Partisan Education: Taking Sides
In the Schools
LET'S CREATE SCHOOLS
FOR REAL CHANGE
Copyright 1997, Renaissance Community Press
No American institution influences
more people than the schools. From the little kids who jump off busses
on cold mornings to weary adults in night classes; most people in this
society are touched by a school. Schools are voter registration sites,
the lone free acreage in many neighborhoods, immunization check points,
and food centers. Schools are the prime American institution of social
control. Schools are partisan institutions.
It's in school that people learn
their place, that this is best of all possible worlds, that destiny is
a force beyond the control of most humans, that unique change is undesirable
and hopeless, that social divisions based on race,sex and religion are
determinative and natural, that selfishness is a survival tool, and that
while force is a last resort, it's an available one if the best of all
possible worlds is threatened. It's also a great place to sell stuff.
Above all, school prepares people,
nearly everyone who sets foot inside, to become active participants in
their own oppression, to internalize obedience and anticipate the commands
that continue an inequitable social system. Yet there is no place in society
where there is more room to address issues, to challenge vital sectors
of the population, where there is more room to struggle successfully, than
school. Because they perform in circumstances which demand they take sides,
only partisan school workers can make education profound.
Recent radical and revolutionary analyses of schools fall flat in that they either see education as a target for an endless series of reforms with no practical plan of how to win change, or they present a frozen picture of schools as nothing but centers for social reproduction. We get misdirection or hopelessness. It is true that a key goal of education is to breed another generation of laborers, but today's generation of schooled laborers is ceaselessly degraded, pressed down by an economy in decline. All of history says these people will resist. Indeed, resistance is the only rational way to address the madness of a society whose mental patients outnumber those hospitalized for all other disorders combined. An evaluation that does not counsel practical forms of resistance fails to place school in its social context.
In brief, it is not enough to
explain the oppressive nature of school, the goal is to change it.
Some critiques of school are
more on point. They demonstrate the possibilities for contention in school,
but they simply don't describe how to do it. The analysts lack practical
experience in school skirmishes, confuse the expansion of education with
real rebel's work, and leave potential activists adrift.
For liberals, trendy calls for
multi-culturalism and diversity often hide an essentially reactionary agenda;
the elevation of race, sex and gender preference above the question of
class. The result of thinking that by making demands, or issuing plans,
one makes change, some of these reformers usher in racially and sexually
segregated schools and immobilize people who might otherwise resist the
intensified attacks on working class people which typify this era.
Like another weave in the same
cloth, "revolutionary" tacticians are equally crippled by an analysis that
sees schools as monoliths, prisons,labor camps, where there is little room
for maneuver. It is not enough to "Smash the Schools". There must be a
rational process to change them.
What confronts those who seek
democratic equality and change is the struggle for a coherent analysis
of school, a strategy to build a base of people to make school and society
different. The only reforms that have life are those that can be defended
by people who understand why they were initially won--and how.
change school, one must address the national economy and realign current
political structures. In the thirties, in the midst of a complete financial
collapse, a mass coalition of employed and unemployed workers led by employees
in the country's rapidly expanded industrial base won three reforms which
are now cornerstones of our society: social security, the eight hour day,
and a law to govern unionization and collective bargaining. Today, in a
crisis of similar if not equivalent magnitude, what is required is another
mass movement, an alignment of workers of all kinds, to take direct action
for fundamental change. It is not enough for teachers to enter the war
of ideas, they must enter the war itself, as organzers.
Education workers, among the
last with steady jobs in the country, have a responsibility and interest
to take leadership in this movement. This means that school workers must
abandon the craft union approach of their organizations which tie them
to the most unreliable of allies, the rich, and find real friends among
poor and working people who have the most to gain from education in all
Educators must recognize that
at the crux of this matter is racism, and that the injury of one really
does precede injury to all. First we witnessed tens of thousands of mental
patients dumped into the streets, none of them rich and nearly all of them
graduated to homelessness or death. Concurrently, welfare grants wsere
slashed, eligibility rules tightened. Then unions and wages were attacked.
