Occupy Schools: Oakland Teachers Group Makes Anti-capitalist Agenda Clear

Occupy Schools: Oakland Teachers Group Makes Anti-capitalist Agenda Clear

Group of “teachers, parents, substitute teachers, after school instructors, youth workers and community activists” have formed an organization, Classroom Struggle, in Oakland to promote their anticapitalist agenda. It’s another example of the long term danger of the Occupy Wall Street, as shown in the film Occupy Unmasked.

Just so critics don’t accuse Breitbart News of making a wild association between this group and the Occupy movement, this is from the group’s website:

Our committee grew out of the Occupy movement.  The first political project that brought together many of the founding members was the organization of the student, parent and teacher march for education on November 2, 2011.  We have been supporters of much of the work of occupy, have received financial support from Occupy Oakland and the Oakland Commune as well, and were leaders of the Lakeview occupation in protest of school closings and privatization in our school district. 

The Oakland Unified School District has suffered severe economic hardship in recent years, including being put into receivership after facing a multimillion dollar debt. To Classroom Struggle, however, the problem was clearly capitalism:

Between austerity policies that slash school budgets, union busting that threatens the quality of teaching, corporate backed reforms aimed to turn young people into work ready robots rather than creative thinkers, and the rapid privatization of our schools (of which Oakland is a leader with 30% of students in charter schools), our schools are very literally under attack.  And for this reason we call for their defense.  What we are calling to abolish is not education but rather capitalism.

That list of complaints proposed by this radical, anticapitalist group turns out to be exactly the same as the complaints raised by the teachers’ unions. Mainstream unions such the American Federation of Teachers frequently protest budget cuts, union busting, and privatization. The group Classroom Struggle is at least being honest about their goals.

Of course, Classroom Struggles rail against things like Eurocentric history standards and English-only classrooms–but how about all the moves by liberals to deemphasize essential skills such as reading, math and critical thinking to focus on such things as ethnic studies instead? Classroom Struggle addresses that issue as well: these ‘radical’ education philosophies haven’t gone far enough.

Despite progressive and radical attempts to re-structure schools, promote ethnic studies and other forms of radical curriculum, there is no fundamental hope for a liberatory education under capitalism. This is why we say we must push the education struggle to its limits and fight to make it as much of an anti-capitalist struggle as possible.

If you don’t live in Oakland, please don’t kid yourself that the teachers in your public school classroom are not possibly going to be this radical. The sort of anti-capitlaist rhetoric is exactly what is taught at many teachers’ colleges. Is it going to be more commonplace in the future for the people teaching your children to be radicalized? 

For the answer, let’s look no further than the upcoming February 2013 conference of the Association of Teacher Educators that will be held in Atlanta. One of the keynote speakers for this group that teaches teachers is none other than illustrious Bill Ayers, former Weather Underground terrorist and associate of Barack Obama. That part doesn’t gets mentioned in his bio on the conference’s webpage:

William Ayers, formerly Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), founder of both the Small Schools Workshop and the Center for Youth and Society, has written extensively about social justice, democracy and education, the cultural contexts of schooling, and teaching as an essentially intellectual, ethical, and political enterprise.

This is apparently not a controversial decision, either. The idea that teaching is an essentially “ethical and political enterprise” and gives a feel-good name to the process of indoctrinating children in anticapitalist, anti-American propaganda. That’s why the Oakland group Classroom Struggle describes part of their agenda as “healing.”  They say:

As we organize ourselves we should seek ways to overcome alienation and trauma so that we can build new social relations of compassion, care, and solidarity.  The work of the educator is the work of reproducing the worker, but it is also the caring work of reproducing a caring, critical, and autonomous social being.  

The regimes based on the ideology that these educators are pushing have invariably lead to something quite different then “caring, crtitical and the time as social beings”; they have led to the killing fields of Cambodia, the gulags of the Soviet Union, and the mass death and starvation of North Korea. Meanwhile, the hated capitalist system that these teachers attack has led to their freedom to publish their work on fast, open computer networks and attend conferences at fancy hotels in cities teaming with boundless technology, entertainment and choice.

So pay no heed to the murderous slaughterhouse at the end of the anticapitalist road; the educators who are leading your children there are so compassionate and intellectual.