by Mike David, re-post from Nation of Change
Published: Monday 17 September 2012
(A truly great Occupy Anniversary essay. EJW)
Why are we occupying? Or to put it another way – what’s wrong with the world
Of course, most of us know what’s wrong with the world. We know about the poverty, war, violence and disease. We’re conscious of the injustice, but not fully conscious of it, because frankly, we have enough to worry about in our own lives. As such, we’ve come to accept these injustices as simple facts of life – prepackaged side effects of the human condition, as natural and intertwined with our existence as water to a stream, beyond our capacity to effect in any significant way. This collective sense of powerlessness and default apathy is why we’re occupying.
Our growing sense of isolation and disconnection, whether from ourselves, from those next door to us, or from those producing our food and products halfway across the globe, is why we’re occupying. Our forced support of perpetual war waged for and by the 1% - whether explicitly with speech, or implicitly with inaction and tax dollars - without ever paying mind to the true causes and motives behind it, is why we’re occupying. Our failure up till now to connect the dots and realize that the benefits of a cheap iPod, lovely as it may be, would be far outweighed by the benefits of a truly just world free of exploitation, is why we’re occupying.
The fact that most of us are too busy being exploited to realize we’re being exploited – too busy greasing the cogs of our economic system to notice how the fruits of our labor never fail to float up and out of our reach - is why we’re occupying, as is the fact that most aren’t able to do anything about this exploitation even when we do notice it. While some of us are lucky enough to have jobs and careers that give real meaning to our lives, allowing us to take full advantage of our talents and fulfill our destiny, most of us have jobs devoid of meaning and dignity, yet full of the feeling that we are fulfilling someone else’s destiny. Our recognition that the ruling class’s seat at the top of the pyramid is prepared and propped up by the working class is why we’re occupying. Our knowledge that it’s actually the CEO who is the most dependent among us, and that the ones truly indispensable to our society are not bankers, lobbyists and politicians, but workers, teachers and engineers, is why we’re occupying.
Indeed, the fact that we have an economic system which functions like as a virus is why we're occupying. Just as a virus’s only reason for existence is to expand, without regard or awareness of the effect of its expansion on its host body, our economic system pursues its infinite expansion without regard or awareness of its effect on human welfare or the environment. Though the earth is finite, it is sustainable, so we reject, in the words of Michael Nagler, “the inherent contradiction of an economy based on indefinitely increasing wants – instead of on human needs that the planet has ample resources to fulfill.”
Continue reading at Nation of Change...
Chicago Teachers march
Re-posted from Nation of Change 12 September 2012
In a school with some of the poorest kids in Chicago, one English teacher–I won't use her name–who'd been cemented into the school system for over a decade, wouldn't do a damn thing to lift test scores, yet had an annual salary level of close to $70,000 a year. Under Chicago's new rules holding teachers accountable and allowing charter schools to compete, this seniority-bloated teacher was finally fired by the principal.
In a nearby neighborhood, a charter school, part of the city system, had complete freedom to hire. No teachers' union interference. The charter school was able to bring in an innovative English teacher with advanced degrees and a national reputation in her field - for $29,000 a year less than was paid to the fired teacher.
You've guessed it by now: It's the same teacher.
It's Back to School Time! Time for the editorialists, the Tea Party, the GOP and Barack Obama's Education Secretary Arne Duncan to rip into the people who dare teach in public schools.
And in Chicago, Arne's old stomping grounds, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is stomping on the teachers and pushing them into the street.
Let's stop kidding ourselves. This is what Mitt Romney and Obama and Arne Duncan and Paul Ryan have in mind when they promote charter schools and the right to fire teachers with tenure: slash teachers salaries and bust their unions.
Continue reading...at Nation of Change
Graphic from Chicago Teachers' Union blog
Click here for map of US and Global support for the teachers in Chicago...