Power Point link here. Click to download and save:
Power Point link here. Click to download and save:
A passage from Tipu’s Tiger, a writing collective*:
“The concept of allyship has been instrumental in imposing more moderate power brokers and elite protest managers on decentralized movements in an attempt to rein in disruptive protest. Any social movement in recent memory that has attempted to break the mold of permitted rallies and marches, and raiie the economic cost of doing business as usual, has had to face a social justice industry deigned to channel social unrest into electoral politics, elite representation, and fantasies of political reform without mass popular resistance.”
This blog is about writing less, and listening more. I am seeking responses and reactions (post them in comments) to the quote above as it relates to possible questions to consider:
What is the difference between solidarity and selling out when it comes to allyship in the resistance against corporate colonization of public education?
How far is too far in our push against the powerful elite?
How can a radical resistance movement influence the shape and substance of future public education… (after it hits the inevitable final tipping point of elimination at the hands of neoliberalism)?
*From C. Milsten (ed) Taking Sides: Revolutionary Solidarity and the Poverty of Liberalism (2015).
The privatizers are busy at work. Unless you live under a rock (a tempting thought lately…) you probably feel like I do every time you turn on the news; the sensation of riding the Tilt a Whirl while taking ‘shrooms. It’s exhausting at best, and terrifying at worst; trying to untangle what is happening around us. Take Devos and her anti-Grizzly platform as the prime example of current insanity.
The most recent effort toward destroying public ed comes in the form of the Choices in Education Act of 2017. I live in Maryland along with Andy Harris (R) who is co-sponsor of this bill. (lucky me).
Many activists fighting against education reform are already on top of pushing back and calling for action against this bill, as well they (and we) should be. Like many of my friends and colleagues I am also strongly opposed to a voucher system for school funding and this bill.
But beyond an effort to reject this bill, I wonder — what is the goal of the long game? and dare i ask …how much of a difference would this bill make whether it passed or not? I know that sounds jaded. The bill is a total shit shop. But let’s zoom out.
Take a deep examination of the larger chess board.
The agenda set forth in this Choice bill can be found in other iterations within the fine print of ESSA, a bill crafted by Lamar Alexander. which many public education advocates supported (I did not). I did not support ESSA because, despite all of its nice sounding promises, the devil was (as always) in the details. ESSA, like Choices in Education Act opens the flood gates for vouchers, charters, and other forms of privatization. So while I do oppose the Choices in Education bill…. We need to be fighting a much bigger game.
We cannot win this fight by shooting down every single bill they throw at us, because they have endless money, resources, and legal power to keep ‘em coming. How many letters and calls to representatives who are likely already sold out can we make? They could win simply by exhausting us… by having us chase every single bill they peel off the ALEC playbook. I suggest that we pause and zoom out and take a long look at what is to come and develop a long game strategy above and beyond our short game battles.
For example, the alt right agenda from Breitbart also opposes the Choices in Education bill.
You know you’re down the rabbit hole (as a progressive “leftist”) when are you are opposing the same bill as them! Breitbart folks are opposed to the governmental oversight (strings attached) of school choice that come with this bill. Conversely, progressive advocates for public education oppose this bill because it opens the flood gates for vouchers which are harmful to the support needed for public schools. So in swatting down this bill….do we win? Or, does the alt right? Can we both win at the same time when we want such dramatically different things?
This Choices bill both opens the portal for greater voucher schemes, yet keeps those religious and private institutions on a tighter leash of accountability. That’s the funny thing about words like accountability—it’s a double edged sword. If you are a left-leaning person, you might wish to see greater accountability for religious, charter, and other private institutions who want to replace science with creationism and engage in all types of exclusionary practices. We like accountability when it is in the name of ensuring equity of resources or quality. But accountability is a fickle creature-it turns on us and becomes NCLB and high stakes testing. So we find that the things in themselves are only as good or as bad, or something we support or not, to the extent to which they serve us and our interests.
Betsy Devos is a train crash. But the groundwork to privatize public education was laid well in advance of her hair- brained appointment. (30 years by my estimate). It was laid by a TWO party system. As Glen Ford of The Black Agenda Report says, “In their zeal to confront and delegitimize Donald Trump, the Democrats primp and posture as if in genuine opposition to President Cheeto’s governance-by-billionaires. But, charter school privatization, like U.S. wars, is a project of both wings of the ruling class duopoly.”
