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A World To Win

THE EDUCATION AGENDA IS A WAR AGENDA

The NEA Representative Assembly Proves the Education Agenda is a War Agenda
by Rich Gibson, July 20101

Rank and File Summary

The 2010 Representative Assembly (RA) of the 3.2 million member National Education Association offers clear proof that the U.S. education agenda is a war agenda. It is an empire’s war agenda and a class war agenda. NEA demonstrated that its massive leadership structure of 8,174 delegates approves of the U.S. education agenda and expects to be paid for it. Top NEA leaders will be paid especially well. NEA President Dennis Van Roekel will be paid more than $450,000 (less than his predecessor, Reg Weaver, who was paid $686,949 for his last year of service).

Lesser NEA officers and delegate leaders are willing to exchange support for American wars in trade for jobs and income.

The NEA RA slogan, “Hope into Action,” really means, again, “Hope into Hype.”

Given that schools are centripetally positioned in North American life, especially considering decades of de-industrialization, teachers are well positioned to struggle for equality and social justice but their largest organization, NEA, and its leaders, determined to drive that potential into the electoral arena, into voting booths, where capital’s favorite question, “What about ME?” dominates every decision- a dead end useful to labor mis-leaders as it:

* keeps the rank and file busy,

* appeals to illusions about democracy in a nation where capitalism tramples pluralism,

* and creates the appearance of powerful action in place of organizing in schools and communities for direct action, strikes, that could lead to sustainable control: real power.

The massive NEA, the largest union in the country, by far, has a budget of $357,993,880, and is going to devote its efforts to continue to support what has rapidly become a corporate state. That budget is a big win for NEA tops who exchange their control over the rank and file, thus labor peace, for dues income offered in the form of check-off operated by employers.

This Devil’s deal provides a very good life for a few. It will lead to more layoffs, wage and benefit cuts, less academic freedom, and the continued organized decay of what passes for “public education,” but is in reality segregated Race to the Top-run mis-education preparing most youths for endless war and bad jobs, or no jobs.

In 2009, the San Diego RA glowed with photos and videos of Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Indeed, Van Roekel hugged Duncan, as I reported in Substance News. There was no reminder this year of Obama Chief of Staff Emanuel’s comment about why schools exist: “They’re conveyor belts for the economy.”

This year, NEA, which poured millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of dollars into the demagogue’s campaign, erased Obama’s and Duncan faces and, dodging direct personal attacks proposed by delegates, criticized only their polices. Specifically, Van Roekel dragged out the old liberal saw:

“If we are not the activists in politics, we will be the victims of politics,” Van Roekel warned the delegates. “ We simply cannot sit it out. There is too much at stake!” Van Roekel remains proud that the White House still lets him in. Nevertheless, Van Roekel had to acknowledge a growing movement opposed to the blind canyon of electoral work, demanding organizing for substantive, to-the-root, change.

NEA competes on par with US corporations in campaign funding. The union, or “professional association,” as many prefer, raised $1,552, 585 so far in 2010. We’re but six months in.

Van Roekel’s  threat to those who created the NCLB-in-hyper-speed Race to the Top (Ratt), meaning the Obama/Duncan team? Send a post card, in fact, a lot of postcards! Power! Hope! Action?

The most glaring example of the NEA bosses’ dedication to an education program devoted to war was their determination to crush Legislative Amendment.13. The text which has been deleted from the NEA RA web site reads:

“NEA opposes any war funding bill designed to continue our military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq even if it has riders with educational components. The Rationale: The best way to fund our schools and employ our teachers is to end our wars and direct that funding to education. Submitted by Tom Wolfe, Iowa, and 50 delegates.”

That motion was defeated, overwhelmingly.

NEA offered its authoritative director of governmental relations to make the opposing case: “If this passes, we would oppose saving members’ jobs.”

NEA delegates shut down debate about every anti-war motion, and defeated several, but for one which suggests a withdrawal with no specific target date: essentially weaker than the lie Obama presents about July, 2011.

NEA rejected a call for a Day of Strikes and Action on October 7th , the call from the March 4th committees, ad hoc groups that shut down thousands of schools that day in 2010, involved hundreds of thousands of new activists with a critique of capital and war that offers a glimmer of hope.

