By Morna McDermott of Educational Alchemy – In honor of the announcement by Merriam Webster Dictionary that “surreal” was the word of 2016 I am re-posting a older piece I wrote for United Opt Out almost one year ago. Now… more relevant than ever. Annual standardized testing has given way to Competency Based online delivery systems, all…the…time. Race to the Top has been replaced with ESSA. And the socio-political climate against which we are fighting? Well…it speaks for itself. Merriam Webster site states: “Surreal is often looked up spontaneously in moments of both tragedy and surprise, whether or not it is used in speech or writing.
By Zoltán Grossman for Common Dreams – Like millions of other Americans, I was shocked, but perhaps not entirely surprised, by Donald Trump’s victory on election night. His blatant racism and misogyny, cynical exploitation of economic populism, and ties to fascist ideology have generated enormous fears. Yet if we stop at the point of those fears, and let fatalism or blame games drive our response to the Trump regime, then we have already ceded our power to him. Yes, Trump carries the whiff of fascism, and many of his followers indeed hold racist and misogynist beliefs. But we cannot stop thinking at that point.
By Adam Fisher for Jacobin Magazine – I grew up in what could be called the California Appalachians. My town’s population was around a thousand, with a median household income of $37,000. The local public school consisted of a series of air-conditioned, double-wide trailers that served as classrooms for combined grades (first and second in one, third and fourth in another, and so on). The only permanent building was the administrative office. The town had multiple saloons and churches, and a movie theater that doubled as the performance space for Christmas plays. There was one doctor, with an office and an x-ray machine. Main Street was two blocks long, with false fronts on every building, a train platform with one Amtrak departure per day
By Jules Legendre for In Defense of Marxism – During the 2012 presidential election, the Socialist Party candidate Hollande made a lot of pledges (the right for non-French citizens to vote, defence of the public services, etc.) and even said that his “enemy” was “the world of finance”. To most voters this seemed preferable to a continuation of the Sarkozy years, even if they were not whole-heartedly enthusiastic about Hollande.
By Fred Weston for In Defense of Marxism – Such were the passions on both sides that the authorities had to build a temporary two metre-high, one kilometer-long metal fence to keep apart the thousands of pro- and anti-impeachment demonstrators outside the Congress building in Brasilia. Parliament voted by a big majority, 367 for impeachment and 137 against, more than the two-thirds required to start proceedings against Dilma. She is accused of manipulating government accounts.
By Lynn Stuart Parramore for AlterNet – “We are the 99 percent” is a great slogan, but is it distracting our attention from a sinister reality? There’s strong evidence that it’s not the 1 percent you should worry about—it’s the 0.1 percent. That decimal point makes a big difference. Over the last decade, a gigantic share of America’s income and wealth gains has flowed to this group, the wealthiest one out of 1,000 households.
By Alfredo Saad Filho for The Bullet, Every so often, the bourgeois political system runs into crisis. The machinery of the state jams; the veils of consent are torn asunder and the tools of power appear disturbingly naked. Brazil is living through one of those moments: it is dreamland for social scientists; a nightmare for everyone else. Dilma Rousseff was elected President in 2010, with a 56-44 per cent majority against the right-wing neoliberal PSDB (Brazilian Social Democratic Party) opposition candidate. She was reelected four years later with a diminished yet convincing majority of 52-48 per cent, or a majority of 3.5 million votes.
By Staff of Inequality – In the struggle against economic inequality, historian and political economist Gar Alperovitz tends to take the long view. That may be at least partly because Alperovitz has been at that struggle for quite a long time. Back in the 1960s, for instance, Alperovitz worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his aides to explore the potential of an alternate economic order built upon community-owned enterprise. Alperovitz has always had a foot in both the activist camp of what could be and the political reality of what we can accomplish right now.
By Kim Ives for Haiti Liberte – Karl Marx once famously remarked that history repeats itself “the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.” This maxim comes to mind when examining the class dynamics surrounding the final days of President Michel Martelly’s regime in Haiti today. They are similar to those of 30 years ago, when the dictatorship of Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier was unraveling. To compare the Haiti of 1986 to that of 2016, one must understand the nation’s underlying class make-up.