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Blair's Educational Legacy

BLAIR’S EDUCATIONAL LEGACY: THIRTEEN YEARS OF NEW LABOUR

Edited by Anthony Green

Palgrave Macmillan (December 2010)

ISBN: 978-0-230-62176-3, ISBN10: 0-230-62176-7, 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches, 244 pages

Providing an overview and Marxist assessment of Tony Blair and New Labour’sU.K.education policies, structures, and processes, the contributors in this exciting new collection discuss specific aspects of education policy and practices. This examination is set against the changing political and economic contexts of the British state’s responses to global and neo-liberal pressures.

Central themes include: New Labour and the education market state; New Labour, education, and ideology; and totality and open Marxism. 

Green’s work marks a timely contribution to Marxist analysis and Left critical assessment and is the first such collection addressing New Labour education policy.

Anthony Green is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Educational Foundations and Policy Studies at the Institute of Education, University of London. He co-convenes Marxism and Education Renewing Dialogues (MERD), and is Series Editor for the Palgrave Macmillan Marxism and Education Series.

CONTENTS:

Introduction: Anthony Green * All the Wrong Answers: Labour’s Corporate-Centred Education Initiatives–Kevin Farnsworth * The Knowledge-based Economy and the Transformation of Higher Education: Issues concerning enclosing and protecting the intellectual commons–Molly Bellamy * The Professional Imagination: Further Education Professionalism in and beyond a Neo-liberal Context–Denis Gleeson * The Privatisation of Education Phase II: Perspectives on state schools the private sector and ten years of a Labour government–Thakir Hafid * Management and Governance of the School System–Richard Hatcher * City: Academies, Alienation, Economism and Contending Forces for Change–Philip Woods * Curriculum Change in the Blair Years–Terry Wrigley * Education still make you sick under Gordon Brown, Innit?–Martin Allen & Patrick Ainley * Ten Years of Education Policy and ‘Race’ Inequality: Whiteness or Neo-liberal Practice?–Alpesh Maisuria * Gendered Practices in Education–Rosalyn George & John Wadsworth

Blair’s Educational Legacy (at Palgrave Macmillan): http://us.macmillan.com/blairseducationallegacy

Palgrave Macmillan Marxism and Education Series: http://www.palgrave.com/products/series.aspx?s=ME

Blair’s Educational Legacy (at Amazon.co.uk): http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blairs-Educational-Legacy-Thirteen-Education/dp/0230621767/ref=sr_1_13?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1304672910&sr=1-13

Blair’s Educational Legacy (at Amazon.com): http://www.amazon.com/Blairs-Educational-Legacy-Thirteen-Education/dp/0230621767/ref=sr_1_10?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1304673063&sr=1-10

‘I Read Some Marx (And I Liked It)’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=wyqJ9wxZ9L0 

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'Having a great time here in Iraq!'

TONY BLAIR: THE NIGHTMARE WE DID SEE COMING

STOP THE WAR COALITION  
Newsletter No.1168  
02 September 2010  
Email office@stopwar.org.uk Tel: 020 7801 2768  
Web: http://stopwar.org.uk   
Twitter: http://twitter.com/STWuk

IN THIS NEWSLETTER:  
1) TONY BLAIR: THE NIGHTMARE WE DID SEE COMING  
2) MORE SIGNS OF “PROGRESS” IN AFGHANISTAN  
3) LETTER TO MPs FROM MILITARY FAMILIES  
4) OBAMA’S FAKE END TO THE IRAQ WAR  
5) ARTIST SIGNED PRINT OF ICONIC BLAIR PICTURE  
6) NEW NATIONAL MEMBERS HELP RAISE URGENT FUNDS

*************************************  
1) TONY BLAIR: THE NIGHTMARE WE DID SEE COMING

Tony Blair says in his memoirs that Iraq was the nightmare he did not see coming. The majority of people in Britain had no difficulty in seeing that the nightmare we faced was not Iraq, but Tony Blair and his war policies.

Blair’s legacy will be that of a war criminal who waged an illegal war which killed hundreds of thousands and left Iraq in pieces, and who when he left office exploited his crimes to accumulate wealth soon expected to top £60 million.

We will not forget Blair’s crimes or the victims, whether Iraqi civilians or British soldiers, and we will continue to campaign for his indictment for the violation of countless international laws.

Which is why on Wednesday 8 September Stop the War will hold a protest outside Waterstone’s bookshop in London’s Piccadilly, when Blair will be doing a book-signing.

