that help refine political and policy responses to this crisis?

* What new knowledge innovations are needed to understand the forces at work in this crisis and its implications for democracy?

* What new questions need to be addressed to orientate research about the crisis?

* How are the computing-, information-, and media-industries affected by this crisis? How will they develop in the future?

This special issue of tripleC is intended to feature research from both theoretical and practical perspectives. We seek contributions from any theoretical, professional, or disciplinary perspective that offers innovative analysis that promotes debate about technology and the Crisis.

Submission deadline: Full papers should be submitted until October 31st, 2009. All papers will be peer reviewed. The special issue will be published in spring 2010. 

tripleC – Cognition, Communication, Co-operation: Open Access Journal for a Global Sustainable Information Society ( promotes contributions within an emerging science of the information age with a special interest in critical studies following the highest standards of peer review.

Submissions must be formatted according to tripleC’s guidelines:, make use of APA style, and use the style template: Papers should be submitted online by making use of the electronic submission system:, When submitting to the electronic system, please select “Special issue on crisis & communication” as the journal’s section.

ISSUE CO-EDITORS: David Hakken ( and Marcus Breen (

David Hakken is professor of informatics at Indiana University. Marcus Breen is associate professor of communication studies at Northeastern University.

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