So we have been punched in the face by the likes of Devos and a corporate conservative agenda, but we have also been stabbed in the back by the pseudo-liberal Democrat efforts to roll out a “kids-for-profit” plan under the guise of “civil rights.” The tinder was laid. Betsy just needs to light the match.
Look at the long game. Whether we swat down every bullshit bill Devos or other representatives of ALEC put forward or not, the dismantling of public education might go on while we are otherwise distracted. The tentacles of a corporate agenda are so deeply baked into our public schools. Competency Based Education (CBE) does exactly the same thing that charters do- it puts public monies into private hands, and allows private interests to determine the educational outcomes for children.
So the opposite of charter schools is no longer simply traditional “public” schools as they are now (infused with outsourced curriculum and assessments). ESSA both supports the open-faced goal of supporting more charters but it also promotes the close-faced goals of privatization under the guise of “public.” The corporate agenda has cornered the market in every conceivable direction.
They strategize by looking at the long game. So should we.
What do we want?
We can play whack-a-mole and knock out every bill they drop into the chute. But we need more. We need to clearly focus on what it is we want, and see how the corporate reformers play this game. Not only through blatant affronts to democracy via vouchers, but also through bait-and-switch, and through high jacked narratives (as was done once upon a time with testing and charters sold to us in the name of equity, though now we are largely wise to that game—we need to remember that tactic and learn from it).
ESSA and this Choice Act both are set up to deliver the same outcome.
They only look different from the outside, but read the details: philanthropic control via community schools (or) vouchers, pay-for-success, predictive analytics, online corporate outsourcing….they all lead to the same end. ESSA supporters promised that this policy would relieve us of the burden of annual standardized testing, but instead we got every day online assessments. Different delivery system-same outcome-corporate ownership of profits, curriculum and student data.
We need to focus efforts on the long game and see how deeply intricate the connections are intertwined. They exist beyond party partisan politics and plays on language (what’s the difference between “grit” and endorsement of socially/affective learning? Nothing…except a few vowels…and the child’s skin color). Forget the names – they are designed to sound good, like “personalized learning“:…. and look at the details. Are community schools truly community schools? Sometimes… but not always, and increasingly less so as privatizers have learned how to insert themselves like an odorless gas that cannot be detected in a house ready to explode.
What does “public” in public education mean? What constitutes its definition and purpose?
Historically, public education has failed to deliver on its promise for ALL children. Historically, many of the roots of public education are rooted in a neoliberal goal to manage the poor, the disenfranchised, the immigrants, the newly-freed enslaved and indigenous peoples. It’s not a noble history. But public schools retain a noble promise. And now we are faced with their dissolution. Public education SHOULD mean: democratic, equitable, student-empowerment, freedom from corporate overlords, accessible, sustainable, community supported, anti-racist education for all children in support of the communities in which they live.
I believe this is possible -and the alternative unimaginable.
Although, apparently it’s not unimaginable to certain representatives crafting legislation to abolish the US. Dept of Education. How is this not on the radar of every proponent for public education as we speak?
The psy ops tactics used to get Donald Trump elected to the U.S. Presidency (still having gag reflex) are the same ones being used in public schools, using children as their “data” source. Given the power they had on influencing the electorate, imagine what they could do with 12 years of public school data collected on your child.
What data? And how was it used?
A psychologist named Michael Kosinski (see full report) from Cambridge developed a method to analyze Facebook members, using the cute little personality quizzes or games. What started as a fun experiment resulted with the largest data set combining psychometric scores with Facebook profiles ever to be collected. Dr. Kosinski is a leading expert in psychometrics, a data-driven sub-branch of psychology. His work is grounded on the Five Factors of Personality theory which include something called OCEAN: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.
So many people volunteered their personal information to play these games and take these quizzes that before long Kosinski had volumes of data from which he could now predict all sorts of things about the attitudes and behaviors of these individuals. He applied the Five Factors (Big Five Theory) model (well-known in psychometric circles) and developed a system by which he could predict very personal and detailed behaviors of individuals on a level deeper than had been accessed by prior models or systems.
Enter Cambridge Analytica (CA), a company connected to a British firm called SCL Group, which provides governments, political groups and companies around the world with services ranging from military disinformation campaigns to social media branding and voter targeting. CA indirectly acquired Kosinksi’s model and method for his MyPersonality database without his consent.