Tony Blair is not like any other author promoting a new book, but a war criminal who should be behind bars awaiting trial.

* EMAIL WATERSTONE’S NOW USING OUR E-LOBBY TOOL  
It takes a couple of minutes using our model letter to send an instant message to Waterstone’s urging them to cancel Tony Blair’s book-signing.  
GOTO: http://bit.ly/93tbfF

* JOIN THE PROTEST AT WATERSTONE’S ON 8 SEPTEMBER  
If Blair’s book-signing is not being cancelled,  Stop the War will organise a protest at 12.30pm outside Waterstone’s in Piccadilly, London. Please join us, if you can.

SEE NO BOOK-SIGNING FOR TONY BLAIR: http://bit.ly/bGC6W2

*************************************  
2) MORE SIGNS OF “PROGRESS” IN AFGHANISTAN

Parliament will debate the war in Afghanistan next week against the background of claims by the politicians and military waging war that the invading armies are “making progress”.

Twenty-one US soldiers were killed over last weekend — adding to the number killed this year, which is fast approaching the total for the whole of 2009. This exposes the reality in Afghanistan, as do the continually rising numbers of Afghan civilians being killed at a higher rate than in any previous year of the war.

Stop the War has organised a public meeting in the House of Commons the day before MPs debate the Afghan war. The title will be Afghanistan: Time To Go, and the speakers will include MPs Caroline Lucas, Jeremy Corbyn and Paul Flynn, who will be joined by Joan Humphries, from Military Families Against the War, whose grandson was killed in Afghanistan.

The meeting is part of the campaign mobilising support for the Afghanistan: Time To Go national demonstration in London on 20 November.

PUBLIC MEETING: 08 SEPTEMBER 7.00PM  
AFGHANISTAN: TIME TO GO  
HOUSE OF COMMONS, LONDON  
RIGHT SIDE ENTRANCE  (Ask for Stop the War meeting)

*************************************  
3) LETTER TO MPs FROM MILITARY FAMILIES

A group of military families have come together to produce a letter to MPs in the run up to next week’s debate and vote on Afghanistan in Parliament.

The letter calls for the troops to come home, and ends by saying:

“Politicians who send and keep the British Military in Afghanistan should take heed of the majority of the population  
who want the troops home, remembering that they are elected as our servants not our masters. This pointless waste of life must end now before too many more suffer.” (SEE LETTER HERE: http://tinyurl.com/35zhv39)

The families are asking others who have military connections to add their names to the letter. If you are in contact with military families who have relatives serving in Afghanistan, or about to be deployed there, please bring this letter to their attention.

DOWNLOAD LETTER FOR PRINTING HERE: http://tinyurl.com/35zhv39

Any members of military families who would like further information, can contact Joan Humphries, whose grandson was killed in Afghanistan: Tel 07859 168 440, Email joanhumphreys2001@yahoo.co.uk

*************************************  
4) OBAMA’S FAKE END TO THE IRAQ WAR

Barack Obama’s speech this week announcing that the Iraq War is over is, as Robert Fisk says, just “tomfoolery”: SEE  
http://bit.ly/cQPjXT  

The Americans are not leaving, the occupation is not over and the fighting continues. And as Hadani Ditmars reports in her article, Iraq in Pieces, the legacy of the illegal war is a nightmare for the Iraqi people, SEE  http://bit.ly/aBJVe2

*************************************  
5) ARTIST SIGNED PRINT OF ICONIC BLAIR PICTURE

Artists Peter Kennard and Cat Phillips have made available to Stop the War 100 signed copies of their iconic picture of Tony Blair photographing himself with his mobile phone against a backdrop of Iraq in flames. SEE PRINT HERE: http://bit.ly/dBYeit

These limited edition 51cm x 51cm prints are available to Stop the War supporters, on a strict first come first served basis, at a cost of £10 plus £2.50 postage, from the national office: Tel: 020 7801 2768

Demand is likely to be very high for signed prints of this now legendary image, so if you would like one, it is advisable to apply immediately.

*************************************  
6) NEW NATIONAL MEMBERS HELP RAISE URGENT FUNDS

We have had a tremendous response to our appeal in our last newsletter for supporters of Stop the War to become national members, as one of the best ways to help fund our activities.

We are still in urgent need of raising funds for the events we have planned for the coming months, not least the national demonstration on 20 November.