While there were clear indications of rising dissent in the union, as with the need to hide the memory of Van Roekel hugging Arne Duncan, NEA delegates, chose to severely limit debate about war and inequality. However, they did spent a notable 24 minutes debating whether to adopt the term, “staph,” or “staphylococcus,” in one motion.

The power of the chair, the ability to control NEA employees, and dangle jobs or promotions before delegates, worked well to divert attention to trivia while what can only be called fascism evolved within and without the convention hall. An organization with a culture more than 150 years deep finds old habits hard to upend.

NEA mis-leaders repeatedly urged delegates to “focus,” meaning, take on a cycloptic view that isolates schools from society and, at base, look out for yourself, be one of those thousands of forms of selfishness that keeps capital afloat. Their “focus” seeks to freeze images of emerging change and disconnect the ties of war, exploitation, requisite assaults on reason to produce obedience and loyal subjects, and schooling.

The core issue of our time is the real promise of perpetual war coupled with rising, color-coded, inequality met by the potential of mass, class-conscious resistance which will, clearly now, have to fight its way through a union bureaucracy willing to use money, deception, illusions, and force, in order to defend the system of capital, its wars, and now, demolition of the earth itself.

Tomorrow and in coming days in Substance, a detailed, day-to-day, analysis of the RA, NEA culture, and thoughts for future NEA activists and delegates.

The RA adjourned July 6th, at 7:28 on my watch. See you in Chicago for the 2011 RA. And good luck to us, every one.

Rich Gibson

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon at MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic

F.W. Taylor

LEARNING OUTCOMES: THE ABSURD BECOMES LOGICAL

This is the title of a topical and important new paper by John J. Crocitti, Professor of History, San Diego Mesa College which is now available at The Flow of Ideas web site.

As Professor Crocitti notes:

“Ultimately, the drive towards SLO [Student Learning Outcomes] constitutes an effort by politicians, business people, opportunist professors and bureaucrats to deskill and control academic labor in the manner that management applied Taylorism to industrial labor during the early twentieth century”

The article can be viewed at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=contributions&sub=Learning%20Outcomes

Glenn Rikowski

THE ROUGE FORUM – UPDATE 14 JULY 2009

A message from Rich Gibson

Dear Friends

Below is a call for nominations for the Rouge Forum Steering Committee from Community Coordinator Adam Renner–and below that more resources on the system of capital versus education, including analyses of the National Education Association Representative Assembly.

The Rouge Forum is a group of educators, students, and parents seeking a democratic society. We are concerned with questions like: How can we teach against racism, nationalism and sexism in an increasingly authoritarian and undemocratic society? How can we gain enough real power to keep our ideals AND teach? Whose interests do schools serve in a society that is ever more unequal? We want to learn about equality, democracy and social justice as we simultaneously struggle to bring those into practice.
 
Needless to say, work toward these goals in the spirit of justice, demands organization.  The Rouge Forum is now more than 10 years old. Over the first decade of its existence, members have built an international network of around 4500 professors, teachers, students, artists, and other social service workers.  We have engaged in actions, put on conferences, written papers, and built the capacity of our community.  We have done these things with no attachment to any hierarchy or any official organizing strategies.  Wanting to keep the horizontal nature of such a network while also desiring to better coordinate our actions, the RF is currently accepting nominations for the 09-10 Steering Committee.
 
Members of the Steering Committee will be expected to actively promote the 2010 conference and attend where possible, help develop and actively participate in Regional RF Chapters, attend the Fall Steering Committee retreat, promote the RF at other conferences, seek out like-minded people and organizations to link the RF with, provide essays for the Rouge Forum News where possible, and build the capacity of our community by support of its members.Please send your nomination to Adam Renner at arenner@bellarmine.edu by August 15, 2009On the Education for Liberation Front:  

In particular this steering committee will be crucial toward the formation of Regional Chapters, mentioned in the list above.  We would like to see regular meetings of the regional chapters and work toward some type of coordinated action (e.g., a one day freedom school, a teach-in, a one-day retreat for teachers, an evening panel/speaker on a coordinated topic, a protest action, etc. as a lead up to the 2010 conference and as a preview of more focused, coordinated, and regular actions in the future). Perhaps in organizing more locally/regionally, we can spend more time face to face, as well as enacting nation/world – wide coordinated actions.

