City College of San Francisco (CCSF) fights back against the corporate raiders and enemies of education
Here's a rallying cry: Inform yourself or let them bury you..
by Danny Weil
Recently, students, faculty and community supporters rallied to save the City College of San Francisco (CCSF), once known as a "junior college" or "community college". However, the names "junior college and community college" no longer find resonance in the snaky plans of the privatizers who are threatening the CCSF with corporatization and extinction.
The CCSF has 1,600 faculty that serve over 85,000 students. For years it was thought to be a progressive stepping stone for students of color, disabled students and working class students to a humane and intellectual education. This has now all changed.
The attention of much of the progressive community in the last ten years or so has focused on standards and the horrific, No Child Left Behind, the Gates-Duncan plans for K-12 school closures, school militarization plans and Race to the Top. And rightly so. but meanwhile, Wall Street privatizers and philanthro-pirates like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation along with the Lumina Foundation and other sundry reactionary forces have secretly been targeting community colleges all over the U.S. City College of San Francisco is no exception. These neo-Gilded Age, so-called charitable institutions are little more than pirate capitalists who use their swag to create the Social Darwinian future of mis-education and American Donner party politics to maximize profits and minimize critical learning ( http://techrights.org/2010/09/30/plot-to-change-schools).
The smash and grab policies of the money class are transforming the community college system into a top down, hierarchical governing system that will eliminate humanities, liberal arts, music and critical thinking in favor of a school-to-work programs that favor industry and Wall Street at the expense of students, faculty and staff. The means to the end is the Shock Doctrine we see played out all over the world; basically, creating and/or capitalizing on a crisis in funding and in the minds of the public to decimate any shared governance of the community college systems, while reducing student access through two-tiered toll booth systems of admission and class access. The actors in this obdurate and cruel hoax are the same well heeled Wall Street minions who seek to both assure students get no opportunity to think critically about their place in the world and to gobble up the $650 billion dollar industry that is "education".
We have seen this attack dating back to early 1991, but the assault being waged on the community college system is recently new.
Tucked under the logo of "progress", reactionary forces like The Lumina Foundation have been at the forefront of eliminating both shared governance, lowering staff to student ratios, increasing 'online earning' in place of real life learning and peddling the idea that more graduates from college are needed to compete with the emerging Chinese Empire. Clothed in mendacity and soaked in billions of dollars, this attempt to corporatize and privatize all learning is now in full swing, aided and abetted by ACCJC, the accrediting agency for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, itself a private corporation with no accountability to the public it purports to serve.
A simple perusal of the Internet allows one to harvest vast information about the privatizers' plans.
Take a look at the report, CEO's for Cities, put out by the Lumina Foundation, the kitchen cabinet for education under Arne Duncan and Obama. Here, one can simply see the language of "capital" as it is mouthed by the super-rich and Social Darwinists bent on assuring that education is boiled down to a sickening roux. It is cloaked in a language of progress but it is all about saving the failing American Empire from the ravages of the miscreant unemployed surplus labor:
"In a move to increase the political and civic will to produce more college graduates and thereby help cities capture real economic gains, CEOs for Cities calculated the Talent Dividend. Increasing college attainment by one percentage point in each of the 51 largest metropolitan areas would be associated with an increase in personal income of $124 billion per year for the nation. With the support of the Lumina Foundation for Education and DeVry Inc., CEOs for Cities launched a 30-city Talent Dividend Tour in 2009 to present these findings to local urban leaders. One fact stood out: every metropolitan region has a large number of adults with some college, but no degree. Getting these adults to finish college -- we call them "pre-graduates" -- is a key strategy to achieve the Talent DividendĂ˘ (ibid)."
Working with privatized, predatory for-profit colleges like DeVry and Kaplan University, itself a criminal enterprise, The Lumina Foundation, formerly the USA Group out of Sallie Mae, one of the biggest student loan rackets in the country
has been very busy indeed.
As I wrote back in 2012:
"The attack against SFCC (CCSF) is just one of the first salvos in the smash and grab policies of Wall Street, the cyber technocrats, and venture capitalists and Wall St.
The first step is taking over the government structure, assuring there is no shared governance, moving in high paid administrators to eventually launch the plan to privatize and corporatize the college.
This is Shock Doctrine smash and grab politics we saw right after Katrina and that is playing itself out now in an atmosphere of right wing austerity.
