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Gender: Female
Hometown: Wisconsin
Current location: Tejas
Member since: Thu Jan 17, 2008, 12:44 PM
Number of posts: 31,869

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The most violent element in society is ignorance. Emma Goldman

Journal Archives

Fantastic Facebook Meme -

Jacobin weighs in on the Supreme Court

Waiting for SCOTUS
by Rob Hunter


By fixating on the Supreme Court, liberals have inherited the framers’ skepticism of popular sovereignty and mass politics.

In 1789 — the same year that French revolutionaries were storming the Bastille — the wealthy and landed elites of the newly formed United States were consolidating their power. The French Revolution sought to abolish the aristocracy. In the United States, however, a new aristocracy of landowners, merchants, and slavers — the framers of the Constitution, which went into effect that March — sought to prevent anything like the French Revolution from taking place on American soil. They were aghast at popular uprisings, demands for mass debt forgiveness, and state governments that appeared dangerously willing to consider subordinating the interests of creditors and mercantile elites to those of farmers and workers.

Through the Constitution, the framers were determined to put in place a system of institutions that would resist democratic pressures and mute expressions of popular sovereignty. Although the framers frequently invoked the idea of popular sovereignty, they did so not in order to constitute a collective subject, but to prevent one from emerging. The Constitutional Convention of 1787 could hardly be classed as a constituent assembly of the kind found in France. It was convened in a state of exception rather than one of revolutionary ferment. Its delegates busied themselves not with giving institutional expression to popular sovereignty, but with creating a national government whose responsiveness to democratic politics was limited. To those who carried the day at the Convention, popular sovereignty consisted of little more than presenting the Constitution to state governments for ratification — a deeply participatory and popular form of democracy was hardly what they had in mind.

The Constitution claims popular sovereignty as its authorization, but establishes a distinctly undemocratic system of institutions. Unlike the political institutions of republican France, the institutions established by the Constitution are elite-dominated, decentralized, and marked by few opportunities for direct participation by the people. These are the institutions defended by the Supreme Court when it reviews the constitutionality of legislation. In this way, the Court participates in American politics mainly by attempting to frustrate the exercise of democratic power ...

Much more here: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/06/waiting-for-scotus/


(xposted in Socialist Progressives and E Warren groups):

Yesterday: June 27

Today in Labor History: Emma Goldman, IWW, Wagner Act, strike and lockout
by: Special to PeoplesWorld.org
June 27 2014

There were at least five major events in the annals of labor history in the U.S. that occurred on June 27.

(1) On June 27, 1869 Emma Goldman was born in Lithuania. At the age of 17, she came to the United States. Goldman was an early advocate of free speech, birth control, women's equality and independence, and union organization. Her criticism of mandatory conscription of young men into the military during World War I led to a two-year imprisonment, followed by her deportation in 1919 ...

The others are here: http://peoplesworld.org/today-in-labor-history-emma-goldman-iww-wagner-act-strike-and-lockout/

Arne Duncan and Special Education -

This is what happens when you let profit be the driver for education in a society. You have buffoons like Duncan "in charge" and you set up both teachers and children for failure -

"We know that when students with disabilities are held to high expectations and have access to a robust curriculum, they excel," Duncan said.

In announcing a new emphasis and "major shift," the U.S. Department of Education will now demand that states show educational progress for students with disabilities.

Arne Duncan announced that, shockingly, students with disabilities do poorly in school. They perform below level in both English and math. No, there aren't any qualifiers attached to that. Arne is bothered that students with very low IQs, students with low function, students who have processing problems, students who have any number of impairments -- these students are performing below grade level.

"We know that when students with disabilities are held to high expectations and have access to a robust curriculum, they excel," Duncan said. (per NPR coverage)

And I'm pretty sure we don't know any such thing. I'm pretty sure that the special needs students in schools across the country are special needs precisely because they have trouble meeting the usual expectations.

There's no question that special needs students require more educational attention than simply being warehoused. And it's true that unnecessarily low expectations are no help to any student. But it is also true that an entire educational sub-specialty, a whole other class of training, has been developed simply to address the challenge of teaching students with special needs.

More here if you can stomach it: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-greene/disabilities-testing-education_b_5528835.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000020

Every morning -

Educating for the Status Quo

Educating for the Status Quo
6.21.14 ~ by Shawn Gude

The Common Core, the education establishment’s cherished set of national educational standards, is under attack.

Glenn Beck and Karen Lewis, state’s rights proponents and Gates critics, anti-standardized testing skeptics right and left — all are lining up to pillory a policy that counts Randi Weingarten, Jeb Bush, and the National Parent Teacher Association among its supporters. Opponents, if one can draw parallels between the grievances of prudish conservatives, militant unionists, and Louis C.K., fret that the Common Core circumscribes creativity and regiments schooling. Conservative detractors are skittish about government indoctrination, lefties about corporate domination.

So severe is the scorn that even the Gates Foundation, a financial backer of the standards, is backpedaling; last week, it said schools should hold off on using test scores to evaluate teachers and promote students until the two-year initial implementation process is complete.

The Common Core debate is important not simply because of the standards’ immediate effects on pupils, but because it offers us an opportunity to ask the biggest questions about our education system: What should be the guiding ethos of public education in a democratic society? What are we preparing students for, other than participation in economic life? And how should schooling be structured to reflect democratic values?

The short answers: Incredulity, not docility, is the trait to inculcate, along with a citizenry disposed to questioning received wisdom and orthodoxy and a less hierarchical teacher-student relationship. In each instance, the Common Core is an impediment ...

much more here: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/06/educating-for-the-status-quo-common-core/

Sharing Elizabeth Warren Meme for Facebook -

A Brazilian Street Artist Speaks to the World -


Rank-and-File Environmentalism

Rank-and-File Environmentalism
6.11.14 - by Trish Kahle (Jacobin)

Labor is often considered hopelessly reactionary on the environment. But democratic unions can fight for both jobs and the planet.

The “jobs versus environment” debate is often seen as a fundamental division between labor and environmentalists, most recently emerging in the fight over the Keystone XL pipeline. Despite dire warnings from scientists about its potentially disastrous environmental impact, the pipeline was endorsed by the AFL-CIO, which justified its decision by citing “job creation.” Estimates range from 5,000-9,000 temporary positions — a drop in the bucket compared to the more than 794,000 unemployed construction workers in the US — and a mere 35 permanent jobs.

Is there any kind of environmental degradation, environmental activists might wonder, unions won’t endorse to secure a small handful of construction jobs?

Jeremy Brecher is right to point in a recent piece to the need for the labor and environmental movements to “evolve toward a common program and a common vision.” To do so, we’ll need to break down the false “jobs versus environment” dichotomy created by capital to obscure the fact that the exploitation of workers and the degradation of the environment go hand in hand ...

More here: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/06/rank-and-file-environmentalism/
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