Originally posted on WEB OF DEBT BLOG:

Giant bank holding companies now own airports, toll roads, and ports; control power plants; and store and hoard vast quantities of commodities of all sorts. They are systematically buying up or gaining control of the essential lifelines of the economy. How have they pulled this off, and where have they gotten the money?

In a letter to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke dated June 27, 2013, US Representative Alan Grayson and three co-signers expressed concern about the expansion of large banks into what have traditionally been non-financial commercial spheres. Specifically:

[W]e are concerned about how large banks have recently expanded their businesses into such fields as electric power production, oil refining and distribution, owning and operating of public assets such as ports and airports, and even uranium mining.

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I’ve nearly completely extricated myself from my daily reading and commenting on Facebook and Twitter. I’m a retired public school teacher. I’ve virtually stopped writing about education and the continuing destruction of our public schools. I live it everyday now as a consultant in the classrooms. I’ve been traveling a lot over the last few months. Now and then I see the same great and not so great stories, links, and comments. Brilliant people making brilliant observations. Making effulgent, even quite luminous and pithy remarks.

Progressives are aware of Achieve Inc. Michael Cohen has been around the education game in the Beltway for some time. They know Intel and IBM. They know Bill and Melinda Gates. Progressives are aware of a poll in Georgia showing a cooking show host as being more popular that Martin Luther King Jr. But they are living within the corporate dominant body politic.

Notice will be served to all those regardless of which side they take when all the commenting and daily reporting regarding this group or that, this small protest or that, change tenor. That is, the time for talk is over. Speak truth to power? The power already knows the truth. They discourage media from reporting on what’s real. Like an interview of a career politician, there are few sources that don’t deflect each question, each remark. Defying the truth. The time for talk is over.

Teachers. Stay in your classrooms if you must. What’s happening in Chicago is clearly a harbinger of what’s to come for teachers—nationwide. What’s happening in Detroit is a message like some kind of back to the future Orwellian time machine. Corporate control beyond the atrocities of buying children for placement and profit. Like some John Hersey novel (“The Child Buyer”) gone even more insanely dystopic as Wall Street and its largest beneficiaries concoct “no excuses” institutions for the poor to stay poor, and increase insulation from the new feudalism for the progeny of the wealthy. The authoritarian power elite know that people are not truly defined by numbers. But they do know that the complete corporate occupation of schools requires a facade of unproven benchmarks and testing so it appears that they are preparing people for a future. Indeed.

Until there is a movement of such insane capaciousness, linked together throughout all stratum of people and groups, all of one accord and in motion against the tyrannical private-corporate-government complex and its will to seize all that can be profitized and measured, leveraged by indebtedness. Then will there be meaningful action beyond the words and mien of a scattered, austeritized public. Each interest group appending a whole. With singularity and solidarity in commitment. Truly revolutionary.

Not a million or two people marching upon Washington, D.C., but 50 million or more. Susan Ohanian said it in one word: Revolution. Put thought into action or live the regret of continuance in a gone world.

 

And if my thought-dreams could be seen
They’d probably put my head in a guillotine
But it’s alright, Ma, it’s life, and life only

—Bob Dylan

Parents and Educators Reject Official Explanations for Dismal State Test Scores.

” For those who support high-stakes testing and the Common Core, how about we mandate that ALL schools, public, private, or charter use these policies?” (Chris Cerrone) 

First, why would we want to mandate such garbage for all schools?  We must preserve those places which are not a part of the corporatization of schools.  Public or private.  It’s we, the people (if we have the money, of course…… which we have less of due to the tyranny perpetrated by Wall Street Money and their shills:  the White House, Congress, governors, mayors, et al) who still have a choice, whether by default of opportunity or not, to give regard to private schools. 