If you have not yet contributed and would like to support our fund raising drive, by becoming a national member or by making a donation, you can do so in three ways:

* ONLINE: http://bit.ly/11eQoy   
* BY PHONE: 020 7801 2768  
* BY CHEQUE: Payable to “Stop the War Coalition”, send to: 231 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London SW1V 1EH

*************************************

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David Cameron

‘THE MEANING OF DAVID CAMERON’ – WITH RICHARD SEYMOUR

Wednesday, 26 May 2010
Time: 19:00 – 21:00
Location: Housmans Bookshop
Street: 5 Caledonian Road, Kings Cross
Town/City: London, United Kingdom

Description:
Richard Seymour, blogger of ‘Lenin’s Tomb’ fame, and author of ‘The Liberal Defence of Murder’ will be in store discussing his latest publication, ‘The Meaning of David Cameron’.

The Tories are posing as a ‘progressive’ and ‘radical’ alternative to New Labour. Drawing from George W Bush’s ‘compassionate conservatism’, they maintain that the ‘Big Society’ can do what ‘Big Government’ cannot – produce a cohesive, mutually supportive, happy society. Cameron’s court intellectual, Philip Blond, maintains that this if David Cameron’, which is a viable alternative to the failures of the egalitarian left and the excessively pro-market right. But is this more than campaign mood music? And are the conservative traditions that they draw on – from the bucolic, pseudo-medievalism of G K Chesterton to the anti-statism of Friedrich Hayek – really a bulwark of progress and radicalism?

Richard Seymour argues that such ideas can only seem ‘progressive’ in light of New Labour’s acquiescence to Thatcherism. To understand the Cameronites, it is necessary to understand how the social landscape and corresponding political language was transformed by the collapse of post-war social democracy and its more radical competitors. To resist the Cameronites, he argues, it is necessary to attack the neoliberal consensus on which all major parties found their programme.

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Dave Hill

STATEMENT AND EDUCATION POLICY MANIFESTO – BY DAVE HILL

Statement and Education Policy Manifesto by Dave Hill

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition Parliamentary Candidate for Brighton Kemptown

Details at: http://www.brightontusc.blogspot.com

I have spent my lifetime as a teacher in ‘challenging’ primary and secondary schools, in teacher ‘training’ and in universities trying to tackle inequalities in schooling: inequalities that result in millions of working class children having far less educational opportunities – and subsequently, usually lower paid jobs – than the children of richer parents; especially the 7% who go to private schools – and snap up most of the highest paid, elite, jobs.

The very choice of what and how it should be taught, how and what schooling should be organised, how it should be funded, and where and how the funding should be targeted, and a consideration of ‘who wins and who loses’ through all of the above, are all intensely political. And we want that politics to be in the interests of the millions not the millionaires!

I come from a working class family brought up in some poverty: for example on free School Meals (like a million others!) in St. Martins’ St., off the Lewes Rd., Brighton. I went to Westlain Grammar School, my brothers to under-funded secondary modern schools, such as Queens Park and Moulscoomb. Three times as much was spent on the education of grammar school students than on Secondary Modern students! My children went to local state schools. The inequalities I have witnessed – and lived – as a child, as a teacher and socialist political activist, have led me to spending my life fighting for greater equality in education and society, and against racism, sexism and against homophobia.

What an indictment of our divisive education system that students from private schools are 25 times more likely to get to one of the top British universities than those who come from a lower social class or live in a poor area! And that (in 2008) only 35% of pupils eligible for free school meals obtained five or more A* to C GCSE grades; compared with 63% of pupils from wealthier backgrounds.  This stark education inequality mirrors that in our grossly unequal society.

It is incredible, actually it is only too believable, in Britain today, that the richest section of society has 17 years of healthy life more than the least well-off in society. The minimum wage should be raised by 50%. How can people – decent hard working people like some in my own family, live on take-home pay of less than £200 a week! And there should be a maximum wage, too! Nobody, banker, boss, or buy-out bully, should be on more than £250,000 a year. This figure should reduce progressively so that within 10 years no-one is taking more than four times the average wage, nobody should be creaming off £27 million or £67 million a year for example! Certainly not when there are 4 million children living in poverty! I was once one of them. I was helped by the welfare state. We need our public services.  We need to improve them, not cut them; not attack them.

