Tag Archives: education

@chunkymark made a movie: This is Not a Recession, It’s a Robbery [Repost from 3/10/14 (My & his analysis still stands)]

In the past few years, capitalists (corporations, the filthy rich, finance, insurance, oil, big pharma, big ag, and war mongers, to name a few) have significantly stepped-up their buying of governments worldwide. They have been busy putting the money they’ve stolen from us to use, purchasing politicians and imposing neoliberal policies on us all.

At the core of those policies is privatization. Privatization involves transferring the ownership of public wealth from the people to private for-profit corporations. That, along with the 2007-08 crisis, has resulted in a massive transfer and consolidation of wealth that literally kills, criminalizes, impoverishes, and controls, whilst making the rich, much, much richer.

Another tenet of neoliberal ideology (or tactic if you prefer) is the imposition of austerity. Essentially, austerity takes away critical resources from citizens – especially the most vulnerable. This goes hand in hand with a perennial corporate favorite: deregulation. Deregulation weakens regulatory agencies and gets rid of laws that protect citizens by either weakening them or replacing them wholesale.

The all-out assault on the UK by neoliberal corporate power has been extreme.  It has killed thousands and impoverished many more.  It is remaking the entire society before people’s eyes.   It is difficult to overstate the rapidity and viciousness with which this is taking place.  And if you are an average citizen outside of the British Isles, you probably have no idea it’s happening at all.

Mark McGowan, AKA The artist taxi driver, AKA Chunky Mark, is a working class bloke in London. He has been watching it all happen with shock, horror, and disbelief and is just trying to make sense of it all. He shoots videos in his cab before he starts work in the morning and posts them on youtube. Over the years, he has also managed to interview people from almost every walk of life. This movie is a collection of those commentaries and interviews.

From what I’ve been able to glean, Mark is a concerned citizen, father, artist, activist – and has a pretty good sense of humor to boot. He’s smart, sincere, frightened, concerned, and wants justice. What comes through again and again is his empathy, his humanity. He wonders aloud what many of us think every day: why are the people in power so sadistic and why aren’t the rest of us doing something about it?  He screams and rants and rages quite loudly, and a bit more than occasionally. I’ll leave out any discussion of how much might be performance because I think it is his genuine immediate reaction to what is happening – and because I think it’s appropriate. It seems a much more human response than what I see from most people. He may or may not realize it, but his pauses and sighs have an even bigger impact than the yelling. But I digress…

Though you may not be familiar with UK politics, much of what Mark is covering should sound very familiar. It should be obvious by now that this corporate neoliberal agenda is not unique to the UK. In fact, neoliberalism as we know it was born in the u.s.a. (at the University of Chicago to be exact). While the u.s. doesn’t have an NHS to dismantle, it’s healthcare was given over to corporations long ago.  Schools are another matter.  The neoliberals have been busy here demonizing teachers, attacking unions, and attempting to privatize public schools.  State pensions (which most americans don’t even possess) have been raided (through fees, budget cuts, legislation, and fraud) and everyone who has a pension is funding speculation. That money is at risk of being lost. (For those of you reading this in the future: Yes, the derivatives your pension fund helped inflate into a massive toxic bubble that burst are the reason they’re giving for cutting your pension.)  The corporate neoliberal model is being imposed all over the world: India, Turkey, Brazil – most of Europe…the list is long.  Just look for bought-off politicians selling off the state to corporate “interests” and media imitating the u.s. and the picture should become very clear.

Of course this film and Mark’s youtube videos aren’t the be all end all source for information, but I like Mark’s DIY spirit, his frustration, his sense of urgency, his passion and humanity.  Things sorely lacking from most people I see.

Caveats: For those with delicate sensibilities, there is a lot of swearing in this film. If you’re still living in another century it may be time to travel to the present. As I said in the beginning, Mark is just a guy trying to understand what’s going on. I think he has done a damn good job of zeroing in on root causes, but – as with most people – he is just as susceptible as the next guy to occasionally trodding down the wrong path. For example, Alex Jones makes a very brief appearance in the cab. He is an american “shock jock” who mixes wacky conspiracy theories with facts and dangerous ideas; so, in the end, it’s best to dismiss him totally. There are so many people with sane analyses, there is really no reason to pay him any attention except as comic relief.

