Saturday, February 6, 2010

Michael Fiorillo on Duncan's Katrina statement

Teacher, historian, activist, and chapter leader Michael Fiorillo, who is running with ICE-TJC for one of the six HS seats on the Executive Board in the coming election, writes frequently about NYC schools and the state of our labor union.

His perspective on current school events is not only informative but essential reading.

The following paragraphs are in response to a post at GothamSchools after Sect'y of Education Arne Duncan remarked that Katrina was the "best thing" for the New Orleans school system.

This despicable statement by Duncan represents a common motif among Democrats and Republicans alike, and validates Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine thesis, namely, that ruling elites create or opportunistically use crises to implement policies that would otherwise be blocked. In the case of New Orleans, it’s the wholesale privatization of the school system, with the schools being turned over to large charter school chains. Teach For America — closely affiliated with KIPP — is the Human Resources Division and employment agency for this hostile takeover.

Right after Katrina, Republican House member Richard Baker from Baton Rouge said, “We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn’t do it, but God did.” (Huffington Post, 9/12/05) Apparently, God favors privatization and separate-and-unequal schools, which is the current model in New Orleans, NYC and every large urban school system.

Where were these people when the urban schools were suffering from decades of neglect and under-investment? They certainly weren’t teaching in them, or sending their children to them. Why are they only now proclaiming their “passion” for education, which is based solely on their lust to dominate and control them, driven by an agenda that, PR rhetoric aside, is about their will to power and profit?

The privatization of the schools is the lead-in the the privatization of Social Security, which will be forced on the American people in the name of “deficit reduction” and “fiscal responsibility.” While working and middle class Americans will see the loss and privatization of the public domain and the public interest, Finance will continue to be be allowed to capture an ever-increasing percentage of the national income, and will continue to loot the nations patrimonial wealth. They will do this by demanding and receiving ever higher “rents” from consumers and the productive economy, by means of interest, fees, royalties, actual rents, use of eminent domain for private interests, and privatization. If you research the private interests that are funding ed deform, these rentiers are who you will find.

Obama, who received most of his campaign contributions from Finance, is the Trojan Horse brought in to bring this about; it’s Nixon Goes to China in reverse, with a purported “liberal” elected to do what a Republican never could get away with. It’s his job to impose the structural adjustment policies that the IMF has used to dominate developing countries undergoing debt crises over the past thirty years: shrinking the public sector, privatization of resources and public services (note that he just announced the privatization of the space program), elimination of subsidies that support domestic production and social welfare, etc.

Disregard Obama’s faux-populist rhetoric of recent weeks: it’s little more than a shift in his overall marketing campaign, called for by internal polls, focus groups, and his team’s failure to hit their sales targets in Massachusetts. After all, he was named Marketer of the Year in 2008 by Advertising Age magazine, and is referred to by his own people as “Brand Obama.”

While the Democrats traditional political base is frozen by cynical slogans of “hope” and “change,” Wall Street is going to smash and grab what’s left of the country.

Unless we stop them, starting here and now.

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