All three parties, New Labour, Lib Dem, and Tory, dance to the music of big business. All are promising cuts. Whatever they say, those cuts will hit schools, children, and the quality of education in our state schools. Already we are seeing staff cuts and course closures in universities up and down the country. In Brighton, for example, both Brighton and Sussex Universities are promising to cut out the nurseries, and Sussex to chop over 100 jobs. Brighton University is proposing to cut its Adult Ed art courses. Vandalism! Cutting popular and widely used public services!

And don’t believe cuts are necessary. They’re not! Cutting the Trident nuclear submarine replacement programme, bringing troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq, stopping the Identity Card programme, and collecting even some even of the £120 billion in taxes unpaid by the rich… yes, £120 billion!…would mean cuts are not necessary at all!

But you won’t hear that from the other parties, just from Socialists, like the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, and from Respect.

A Socialist Manifesto for Education is:

[1] Cut class sizes (they are currently some of the largest in the rich world- much larger than in private schools for example). According to OECD research Britain is 23rd out of 30 developed countries in terms of large class size. Other countries such as Finland have a maximum class size of 20. Finland is widely seen as providing an extremely high quality of education. For a maximum class size of 20 by 2020 in both primary and secondary schools!

[2] Abolish league tables and abolish SATS (some external testing is necessary, but SATS so very often restricts teaching to ‘teaching to the test’, and results in undue stress (and an increase in bedwetting, compared to the pre-SATS era, for example).

[3] Restore local democratic control of ‘Academies’. They should be run by the democratically elected local councils, and keep to national pay and conditions agreements. Why should rich businessmen and women take control of any of our schools? Let’s keep the added investment- but it’s the government that pays for that added investment anyhow! Let’s keep and enhance the added investment, but distribute it fairly between all schools. Our schools and the children in them are not for sale! Nor, through uneven funding for different types of school (e.g. Academies) should some schools be set up for success at the expense of others being set up (and under-funded) for relative failure.

[4] Private profiteering out of our schools! Bring the education services hived off to private profiteers back into either national or local private ownership! These include Ofsted, Student grants, school meals, cleaning and caretaking.

[5] Free, nutritious, balanced school meals for every child to combat poor diets, obesity, and… yes… for some children… hunger!

[6] Restore free adult education classes in pastime and leisure studies as well as in vocational training/ studies

[7] Restore free, state-funded residential centres and Youth Centres/Youth clubs for our children so they can widen their experiences of life in safe circumstances and enhance their education beyond the confines of the home or city.

[8] For a fully Comprehensive Secondary School system; so that each school has a broad social class mix and mix of ability and attainment levels. 

[9] For the integration of Private schools into the state education system – so that the goodies of the private school system are shared amongst all pupils/ students. All schools to be under democratic locally elected local council control. No to Private Schools. No to religious groups running schools. No to big business / private capital running our schools and children! 

[10] Free up the curriculum so there can be more creativity and cross-subject/ disciplinary work.

[11] Get Ofsted and their flawed tick-box system off the back of teachers. The results of Ofsted are to penalise even the best schools (outstanding in every aspect- other than in SATS attainments) in the poorest areas.

[12] Encourage Critical Thinking across the curriculum. Teach children not ‘what to think’, but ‘how to think’: including how to think critically about the media and politicians.

[13] Teach in schools for ecological literacy and a readiness to act for environmental justice as well as economic and social justice. Encourage children to ‘reach for the stars’ – and to work for a society that lets that happen – a fairer society with much more equal chances, pay packets and power, and about environmental and sustainability issues.  

[14] Proper recognition of all school workers, and no compulsory redundancies. For teachers, secretarial and support staff, teaching assistants, school meals supervisory assistants, caretaking staff, there should be workplace democratic regular school forums in every school. Regarding jobs (for example the threatened job cuts at Sussex University – and the ‘inevitable’ job cuts in every? school after the election – and no compulsory redundancies – any restructuring to be conditional on agreement with the trade unions.

[15] Setting up of school councils – to encourage democratic understanding, citizenship, social responsibility, and a welcoming and valuing of ‘student/pupil voice’.

[16] Ensuring that schools are anti-racist, anti-sexist and anti-homophobic – making sure schools encourage equality, welcoming different home and group cultures. As part of this, anti-bullying practices in every school must be fully implemented, to combat bullying of all sorts, including racism, sexism, homophobia, and bullying based on disabilities. And this should be not just in anti-bullying policies, but also be part of the curriculum too!

[17] An honest sex education curriculum in schools that teaches children not just ‘when to say no’, but also when to say ‘yes’; a programme that is focused on positives and pleasure and personal worth, not on stigmatising sex and sexualities.