 

 

Two great, censored, photos of Arne Duncan, teaching: http://susanohanian.org/show_nclb_cartoons.html?id=601

Detroit Schools May File Bankruptcy, Could Void Contracts–Using the GM Model:
http://www.freep.com/article/20090709/NEWS01/90709050/Bankruptcy-considered-for-DPS
If a bankruptcy judge allows this unprecedented school bankruptcy, it could mean wages slashed in half, pensions and health benefits gutted. If it happens in Detroit, it sets the stage for many others.

Substance News on the Wrap-up of the National Education Association Conference:
http://www.substancenews.net/

Vote: Should 11,000 CSU Faculty (all of them signed a loyalty oath) take a 10% Pay Cut? The Union Bosses don’t know. “NOTE: The CFA Board did not take a position on how members should vote.” http://www.calfac.org/furloughvoteinfo.html

The State of US Unionism:

Union Hacks Slug it Out–Solidarity Forever: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/09/business/09labor.html?em
but nothing will stop them from uniting for a free lunch with The Obmagogue:
http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/07/union-leaders-to-meet-with-obama-next-week/?scp=1&sq=van%20roekel%20obama%20stern&st=cseThe International Scene:

Mediations, a left journal from South Africa, with many fascinating critiques:
http://www.mediationsjournal.org/

 

Parenti on Obama and the coup in Honduras which sparked a nation-wide school strike:
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/07/08-3

Obamagogue (of  the AIG, Madoff, Enron,  Martha Stewart, etc, USA) lectures Africans on Corruption:
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-obama-africa12-2009jul12,0,7755225.storyStiglitz on Auditing the $3 Trillion Wars: http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2009/07/auditing_the_iraq_war_and_its.html
Thanks to Amber, Brian, George and Sharon, Susan O and H, Joe, Mark, Jesus, Donna, Candace, Lance, Sheri, Ken, Barb, Matthew, Bill, Jane W and friends, Mike L and A, Perry, Kathryn, TC, Tony H, Hilda, Marisol, Brit, Della, and Bill.

 

Good luck to us, every one.

Rich Gibson

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

THE ROUGE FORUM – UPDATE 6th JULY 2009

A message from Rich Gibson

Dear Friends 
 
The Rouge Forum No Blood For Oil (with those good-for-the-rest of your life posters on sale!) is updated at: http://www.richgibson.com/rouge_forum/ 
 
On the Madness and Boredom Front: 
Substance News is carrying reports from the National Education Association’s Representative Assembly, running through Monday, here: http://www.substancenews.net/ 
 
On the Educational Miracles Front: 
Substance has exposed the Chicago Miracle, the reason Arne Duncan holds his position as Ed Boss, for years. However, here is another expose, from an unexpected source: http://www.chicagobusiness.com/downloads/CPS.pdf 
 
On the What Do You Mean We Had Something to Do With that Coup and What Do We Know About the School of the Americas Front: http://www.soaw.org/ 
 
On the Everyone Can Make it in America Front, the Jobless Rate Hits a 26 Year High: 
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/jul/02/us-unemployment-june-467000 
 
On the Someone is Actually Doing Something About all of This Front: The San Francisco Freedom School is open for summer: http://educationanddemocracy.org/SFFS/2009program.html 
 
Russian Students are Resisting: http://www.rferl.org/content/Russias_New_Standardized_Exams_Fail_The_Public_Test/1761799.html  
You can do something too. There is one organization in North America, rooted in education, that connects the wars, unemployment, de-industrialization, class struggle, and the crises in schools: The Rouge Forum. Next week we will circulate a call for nominees for this year’s Rouge Forum Steering Committee. We urge you to join us. Please spread the word. 
 
Thanks to all the courageous delegates at the NEA RA who spoke to me and gave me so much information. You’ll see it in print in the coming days. If you are still at the RA and we have not met, please email me asap, or we can talk when you get home. 
 
Thanks too to Amber, Wayne, Adam, Bob, Colleen, Tammy, Christina, Katie and Greg, Bill, Joe, Sally, Sue, Donna, Kathy Y and E, Gil, Tony, Jill, Eric, Marcie, Isabella, Victoria, Donnie, Tally, Shawndre, Teeyah, Pete, and Doug. 
 
Good luck to us, every one. 
Rich Gibson

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com