The NEA Representative Assembly
Demonstrating Voluntary Servitude Performed by Highly Educated People
Who Use Capitalist Democracy to Consolidate Fascism
Via the Inseparable Bond of Imperialism and Opportunism
by Rich Gibson
Above, Lily Eskelsen-Garcia singing the National Anthem at Nationals ball game.
The scene opens offstage on July 3, 2016.
Lily Eskelsen Garcia sings the national anthem at the “Nationals” baseball game as Air Force Jets roar overhead. Lily, as she likes to be called, is a grandmother who hasn’t taught for 15 and more years, working up the National Education Association’s (NEA) inviolate lines of succession. Her burning ambition to move up, so common, matches her ability to purge the disloyal. President of the NEA, she makes more than $465,000 a year, banks her expense account, topping her predecessor, Dennis Van Roekel.
Simultaneously, the Atlanta “Braves” played the Florida Marlins in a 12,500 seat stadium built by Major League Baseball and the Players Association at Fort Bragg.
The North Carolina 500 square mile base, named for Braxton Bragg who fought for slavery in the Civil War, is home to the Army’s Global Response Force. The enclosed area registers more than 250,000 people. Base officials claim the facility contributes nearly $10 billion to the local economy where people have learned that war means work. The base is one of perhaps 1,000 bases throughout the world which the US invaded since WWII.
The US is a fully militarized society promising perpetual war to the world and writhing in booming, color-coded, inequality. NEA serves this social context, as do America’s schools: missions for capitalism and empire—school workers as missionaries.
Scene TWO: July 4th, on stage at the Washington D.C. auditorium: The annual meeting of the NEA; 7,000 delegates (well down from a high of 12,000) more or less democratically elected by nearly 3 million rank and file school worker members from every state in the USA-- and territories captured at one time or another.
The California caucus began with young Cory Moore singing “God Bless the USA.” Elected leaders and staff tops turn to a huge screen projecting an American flag and, hands on hearts, sing along. https://www.facebook.com/becky.zoglman/videos/10154228117069361/
Nobody in the spacious stands yelled, “Allah Akbar!”
Patriotism, that is, witless nationalism, and mysticism will, ah, trump a lot in our play.
2016 Membership chart photo by Mike Antonucci
The National Education Association is the largest union in the US. It’s well-nigh 3 million members, mostly classroom teachers, grown old–only about 15% are under thirty-five. For years, like most American unions, the NEA lost thousands of members to layoffs, related school cutbacks, and recently passed right-to-work laws which allow potential members to opt out of the union, thus saving, in many cases, $1,000 a year. Those dues still make NEA a $350 million operation.
Home base for the NEA is, of course, American schools, colleges, and universities.
While most liberal and some left analysts believe schools and society can be split from one another, it is no grand claim that schools, anywhere, sit inside societies which, everywhere, are in the main drowning in capitalism (exploited labor) and empire, imperialism: the relentless search that must be conducted for cheap labor, raw materials (like oil), markets (think Opium War) and regional control (as in South China Sea).
Jean Anyon’s thesis, “doing school reform without social and economic reform in communities will never work; it’s like washing the air on one side of a screen door,” makes the school/society connection easy to grasp—except for most school reformers who persist in denying it, usually to their own profit.
The school/society divide reflects a similar split U.S. educators usually create: economics and politics, the quasi-religious belief that democracy can, and does, overwhelm capitalism. They fail to note the historical fact that capitalism in the U.S. defeated democracy when the slavers’ Constitution was written and ratified–for life, liberty and property, the latter being the foundation of all law.
Capital and empire together declare war now, without Congress. Democracy? Phooey.
Capital spit on democracy in 2008 with the $12.9 trillion bank bailout. The bank/Congress/President/Auto scam stole the futures of American youth–and teachers.
But that is foreshadowing. We will return to capitalism, democracy, and war, in an act to come.
Let the town crier describe NEA and unionism.