[18] No to ‘Faith Schools’ and get organised religion out of schools. If Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Zoroastrians, or whichever religion wishes to teach religion, let them do it in their own time, places of worship (Saturday/Sunday schools) or in their supplementary or complementary schools. Teach ethics and spirituality by all means, and teach about religions. But no brainwashing. Teach a critical approach to religions.

[19] Broaden teacher education and training so that the negative effects of the ‘technicisation and de-theorising’ of teacher training (that were the result of the 1992/1993 Conservative re-organisation of what was then called teacher education- subsequently retitled teacher training). Bring back the study and awareness of the social and political and psychological contexts of teaching, including an understanding of and commitment to challenge and overturn racism, sexism, homophobia and other forms of underexpectation and discrimination – such as discrimination against working class pupils.

[20] A good, local school for every child. No school closures! “Surplus places” should actually mean lower class sizes! And increased community use of school facilities.

[21] A completely fully funded, publicly owned and democratic education system from pre-school right through to university. Education is a right not a commodity to be bought and sold. So: no fees, like in Scandinavia, Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, where education up to PhD level is free. No to university or further education/vocational training fees! And bring in a living grant for students from less well-off backgrounds/ income.

In my jobs, firstly as a teacher, and now as a Professor of Education (and writer/editor of 17 books on education and equality) I have been round hundreds of schools. Many of them are brilliant. Schools in the poorest areas, schools in better off areas! Brilliant. But, with better funding, smaller class sizes, an end to the destructive competition between schools (if every school is a good local school) and with more professional judgement being allowed for teachers- then I look forward to a time when all state schools match the class sizes and results of the currently more lavishly funded private schools’. And working class kids – black, brown, white – get the fair deal currently trumpeted – but in actuality denied – by all three major parties.  

Professor Dave Hill, The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) parliamentary candidate for Brighton Kemptown

Professor Dave Hill teaches at Middlesex University and is Visiting Professor of Critical Education Policy and Equality Studies at the University of Limerick, Ireland.

The Brighton Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition blogspot is at: http://www.brightontusc.blogspot.com

Dave’s Wiki and Publications are at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_Hill_(professor)

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Higher Education

Higher Education

DEMONSTRATION AGAINST HIGHER EDUCATION FEES!

 

Government puts education into the hands of big business

No university fees! Demonstrate 28 November!

We won’t pay for the bosses’ crisis!

New Labour and the Conservatives are determined to make young people and workers pay for this crisis. On the one hand, they say there are jobs available for all, all you need is ‘determination’. At the same time, they slash funding for youth training and put corrupt fat cats in charge of setting university fees.

Lord Mandelson refused the National Union of Students a voice in the review of university fees because that would harm the ‘objectivity’ of the review. Instead, we have an ‘objective’ board of some of the biggest capitalists and privateers in Britain, chaired by Lord Browne. Lord Browne was Chief Executive of BP until 2007, making billions of pounds out of war in Iraq and environmental destruction. Browne left BP, amidst allegations of corruption, with a £5 million payoff and a £21 million pension pot. Is this man seriously going to say that society cannot afford our education?

David Eastwood, Vice Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, also sits on the review. As part of the Russell Group, he has been demanding students pay more for education for years. The university is currently trying to close its entire sociology department, without consultation with staff, because it is not bringing in enough money. Aston University’s vice chancellor is also ‘objectively’ reviewing university funding, fresh from slashing 18 jobs over the summer.

The rest of the board is made up of a former advisor to Tony Blair (the Prime Minister who abolished free university education), two NGO bigwigs and, unbelievably, Peter Sands, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank. Is he going to demand the same level of investment in education, in our future, that him and his peers have received over the last eighteen months? Of course not. The bosses organisation, the CBI, call for fees of £7,000 a year. Labour and the Tories say similar. Before the review board has met, the outcome is clear. Peter Sands, Lord Browne, Lord Mandelson and all the others want to make us pay for the crisis of their system.

£350 million cuts are being made in vocational education. Out of around 600,000 school leavers, 8,000 will get real apprenticeships, ones which lead to a job and a qualification.

Never mind that young people want to learn, want to work! Never mind that 55% think university education should be free! Since when did the politicians care what we think? Since when did big business and university bosses do favours for us?

Since we organised and fought them. Youth Fight for Jobs says no to university fees, no to writing off our generation, no to mass youth unemployment. We are demonstrating on 28 November – for real jobs, for free education. Join us in the fightback!

