Category: Citizen’s Press

Class War and the College Crisis: The “Crisis of Democracy” and the Attack on Education

The following is the first part of a series of articles, “Class War and the College Crisis.”

By: Andrew Gavin Marshall

Part 2: The Purpose of Education: Social Uplift or Social Control?

Part 3: Of Prophets, Power, and the Purpose of Intellectuals

Part 4: Student Strikes, Debt Domination, and Class War in Canada

Today, we are witnessing an emerging massive global revolt, led primarily be the educated and unemployed youth of the world, against the institutionalized and established powers which seek to deprive them of a future worth living. In Chile over the past year, a massive student movement and strike has become a powerful force in the country against the increasingly privatized educational system (serving as a model for the rest of the world) with the support of the vast majority of the population; in Quebec, Canada, a student strike has brought hundreds of thousands of youth into the streets to protest against the doubling of tuition fees; students and others are on strike in Spain against austerity measures; protests led by or with heavy participation of the youth in the U.K., Greece, Portugal, France, and in the United States (such as with the Occupy Movement) are developing and growing, struggling against austerity measures, overt corruption by the capitalist class, and government collusion with bankers and corporations. Students and youth led the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt last year which led to the overthrow of the dictators which had ruled those nations for decades.

All around the world, increasingly, the youth are taking to the streets, protesting, agitating, and striking against the abuses of power, the failures of government, the excesses of greed, plundering and poverty. The educated youth in particular are playing an active role, a role which will be increasing dramatically over the coming year and years. The educated youth are graduating into a jobless market with immense debt and few opportunities. Now, just as several decades ago, the youth are turning back to activism. What happened in the intervening period to derail the activism that had been so widespread in the 1960s? How did our educational system get to its present state? What do these implications have for the present and future?

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Noam Chomsky: Occupy Points to a “Different Way of Living”

noam-chomsky-occupy-pamphlet-book-reviewNoam Chomsky has seen a lot of social movements. He cut his teeth on the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s and 1970s. He participated in the anti-intervention struggles of the 1980s as well as in the World Social Forums that began in the 1990s. Now in his 80s, Chomsky has hardly slowed down with his schedule of writing and speaking and agitating. And he is certainly not one to watch the new Occupy movement from the sidelines.

The latest publication from the new Occupied Media Pamphlet Series brings together several of Chomsky’s intersections with the Occupy movement. There’s a lecture he gave at Occupy Boston in October 2011, an interview in January 2012 with a student about the meaning of Occupy, a conference call with hundreds of Occupiers later that same month, a subsequent speech on “occupying foreign policy” at the University of Maryland, and a brief tribute to his friend and co-agitator Howard Zinn.

Having spent so much time thinking about and engaging with social movements, Chomsky is both optimistic about the energy of Occupy and realistic about the challenges it faces. He appreciates the “just do it” ethos and embraces its radical approach to participatory democracy. But he reminds his audiences that all social movements reach further than they can grasp. The influence of money on U.S. politics, the huge weight of the military-industrial complex, the rapaciousness of financial speculation: these are forces not easily dislodged by people gathering together in public spaces and voicing their opinions. And yet, as Chomsky points out, the mostly non-violent, non-funded, and non-partisan set of actions radiating out from Zuccotti Park in Manhattan managed to change the national discussion about economic inequality.

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23% interest ???  In late March, CFAX Radio in Victoria covered a ‘Payday-Loan’ story.  The story included information that Payday Companies could charge $23.00 on a loan of $100.00.  I asked a friend about ‘the interest rate’ on that loan, $23 for $100 borrowed, and he said 23%.
But it’s really 599%:  What CFAX Didn’t Report was that payday loan companies can charge $23 for lending $100 for TWO WEEKS, not for a year.  Paying $23 to borrow $100 for two weeks is 599% interest a year.  In fact, this information is posted at my local Money-Mart: the poster says they charge you $23 to borrow $100 for two weeks, and the poster says this is 599% a year.
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Wilderness Committee on 2012 Fed Budget: What’s coming down the pipeline?

Last week the federal government introduced their Budget for 2012. From an environmental perspective, the budget is bleak. For people who care about clean air and fresh water, wild salmon and endangered species, there is reason to be very concerned.

The budget weakens environmental standards and signals significant budgetary rollbacks for regulatory oversight of major industrial developments.

Timelines for federal reviews of large industrial developments, such as the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline, have been arbitrarily shortened. “Smaller” developments will have weaker reviews and may not be reviewed at all and the federal government is planning on delegating the review of some developments to provincial governments.

In British Columbia that is a big concern because provincial environmental standards have been gutted over the past decade and people who are concerned about clean air, fresh water and wildlife and wilderness have looked to stronger federal laws for protection of these values.

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Thomas Mulcair wins the leadership of the NDP, Comments please?

On March 24th Thomas Mulcair, after the 4th ballot of a run off election, won the leadership race of the New Democratic Party to replace the galvanizing Jack Layton who died last August.
What would you like to say about this?

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