NEA counterfeits what most people think of as unionism–as does every national union in the US:
*Every major labor leader in the US adopts the corporate-state view of unity of Labor Bosses, Government, and Corporations in the national interest. These are hardly "labor" unions in the strict sense of the word. They are the empire's unions. I assume the connections of labor and US intelligence are fairly well known and do not need to be explained. They are the unions of what now is, surely, the US corporate state. http://www.substancenews.net/articles.php?page=4496
*It follows that the Labor Bosses deceive people from the moment they join a union, the key lie being that none of labor's elites believe that workers and employers have contradictory interests-the very reason most people agree to send them money.
*The remarkable salaries of US Labor Bosses (past National Education Association president Reg Weaver made $696,949 in his last year in office) come directly from the fruits of US imperialism and war. They know that. They have been war hawks for decades, using the unions to promote the Empire's desires. They sit on the boards of the Social Democrats USA, the National Endowment for Democracy, The Albert Shanker Institute, The George Meany Center, and other fronts for the Central Intelligence Agency. Following the history of the American Federation of Labor, which sought to organize white men into craft (skill based) unions, and exclude most of the working class, the international operations of the AFL-CIO seek to demolish indigenous workers' struggles so, in theory, American workers will do better. Clearly, this failed.
*Union tops sell a pacified or disciplined work force for money from employers. That is the nucleus of "collective bargaining." Employers collect dues (check off) on behalf of the union, send it to the union heads, while the labor tops promise labor peace for the duration of the contract. That is precisely the traditional exchange.
*The unions accept without question the multiple divisions of labor that, in part, lay at the base of the capitalist system. The unions divide people far more than unite people. The Industrial Workers of the World call for “One Big Union,” is of no interest to labor leaders who compete for members like priests and pastors.
*Each union’s structure mimics the structure of the management of their workplace. Hierarchy recreated.
*The last thing the Labor Movement and its aristocrats wants is a mass of class conscious workers who are willing to fight in solidarity to control their work places and communities. That would mean the Labor Bosses would have nothing to sell to the Big Bosses (labor peace/no strike clauses for check-off). Instead the ability to control the work place becomes confused with ability to control the union, which is often a contradiction. There is no way to overcome this structural and psychological poisoning of the well.
*The prime maneuver union tops use to distract, divert, and finally demolish any hint of class consciousness is to herd people into electoral work, the fake “democratic,” process where people are offered the chance to choose who will oppress them best while asking the question, “What about me?” (capital’s favorite question) to the executive committee and armed weapon of the rich that is the government. This scam reinforces the dangerous false, nationalist, belief that we are all in this together in a democratic society, when every message from reality says we are not.
All of the above played out after God blessed the USA at the NEA Representative Assembly.
President Garcia opened with a demagogic weeper—praise and prayers for the victims of a terrorist in Orlando. The room cried. A Rainbow flag appeared on several big screens.
Lily did notice a hint of reality, ... "it's fitting to start by acknowledging that there's a real world out there, and it's not a safe place. It's dangerous..." but never got around to why all that is.
Her keynote attacked the appearances of nearly every form of oppression: racism, the current de regur LGBTQ, age discrimination–everything but class and empire’s wars, the origins of the rest. Her take: it’s all for the good of the nation. Never aiming at the social Whole means thrashing tactics, leaping from one distinct instance of wrong-doing to the next.
She praised the Obama administration but forgot that a past assembly demanded the resignation of Obama’s Secretary of Education,Arne Duncan, who, when he was appointed, was touted by NEA leadership in 2009. The cardinal idea Duncan peddled then was, “we are all in this together for the nation, the economy, and the children.” http://www.substancenews.net/articles.php?page=6452§ion=Article
Rahm Emanuel, in 2009 President Obama's Chief of Staff, speaking on Cspan was much clearer about one core question that Duncan sought to avoid: Why have school? Emanuel said, “...it’s a conveyor belt for the US economy...Arne is promoting charters, national standards, pay for performance, assessments...the states will compete for (stimulus) money on the basis of lining up with those reforms.”
Lily Garcia ignored the harsh “Race to the Top” (RATT) regime Obama created for 7 ½ years:
The RaTT’s predecessor, a bi-partisan project touted by Democrats and Republicans alike called the No Child Left Behind Act had at least these key factors:
(1) The development of a regimented domestic curriculum to promote nationalism;
(2) High stakes standardized tests to advance segregation and
ignorance–killing curiosity and a desire to learn more-- with a pretense of scientific backing; and
(3) the militarization of schools in poor and working class areas–but really everywhere.
