Maybe I am too much the historian, but I am convinced no society can concentrate wealth in a small number of hands the way the US has today without undermining its own legitimacy. The so-called Education Reform movement is a classic case study of the corrupting power of great wealth. The attacks on teachers, the obsession with high stakes testing, the attempts to close failing schools, though presented as strategies to achieve greater equality, in real life clear the way for powerful corporations to profit from privatizing a great public resource. This movement has now been going on for more than ten years and amidst its political ascendency, we have seen the shrinking of the middle class, the improverishment of the working class, the warehousing and imprisonment of minority youth, the squandering of precious resources on cruel and needless wars and the continuing concentrat ion of wealth and power among a small number of people.
In such such a society, telling the truth matters. And while victory is hardly guaraneed for those who decry great abuses of power, it is important that we that we speak up, that we resist, that we organize, and that we set an example for those that come after us. We cannot allow a Plutocracy to dominate our nation's economic, political and cutlural life. We have to fight it on every terrain, in our neighborhoods, in our work places, in our schools and universities, in the political arena, and in culture and mass media. When trying to gain strength for what sometimes seems to be a hopeless battle, I think of Joe Hill, I think of Paul Robeson, I think of Ida B Wells and Fanny Lou Hamer, I think of Martin Louther King and Malcolm X, and in their memory and in their name, I will insist on holding this nation to a much higher standard of democratic ideals and democratic practice than its leaders currently do.
July 19, 2011