Join the demonstration in central London, Malet Street, WC1E, nearest tube Euston / Russell Square. For details of transport from outside London, see: http://www.youthfightforjobs.com/transport

Youth Fight for Jobs: http://www.youthfightforjobs.com

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Why Third Way Politics Refuses To Die

 

 

 

 

Why Third Way Politics Refuses To Die


By Louis Proyect

 


COME ON, GOOD PEOPLE, COME ON! We know, this is the time of the year when you receive letters galore from the ACLU, Amnesty International, Greenpeace, and countless other organizations and charities that want to reach into your wallet. They do have a big marketing budget, don’t they? — and they all tell you they want to change the world, or at least alleviate its suffering. We have no marketing budget and we are not promising to change the world — not that we aren’t trying…but one has to be realistic. What we bring you is different voices, some darn serious, others quite humorous or poetic. We bring you book reviews. We bring you analysis. We bring you an extraordinarily diverse pool of authors from many countries. We bring you famous and not so famous authors. We bring you alternatives. We bring you originality and quality twice a month, rain or shine. Again, where else can you find what we bring, and all commercial free? So open your checkbook and write that darn check. It won’t save the auto industry but it will save Swans, and it will make a huge difference both emotionally and practically for our work ahead. Thank you and our very best wishes for the coming year.
Donate Now!

 

(Swans – December 15, 2008): In 1997 Tony Blair became Prime Minister of Great Britain ending eighteen years of Tory rule. For left-leaning Britons, the 1979-1990 rule of Margaret Thatcher and her successor John Major easily rivaled George W. Bush’s as an odious symbol of class injustice. When she was not embarking on foreign imperial adventures in the Malvinas, Thatcher was attacking the working class at home. Her most notable victory was in defeating the coal miner’s strike of 1984, an achievement that was as effective as Reagan’s assault on the airline controllers in preparing the way for a neoliberal economic regime.

 

 


When Blair was elected, the sense of relief evoked this “Wizard of Oz” ditty sung by the Munchkins:

 


Ding Dong! The Witch is dead.
Which old Witch? The Wicked Witch!
Ding Dong! The Wicked Witch is dead.

Wake up – sleepy head, rub your eyes, get out of bed.
Wake up, the Wicked Witch is dead.
She’s gone where the goblins go,
Below – below – below.

Yo-ho, let’s open up and sing and ring the bells out.
Ding Dong’ the merry-oh, sing it high, sing it low.
Let them know The Wicked Witch is dead!

 

However, British voters did not get exactly what they voted for.
As soon as the euphoria wore off, it became clear that Tony Blair was no friend of working people, as Thomas Friedman observed in an April 22, 2005, New York Times Op-Ed:

 


The other very real thing Mr. Blair has done is to get the Labor Party in Britain to firmly embrace the free market and globalization – sometimes kicking and screaming. He has reconfigured Labor politics around a set of policies designed to get the most out of globalization and privatization for British workers, while cushioning the harshest side effects, rather than trying to hold onto bankrupt Socialist ideas or wallowing in the knee-jerk antiglobalism of the reactionary left.

 


Blair demonstrated that he was no slouch when it came to sending British troops abroad, joining the U.S. in imperial aggressions against the Serbs and the Iraqis. Indeed, one would be hard put to really tell the difference between the Tories and New Labour other than the rhetoric.

 


Although the eight years of George W. Bush was a lot shorter in duration than Tory rule in Great Britain, it did manage to do as much violence to working people at home and abroad. Bush was notoriously lazy but he did have a kind of zeal for punishing those not fortunate enough to be born with a silver spoon in their mouth.

 

With the election of Barack Obama in November, the same pattern seems to be unfolding as it did with Tony Blair’s prime ministry. Both Blair and his American counterpart Bill Clinton sought to govern through the “Third Way,” a philosophy that permeates Obama’s “Audacity of Hope.” For those who have been surprised by Obama’s apparent determination to serve in the capacity of Bill Clinton’s third term, the evidence for such a proclivity was there all along for those with the patience to read through his gaseous prose. Obama wrote:

 

 

“In his platform — if not always in his day-to-day politics — Clinton’s Third Way went beyond splitting the difference. It tapped into the pragmatic, nonideological attitude of the majority of Americans.