The equally bi-partisan RaTT makes logical extensions:
– Sharpened demands for a national curriculum in more subjects (beyond literacy and math),
– merit pay based on student test scores,
– attacks on all forms of tenure (made palatable to the public because they know through experience that there is no shortage of incompetents in capitalist schools),
– Layoffs, hits on pay and benefits, increases in class size,
– Tuition hikes driving youth out of college with razor-like precision, typically rooted in inherited wealth.
– Some privatization, but hardly only privatization (the corporate state reflects both the unity and contradictions internal to the ruling classes who have different short term views of profitability).
– Calls for national service setting up a syphon for middle class opposition to a draft.
– Intensified state and national moves into cities and schools in crisis, like Detroit, demonstrating the contradictory goals of social control and profiteering.
– Ruthless competition between school districts and states for limited RaTT
– A harsh rule of fear and intimidation sweeping across all of capitalist schooling.
Fearfulness seems to be the essential emotional value in schools today.
Then came Garcia’s predictable denunciation of greater-evil Donald Trump and a promise that Hillary Clinton, the wanton war-whore, savage executioner of the American Inquisition, cuckqueen, psychopathic liar who thinks her insistence (with Samantha Power and Susan Rice–bourgeois feminists arise) for wars on Iraq, Libya, the overthrow of a fully bought regime in Egypt, the attacks on Syria and the fabricated revolution in the Ukraine are exceptionally good ideas—as is the “pivot” (encircling) to China. SHE will arrive tomorrow to the delight of NEA’s delegates. Two million refugees and hundreds of thousands of innocent dead would differ, if they could.
The core issue of our time is the reality of the promise of perpetual war and booming inequality met by the potential of the direct actions of masses of class-conscious people. Nobody could personify war and class war from above (mass incarceration, NAFTA) more than Hillary Clinton.
Writing about 500 years ago, France’s Etienn de La Boethe in his “The Politics of Obedience, the Discourse of Voluntary Servitude,” questions why it is so easy to turn some people into instruments of their own oppression while others, usually a few, resist. And, he offers a way out.
He critiques tyranny. Should we worry today?
Chalmers Johnson, in his “Nemesis” trilogy repeatedly called the US a fascist state as early as 2005. I held out until the bank bailout of 2008, a move that cannot be undone. Then I agreed.
It’s the direct rule of the rich, a full-scale assault on poor and working people. Parliamentary institutions are swept aside or nullified. Wages, any social safety net, working hour laws, labor laws; all come under legal (and extra-legal) attack. The stick replaces the carrot.
Fascism in its early stages has been popular among masses of people mystified by nationalism, racism, mysticism, and sexism. These ideas are key to the construction of fascism. But, "war means work" for some, which may also explain its historical popularity.
Fascism requires and is built on the support of capitalist elites.
Fascism and capitalism are inseparable. There has never been a form of capital that was not built on a fascist base.
Fascism deceptively calls for the national unity of social classes, class-collaboration, but actually promotes the division of people by race, sex, culture, nation, or religion. Fascism was, under Mussolini and, later, Hitler, conceived as the "corporate state", that is, all the resources of the society were directed toward the support of corporate profits (reminder: 2008 bailout) in the name of national unity and economic development. In order to motivate warriors and bolster profits, fascism conceals the real and insoluble tensions between those who own and those who work.
Fascism frequently is employed as a strategic base for war. Fascist shifts in government and official ideology grow with the conduct of war, or preparations for war.
Violence and terror, made tolerable by racism, superstition (“God bless the USA”) and sexism (ideas which view people as sub-human) become public policy–or at least public practice.
Fascism relies on mysticism, organized irrationalism, a culture which turns to superstition, irrationality (extreme religious dogmatism, the fear of sexuality, celebrations of misogyny, death, and hopelessness--serving to explain apparent systematic despair), and retards science and social production in order to mask its own decay. Indeed, fascism is organized decay.
