Friday, November 18, 2011

While OWS Occupy The Parks Who Occupies Their Brains?

I have heard some frankly hysterical commentary about the OWS crowd lately - hysterical to me because outside the three years I embraced liberalism in college (I need to develop a vaccine for incoming college freshman against the academic small pox that is the liberal professor) I've worked harder than most women I've known and identified with a family tree sprouting oak-sized Republican branches.

Some of the more spot-on hilarity came from Former NY Mayor Rudy Guliani, who provided the OWS'ers a bit of advise "...occupy a job!". Two brothers, finally sick to death of being thwarted by the OWS crowds in their attempt to get to work on Wall Street, found a way to occupy some neon green poster board with the words, "Occupy A DESK!" and return with gusto the heckles showered on them by the unshowered protestors. Even Jon Stewart found it in him to jab the feckless campers in the eye with their own stick.

I fear, however, that while many of us watch the various exchanges between the Occupy crowds and the media in a running hot and cold mixture of disgust, contempt, pity and/or amusement, the more sinister pillars of the effort will be missed.

Apparently, the OWS movement has an agenda:
  • elimination of all private property,
  • forced unionization of all workers
  • 6 hour work days with 6 weeks paid vacation,
  • universal health care,
  • a ban on gun ownership,
  • fierce separation of church and state AND
  • “Make homeschooling illegal. Religious fanatics use it to feed their children propaganda.”

"Who cares if OWS'ers have a list of demands? These people are only as strong as their weakest link and have you looked at any of them in the bright sunlight or smelled them up close?", you might say.

This is a point, however, the whole OWS movement really should be viewed through the lens of our current president. Here are the impressions of ABC's Jake Tapper after an interview with the current Oval Office resident:

Obama said the most important thing he can do as president is express solidarity with the protesters and redouble his commitment to achieving what he described as a more egalitarian society.

Feckless, smelly, over-mollified campers become a bit less feckless when backed by a sitting president with a Marxist background and a penchant for all things communal.

But wait, what about the education establishment itself? What thoughts exist in this arena? Try the post from this new blog (The International Occupy Movement and Public Education) on the prominent EdWeek website on for size;

After my mother graduated from high school in the mid 1940s, she went to Queens College in New York City, which was practically free back then. Tuition was without charge. All she paid for was her books. She left college with no debt and was able to build a successful self-sustaining life. The Occupy Movement -- from Wall Street to Oakland, CA to the growing political youth movement in Chile -- is demanding the same opportunity that my mother and many in the US once took for granted.

Here, Occupy Wall Street is raising critical issues and exposing how our education system reflects larger economic inequalities. Looking internationally, we have great lessons to be learned from students around the world who are similarly mad at how some of the 1 percent of super wealthy exert excessive control over politics, university fees and the economy that all 100 percent live in. From students in Chile we can learn both policy reforms and action strategies.

In this first series of blogs, I will begin by developing a conversation about how education problems mirror the money-making system. I will highlight those who are working to change this economic arrangement and opportunities for education and movement leadership. I will point to past successes and discuss ideas that have emerged about where we can go from here.

Comforting. Quite apparently, the Dewey chickens have come home to fully roost in the public education system of America today. We are now full circle. John Dewey trains under Marxists, trains up Marxists at the Teachers' College he created at Columbia University and Marxists descend upon public educational institutions where they train up little Marxists who find it hard to live in the real world of capitalism, morality and responsibility and move into Zucotti parks all over the nation.

Sadly, I expect this to be a fight that will need to be fought in the near future. I don't expect this movement to tuck tail and run like Zucotti Park residents forced to actually work for their rent. I see their manifesto as a credible threat to our American way of life just as does Bill Whittle at Pajamas TV. I hope you will too. After all, the only good defense is a good offense.