“Just as Blair was determined to continue the free-market policies of Margaret Thatcher, so was Obama ready to apply the same kind of lash to the backs of American workers first applied by Ronald Reagan, her American counterpart that Reagan’s message “spoke to the failure of liberal government,” which had become “too cavalier about spending taxpayer money…” He added that, “A lot of liberal rhetoric did seem to value rights and entitlements over duties and responsibilities…. Reagan offered Americans a sense of common purpose that liberals seemed no longer able to muster.

 


Labour and liberal disappointment with Tony Blair and Barack Obama respectively tends to sidestep the all-important question of why these politicians try to mediate between their own party and the organized Right. In contrast, John McCain fought hard for Republican Party core beliefs. Triangulating between conservative and liberal positions originates on the left rather than the right apparently and when the conservatives keep shifting to the right, the end result of triangulation is a center further to the right than in the past.

 


Rather than seeing “Third Way” politics as a kind of conscious policy choice, I would suggest that it is better understood in structural terms as the defense mechanism of Empires in decline perhaps not even understood fully by the politicians who carry them out. In broad historical perspectives, the rise of centrism in two of the most powerful imperialist nations in history is stoked by their decline as economic powers.

 


At a time when the British Empire was relatively powerful, the Labour Party pushed relatively hard for the class interests of the rank-and-file voter. It was no accident that socialized medicine arrived when British steel, shipbuilding, coal-mining, and auto manufacturing were vibrant, profit-generating industries.

 


When British industry lost its competitive edge, not coincidentally around the same time that its former colonial subjects were winning their freedom, the capitalists understood that the old rules did not apply. The worker’s slice of the pie shrank steadily, all in the name of “modernization” and “efficiency.

 


The same ineluctable processes that gave rise to the “Third Way” in Great Britain have matured in the United States, thus giving birth to the candidacies of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama alike. In one of the greatest con jobs in history, Obama was elected because voters decided that “change” meant something different from both George W. Bush and the Clinton administration that preceded it.

 


The liberal pundits who helped to get Obama elected still hold out hope that he will push through a new New Deal and thus return the U.S. to some kind of golden era of prosperity. For many of them, the proof of Obama’s FDR type credentials is his announced intention to push through a 700 billion dollar public works project. Once again demonstrating the indifference to history that characterizes the world of Huffington Post, Nation Magazine, et al., there has been no attempt to analyze whether FDR’s public works program did much good in breaking the back of the Great Depression.

 


It turns out that it was World War Two that had such a salutary effect, according to a letter written by the late Harry Magdoff in reply to a Monthly Review contributor who betrayed Keynesian illusions in a submission.
Magdoff wrote:

 


[D]espite a promise of heavy government spending, and Keynes’s theoretical support, the New Dealers were stumped by the 1937-38 recession, which interrupted what looked like a strong recovery. There was then as there is now an underlying faith that capitalism is a self-generating mechanism. If it slowed down or got into trouble, all that was needed was a jolt to get back on track. In those days, when farm life supplied useful metaphors, the needed boost was referred to as priming the pump. The onset of a marked recession after years of pump-priming startled Washington. Questions began to be raised about the possibility of stagnation in a mature capitalism, the retarding effect of monopolistic corporations, and other possible drags on business. These concerns faded as war orders flowed in from Europe, and eventually they disappeared when the United States went to war. The notion of the “Keynesian Welfare State” has tended to disguise the fact that what really turned the tide was not social welfare, Keynesian or otherwise, but war. In that sense, the whole concept of Keynesianism can be mystification.

 


War, of course, is not a feasible option today for the U.S. or any other imperialist power given the likelihood of mutually assured destruction. That being the case, how likely is it that public works programs will accomplish today what it did not in the 1930s? The answer is not very likely at all. The irony of American politics today is that the weapons it created to help win the last world war serve to inhibit it from launching new wars against powerful rivals. Without resort to war — what Randolph Bourne called “the health of the state” — the U.S. is destined to lurch from one economic crisis to another with politicians on the right and the nominal left competing with each other to turn back the clock to a glorious past that never really existed.