There is no consistency, logic, to fascist ideology, other than to preserve capitalism. Fascism is irrationalism organized to sustain inequality and authoritarianism. Even so, the role of the ideology of irrationalism can become powerful, that is, Nazis sacrificed the productive work of many Jews in order to kill them.
Fascism is virulently anti-communist. Communists (and anarchists), who have been the only consistent and effective anti-fascist fighters, are the fascist's first targets.
If you seek a further definition of fascism, look around you.
Tyranny, fascism, requires the acquiescence, indifference, and cowardice, of millions, multiple millions in a first world nation. Etienne La Boetie wondered why people would obey.
La Boetie describes tyrants of his day. Consider the well-coiffed, face-lifted, made-up-with-shovels, grinning, waiving, laughing tyrants of today as you meet this 16th century author.
“There are three kinds of tyrants; some receive their proud position through elections by the people, others by force of arms, others by inheritance. Those who have acquired power by means of war act in such wise that it is evident they rule over a conquered country. Various types of dictators but no preference among them.
Those who are born to kingship are scarcely any better, because they are nourished on the breast of tyranny, suck in with their milk the instincts of the tyrant, and consider the people under them as their inherited serfs; and according to their individual disposition, miserly or prodigal, they treat their kingdom as their property.
He who has received the state from the people, however, ought to be, it seems to me, more bearable and would be so, I think, were it not for the fact that as soon as he sees himself higher than the others, flattered by that quality which we call grandeur, he plans never to relinquish his position.
Such a man usually determines to pass on to his children the authority that the people have conferred upon him; and once his heirs have taken this attitude, strange it is how far they surpass other tyrants in all sorts of vices, and especially in cruelty, because they find no other means to impose this new tyranny than by tightening control and removing their subjects so far from any notion of liberty that even if the memory of it is fresh it will soon be eradicated.
Yet, to speak accurately, I do perceive that there is some difference among these three types of tyranny, but as for stating a preference, I cannot grant there is any. For although the means of coming into power differ, still the method of ruling is practically the same; those who are elected act as if they were breaking in bullocks; those who are conquerors make the people their prey; those who are heirs plan to treat them as if they were their natural slaves.” http://www.constitution.org/la_boetie/serv_vol.htm
Why vote yourself into slavery?
*Conquered people develop the habits of slaves. In pacified areas, people become instruments of their own oppression, out of custom.
*Spectacles, bread and circuses, work well to divert attention from the central issues of who rules, who works, and who profits–and how?
Methods to preserve tyranny:
“I, your leader, am wise. You are not. You cannot know my secrets, as that would endanger you. Trust me. I am one with you.”
Religion: “god put me here, and you there.”
Hierarchy. One rules 10. Ten rule one hundred. One hundred rule a thousand, etc. Then, “You can move up. Simply obey.”
Divide and rule.
Writing 400 years later, the Russian V.I. Lenin brings us more up to date, and precisely on point:
“The receipt of high monopoly profits by the capitalists in one of the numerous branches of industry, in one of the numerous countries, etc., makes it economically possible for them to bribe certain sections of the workers, and for a time a fairly considerable minority of them, and win them to the side of the bourgeoisie of a given industry or given nation against all the others. The intensification of antagonisms between imperialist nations for the division of the world increases this urge. And so there is created that bond between imperialism and opportunism, which revealed itself first and most clearly in Great Britain, owing to the fact that certain features of imperialist development were observable there much earlier than in other countries.” (Lenin, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, Chapter X).
The average teacher’s wage is over $55,000 in the US. In some states, it is far more than that. The average California teacher makes $69,260. Teachers commonly have health benefits, retirement plans, vacations, some form of tenure. They are the most organized sector of the US working class other than, perhaps, prison guards.
NEA delegates, nearly all rank and file educators of some sort, get generous travel and housing pay for the Representative Assembly. If only somewhat careful, they can save $1,000 to extend a vacation at the D.C. site. Bribes. Witting or no, as we shall see, and have seen repeatedly within NEA in the past–it’s bribes, and more.
Capitalist schools (never truly public) are nestled in this imperial context.