Max Keiser also makes an appearance. While Max does offer some good analysis of financial criminal behavior, he is a capitalist and he shares the libertarian utopian idea that if we only had “true free markets” we could have good capitalism (but in the meantime, he is a regular old capitalist). If one knows enough to see through that and can suss out the useful bits of his analysis, have at it – but really, there are hundreds of other more reputable sources out there who aren’t selling their own bitcoins, etc…

So, with those caveats, watch the film to be entertained, see a slice of life, and hopefully get a sense of what’s happening, because whether you know it or not, some version of everything detailed in it is probably happening where you live.

~ Cheers

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“…Sweden rethinks pioneering school reforms, private equity under fire” [Reuters]

This is from 2013. As far as I know, Sweden has continued to impose neoliberal “reforms” on its people. If anyone has an update (from any sector), feel free to leave a comment.
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Looking for a stellar political podcast and news site? Check out Black Agenda Report

BlackAgendaRadio_AlbumArt

Click image above to go to site.

 

BAReport
Click above to go to site

In the fall of 2006, Glen Ford, Bruce Dixon, Margaret Kimberley and Leutisha Stills of CBC Monitor left Black Commentator, which Ford had co-founded and edited since 2002, and launched Black Agenda Report.
Check it out. Well worth your while…

 


Diane Ravitch on the Uses and Abuses of Data in Education Reform


If you don’t know, now you know [#Ferguson][@bellaeiko][Please RT]



Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

I recommend watching the whole thing, but if you don’t have the time or the patience, start at 00:49:00. It gets better and better. It’s not about whether you agree or disagree with everything people are saying. It’s about understanding, but there is a whole lot of truth here. And then even if you can’t empathize, you can sympathize – and then you can support and ideally get involved. If you think this doesn’t affect you because you’re not black or poor, you might want to think harder.

Bella had to leave (you can bet she’ll be back), but there are other livestreamers and posters who will probably start broadcasting and posting later today. Here are their twitter handles:

@bassem_masri
@argusnewsnow
@anonopspro
@Rebelutionary_Z
@STLAbuBadu
@stlouisx50

Bella Eiko was responsible for the video and conversation above. If you want to contribute to her efforts, this is her paypal address: Bellaeikomedia@me.com


CEO of Netflix Reed Hastings calls for abolishing school boards

It seems we have another entitled neoliberal corporate CEO jumping on the privatize public schools bandwagon. That particular wagon is already packed full of partying millionaires and billionaires who figured out there are trillions to be made by eviscerating public institutions and funneling those tax dollars into their own pockets. The irony here is that over the years many school boards have been run by business (or pro-business) people and they have done a relatively poor job of listening to the people they are supposed to “represent.” Obviously. Of course Hastings doesn’t acknowledge that, but if his call for abolishing school boards were to come to pass, any hope for parents (or anyone else who cares about actual education) to have a voice would be obliterated. This is just one line of attack in the corporate war on parents, teachers, children, and democracy itself.

It’s part of the neoliberal corporate capture of government institutions and really every aspect of our lives, from work to water, school to energy, healthcare to retirement, food to government. Everything. The corporations want to profit from everything and they want total control of the state – and that includes you.

In this particular case, the very least you could do would be to send an email to netflix alerting them you know what hastings is doing and you will cancel your membership if he is not fired. Better yet: send an email and cancel your membership. Even better: cancel your membership and learn more about neoliberalism and how it is being used by corporations to stamp-out what’s left of democracy around the world. The best you could do: start organizing with people you know to fight it.

Perhaps if we stopped watching so much TV and used some of that time to work with other people fighting this corporate takeover, we might have a chance – and we might even feel like fulfilled, engaged, citizens, instead of bloated, alienated, addicted, depressed consumers. Well, the truth is I see little chance of that happening. I usually say I have no hope, but I guess there must be a remnant of hope somewhere because I’m taking the time to write these words. The evidence is in my friends, and it doesn’t look good. It’s up to all of us.

P E A C E


Chris Hedges breaks it down in 15 minutes


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