Now, ruin of urban schools is but a harbinger of the breakdown of all learning.
What is at stake, when one examines the harsh realities of our society,
is a matter of life or death for most American citizens.
Consider the breadth of school.
There are 15,274 public school districts in the United States. In those
schools are 41,838,871 students, 2,431,008 teachers. In addition there
are about 1,400,000 non-teaching school workers such as bus drivers, cafeteria
assistants, aides, mechanics and skilled trades people. Private schools
house another 5,193,213 students and 354,638 teachers. Public school enrollment
increased about 1.8 million since 1987. 2.5 million kids graduated from
high school in 1991, another 2.5 million will graduate this year. The cost
of education this year will be $5,097 per student, a bundle. (National
Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education, 1992 quoted
in Education Week, 2-5-92)
Add to this total of nearly 44
million people directly affected by the public schools, the myriad of people
whose income depends on school work or profits: book publishers (and bookmakers),
builders, accountants, restauranteurs, social workers, food surplus workers,
middle-class volunteers, clothing salespeople and manufacturers, landscapers
and deveolpers (school districts spent $9.6 billion on construction projects
in 1990--Education Week, 2-19-92) and finally, about 20 million people
in the private school system. (NEA Research, 1990)
It's a lot. Neither the military,
the tax system, nor welfare programs are more pervasive than school. And
school sucks. Still, all these numbers, this incredible massed quantity
of buildings, money, land, people, and publicity, combine to form a huge
spectacle of education slammed daily into the public consciousness, a hollow
spectacle full of magic and mythology drawn from long remembered experiences,
but a phenomenon of limited substance and of real use, absent subversion,
to but a tiny minority of citizens.
As the contradictions, the tension
of forces at opposition in our society, sharpen, so do the contradictions
in the schools. As life outside the halls of ivy grows harsher; schools
become harsher themselves. School is more and more a partisan issue. To
get a fix on its realities, one must take partisan positions. While it
follows that this is a partisan work, I seek here not to detail all of
the contradictions of life and society. But it is necessary to quickly
contemplate the terrain.
Put simply, there are in this
world distinct social classes which have little in common. The rich grow
richer and more powerful, the poor grow poorer and more numerous, the middle
class shrinks. (See, for example, "U.S. Encourages Rich to Take More",
Detroit Free Press, 1-1-91). Social mobility is now a downward trend.
Government, all forms of it like
the courts, cops, troops, legislators, becomes, in former Budget Director
David Stockman's words, "...a Trojan Horse for the rich." Wealth understands
that it is a particular class with specific, and unique interests. Whether
tycoons conspire over minutia or the rich simply act in concert out of
a mutual interest makes little difference. They are there, either well
organized or simply less disorganized than the mass, and most citizens
must contend with them.
The world capitalist economic
system is in serious straits. The crisis is sharp in the U.S. but even
more so as it extends to weaker economies throughout the world. Capitalist
decay creates capitalist desperation and its corollary, war. Overproduction,
mass constant unemployment and imprisonment, intensified competition for
cheap labor, raw materials, markets, frantic if confused nationalist movements,
bank and insurance failures, desperate attempts to drive down the costs
of manufacturing, de-industrialization, are all political reminders of
conditions before World Wars I and II. But in that era, the U.S. was in
ascendancy, a status which now belongs to the Germans and the Japanese.
The collapse of the Soviet Union
leaves an interlude, the eye of the storm, before a price is paid for years
of militarism. In any case, because the U.S. is unable to compete politically
or economically in the world, or even to take advantage of the dissolution
of the Evil Empire, the quality of life for most American people quickly
deteriorates and new, or old, ideologies appear to explain the problems
of social decay. We must turn briefly to the ideas that hope to explain
There are two enchanted "f" words
in North American English usage. One is so charged, diversionary, and prolific,
it's not worth printing. The other is fascism .