La Boetie and Lenin see opposing ways out, yet they have some important commonalities. . La Boetie’s answers are brief, to the point, and incomplete. He suggests a vanguard of those who are awakened to the reality of tyranny who then patiently, stripping away all the mystique of tyrants, educate masses of others who eventually simply follow Bartleby: “I prefer not to.” Withdraw support. Say no. Don’t pay taxes, don’t be cops, military, bosses, etc—a non-violent mass form of revolutionary civil disobedience.
Lenin too urges an educational effort, in his case for class conscious violent revolution, led by a vanguard.
Scene THREE–July 5, the D.C auditorium with 7,000 delegates looking toward massive screens displaying varieties of the US red, white, and blue flag. Loud music blares over a first-rate public address system. Lights flash.
The NEA leadership gave the rube-delegates thundersticks.
Thundersticks. For classroom teachers—among the most highly educated people in the world.
Nearly all of them rise to their feet, cheer, beat their big sticks. Fat jiggles everywhere.
See the video: https://www.facebook.com/jose.riosindioca/videos/10210235890278906/
Hillary arrives. Listen to the echo from La Boetie.
She promises a “partner in the White House and always a seat at the table...It meant so much to me that you had my back during the primary (NEA tops endorsed her without polling the members, upsetting Sanders supporters who appear to have gotten over that)....My first job out of law school was working for the Children’s Defense Fund.....We need to be serious about raising your pay because teachers make less than other college graduates.....If you go into public service like teaching, any remaining student debt will be forgiven after 10 years...we should also pay support staff more than they are currently receiving (thundersticks go wild)....support staff (custodians, etc.) struggle to provide for their own families....we need to find the right balance on testing (they) should give useful information...so you and parents know how are schools are doing but when you are forced to teach to the test our children miss out on ...valuable experiences...that hurts low income kids most.....We should support unions that created the strongest middle class in the history of the world......I will stand up for your right to organize and bargain collectively.....work with me, in partnership...and advise me......we need to be sure every home in America has access to high speed broadband...so every child will know computer technology,.....I believe in public education I believe in educators I believe in all of you..thank you so much!”
wild chanting of Hillary/Hillary......Standing O and hugs from Lily Garcia. Cspan: http://www.c-span.org/video/?412142-1%2Fhillary-clinton-addresses-national-education-association-conference
A hug from Lily. Then exit Hillary, stage right, smiling and waving.
A few people in the distant rear of the DC auditorium had chanted, "No Arne (huh? He is long gone), No Charters," during Hillary's speech this morning. Most were from the By Any Means Necessary cult and were escorted out.
Teachers are nothing if not polite--even to murderous psychopaths of the empire. Here is one of many similar twitter responses to the protests (most want the "disrupters" expelled from the RA):
"Meg Elder to NEA RA - California Delegation
4 hrs ·Our delegation owes an apology to the RA for the rude and disrespectful behavior of a small group of our members during Clintons speech. I am a Bernie supporter myself but I believe all candidates deserve respect and allow their voice to be heard. I am horrified and embarrassed by the actions of a few members of our delegation. I hope we will address this in our caucus tomorrow am."
Scene FOUR: The D.C. auditorium with 7,000 NEA delegates finally allowed to vote and presumably debate, a compressed scene covering the remainder of July 4, 5, 6, and 7th.
NEA Representative Assemblies (RA’s) are ambitiously frivolous bodies. Every year that I know of, since 1984, members submit more than 100 New Business Items (NBIs) to be debated, in full. This year, it’s 125
NBIs, a logistical impossibility which makes it easy for NEA bosses to arrange NBIs in order (and re-arrange the order at will) to put their real desires in place.
Frequently, delegates are gulled into debating dry, meaningless, motions for hours, while penetrating debate is passed over or timed out.
Old-timers know that on the last day of the RA, “the train goes on the tracks.” The train is a maneuver to “bundle” large groups of NBIs and refer them to some NEA committee where they will likely languish until next year when someone remembers them and raises them again, brand new.
Another dodge is a peculiar NEA motion, nowhere in Roberts Rules: “Object to consideration.”