Not all private schools engender the corporate corruption through public asset reductions. Sure, many will see some private schools as symbolic of upper class prestige and privilege, especially those who house celebs’ kids.  And, sure, they have the capability of disregarding the schemes and accountability standards that public schools labor under.  But to suggest we push corporate tools used for the privatization of public schools on everyone is ludicrous and misguided at best.  Why not demand that we refuse to participate in CCSS, VAM, HST, etc. in its entirety?   Let’s take action to dispel the poison of corporatization rather than demand that we impose its toxoid culture upon everyone.   

Second, being able to insist that private schools be held to the same corrupt fire that public schools experience isn’t going to happen in our current dystopic political, legislative, and power / market driven government.  So, how about we propose something more meaningful and useful? 

Finally, they’re coming. They are the same ones who robbed Americans of trillions of dollars and now hold it in vaults only to cut loose more toxic transactions and make bank, borrow from the private billionaire’s club, the Federal Reserve, and leverage the interest for the taking of what remains of our public assets.  These same ones get a permanent tax holiday and offshore trillions annually.  Why would we deliberately force the privatization agenda of elitists on schools who do not participate or refuse to participate in the corporate takeover of public education? Are private schools against public schools by their mere existence as a private school?  I don’t think so.   Instead of finger pointing, why not consider how to bust to corporate control of our federal, state, and local governments?

The implementation of CCSS, VAM, ridiculous testing schemes, etc. is but one aspect of the taking of assets from all those except the top percent, the infamous power elite.  Sure, some communities, even states may show some progress in the possible reduction of momentum of ed reform policy, but let’s consider the greater, overarching movement of corporate leveraging.  Nothing short of an American Spring will issue the results I find most people want to see in their future vision for free public schools.  When Deborah Meier described public schools the way they should be, it was a return to the future.  We once had heavily enriched curricula and activities in most public schools.  Sure, we had areas where public schools experienced the nightmares described by Kozol. 

But was that caused by the schools themselves or an exacting and treacherous array of financial moves precipitated by a ruling corporate elite whose desires include systematic eugenics, marginalization, and mutilation of people’s lives and communities?  The rentier class steals our schools, our communities.  Yes, as educators our part in this war focuses on public education.  But keeping our eyes on the whole picture of the creation of a new feudalism by a corporate controlled government should always remain at least in our peripheral vision.

A comment made to the blog, Cloaking Inequality: We need to move the conversation forward. There is nothing new in all the words I have read so far in the blog article nor the response / comment Dr. Thornburg put out there. The focus of an activist movement to maintain public education in America must include a clear mapping of just how the private taking, financialization and corporatization, of public assets (public schools being one of the largest and certainly one of the most, if not THE most, important for the future welfare, equity, and freedoms—diminished as they currently are—for the people) is being carried out and get to the source of its funding. Big Banks and the elitist overclass who own them, the private Federal Reserve club of billionaires for accessing low or no interest leverage, while providing no policy to include access to lift all boats.

We are closing in on a fait ‘d acompli by the Power Elite for complete capture of all public assets and devolving the greatest part of America, the middle and working classes. As Chirs Hedges warns: Rise Up, or Die. It’s great to banter with fellow academicians, knock around vaunted ideals, attend meetings whose resounding rhetoric becomes a shadowy memory without having moved anything forward. Yes, Deb Meier is right, we had that which are now seeking. Why are people considering this taking by private money, with government approval and support, surprising? Isn’t it the American way of “free enterprise?” Or is is due to a “closed market” system of capitalism that externalizes the costs of private equity earnings at the expense of our homes (the mortgage crisis), our pensions (Peabody /Freedom, State Teachers’ Pension Funds throughout the U.S.), any semblance of equality in opportunity. As we continue to preach to the choir, we continue to lose ground as the vulture capitalism of profiteering charter schools, condemnation of lands and building, fixed capital (public schools) and the abandonment of our communities, our children continues.