Fascism is but a word, though
a vaguely pejorative one, for most Americans. Through a decade of misuse
as a radical epithet in the 60's, and strained again by the 70 years passed
since the rise of the Italian fascisti, the term became hollow. The recent
popular film, "JFK", places the word in the mouth of a fanatic, but the
controversial context of the movie's thesis, that a coup-de-tat lay behind
the murder of John Kennedy, gives new credence to the thought that fascism
is more than a word.
Most surely it is. But even sophisticated
citizens see fascism as solely the strut of jack-booted Nazis in black
and white films, the result of a peculiar madness that swept the German
people. Somehow, just fifty years ago, this madness spread to two of the
other most well- educated countries in the world, Japan and Italy. Remarkably,
these countries also enjoyed some of the most highly developed working
class organizations of their time.
Fascism rose out of conditions
much like our own. It's history is worth examination.
Among those most concerned about
fascist development are those who were shot first: communists. Two communists,
writing in the mid-thirties, outlined the debate about the definition of
fascism, its origins and practices, and influenced political scientists
for years to come. Both made clear suggestions as to how to fight it.
Georgi Dimitroff, a Bulgarian
communist once accused of setting the Reichstag fire, argued in "United
Front Against Fascism", that fascism results from a takeover by evil people
in a given capitalist ruling class (narrowly defined, these are the people
who own the means of production, that is the factories, land, banks, insurance
companies, and so on and who, because of their common interests and history
of organization, are able to control the government). Dimitroff saw fascism
as an aberration, something of a historical fluke, though an extraordinarily
dangerous one. He defined fascism as the direct rule of this most cruel
sector of the elites, the operation of government untrammeled by niceties
like elections and unbiased courts, government solely in the interest of
a rogue gang.
To combat the fascists, Dimitroff
proposed that communists form alliances with all people supporting social
change and, in particular, social democrats, liberals, and those sane sections
of the old ruling class offended by their former brethren.
In opposition, R. Palme Dutt, a British communist and author of "Fascism and Social Revolution", posed the argument like this:
Fascism is a logical and necessary
result of capitalist decay, that is, capitalism MUST result in overproduction,
war and all the characteristics described above as benchmarks of our international
Fascism, in Dutt's analysis,
cannot be successfully examined as a theory. It really has no consistent
theoretical foundations. Fascism is opportunist, saying whatever appears
to be fashionable at the moment. However, fascist practice is inescapably
clear, no matter how muddled its philosophy. Fascism , per Dutt (and in
considerable agreement with Dimitroff---and other Marxist theorists like
Lewis Corey who we will meet later) has these major elements:
1) Fascism is the unchecked rule
of the rich. Wealth issues orders, usually through a puppet. Fascism, even
in its early stages requires the direct support of at least some sections
of the ruling class. Fascist totalitarianism is based on the principle
of absolute authority, usually represented in one man, like Hitler. In
this clear sense, fascism attacks democracy at every level.
2) Fascism is a high stage of
the corporate state, a state of all-class unity where business, labor and
government leaders declare their inseparable interests for the overriding
good of the nation. Fascism, therefore, means national chauvinism. Despite
its usual populist declarations, fascism strikes out at the organizations
and individual lives of working people.
3) Fascism elevates racism and
anti-communism to public policy. Whether it is Jews, Gypsies, "guest" workers,
Black people, whoever, fascism seeks to scapegoat a section of the population
to shift blame from the pecunious for the rot of national capitalism. Racism,
the idea that someone is less than human because of their skin color and
the institutionalization of that idea in systematic public practice, becomes
an excuse for slavery and death inside the master nation and out.
4) Fascism means militarism,
war, and propaganda to convince working people to actively attack other
working people to maintain or promote national profits.
5) Fascism requires mysticism.
A whole culture develops around fascist ideas. Sado-masochistic, violent,
worshipping skulls and death, drug-oriented, the ruling class turns to
superstition and perverse religions to justify the collapse of society
and to divert citizens from rational analysis. In this sense, fascism ultimately
retards science and social growth.
