Monday, February 25, 2013

What's a Neo Liberal ? And Why Are They So Dangerous to Public Education?

If you start listening to "liberal" radio here in B-lo at 6:00 am and stay with it from Bill Press through Stephanie Miller into Big Ed Schultz and up til Randi Rhodes signs off at 6:00 pm you are certain to hear the evils of the Republican obstructionists, of Boehner and Cantor and McCain and McConnell. All true and all fairly regrettable piles of corporate ply tissue in their own way. What you won't hear on So called liberal talk radio though is any critique of the so called worker and union friendly Democrats in spite of the fact that they are doing as much or likely more damage to unions, workers and the middle class than their "outed" brethren across the aisle.

Let's start here in the Empire State with our delightful Governor Prince Andrew of the Nasty Temper Cuomo. His education policies all lean to the corporate friendly market driven "reformer" tastes of the ubber wealthy and the "reformers" who've arrived without a shit's clue as to how schools or teachers work but believe their money bags and private educations in law, finance or even Art History, Yeah you Hannya or Poli-Sci, that's for you Katie, will be sufficient to mount the Sisyphusean labor of actually REFORMING what ails our schools, communities, parents, politicians and economy. The "ed reformers" were the people Countee Cullen was thinking of when he wrote the little piece about a woman he knows.

I woman I know thinks even up in heaven
little black cherubs rise at seven
to do celestial chores
while her class sleeps late and snores.

Implied racism intended especially from these leisure class freakazoids who think their magic policy wand waved from far behind the barricades if I may borrow an image from NYSUT President Ianuzzi will suffice to propel the ed. forward, enrich them further and cut costs by eliminating pesky things like teacher unions and benefits to losers who truly don't deserve them simply for choosing such a low hanging fruit as teaching for a career. Oh yeah the contempt is obvious and if you haven't caught them snickering at Chameleon Charter gatherings or in the rear seats of Board meetings then you can take the words of some who have. One friend tells me philosophically that we really as a union need "friends in both camps."  I assume he means the "reformers" as well as our own camp. Question I have is how does one go about pursuing the "friendship" of people who hold us beneath their contempt and honestly think they can waltz into town with an Art History degree  and a trust fund and somehow show us up in the classroom and get richer while they're at it? 

Back to neo liberals and why you need to know what they are. Their great old sonofabitch Grandfather would be Milton Friedman of the Chicago School of Economics. If you recall the tumultuous latter 20th century political and economic histories of both Chile and Argentina not to mention the earlier devastation of Jakarta, Indonesia you will piece together how this reformy dude and his wingtipped army of proto type yuppies were "invited" to try out their little market theories in these countries. (I make no attempt to hide my cribbing from Naomi Klein's excellent work The Shock Doctrine and encourage all to read it) Well let's say it involved a lot of disappearing, some assassinations, a shitload of torture and massive unemployment for openers. Then there was staggering inflation, actual starvation and  privatization of the country's assets. The ones lucky enough to buy them up (usually foreigners) became fabulously richer while the workers had their wages slashed and conditions worsened. How'd you like to work in a  silver mine in South America that's unregulated and has no obligation to the safety of its workers?  Starting to sound familiar? If Libertarians are pot smoking Republicans I guess Neo Liberals must be bloodthirsty Libertarians.

Enter some of our disgraceful "democrats" with barack Obama at the head of the list. Do you think hiring Larry Summers a Friedman worshipping first rate shithead was the act of the socialist FOX News is always accusing him of being? Or Tim Geithner? -- another Friedman acolyte and worshipper of the free market, the privatization and the de-regulation. Obama's dear pal from Chicago Rahmbo Emanuel likes to strut around calling himself a Democrat. Yeah the guy who's famous for blurting out in a meeting "Fuck the UAW" and referring to Obama's misguided liberal base as "fucking retarded" can't do enough for his billionaire pals especially if it means provoking strikes, firing teachers, handing ed money to his billionaire friends he appoints to the school board ad nauseam. I use Rahmbo because he's the snarling, proft driven go to effing hell embodiment of the neo liberal. And don't misread this to think we are simply talking about a "new" liberal species or am "almost" liberal type. These mofos are liberal in their hatred of traditional liberal values alone, especially those espoused by the real liberal economist John Maynard Keynes who actually believed in social safety nets and the idea that we were obliged to look out for one and other and could actually do so without going broke.

I remember somewhere a few years into teaching someone dropped the term "passive aggressive" in my lap to describe a particular type of behavior from one extremely disputatious child. As it was explained and described to me I nearly wept for joy that a name existed for such an endless litany of behavioral nonsense. The "oops, did you want me to save that?" after tossing something into the garbage. The quiet tap tap tapping of a pencil over and over and over like Confucian water torture.  The oh, sorry... after ramming an elbow into someone behind them in line...The entire infuriating gamut of behaviors that unless you know what to call them and can isolate, identify and prepare a strategy for them are bound to contribute to your BC/BS psych rider's usage. But once I had a name for them and could drag them all kicking and screaming to the conscious level above the murky waters of the passive aggressive mudskipper I found understanding took a lot of the gamesmanship out of the game. Likewise with these Neo liberal pricks.

Once again I bow to NYC edu blogger Norm Scott and the Chicago Teacher's Union who, as always, are out front on this and can add to the understanding of who it is EXACTLY we are talking about:

Chicago Teachers Union: Neo-liberalism is the Problem, UFT: Bloomberg is the Problem
It's neoliberalism, stupid.
Just head on over to the MORE blog and see all the Unity people crying about how they can't do much until the big bad Bloomberg is gone. Same as they did with Giuliani and at times Dinkins and with Koch and Lindsay before them. In Chicago they know where to place the blame and that gives them tools to fight back by educating the members as to the real threat -- that the neo-liberal assault by both Dems and Rep and not one mayor is the threat. What the UFT is trying to sell is that things might get marginally better. A losing proposition for the membership, but fine for the leaders who will always collect their 6 figure salaries. Note the level of hysteria in their comments. The idea of MORE winning and sending them back to teach is just a bit too much to bear.  Read the rest...

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