Time to take it up a few notches, get some targets in our sites and move beyond all the talking and letter writing and useless small-victory district skirmishes, and take out the source of our loss of democracy in America as well as in the EU, the crushing affects of the new austerity forced upon people for the sake of soaring bank profits. A re-alignment of purpose must include expanding our vision and conjoining with others who, while not involved in the fight for public schools, are fighting to save their own freedoms, jobs, pensions, healthcare. Those things that the sound of liberty and justice prevailed within our constitution. A document which now appears under attack by the overclass which will ensure an evanescence of law to a super-fiction of freedom. A freedom if you can afford it.

I wrote the above article while navigating a vessel in a heavy wind. I made an egregious error. I AM not for the closing of public schools, especially those in large, urban areas. NOR would I encourage “urban blight.” What I intended to say was: If it comes to this, then let them take out the schools, install corporate real estate that will be continually flipped for private profit. Go ahead. If it’s coming to this, then WHAT I MEANT TO SAY is such actions will hasten stronger push back and development of alternatives. The ultimate goal would be, of course, to do away with all inequalities inherent in a capitalist, consumer driven, closed market economic system that enslaves nearly all its citizens.

Clearly, there are more and more parents educating themselves regarding testing in schools and how they can pull their kids out of testing.  Not all parents can put their children under a homeschooling overseen by credentialed personnel.  While we strive to keep our public schools public and free of the new reform movement that brings not just tragic results to kids themselves, but a new order of segregation by financial mobility is destroying lives, The public school, now as the only place available for those at the lower and lowest levels of economic means.

With options of being transported at no charge to other public schools outside of some communities being made available for the coming school year (where restructuring of schools in poverty areas is happening, where SIG designations are popping up with increasing frequency), this sets off the other options:  further loss of local public school funding, firing half the teachers and the principals who remain…. essentially making for further dissent and occupation by private, for profit corporate charters, further removal of children from their communities, their identities.  Yet, even if the kids are bussed out of the poor performance areas (read: poverty), there remains the demands of corporate driven testing and the revised curricula and evaluation to go with it for those unwilling to bus their kids so far away from home.  Even those being bussed are at harm of the new order of corporate-driven testing and curriculum.  Of being added as data to an infinite, commerce-centered data base just now coming inBloom.

Busing options are the precursors to the selling out by the state to private corporations.  Starve school budgets.  Weaken community continuity by separating students.  So, I’m all for Opt Out of State Testing.  Or, in the case of large urban areas, just close those public schools to make way for profit-based private buildings of enterprise.  Or let it remain as “urban blight,” making great stories for the media for the continued exploitation of race and voter marginalization.

It’s part of the battle.  And this will bring shadow schools and shadow economies for the sake of maintaining a sense of place, of self, of ownership and participation in our communities where they aren’t raised to the ground.  The state I live in is already beginning to approach changes to codes, provisions, and land use laws so that they might maintain a tighter rope around those who haven’t any other option than the public schools and their “legal” demands for continued testing.  That is, to discourage a public co-option of alternatives.  It’s coming to this.

A great credentialed underground and surreptitious classrooms wherever they can be installed.  Foregoing the local charter owned public schools, refusing busing to other public schools, aggregate co-ops of education will grow.  Self-funded, community supported, teacher education centers will appear as those teacher preparation programs at the colleges and universities disappear and re-emerge as primarily fraudulent private teacher education programs accessible online.  A parallel universe of teacher and student.  Those that Opt Out of corporate / government regimes will work together under the radar of the new schooling police supported by a corporate-owned un-democracy.

And, ultimately, for what?  A few lucky ones fly over the cuckoo’s nest into college or currently almost non-existent good vocational and trade schools?  Are we to always consider the expectation that education in areas of poverty (or even in well-heeled areas of non-poverty) will never lead to pathways to a living wage?  But to live in a society where the bulk of the new employment requires no diploma, but a willingness to accept work options that max out at $12 per hour?

This war on public education is but one battle front for the overclass’ stratagem to own it all.  To re-create everything in their own image.  Their kids will be the one’s graduating from the Blankfein School of Economics at Harvard, the Walmart School of Medicine at Johns Hopkins.  It’s coming to this.

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