6) Fascism usually organizes
miscreant, independent militias to violently support the wealthy and their
nation and to destroy worker groups like unions which might pursue solutions
for the needs of their members by placing class above nation.
Since, Dutt claims, capitalism
always deteriorates into fascism, support for any sector of the monied
ruling class only buttresses an inevitable fascist movement, whether led
by an apparently vile sector of the ruling class or a more gentle one.
Dutt suffers no liberals nor social democrats who he sees as especially
dangerous in that their calls for partnerships of business, labor and government
are merely muffled steps easing the way toward fascist dictatorship. Dutt
supplies as examples a rather convincing array of East European social
democrats who paved the paths for Nazis.
To defeat fascism, Dutt asserts
the only avenue is to smash capitalism itself, that capitalist allies of
any sort will only corrupt and mislead this movement.
Stalin, mediator of all things
red in the thirties, found for Dimitroff, the position that fascism is
an aberration and the way to fight it is to find as many allies as possible,
especially allies among the ruling classes of the world. This critical
decision, marking a shift in Soviet policy that was already in progress,
caused, for example, the American Communist Party to stop calling Franklin
Roosevelt a "social fascist" and adopt him as an ally. Whether this enabled
the Soviet-led victory in WWII, or was in reality a building block in the
development of Soviet social-imperialism, has interested a few political
scientists for years.
From a modern vantage, with Dutt's
and Dimitroff's contributions as solid supports, it appears both were off
target in analysis and strategy. Fascism is no aberration, not the result
of nasty people. It is indeed a systematic problem, otherwise it would
not reoccur so frequently with such sameness. Why do Dutt's attacks on
liberals who paved the way for fascism ring so true? But how can fascism
dominate in countries where capitalism is not, for the most part, in decay;
today's Saudi Arabia, the early slave society of the U.S., Japan in the
twenties? And how can sincere social democrats, who cherish democracy in
its purest forms, be complicit in their own destruction?
Actually, fascism and capitalism
are inseparable, one requires the other, even if not openly in the parlor.
The question of whether or not fascism is in place in a given society,
a hair-splitter that occupies much of the left, is really a question of
American capitalism could not
develop without the fascist slave system. In the mid-1800's the American
government smashed the diverse civilizations of Native Americans and placed
them in camps, precursors of the camps used for Japanese during WWII and
the yards surrounded by barbed wire that contained rebellious black workers
in the late 1960's. Once one-half million lives were lost defeating the
slave system, the U.S depended on the cheap raw materials and virtually
unpaid labor of third world workers whose fascist governments relied on
the U.S.; most of Latin America, Africa, China, Indo-China, etc. At least
in this sense, imperialism is not "The Highest Stage of Capitalism", (Lenin).
It's the first stage of capitalism.
Within the U.S. there have always
been well-nourished kernels of fascism. Woodrow Wilson immortalized himself
by calling the pro-Klan film, "Birth of a Nation", "Writ with lightning"
and institutionalizing the segregation of the armed forces.
Work places are never democracies,
no Bill of Rights there. The U.S. Code of Military Justice is not the law
of a democracy. Schools, by virtue of their clients' age, suspend many
rights for most of the people, kids, in them. In political science classes,
children learn about the first and fourteenth amendments. In Journalism,
and on every foot of school property, they learn those trappings don't
apply. Teachers know their own boundaries of free speech are often narrow.
People of color in America long
suffered varying degrees of fascism , from Chinese exclusion laws to the
Black Codes to Jim Crow to the mass imprisonment of masses of black youth
today. The race riots from the Civil War through the 1940's were nothing
but police-backed pogroms.
Some prominent fascists were,
and are, U.S. citizens. Henry Ford gave intellectual, and perhaps financial,
support to Hitler, as did the Dulles family (conspicuous for their work
in American government, especially the intelligence community). Indeed,
through the German-American Bund, movements like that behind Michigan radio
priest Father Coughlin, and remnants of the Ku Klux Klan, there was considerable
pro-fascist sentiment in the U.S. before WWII.