Then, CA was hired by the Trump team to provide “dark advertising” that would sway undecided people toward a Trump vote. CA was able to access this data to search for specific profiles: “all anxious fathers, all angry introverts, for example—or maybe even all undecided Democrats.” See motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/big-data-cambridge-analytica-brexit-trump
Steve Bannon sits on the board for Cambridge Analytica.
“We are thrilled that our revolutionary approach to data-driven communication has played such an integral part in President-elect Trump’s extraordinary win,” Alexander James Ashburner Nix was quoted as saying. According to Motherboard, “His company wasn’t just integral to Trump’s online campaign, but to the UK’s Brexit campaign as well.” In Nix’s own words, it worked like this: “At Cambridge,” he said, “we were able to form a model to predict the personality of every single adult in the United States of America.”
The report continues, “according to Nix, the success of Cambridge Analytica’s marketing is based on a combination of three elements: behavioral science using the OCEAN Model, Big Data analysis, and ad targeting. Ad targeting is personalized advertising, aligned as accurately as possible to the personality of an individual consumer.” Then these same consumers receive “dark posts”-or, advertisements specifically devised for them, and that cannot be viewed by anyone else other than that person.
Where did the Big Five Theory come from?
Dr. Raymond Cattell is regaled in Western culture for his so called notable contributions to the field of intelligence assessment (IQ and personality work). Despite his direct and profound relationship to the eugenics movement and his recognition by the Nazi Party for the birth of The Beyondists, his work is benignly promoted in scholarly circles. But the fact that he is professionally legitimized does not make him any less the racist he was. And his contributions toward racist practices live on. He has two notable theories of personality development and measurement entitled The Big Five Theory and the Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF).
The way that OCEANS Five Factors personality data from our students can be used:
The recent trend toward a “grit narrative,” hailed by Angela Duckworth and others, has been gobbled up by school districts around the country. The OCEANS model is used widely by schools and other institutions internationally.
“The grit measure has been compared to the Big Five personality model, which are a group of broad personality dimensions consisting of openness to experience (aka openness), conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.”
(citation: Cattell, R. B.; Marshall, MB; Georgiades, S (1957). “Personality and motivation: Structure and measurement”. Journal of Personality Disorders. 19 (1): 53–67. doi:10.1521/pedi.184.108.40.206180. PMID 15899720.
There is a growing emphasis on the “affective” learning of students. Some examples include: “ETS’ SuccessNavigator assessment and ACT’s Engage College Domains and Scales Overview … the broader domains in these models are tied to those areas of the big five personality theory.”
While “grit” has been exposed for the racist narrative it is, it’s also a direct by-product of the same OCEANS framework used to control, predict and manipulate voters. If this data can sway major national elections and change the global trajectory of history, imagine what such data, gathered on children, day after day, year after year, could yield for corporations and government interests.
Watch the video from Jesse Schell, gaming CEO, to see exactly where this can go. As Schell says “your shopping data is a goldmine” and it’s only a matter of time before gaming companies and gaming behavior interface with our daily consumer and behavioral choices. You can get points for simply brushing your teeth long enough when product brands partner with gaming systems.”
We now have, thanks to perpetual assessments of children’s knowledge affective “grit” or personality, “the concept of the ‘preemptive personality,” the endlessly profiled and guided subject who is shunted into recalculated futures in a system that could be characterized as digital predestination.”
The role of education technology (aka “personalized learning”):
According to a report entitled Networks of Control: “Jennifer Whitson (2013) argues that today’s technology-based practices of gamification are ‘rooted in surveillance’ because they provide ‘real-time feedback about users’ actions by amassing large quantities of data’. According to her, gamification is ‘reliant on quantification’, on ‘monitoring users’ everyday lives to measure and quantify their activities’. Gamification practices based on data collection and quantification are ‘leveraging surveillance to evoke behavior change’ … While self-quantification promises to “make daily practices more fulfilling and fun” by adopting ‘incentivization and pleasure rather than risk and fear to shape desired behaviours’, it also became ‘a new driving logic in the technological expansion and public acceptance of surveillance’.
(See Wrenching The Gears for more readings on this issue)
A re-posting from https://billayers.org/2017/01/22/get-woke-white-people/
2. The Milgram Experiment – “(Milgram) concluded people obey either out of fear or out of a desire to appear cooperative–even when acting against their own better judgment and desires. Milgram’s classic yet controversial experiment illustrates people’s reluctance to confront those who abuse power.”
