The main thing in the brief period ahead: Spreading the September 24 University of California walkout to campuses of all kinds, all over.
We need to do all we can to spread the UC walkout which so far, has not linked the massive attacks on the UC system to the wars and bankster bailouts.
From what I hear back, other than at Berkeley, the sponsors of the walkout are worried about turnout in the UC system as a whole. It may well be that more students will walk out than profs, which would be ok, even fine if the campuses are shut down.
Since the UC profs called for this, it is going to be used as a measure of what all kinds of resisters can do, by all sides. We have a big stake in trying to make this succeed.
Besides, schools closed by strikes or civil strife, matched by some kind of freedom school where people actually discuss why things are as they are, are much better than open schools.
Why is the UC system, with help of AAUP, able to have this walkout while the huge CSU system just sits still, after taking even more egregious hits than the UC?
Because the UC tenured profs have no union contract.
The CFA/NEA which represents the CSU has a bargained contract--sold out as it may be. That contract includes a no-strike clause, the traditional union trade-off for guaranteed dues collection, the check-off. That contract means the CFA union bosses are duty bound to halt official strikes for the duration of the contract. That is, unless they are real unionists in the best sense of the word, and that they are not. The practice of the union as a bank rules over the idea of the union as an agent of direct action solidarity. In other words, union has not meant union for many years.
Of course, one might ask just what kind of a union is that? And the answer would be, just like all the rest of them---corrupt to the core. That is what every major union in the US does.
Now, to be fair, the UC lecturers are represented by AFT. They did not have to take some of the cuts that the tenured profs did, but they started out in a deep hole anyway. To go further, the reason the UC profs do not have a union is not because of their leftist critiques.
The Education Agenda is a War Agenda. That connection needs to be made in the walkout. It is not made now, not in the formal publications I have seen.
The likely to be $3 trillion plus wars are part of the reason the education system is under attack at every level. Another is the $12.9 trillion given to finance capital, no strings attached, and the untold billions given to industrial capital which continued to dump workers. But the president of GM was fired, finalizing the move to the corporate state behind the demagogue, Obama.
20,000 teachers lost their jobs in California this year, and every school just got notified of another $900 per child cut---as well as further structural cuts that are, right now, hard to add up.
There is a direct line: regimented curricula=high stakes exams= militarization=merit pay=perpetual war. And the other way around too. Maybe someone can make a graphic of that logic.
In the schools:
U. of Cal system proposed to hike "fees" by 32%:
The public option and closed schools--a cartoon: http://www.cartoonistgroup.com/properties/anderson/art_images/cg4a8cc35f170ed0.jpg
One Million Homeless Kids Hit the Schools: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/06/education/06homeless.html?_r=1&hp
Stim Money Does Not Stop Massive School Cuts: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/08/education/08school.html?hp
Oakland University in Michigan went on strike for two weeks. The strike is over now. Note that they are represented by AAUP, far less likely to destroy a strike from within than NEA or AFT. http://www.freep.com/article/20090903/NEWS03/90903014/1318/Oakland-University-classes-canceled-amid-strike
Suggested video: Judgement Day, Intelligent Design on Trial--With this episode, the popular "Nova" series examines the trial of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, a controversial legal battle sparked by a group of science teachers who refused to comply with an order to teach intelligent design. Through scene re-creations, interviews and expert testimony, the program presents the arguments of both sides and illuminates the conflict that thrust the people of Dover into the worldwide spotlight.
Class comment of the week from a Marine Afghan war vet, "I had a choice, either dealing drugs and killing people in a street gang or the Marines and Afghanistan." The real choice is community or barbarism.
Banksters, Industrialist, and Their Economy:
Daniel Yergin: Why Oil has a Future http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB10001424052970203706604574370511700484236.html
Baker: Reverse Bank Robbery: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2009/aug/31/banking-profits-us-economy/print
Americans are Poorer and It's Going to be Worse: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/economy/story/75201.html
How Did Bernie Steal $50 Billion? Thank the SEC http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/02/AR2009090203851.html?hpid=moreheadlines
One More Time on the Terror Wars:
US Terror Bomb Kills 70 Afghan Civilians: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-afghan-violence5-2009sep05,0,166919.story
TomDispatch: Measuring the Terror Wars, Afghanistan by the Numbers: http://www.tomdispatch.com/
Free at Last!
The last seven of the Grenada 17 were released from prison on Saturday, September 5. While in prison, they set up an education program that competed favorably with the nation's best schools. http://www.counterpunch.org/gibson06052004.html
And Wither the Unions?