After the war, the U.S. government,
possibly feeling the indigenous fascists wouldn't suffice, brought thousands
of ex-Nazis, even war criminals, into the country under the protection
of American intelligence agencies. Operation Paperclip, described in the
scholarly, "Blowback", by Chris Simpson, introduced Nazi scientists to
America. They were critical in the development of the space program. Other
schemes, frequently operating under the disguise of the Vatican and other
religious movements, brought Hungarian fascists, Byelorussians, Russian
collaborators, Estonians, Albanian monarchists and Italian Nazis. The CIA
recruited the head of Nazi intelligence, Reinhold Gehlen, and kept him
on the payroll for years. (See "The UnHoly Trinity" By James Loftus) Internationally,
the head of the U.N. for many years, Austrian Kurt Waldheim, was a wanted
Nazi war criminal.
Later, as the extreme right-wing
government creations of the U.S. in colonies came under attack and lost
their hold, the U.S. imported them (Vietnamese, Cubans, Iranians, Salvadorans,
Nicaraguans, etc.) as well.
Some of these people melted into
their new communities, laid low, and made modest contributions, hardly
heard from again. An article in the Washington Post (1-12-92) describes
a reporter's return to his rural, hard-working parents' native Hungary
where he discovers his father was the Nazi town mayor during WWII, a war
criminal wanted for the murder of thousands of Jews. There are many of
these characters still in the American woodpile.
Other immigrant fascists, like
old men who require observation in public parks, couldn't keep their hands
in their pockets. The Cubans formed openly fascist groups like Alpha 66,
botched the invasion of their former homeland, murdered diplomat Letelier,
probably helped in the assassination of John Kennedy, and even today parade
their aging big-bellied military might through the streets of Miami in
support of a second crew of bungling assassins who invaded Cuba in 1991
.(Washington Post 1-14-92)
Outside the U.S., there can be
no serious question of the linkage of German, Japanese, and Italian fascists
with their national capitalists like the Krups, Bayer, and so on. Only
what some have called "Soviet Social Fascism" fell on its own accord (to
give rise to---what?). But no active fascist government was ever defeated
exclusively from within. (See, for example, "Who Financed Hitler?")
Fascist ideology and practice
now rises throughout the world. The Duke/Buchanan presidential candidacies,
rooted in racism and anti-semitism, give respectability and credence to
fascist ideas. Every year, more and more incidents of racist violence are
reported to the B'nai B'rith. East European movements like the Georgian
White Christian Knights, Poland's Solidarity (a CIA creation which seeks
a state religion and reveres a Nazi collaborator of WWII, Pilsudski), the
monarcho-Nazi Russian Pamiyat movement, reunified German neo-Nazis subsidized
by the Klan, the French "Drive out the imigrants!" Le Pen, all draw heavily
on the fascism of their forefathers. Elsewhere, one can always count on
the South Africans, where the African Resistance Movement worships the
swastika. (Washington Post, 2-3-92)
The Reverend Moon, the quintescent
fascist, the man who epitomizes every facet of the definition, who is at
once a bizarre millionaire mystic whose original base of support came from
a billionaire Japanese war criminal, whose supporters endorse the violent
regime of South Korea in the name of God, who claims he is god himself,
and who owns two major metropolitan newspapers, one in New York, the other
in Washington, creates both a theoretical and practical basis for fascist
activity. (Frontline, PBS, 1-14-92)
More subtly, Chrysler's Lee Iacocca
meets some of the benchmark criteria for a fascist demagogue. Iacocca slams
Japanese products and price supports while he invests Chrysler money in
Mitsubishi, shifts production jobs to Mexico, and demands multi-million
dollar subsidies, government loans and tax breaks to protect his 20 million
dollar salary. The United Auot Workers Union plays the peanut gallery to
Iacocca's hysterics, agreeing to blame ALL Japanese for the collapse of
the auto industry, identifying the workers' needs with Iacoccas, and failing
to raise a finger while more than 1/2 million of their members lost their
jobs forever. Here, in the most respectable garb, we have a potentially
fascist leader and his organized movement. (see Jane Slaughter, "Japanese
Bashing", Guardian 1-29-92 p 10)
Support for the Iraq war is,
in some circles, seen as fascist by definition. Surely the media, for example,
goose-stepped into the war effort with little or no criticism of the remarkable
of degrees of censorship imposed on them. But the thin support, going little
beyond the commitment to place a yellow ribbon, the outpouring of joy that
wore off in a year of unemployment, is indicative of the tensions faced
by those who would like to see a mass-based form of fascism in the U.S.