In honor of the announcement by Merriam Webster Dictionary that “surreal” was the word of 2016 I am re-posting a older piece I wrote for United Opt Out almost one year ago. Now… more relevant than ever. Annual standardized testing has given way to Competency Based online delivery systems, all…the…time. Race to the Top has been replaced with ESSA.
And the socio-political climate against which we are fighting? Well…it speaks for itself.
Merriam Webster site states: “Surreal is often looked up spontaneously in moments of both tragedy and surprise, whether or not it is used in speech or writing. This is not surprising: we often search for just the right word to help us bring order to abstract thoughts, emotions, or reactions. Surreal seems to be, for 2016, such a word.”
“Struggle is par for the course when our dreams go into action. But unless we have the space to imagine and a vision for what it means to fully realize our humanity, all the protests and demonstrations in the world won’t bring about our liberation” (Robin D. G. Kelley)
Let me begin with an important premise. Education reform is:
I have to situate myself in this struggle as a white middle class mother and teacher who cannot claim to have lived or experienced the inequities and violence faced by so many others. I, with many others of racial and economic privilege have been asking, “How can we bring communities of color and indigenous peoples into the opt out revolution? What are the connections we need to make? What are we missing?” There are a lot of critical and complex ways we must deconstruct those questions and tirelessly examine responses from multiple perspectives.
Ceresta Smith’s “Why People of Color Must Reject Market-based Reforms” provides a compelling argument supported by factual evidence why organizing resistance and ultimately effecting change from the standpoint of people of color is necessary. No doubt they must take a militant stance and become full participants in the resistance movement to end corporate reform; but to expand further on her argument, I present the following.
We must re-frame the opt out revolution as a global effort- with our brothers and sisters in other counties like Spain, Mexico, Liberia, Puerto Rico. Colonization, neo-colonization, and neo-liberal economic policies have impacted the way educators teach and children learn. The history of the Black Radical Imagination emanates from those places; spaces where ultimate dreams, visions, and end goals of freedom are articulated, visualized and specified via artistic mediums, inspirational dialogues, and theatrical resistance.
I am thinking of notable artists and art theorists such as bell hooks, David Stovall, James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, and the surrealist artist Aimee Cesare (and a thanks to Bettina Love whose 2016 AERA conference presentation snapped this into focus for me). They argue for a radical imagining of “the possibilities of relational, transitive, and creative solidarity as a strategy for recasting not only human relations but also the very notion of what it means to be human” which is “crucial for decolonization” (Gatzambide-Fernandez, 2012). Also, see P.L. Thomas notable scholarship on James Baldwin. These artists created, and stemmed from, the surrealist movement which was largely a radical and political response to fascism and colonialism of the 19th century.
Why the framing of the radical (surrealist) black imagination for the future of the opt out movement? Because “surrealism is not an aesthetic doctrine but an international revolutionary movement concerned with the emancipation of thought” (Kelley, p. 5).
Resistance requires application of the radical black imagination and indigenous people’s frameworks for radical democracy—resistance MUST draw from historical narratives that are rooted in their understandings of freedom and opposition to oppression and spring forth visions of where we want to be. The surrealists’ art of this movement spoke to the idea that, “it is not enough to imagine what kind of world we would like; we have to do the work to make it happen” (Kelley, p. 187). Resistance to oppression is something that marginalized (and enslaved) communities have lived for centuries, and therefore their imaginations, their wisdom, their lived experiences told through works of art allow us to imagine actions that will open “new possibilities in unlikely places” (Kelley, p. 189). This way forward has a long rich history of resistance rooted in the imagination and in love—two things indispensable to our movement. Kelley writes, “(R) enegade black intellectuals/activists/artists challenged and reshaped communism, surrealism, and radical feminism, and in doing so produced brilliant theoretical insights” … which can and must push our movement in new directions.
Through the critical imagination, we can find the language for systemic freedom and equitable alternatives. “Surrealists have consistently opposed capitalism and white supremacy” (Kelley, p. 192). While the resistance to privatization has been framed as a “white middle class thing” (a paradoxical statement both sort of true…and largely manufactured), we can concede that to some extent we have been using middle class tactics and grounding our message in “indignation” (such as, “How dare you treat my kid this way!”), which is a White person’s version of experiencing injustice. Honestly, it amazes me that more parents of color, who have lived centuries of damage done to their children at the hands of the racist system, don’t look at us, roll their eyes and yell, “Well, duh!” … because they have lived it globally and systemically in ways that parents of White and middle class privilege are only recently beginning to get a glimpse. Garon (quoted in Kelley) says, “Human freedom depends not only on the destruction and restructuring of the economic system, but on the restructuring of the mind” (p. 192).
