Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Discussing School Privatization, Propositions 25 and 24 with Inglewood residents

...to decide once every few years which member of the ruling class is to repress and oppress the people through parliament--this is the real essence of bourgeois parliamantarism. — VI Lenin

Keep the PUBLIC in public schools
I usually don't get too involved with electoral politics [1], but the budget cuts have been so devastating in our communities that I got involved volunteering along with many CEJ/PEAC/UTLA members with SCOPE and the California Alliance in building support for Propositions 25 and 24. I spent a couple of Mondays phone banking on these ballot propositions, which while not the broad reforms we need, are at least steps in the right direction towards a more progressive tax structure and budget fairness.

This Saturday I participated in SCOPE's door to door campaign in a get out the vote effort for yes on Propositions 25 and 24, and to talk to people about building local public school forums. Inglewood is heavily targeted by the charter-voucher industry's front groups like the so-called Parent Revolution [2] and nefarious politicians like SCLC pretender Eric Lee who are entirely bought off ideologically by lucrative charter-voucher school sector, so the second reason for the walk was actually more important than the ballot propositions.

I thought I would be able to pair up with someone I knew, but the organizers wanted to match up politically experienced people with individuals new to community organizing. I was paired up with a young woman who is a Crenshaw High School sophomore. She had never done anything like this, so I was told to train her as we went door to door. We had great discussions about politics, poverty, and oppression between going to peoples' doors. Our precinct consisted of a rough square bordered by Harvard on the East, Western on the West, and 81st to 85th North to South. We got into some very interesting discussions. The Crenshaw student was especially impressed by a family from Belize, that really spent a lot of time talking to us.

Aside from the few people that didn't want to discuss voting, most people intuitively knew the value of Propositions 25 and 24. Many brought up the real problem is Proposition 13, which allows corporate crooks and the super wealthy to pay little to no property taxes, while the bulk of the tax burden falls on working class people. It wasn't a hard sell to say we wouldn't have problems with our schools if people like Eli Broad, Jed Wallace, Vielka McFarlane, and Marco Petruzzi paid their fair share of taxes.

I was surprised how vocal many people were when we discussed charters. They were vehemently against giving public funds to private corporations and were surprisingly savvy about the misleading and mendacious language used by astroturf groups like Families in Schools, Alliance for a Better Community, and Parent Revolution. In fact, some people had sharper critiques of corporate charter schools than I do! Bravo to the good people of Inglewood for realizing their emancipation will come from below, and that it's not something that will be bestowed on them by billionaires with white savior syndrome or smug mendacious hipsters like Davis Guggenheim. Not one of the Inglewood residents I spoke with favored school privatization via charters and vouchers. Many expressed legitimate concerns with improving public schools, but none expressed the teacher hating, corporate gushing, pro-privatization rhetoric we hear spouted by the supposed leaders of parental sentiment.

I was also very impressed by SCOPE and CEJ's grassroots organizing. Unlike the utterly astroturf "Parent Revolution" headed up by the disingenuous Ben Austin and his cadre of white male right wing executives like CORO fellow Gabe Rose, whose answer to all poverty and budget issues is to privatize public schools [3], there is the progressive stance. That stance is to tax the rich and fully fund our communities. Organizations like SCOPE and CEJ actually get it, and I was proud to volunteer for them. Check out this awesome flyer by CEJ with a cogent critique of corporate charters: Coalition for Educational Justice flyer on 24, 25, and combating corporate charters.

Many people have been asking me for a voter's guide. I don't do that, but you can do much worse than following the Peace and Freedom Party's Workers' Voter Guide, or Green Party guides.

Don't forget to vote yes on 24 and 25!
[1] Being the lowest form of politics Do elections matter? http://socialistworker.org/2007-1/615/615_06_Elections.shtml
[2] Word on the street is privatizer Shirley Ford has been busy in that district vying for corporate trigger takeovers and pushing the reactionary Eric Lee as a corporate friendly CMO/EMO/Charter-Voucher alternative to community favorite and public school supporter Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte.
[3] In the process making wealthy corporate charter operators all the more wealthy.


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