Cultural phenomena like the negation
of art and music embodied by the Sex Pistols (with song titles like "Belsen
was a Gas") and much of MTV's celebration of swastikas and violence against
women, point to a lingering fascist influence (See "Full of Sound and Fury"
by Martha Bayles, Washington Post Book World, 1-26-92) harkening back to
the glorification of the Nazi sympathizer "Lucky Lindy" Charles Lindbergh,
a favorite of Hitler's imoortalized in popular song. Buildings like the
Portman ventures, the RenCen in Detroit and Peachtree Plaza in Atlanta,
are architectural attempts to make people feel confused, insignificant,
lost, and disempowered in the midst of a very mighty other, a supreme commodity;
surely a fascist paradise.
In a wise little book, "Zen in
the Martial Arts", by Joe Hyams, there is a parable about becoming strong.
An instructor draws two lines of equal length on a board and challenges
the class to make one line shorter. He claims one line as his, the other
as theirs. Invariably, the class simply erases part of his line. But, he
asks, "How has this made your line stronger? You have but made me weaker.
The BEST way to make the other line shorter is to lengthen your own."
Such was the trap Ronald Reagan fell into when he coerced the U.S.S.R.'s collapse by forcing a dollar-matching spree on war materials. The U.S.S.R. is finished. But so is much of the U.S.A.
Both of our lines are shorter.
A nation which has, simultaneously,
no industrial base but the most sophisticated technological and military
establishment in the world, which must rely on sheer force to sustain markets,
production, cheap labor and raw materials; a country which. threatened
by the puny posturing of a marginally developed but armed third world nation,
must bomb its enemy back to feudalism, is a country with an environment
where fascism could flourish. As we have seen, in some sectors it already
The U.S. is absolutely dependant
on controlling the productive capacity of every rising potential competitor
nation through the American military, the beneficiary of thirty billion
dollars a year diverted from social programs over the last decade. This
is not post-industrialism, it is the highest form of organized decay. The
arsenal of democracy, this fortunate country unscarred by war in 140 years,
this huge protected, united island once the behemoth of industrial and
farm production, is now merely the arsenal.
American workers and poor people,
absent a longer line of their own, will not benefit by joining the decline,
that is by attacking anything but the source of the problem, by failing
to build a reliable movement of their own.
Capitalism and fascism , twins
perhaps, the iron fist necessary to fill the velvet glove. But the fact
remains that struggles within capitalism also spawned, especially during
times of aggressive mass efforts for change like the Reconstruction period
or the 1960's, some of the most democratic stages in human evolution. Democratic
activity, movements within the unions like the Teamsters for a Democratic
Union or the Miners for Democracy, movements around the environment like
Greenpeace, multi-racial demonstrations against the Klan like the Martin
Luther King Day Action in Denver in 1992, all combine to demonstrate that
there is plenty of leeway to struggle in this country and on this planet.
What is at question is how that can be done and won.
Hence, whether or not fascism
exists, or is about to exist in the U.S. (like life in East St. Louis,
the east side of Detroit, Anacostia in Washington D.C., Liberty City in
Miami, Newark) is not the point. North American fascism will not necessarily
closely mimic Italian or German fascism. H. Ross Perrot has potential for
uniqueness. What evolves here is that the conditions which meet any reasonable
working definition of fascism grow rapidly. Fascism in other countries
came forward as a mass movement, involving the majority of citizens. Surely,
today, such a debacle does not obtain in the United States. Many people,
most, did not vote for David Duke. Yet, there are elements of fascism around
us and the decision of which side to take, as the taking of sides becomes
more and more obvious, is open to most Americans, a disturbing situation
at the least.