 

 

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Rikowski web site, The Flow of Ideas is at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

Volumizer Resurrection Eight

 

 

The Volumizer was Glenn Rikowski’s AOL blog. It was started up on 29th September 2005. On 30th September 2008, AOL announced that all of its Hometown products, including its blogs and newsletters, would be closed down on 31st October 2008. Glenn’s articles, many of which were written for his students at the Volumizer, will be preserved at The Flow of Ideas. Work has begun on this project, and the latest articles to be included are now available, as listed below:

 

 

 

2007

 

 

Rikowski, G. (2007) My Tony Blair, and His Neoliberal Education Policies, 12th May, London, online at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=articles&sub=My%20Tony%20Blair

 

 

Rikowski, G. (2007) Edison Schools in the UK, 23rd April, London, online at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=articles&sub=Edison%20Schools%20in%20the%20UK

 

 

Rikowski, G. (2007) Learning in the Earthworks of Capital@ The JCB Academy, 31st March, London, online at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=articles&sub=Learning%20in%20the%20Earthworks%20of%20Capital

 

 

Rikowski, G. (2007) The ‘Standards’ Language-game for Schools in England Today, 26th March, London, online at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=articles&sub=The%20Standards%20Language-game%20for%20Schools%20in%20England

 

 

Rikowski, G. (2007) E-learning for Free at the BBC: Jam Jammed, 16th March, London, online at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=articles&sub=E-learning%20for%20Free%20at%20the%20BBC

 

 

Rikowski, G. (2007) Mrs Thatcher and Holes in the Kitchen Floor, 22nd February, London, online at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=articles&sub=Mrs%20Thatcher%20and%20Holes%20in%20the%20Kitchen%20Floor

 

 

Rikowski, G. (2007) When the Bowers Break, 22nd February, London, online at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=articles&sub=When%20the%20Bowers%20Break

 

 

Rikowski, G. (2007) Ultra-Blairite, Contra Progress: Co-payment in Hospitals and Schools, 15th February, London, online at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=articles&sub=Co-payment%20in%20Hospitals%20and%20Schools

 

 

Rikowski, G. (2007) Socialism is not Dead, 31st January, London, online at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=articles&sub=Socialism%20is%20not%20Dead

 

 

 

The Rikowski web site, The Flow of Ideas is at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

Glenn Rikowski’s MySpace Profile is at: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

Currently listening :
Fear of a Blank Planet
By Porcupine Tree
Release date: 2007-04-24

 

 

Volumizer Resurrection Three

 

 

The Volumizer is Glenn Rikowski’s AOL blog. This was started up on 29th September 2005. On 30th September 2008, AOL announced that all of its Hometown products, including its blogs and newsletters, would be closed down on 31st October 2008. Glenn’s articles, many of which were written for his students at the Volumizer, will be preserved here at The Flow of Ideas. Work has begun on this project, and the latest articles to be included are now available, as listed below:

 

 

 

2007

 

 

Rikowski, G. (2007) On Education Studies, 3rd October, London, online at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=articles&sub=On%20Education%20Studies

 

 

Rikowski, G. (2007) An Educational Mansion House for Business, 8th August, London, online at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=articles&sub=An%20Educational%20Mansion%20House%20for%20Business

 

 

Rikowski, G. (2007) Brown’s PFI Monster Creates Education Spending and Policy Crisis (in Three Parts), 31st July, London, online at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=articles&sub=Brown%20PFI%20Monster

 

 

Rikowski, G. (2007) Finance and Fear: Lessons in Money and Debt, 27th July, London, online at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=articles&sub=Finance%20and%20Fear

 

 

Rikowski, G. (2007) Education the HSBC Way, 23rd July, London, online at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=articles&sub=Education%20the%20HSBC%20Way

 

 

Rikowski, G. (2007) Education Repetition: Brown Follows Blair’s Neoliberal Education Reform Agenda, 8th June, London, online at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=articles&sub=Education%20Repetition

 

 

Rikowski, G. (2007) Academy Chains: Building on the Neoliberal Education Policy of Tony Blair, 3rd June, London, online at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=articles&sub=Academy%20Chains

 

 

Rikowski, G. (2007) Privatisation of Student Debt, 16th March, London, online at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=articles&sub=Privatisation%20of%20Student%20Debt

 

 

Rikowski, G. (2007) Education for Debt, 22nd January, London, online at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=articles&sub=Education%20for%20Debt

 

 

 

 

2005

 

 

Rikowski, G. (2005) The Capitalisation of Schools: Federations and Academies, London, 1st October, online at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=articles&sub=The%20Capitalisation%20of%20Schools%20-%20Federations%20and%20Academies

 

 

 

 

The Rikowski web site, The Flow of Ideas is at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

Glenn Rikowski’s MySpace Profile is at: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

Glenn’s MySpace blog, Wavering on Ether is at: http://blog.myspace.com/glennrikowski