While racial and class privilege enables some of us to work more easily within the existing system of power, the radical imagination shows us how to shatter that system and imagine a new one. Kelley says: “Without new visions, we don’t know what to build, only what to knock down. We not only end up confused, rudderless and cynical, but we forget that making a revolution is not a series of clever maneuvers and tactics, but a process that can and must transform us.” And he adds, “when we talk about structural change, we’re not tweaking a system, but completely destroying it and replacing it with something new.” (see Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination.)
If we find the power to imagine new schools that represent us: schools of anti-racism, equity, democracy, and love (where there is no space for billionaire control), we might get bold and imagine new societies in that same image (and where there is no space for billionaire control).
Our solidarity must come from the guidance of the radical black and brown artists who knew that imagination was the core of revolutionary action. “The idea of revolution of the mind has always been central to surrealism as well as to black conceptions of liberation” (Kelley, p. 191). When we, all of us, embrace radical black voices of imagination as the guiding principles for the opt out movement and create real solidarity, it will be “game, set, match, OVER” for the corporate elites. And they know it! To water down – or de-fang – the this revolution mirrors the historical recasting of the Middle Passage as the Triangular Trade Agreement or Rosa Parks as little more than a sweet middle aged lady who was “just tired.”
What does the education revolution using radical imagination as its center look like? It could be surrealistic “Revolutionary graffiti painted in bold strokes across the great tests of Western civilization” (or Pearson tests) … “it is a hand grenade tossed with deadly accuracy, clearing the field” of the neo-liberal takeover of public education … “so we might write a new history with what’s left standing” (p. 181). This effort must be nothing short of this. And, if it is, then it needs to re-route to the right direction. Our resistance and transformation (RBI style), “is the exhalation of freedom, revolt, imagination and love …. (I)t is above all a revolutionary movement ….Beginning with the abolition of slavery, it advances to the creation of a free society in which everyone will be a poet—a society in which everyone will be able to develop his or her potentiality fully and freely” (Chicago Surrealist Group, 1976). And isn’t this what we WANT for ALL children?
“Surrealism recognizes that any revolution must begin with thought, with how we imagine a New World, with how we reconstruct our social and individual relationships” (Kelley, p. 193). True solidarity in this movement as an effort of social justice will be evidenced not when white middle class moms go to jail to protect their own children, but when they (we) go to jail to protect other people’s children too.
Kelley, R.D.G. (2002). Freedom dreams: The black radical imagination. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.
Featured (top) image by Tom Feelings,
This post has migrated. Please visit Busted Pencils for this and any future blog posts:http://bustedpencils.com/2016/08/state-resistance-movement-murder-suicide-need-claim-third-space-morna-
In May of 2016 I officially resigned as an administrator for United Opt Out a group I help create in 2011 along with Peggy Robertson, Tim Slekar, Ceresta Smith, Shaun Johnson, and Laurie Murphy. Since then, Shaun and Laurie rolled off, and we added new admins like Michael Pena, Rosemarie Jensen, Ruth Rodruigez and Denisha Jones. Very recently, other admins rolled off as well. There’s been a lot of myth-making and rumor-milling about the roll off of admins and the UOO event taking place this fall in Houston.
People keep asking me “What happened?” To quote a scene from a Northern Exposure episode entitled Burning Down the House in which one character -a famous golfer- attempts to explain how or why it was he “blew the Masters” because of a simple putt, he says, “You want to know what happened? …. I don’t know what happened.” In other words, perhaps some things cannot be reduced to simple answers even though such oversimplification might suit the self- serving motives of others. If you want to know why anyone one admin decided to retire from UOO, the best course of action is to ask them directly, because there are five different people and five different sets of personal and/or political reasons anyone might have for stepping down. There is no “one” reason. Yet the responses within the movement to the changes in UOO has created a dangerous space (within our movement) which French philosopher Jaques Daignault refers to as being “between murder and suicide”. And that is what this post attempt to respond to. Why? Let me explain. According to Pinar et al (1995):
Daignault argues that to know is to kill (1992a, p. 199), that running after rigorous demonstrations and after confirmations is a hunt: literally (1992a, p. 100) … To know is to put to death….To know is to kill, to rely on death….The reason of the strongest is reason by itself. Western man is a wolf of science (1992a, p. 198). Knowledge — understood poststructurally as the reduction of difference to identity, the many to the one, heterogeneity to homogeneity — is violence. This violence results from competition between ideologies or doctrines, and from the radical transformation of what exists in conformity with what we believe it ought to be (quoted in Hwu, 1993, p. 132). For Daignault, as for Serres, to know is to commit murder, to terrorize. Nihilism refers to the abandonment of any attempt to know. It is the attitude which says anything goes or things are what they are. It is to give up, to turn ones ideals into empty fictions or memories, to have no hope. Daignault (1983) calls for us to live in the middle, in spaces that are neither terroristic or nihilistic, neither exclusively political nor exclusively technological.