AFL-CIO Boss Abandons EFCA: http://www.nytimes.com/mem/emailthis.html as the bankrupt body meets in Pittsburgh:
Thanks to Adam and Gina, Tony H., Bob (happy release from the hospital and speedy recovery), Joe L, The Susans, Donna, Kate, Sue H, Sandy H, Kim B. Good luck in BC to OR and I. More thanks to Wayne and Abraham, George, Jack G., Don A, David R, Kenny and Cheri, Mark, Sheila, Bryan, the newly forming RF Steering Committee, Amber and the gang of courageous teachers.
Good luck to us, every one.
Why Oil Still Has a Future
Demand in the developing world trumps new technology.
By DANIEL YERGIN
Why this debate about the single most important source of energyand a very convenient onethat provides 40% of the world's total energy? There are the traditional concernsenergy security, diversification, political risk, and the potential for conflict among nations over resources. The huge shifts in global income flows raise anxieties about the possible impact on the global balance of power. Some worry that physical supply will run out, although examination of the world's resource baseincluding a new analysis of over 800 oil fieldsshows ample physical resources below ground. The politics above ground is a separate question.
But two new factors are now fueling the debate. One is the way in which oil has taken on a second identity. It is no longer only a physical commodity. It has also become a financial asset, along with stocks, bonds, currencies and the rest of the world's financial portfolio. The resulting price volatilityfrom less than $40 in 2004, to as high as $147.27 in July 2008, back down to $32.40 in December 2008, and now back over $70has enormous consequences, and not only at the gas station and in terms of public anger. It makes it much more difficult to plan future energy investments, whether in oil and gas or in renewable and alternative fuels. And it can have enormous economic impact; Detroit was sent reeling by what happened at the gas pump in 2007 and 2008 even before the credit crisis. Such volatility can fuel future recessions and inflation.
That volatility has become an explosive political issue. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy recently called in these pages for a global solution to "destructive volatility," although they added that there are "no easy solutions."
The other new factor is climate change. Whatever the outcome of the upcoming mammoth United Nations climate-change conference in Copenhagen this December, carbon regulation is now part of the future of oil.
But are big cuts in world oil usage possible? Both the U.S. Department of Energy and the International Energy Agency project that global energy use will increase almost 50% between 2006 and 2030with oil still providing 30% or more of the world's energy.
The reason is something else that is newthe globalization of demand. No longer are the growth markets for petroleum to be found in North America, Western Europe and Japan. The United States has already hit "peak gasoline demand."
The demand growth has now shifted, massively, to the fast-growing emerging marketsChina, India and the Middle East. Between 2000 and 2007, 85% of the growth in world oil demand was in the developing world. This shift continues: This year, more new cars have been sold in China than in the United States. When economic recovery takes hold, what happens in emerging countries will be the defining factor in the path for overall consumption.
There are two obvious ways to temper demand growtheither roll back economic growth, or find new technologies. The former is not acceptable. Thus, the answer has to lie in technology. The challenge is to find alternatives to oil that can be economically competitiveand convenient and reliableat the massive scale required.
What will those alternatives be? Batteries and plug-ins and other electric carstoday's favorite? Advanced biofuels? Natural-gas vehicles? The evolving smart grid, which can integrate plug-ins with greener electric generation? Or advances in the internal combustion engine, increasing fuel efficiency two or three times over?
In truth, we don't know, and we won't know for some time. For now, however, it is clear that the much higher levels of support for innovationand large government incentives and subsidieswill inevitably drive technological change.
For oil, the focus is on transportation. After all, only 2% of America's electricity is generated by oil. Until recently, it appeared that the race between the electric car and the gasoline-powered car had been decided a century ago, with a decisive win by the gasoline-powered car on the basis of cost and performance. But the race is clearly on again.
Yet, whatever the breakthroughs, the actual impact on fuel use for the next 20 years will be incremental due to the time it takes to get large-scale mass production up and running and the massive scale of the global auto industry. My firm, IHS CERA, projects that with aggressive sales volumes and no major bumps in the road (unusual for new technologies), plug-in hybrids and pure electric vehicles could constitute 25% of new car sales by 2030. But because of the slow turn-over of the overall fleet, gasoline consumption would be reduced only modestly below what it would otherwise be. Thereafter, of course, the impact could grow, perhaps very substantially.
But, in the U.S., at least for the next two decades, greater efficiency in the internal combustion engine, advanced diesels, and regular hybrids, combined with second-generation biofuels and new lighter materials, would have a bigger impact sooner. There is, however, a global twist. If small, low-cost electric vehicles really catch on in the auto growth markets in Asia, that would certainly lower the global growth curve for future oil demand.
As to the next 150 years of petroleum, we can hardly even begin to guess. For the next 20 years at least, the unfolding economic saga in emerging markets will continue to make oil a global growth business.
Mr. Yergin, chairman of IHS CERA, is author of "The Prize: the Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power" (Free Press), out in a revised edition this year. His article on the future of oil appears in the most recent issue of Foreign Policy.