That means, literally, to debate the motion at hand would upset the body. So, no debate is allowed.
That motion has been used most often to shove aside proposals to “discuss the wars,” that is, not to denounce imperialist adventures, but to talk about them. Object to consideration has been used to defeat every such motion, probably ten of them in the annual conventions of the last 15 years. Defeat? Well, crush and demolish. 99 to 1.
This year, the “discuss the wars” crowd didn’t bother to submit anything, apparently cowed and out-waited. Silence purchased; sharing in the bloody booty, respectably.
Rather than a boring complete list of NBIs, I select a few of interest and, if they were changed from the original, show the modified copy:
New Business Item 4
NEA will support state affiliates and locals with up to/not exceeding $100,000 in resources to effectively participate in the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools (AROS) and the nationally coordinated October 6 walk-ins as allies unite around racial justice, full funding and support for community schools, more teaching, less testing, and holding all schools that are publicly funded to the same high standards.
($100,000 is a lot. AROS is a false flag operation, a diversion, a pretense that NEA and its corrupt allies are doing something when they just spin members and others, in circles.)
New Business Item 11
NEA will encourage its Pre-K-12 and Higher Ed locals to affiliate or participate in AROS-Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools and NEA will support the next major AROS nationally coordinated Walk-in on October 6 with social media and media support, with internal communications that notify affiliates and locals, and within existing means-budgets, staffing-provide training and support for locals/affiliates choosing to join the event.
New Business Item 18
Object to Consideration (it might upset someone)
The NEA will publicize a call on Hillary Clinton to end the Democratic Party's attack on public education. No more Arne Duncans. No more charter schools. (Submitted by BAMN cult members. BAMN is a front for the Revolutionary Workers League, a secretive sect operating mostly in Detroit and Oakland. They teeter between falsely militant spectacles and liberal calls like “Education is a Civil Right.” In Detroit, BAMN member Steve Conn led a wildcat strike, was later elected president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers, then because of his bizarre behavior, Conn was impeached. Elaboration: http://clogic.eserver.org/2-2/gibson.html)
New Business Item 20
The NEA will publicize its condemnation of Donald Trump's racist, sexist, and xenophobic presidential campaign and the impetus it is giving to immigrant bashing and violent racist and fascist organizing.
New Business Item 29
Adopted As Modified (So long Aztecs–premature Nazis, Indians, Braves, Fightin Irish—and good riddance)
NEA, using existing resources and reports, will inform our members on the impact of racist stereotypes and mascots on students. They will focus on how racist imagery affects students in their emotional/social growth, stress, brain development, health, educational success and safety issues.
NEA will then develop a virtual toolkit of best practices and effective materials for working with students exposed to these racist images. NEA will also develop a training module on how to combat inequalities due to these racist images among our students. This module will be made available to affiliates and community groups as appropriate.
New Business Item 30
NEA will stand in solidarity with the Mexican teachers of the CNTE (National Coordinator of Education Workers) and urges to maintain the national dialogue on the Education Reform law in Mexico and further condemns the use of deadly violence against unarmed teachers, students and people of Oaxaca where 12 people were killed on June 19th. The NEA also requests due process and the release of unjustly detained teachers.
New Business Item 41
Adopted (another false flag operation, but only worth 10% of AROS–bet Susan Ohanian, Wayne Ross, Greg Queen, Bill Boyer, Pat Shannon, George Schmidt and many others will never speak at SOS)
NEA will donate $10,000 to the Save Our Schools March for Public Education and Social Justice Rally and Activist Conference.
New Business Item 50
see modification below
NBI NEA DEFEND PUBLIC SCHOOLS BY FIGHTING PRIVATIZATION. NEA will educate and organize their members to defend public education from the privatization process that threatens the existence of America’s democratic school system. NEA will educate its members on how to identify and effectively correct and refute myths, misinformation, fabrications, half-truths, and lies that form the prevalent corporate reformers narrative that is allowing and validating the dismantling and privatizing of America’s public schools system.