We are experiencing the contested terrain of the in-between where we need to consider that taking a stand does require taking “a side”— nor does taking sides mean you are taking a stand.
I am choosing to take a stand by not taking sides.
Again Daignault suggests:
The only way to avoid this fate is to allow thought to think itself, to go beyond or to disrupt dualism, and to think the difference between them. It is to introduce paradox. It is not to stop defining, but to multiply the definitions. It is to invite a plural spelling, to experiment, to problematize.
Call me milquetoast if you must –but I believe in Guevara’s idea that the “true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love” (not self righteousness, not anger, not fear, not ego….love). This love requires empathy and forgiveness- and a capacity to see things from perspectives we might not fully understand ourselves but are willing to concede are real and matter to others.
Sometimes the “truth” of any course of events is simply too complex…because it just is. It is possible in deep and genuine relationships between spouses, friends, and colleagues to have wildly different understandings of a shared event. These are opportunities to learn more than we think we already know about ourselves and each other.
I am not declaring kumbaya and asking for group hugs.
I have all the sentimental qualities of a rock.
I thought The Notebook was stupid.
But I am a pragmatist. I want this movement to succeed. We face global annihilation of democracy at the hands of corporate privatization otherwise. We are up against something awful and enormous. I want to do what’s right for others more than doing what’s right “for me.” Because that is what we stand for.
In difficult moments I try to ask myself, when engaging in an argument or “calling someone out”: does this serve the greater good for the movement? What will change for the better as a result of my engaging in this disagreement? How much of this is my own fear? My own ego? My own desire to create a certain appearance to others? Or a fear of what others might think of me? How much of these negative interactions are a waste of our time?
In this movement we do experiences differences and disagreements that are very real and necessary. For example I adamantly and publicly opposed support of ESSA, while many other in the resistance did not. UOO many years ago was one of the first groups willing to launch vigorous critique of the national unions and demand they take a real stand against reform (and at the time we were roundly criticized for doing so.) There are necessary spaces and times for disagreement within the movement. However, social media character attacks and cannibalism that I witness at times would do the reformers proud. I’m not sure this behavior is what Guevara had in mind.
It’s easy for any of us to proclaim what we believe others “ought” to do, or not to do…it’s easy to reframe one another’s identities (or motives) according to our own interpretation and pronounce the failings we see in others as true. How many of us are willing to turn the mirror on ourselves?
Maybe we’d be better off spending more time looking at our own roles in the problems this movement is facing and less on the roles of others. That’s what I am trying to do at least. Because if we are looking for “blame” as to how and why things happen (for good or for ill) there’s always a heaping scoop of blame to go in everyone’s bowl.
There have been, and continue to be, incidents of hijacking and co-opting of our movement by various forces, especially more notably now with the authorization of ESSA.
We have become a wary, weary, and angry group of people.
However, because of our heightened emotions, sometimes we lose the grey line between courageous critique and a Salem Witch trial. Do the leaders of national unions warrant our critique and mistrust? Hell, yeah. But we also have members of unions who are vigilant leaders who earn nothing but our trust and respect such as Karen Lewis, Michelle Gunderson, Gus Morales, and Barbara Madaloni. So…where is the truth about unions? Somewhere on the in-between. Between murder and suicide.
How do we move forward in times of profound disagreement? What is the way out? We must avoid murder on the one hand and suicide on the other. Are we willing to move forward and remain in a complex in-between space that necessitates discomfort because it asks of us generosity, empathy and humility while also maintaining critical vigilance to our refusal to negotiate or compromise or sell ourselves out? I think we can.
I conclude with Daignault:
Do not expect me to know what I am talking about here; I am trying to think. That is my best contribution to the composers creativity (p. 4).