Monday, January 26, 2015

James Baldwin, a Guide in Dark Times | The Nation

James Baldwin, a Guide in Dark Times | The Nation

JoAnn Wypijewski

January 21, 2015

The Nation
His essays on police brutality still burn hot, but his understanding of sex, self-knowledge and power demand equal attention now. Baldwin does not say that systems of power are unimportant. He insists that liberation is also a mandate on individuality: how one separates oneself from the “habits of thought [that] reinforce and sustain the habits of power”—in essence, how one comes into his or her humanity.

Monday, January 19, 2015

More on emergence of movements, in this case, right-wing, Islamophobic, anti-immigration, exclusionary movement: PEGIDA (Germany)


Key Issue in Movement Politics: Follow the Money/Non-Profit Industrial Complex

Beyond the Non Profit Industrial Complex

American Capitalism: The dismantling and impoverishment of the American public school system (and the American people)


Majority of U.S. public school students are in poverty

 January 16  
For the first time in at least 50 years, a majority of U.S. public school students come from low-income families, according to a new analysis of 2013 federal data, a statistic that has profound implications for the nation.
The Southern Education Foundation reports that 51 percent of students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade in the 2012-2013 school year were eligible for the federal program that provides free and reduced-price lunches. The lunch program is a rough proxy for poverty, but the explosion in the number of needy children in the nation’s public classrooms is a recent phenomenon that has been gaining attention among educators, public officials and researchers. READ MORE

On Police Unions: Key actor in the politics of race, inequality, #handsupdontshoot


Police unions have always played a powerful role in defending cops—no matter how brutal and racist their actions. (Ben Musseig / Flickr) 

Charles Hale, Activist Research

Reading on activist anthropology -- a short version at:  http://www.utexas.edu/cola/depts/anthropology/_files/PDF/Hale.pdf

Cultural Anthropology article (if you have wustl access):


Will post PDF.

Colonialism, Charlie Hebdo, Prisons, and the Making of Militants...

How does one become a militant willing to kill and die for a transcendent cause?


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Insights on activism, ego, spectacle, value by Owl Akata Shakur

Understanding civil disobedience and police tactics on the front-lines: Highway blockade and pepper spray on Nov. 25, 2014, St. Louis

WUSTL MLK Commemoration, Jan 19

Take Back Democracy: The Elected Board of the St Louis Public Schools. Deadline Jan 20

The city needs strong, young, progressive candidates to run for the Elected Board of the St Louis Public School System.  Why run? You might ask, they have no power.  Well, for many reasons.  It is important to resist the gradual dismantling of public schools and the democratic process that is underway in St. Louis.  It is important to push back against the gradual privatization of power – that is, people making decisions about schools with no public feedback, public consultation, or public debate.  It is important to defend this historic conquest of democracy.  Modern American democracy was founded on the spirit of public, democratic deliberation over the schooling of our children.  All of this was taken when the state created the SAB (Special Administrative Board) in 2007.  They claim to have done this to improve the schools. Yet there have been few improvements. The district is still unaccredited.  What they have done is expand the charter network – with results that are nothing to celebrate.  They have allowed a model of gentrification to determine where and how certain schools will be supported, and other schools will be left to ruin.  They have engaged in a series of real-estate deals aimed at bolstering the growth of the central corridor - WUSTL - Grand Center - SLU - at the expense of suffering schools in other parts of the city.   They have considered outsourcing and privatizing school "management" as if children were widgets to be produced and teachers were merely factory workers to be disciplined.  And so on, and so on.

A note I received on this has further details:
"Filing has opened for the April 2015 St. Louis Board of Education election.  Filing is open until 5 pm on January 20th.  Two seats are open.  One candidate has already filed.  This candidate gives the appearance of someone with political ambitions who would use running for the board as a stepping stone for higher office.
I hope others are considering filing to run. The SAB was only renewed for 2 years instead of the usual 3.  Their current term ends June 30, 2016.  They are currently considering allowing the board of education to be represented at their meetings by 2 board members.  So winners of this election may well have more of a public presence in preparation for a return to authority in 2016.  We need a strong board of education."
SLPS does not need political entrepreneurs, grand-standing old guard power-seekers, or agents of the corporate privatization agenda.  SLPS needs committed progressives to work to defend a key space of democratic hope for equality and opportunity for all.  Think about running for office.

How to file for office: 

More background information here (but be critical of media representation):

We can advise.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Monday, January 12, 2015

Friday, January 9, 2015

Belatedly starting #Ferguson Revelations series.... here's 2015.1

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Interview with Thomas Piketty: Piketty Responds to Criticisms from the Left

On the foundations of inequality, which lie at the heart of many social movements, and on the limitations of neoclassical economics (individual interest, etc.) to explain these:

Interview with Thomas Piketty: Piketty Responds to Criticisms from the Left

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

On #hashtag activism: Interview with Deray McKesson in the Atlantic


Response of Missouri House Speaker to Ferguson:

How liberal talk about "diversity" and "inclusion" can be used to maintain white supremacy and racism

Excellent piece.  From Model, View, Culture

How to Uphold White Supremacy by Focusing on Diversity and Inclusion

Liberalism’s inherent racism.
by Kẏra on December 10th, 2014
"Since the civil rights movement, white people have exploited every opportunity to conceal their colonialist legacy and longstanding (ab)use of white supremacist power. They’ve proven time and again that they have no interest in rectifying that history, only in dealing with the fact that they could no longer deny the reality of those injustices. One effective tactic has been to separate white supremacy and colonialism from the way racism is understood and taught through schools, history textbooks, news media, and through any white-controlled institutions. "
Read the entire essay at: https://modelviewculture.com/pieces/how-to-uphold-white-supremacy-by-focusing-on-diversity-and-inclusion

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Democratic control of public education in St Louis - an ongoing struggle

There is a long history of political authorities working to dismantle democracy, public education, and progressive inter-racial political mobilization that led to this - little academic improvement with state takeover, but new political arrangements (including charter schools, etc.).  So does this mean now that 'democracy' will be restored?  Or does the state want to stave off a disenfranchisement lawsuit? What is going on?

Post-Dispatch seems to suggest that very little is happening --
Meeting offers little to signal shift in St. Louis schools governance : News

But then STL Public Radio posted this, which strikes a different tone:

More background:  http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/education/elected-st-louis-school-board-remains-in-limbo/article_73c0b521-3a15-5441-882e-a582cc691703.html