New Business Item 50
Adopted As Modified
NEA will educate and organize as many of their members to encourage its affiliates to utilize existing materials and programs to defend public education from the privatization process that threatens the existence of America's democratic school system. NEA will educate its members on how to identify and effectively correct and refute myths, misinformation, fabrications, half-truths, and lies that form the prevalent corporate reformers narrative that is allowing and validating the dismantling and privatizing of America's public schools system.
(NBI 50 language is softened–such are teachers. The illusion of a democratic, yet fully segregated, school system appears in NBI 50, along with the focus on privatization, a second or third tier matter that is a favorite among liberals, some radicals, and the By Any Means Necessary cult which originated this motion.)
New Business Item 56
Referred to the Appropriate Committee
NEA President Eskelsen-García will write a letter to Bernie Sanders, thanking him for increasing the democratization of the presidential campaign, and engaging more young Americans than ever in peaceful assembly, and participatory democratic process.
New Business Item 64
Passed with highlighted passage deleted
The NEA shall inform its members through existing media of the negative correlation between tax dollars spent prosecuting continuous wars and the ongoing lack of public investment in education. Further, the NEA will include information on the disproportionate number of youths from minority and economically disadvantaged communities who are serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. The NEA will advocate for peace and, by publicizing online instructional resources, encourage its members to support the United Nations International Peace Day on September 21, 2016.
New Business Item 72
NEA will publicize through existing media the benefits of joining and encouraging state affiliates to become members of their state's labor council.
(State labor councils are controlled by the AFL-CIO, of which NEA is not a part. NEA bosses have tried and tried to get the association to merge with the much smaller and far less democratic American Federation of Teachers and the AFL-CIO for well over a decade. A merger would mean hundreds of thousands of dollars to the NEA tops, and a new layer of enemies to the rank and file. See the scoop on the last big push for a merger here http://clogic.eserver.org/2-1/gibson.html)
New Business Item 74
referred to committee as part of a bundle
1) NEA will gather evidence and inform its members of the impacts that charters have had on funds available for traditional public schools.
2) NEA will urge its members to not use the term "public charter schools" and NEA will cease to refer to them as such.
(Public charters are indeed funded with public money and governed by public laws. Some, most, are run by for-profit businesses, but the textbooks all schools use are for-profit, the architects, the busses, etc, are as well. Charters are often not organized into unions, although some are. No dues income is the key reason some unionists hate charters).
New Business Item 87
referred to committee as part of a bundle
The NEA will take three specific actions in support of striking teachers and communities defending public education in Mexico. First, the NEA will immediately provide $7,500 to the legal representatives chosen by union leaders Ruben Nunez and Francisco Villalobos, the two highest ranking imprisoned leaders of the Mexican teachers' union in Oaxaca known as Section 22-CNTE who are currently incarcerated far from their homes and families for organizing protests against corporate-driven education reforms. These monies must be quickly sent directly to the lawyers chosen by these leaders of CNTE-Section 22, because the Mexican government has frozen, and apparently seized, all the bank accounts of the teachers' union in Oaxaca, Mexico. Second, news (including photos if possible) of this NEA solidarity donation will be included in all available social, electronic, and print media when the sign-on names added to NEA President Lily Eskelsen-García's letter demanding an end to violence against educators and the oppression in Oaxaca, Mexico, is released. Third, at some time during this 2016 RA, this body will grant our president a moment of special privilege to explain why she was moved to write this blog about the violence in Oaxaca, Mexico and to urge everyone at the RA to add their names to her powerful letter now available at: http://lilysblackboard.org/2016/06/condemn-violence-educators-oxacaresiste/.
New Business Item 101
Through existing media, NEA will educate members about the conditions and plight of refugees attempting to enter the United States.
New Business Item 109
Referred to the Appropriate Committee
NEA will not accept monetary sponsorship or be affiliated with any foundation, corporation or politician that is linked to the negative public education reform movement and/or has participated in the privatization of public education.
New Business Item 112
The NEA will complete and electronically publish a study that focuses on institutional racism at our public colleges and universities. This study will examine the policies, practices, and resources (or lack thereof) that limit the ability of these institutions to serve effectively our students and communities of color.