School workers see these political
developments first hand. Urban schools are more segregated every day (Washington
Post, 1-10-92). Suburban schools, unmentioned in the article, never were
anything else. Rich schools get exponentially better, working class schools
geometrically worse. What is at risk now is a more than a matter of whether
citizens can view schools as a source of hope, it is question of survival.
Joblessness, homelessness, illness, for poor people in a society with no
effective safety nets left, is the end of history.
Therefore, professional school
work, whatever it may be, teaching, counselling, work as an aide, managing,
driving a bus, cleaning, maintaining, cooking; means taking sides, being
a partisan or a collaborator.
This is not an abstraction of
the niceties of American democracy born out of an education system designed
to serve all citizens. The issue is power and its polarities, whose future
will be touched and how? To meet the organized energy of wealth, power
must be created from the mobilized egalitarian democratic aspirations of
the majority of citizens and their united ability to make gains in their
own collective interests. Education at every level is a partisan affair.
In partisan matters, all but power is illusion.
The "Savage Inequalities", the
gross disparities of rich and poor schools Jonathan Kozol profoundly details
in his book are the conditions of a society stretched by most severe pressures.
Yet his call for tax reform to equalize schooling will, at best, likely
translate into a tax increase aimed directly at working people to subsidize
better schools--in rich neighborhoods. Calls to elites to fix the schools
are calls to addicts to guard the crack. The goal of equality in schools
and society goes far reasoning with enemies and directly to the matter
of mass, organized resistance led, probably, by the people who are in schools
most of the time, school workers and students, backed by working class
parents and activists. That is the essence of power today.
Not long ago, after the Steelworkers
Union made millions of dollars of concessions to U.S. Steel, the company
turned about and invested its capital in a liquor company. When asked about
his dubious commitment to the workforce and American production, the company
president responded, "I'm not in business to make steel. I'm in business
to make money". People invested in bad schools are not likely convinced
of the need for equal school funding.
Never-the-less, blame for the
brewing U.S. economic collapse frequently focuses on the schools: "We'd
be in better economic shape if our schools produced smarter kids." This
is one of the lone points of agreement for every candidate in the '92 Presidential
In fact, we'd be in better shape
in a society where things were shared more equitably. The U.S. today faces
a depression more because of our outdated machinery, the third world debt,
successful nationalist movements, massive military investments, bad management,
outright corruption, and over-production. In sum, failures common to capitalism,
not lousy schools, caused this crisis.
But even teacher advocacy groups
like the unions accept the premise that American capitalism rises and falls
in the schools, and that the school workers task is tantamount to saving
America. Educators become accomplices in a most unbalanced partnership.
The ruling class in this society
must prepare, and discipline, the civilian population for a period of economic
recession and the possibility of war. If there is to be war, it must be
foreshadowed by a period of massive reindustrialization to recreate the
basic war industries and political indoctrination to forge a false sense
of national unity. In each case, reindustrialization and indoctrination,
poor and working class people will be required to make the greatest sacrifices.
Therefore school takes on major importance. A good war requires trained
people and popular support.
Critical as they are, schools
are actually to the economic and political system as a weathervane is to
the wind; always responding, occasionally predicting, the weather. Because
the political and economic winds often blow in different directions simultaneously,
the school weathervane appears shifty, even confused. But in general the
weathervane knows which way the wind is blowing. The gap between rich and
poor grows first in society and then in the schools. First the Japanese
outproduce American capitalists. Then American kids learn to hate the Japanese.
Schools are not sources of food, clothing, warmth, shelter, good health, raw materials, or finished trinkets. Their products, which we will discuss, are less tangible, though not less important. Yet schools must rely heavily on the other sections of society for support. Lets examine the underpinning of school.
Web page created by Amber Goslee