New Business Item 119
In response to student mental health issues associated with war trauma, the NEA will identify existing resources that provide culturally responsive resources that address integration and adjustment for the whole child and partner with community organizations that work with refugee families and children. This list of resources will be made available to NEA members via the NEA website.
Before and during the Representative Assembly, NEA raised $3,355,000 to spend on the electoral circus ahead.
The California caucus’ final day began with two children singing the star spangled banner–hearts melted:
Scene THE LAST: TOWN CRIER---What created the mass hysterical conversion crisis lurching around the world? Beyond false consciousness, a conversion crisis related to hysteria, is the transference of a mental disorder to physical activity; for example, stress switched to paralysis of a limb.
Taken in mass, a hysterical conversion crisis is personified by groups of people who, unable to address the whole of why things are as they are, attack distinct, idiosyncratic, symptoms and thus are unable to find a cure.
A clear, current, indicator of this disorder comes from the Pew Research Foundation (2015):
The share of countries with a high or very high level of social hostilities involving religion reached a six
-year peak in 2012, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center. A third (33%) of the 198 countries and territories included in the study had high religious hostilities in 2012, up from 29% in 2011 and 20% as of mid-2007. Religious hostilities increased in every major region of the world except the Americas.
The sharpest increase was in the Middle East and North Africa, which still is feeling the
effects of the 2010-2011 political uprisings known as the Arab Spring. There also was a significant increase in religious hostilities in the Asia-Pacific region, where China edged into the "high"category for the first time.
That is violent, sixth century, pathological mysticism running amok.
Rolling Stone reporter, Matt Taibbi (2009), calls it, "The Great Derangement, a Terrifying Story of War,
Politics, and Religion." Even further, Reich (1970) in “The Mass Psychology of Fascism" explored the psychological realm, where he located an "emotional plague" in the suppression of sexual pleasure, which sweeps across class, churches, parties, families especially, and related social organizations. I call the reader to interrogate the too often ignored examinations of the emergence of fascism as a popular movement
in greater depth.
One other, not alternate but additional, element of explanation: there is no left. Nearly all of what is within the "left" has abandoned revolution, except in its hollowest, even reactionary, forms: the Arab Spring, the ultra-conservative farces in Egypt and Syria, the Orange revolution (and other Central Intelligence Agency sponsored uprisings now in the Ukraine), the tragedies that came of Russia and the long revolution in China, and the fictional left in the U.S., etc.
In the Arab world and elsewhere, it is reasonably clear that masses of people reject U.S. imperialism (if
not the draw of U.S. consumerism and culture) and the obvious failures of Soviet and Chinese
"socialism,"--- really capitalism with a purportedly benevolent party at the top. This might be true everywhere, because there is no left.
Sects like BAMN and its parent, the Revolutionary Workers League, and the rest of the organized left that I know of, teeter between sectarian howls and opportunist calls to support the capitalist, now fascist, state: “Defend ‘Public” Schools” when their call might better be “Rescue Education from the Ruling Classes!”
Americans face a terrible choice in the presidential election. Indeed, it is no choice at all. It’s a matter of which incarnation of the madness of capital and empire, fascist wars, racism, and superstition, is preferable.
There is another way. In the immortal words of E. Wayne Ross, spoken at a National Council for the Social Studies meeting: “This is bullshit. We should read Marx and make class war.”
Let us close the curtain with our NEA RA play with a final example of school worker opportunism, in a Facebook Post:
NEA RA - California Delegation
8 hrs · Downey, CA ·
Hi Fellow Delegates,
I am honored to be representing California's 40th Congressional District at the Democratic National Convention. I am a pledged delegate for Hillary Clinton. I can't wait to share this experience with my students. I think it is essential that educators not only become involved in our communities but also educate students on the democratic process. I hope to learn as much as I can to help pave the way for our future generations. Attending the Convention will cost several thousand dollars and is solely the responsibility of the Delegate. I would be extremely grateful for ANY contribution to help me fund this journey. You can read more about me and my journey by going to my site! I also plan to blog and write lesson plans about the election process. You can read about my educational blog by clicking on the link.
*Readers may recognize a nod to Weiss’ Marat/Sade, for which I am grateful.