Not only are the plans for SFCC and the "community colleges" that have thrown out the word "community" to hire part time adjunct faculty and shrink the number of tenured faculty, but it is also aimed at the classified staff of which dozens have already received pink slips.
This is no different than that which occurred at Santa Monica College this last year but that failed due to incompetence of President Tsang, who as a supplicant for Lumina and the Gates Center, failed to keep his cattle herded.
And it is no different than the script which is planned for all community colleges as the Master plan for Education of 1960 is now being hijacked and turned into a two tier system of school to work with liberal arts to be trash canned.
All of this represents an attack on the public commons and this attack is being coordinated by the same forces that created NCLB, Race to the Top and are now closing K-12 schools and creating charters as Trojan horses for the eventual voucherization of public education.
The new "Student learning outcomes" being imposed on community colleges across the nation are now linked with science, technology, engineering and math for it is these jobs that the ruling elite have deemed important in competing against our "banker" -- China.
To see more on student learning outcomes, the second branch of the Obama 20/20 plan for higher education (the first being increasing graduation rates from colleges, assuring student loans will be used to grease the wheel) google "Lumina Foundation and Student learning outcomes" and you can read just what they have in mind for the new "mediating agents" which they call teachers and the use of Massive Open Online Classes) which are replacing teachers at alarming rates and reengineering education to serve the masters of technology and cyber learning.
This is all dressed up in "progress" coupled with the new technology that is peddled by the ruling class that will "free us".
Do not be beguiled, this is an attempt to foster a coup dĂ˘ĂÂŠtat on SFCC and other colleges. It is no surprise that SFCC has been singled out along with California. As a bellwether state it would be to the advantage of the privatizers to attack the fourth largest economy. After all, they added 81 charter schools in the last year and now are the largest state in the nation for charters. ( http://www.dailycensored.com/ccsf-faculty-and-students-rally-against-proposed-changes-cuts/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Dailycensored+%28Daily+Censored%29&utm_content=Google+International
The struggle against the privatization and reengineering of K-12 and higher education must be recognized as one and the same, and then perspicaciously organized. In this way the struggles can be combined, better understood and resources better used to form strategies to defeat the "privatizers".
Fighting local struggles with an eye on national efforts to destroy public education and turn it over to Wall Street would also lead one to see the global struggles taking place in Europe, Quebec, Chile and other international locals where the same sinister plan is being foisted on an unsuspecting public at a time when crisis is being parasitically and opportunistically used to assure access to colleges will be for those "serious students" (the new nobles), and those who are not pledged to capital will find themselves in the streets
or worse, in the coffins of the for-profit colleges.
But it gets worse. For in order to implement the plan to force students not seeking degrees in areas the financial capitalists covet, CEO Cities has perfidiously stated that there must be a "Talent Dividend" when it comes to funding education. The use of sophistic language to beguile the public is the essence of the colonization of both the consciousness of Americans and the public school systems that they were once told served them.
Here is a truncated parcel of the CEO Cities report
"In a move to increase the political and civic will to produce more college graduates and thereby help cities capture real economic gains, CEOs for Cities calculated the Talent Dividend. Increasing college attainment by one percentage point in each of the 51 largest metropolitan areas would be associated with an increase in personal income of $124 billion per year for the nation.
With the support of the Lumina Foundation for Education and DeVry Inc., CEOs for Cities launched a 30-city Talent Dividend Tour in 2009 to present these findings to local urban leaders. One fact stood out: every metropolitan region has a large number of adults with some college, but no degree. Getting these adults to finish college -- we call them "pre-graduates" -- is a key strategy to achieve the Talent Dividend".
So what did the privatizers like The Lumina Foundation and other reactionary advocacy philanthropy parasites do? They did what they accomplished in their full brute force assault on K-12 education; hired private consulting firms to assure that think tank studies were produced to argue for the decimation of public education and the creation of an educational "Troika", much like that we see happening in the banking cartel in Europe that has stolen sovereignty from whole countries:
"In order to develop strategies to get pre-graduates to complete a four-year degree, their special needs must be better understood. CEOs for Cities engaged KvJ & Company, a team of innovation advisors, lead by Katherine von Jan, that identify tomorrow's unsolved needs to help organizations link emerging and established trends to bold opportunities for growth, innovation and leadership. The project had three parts. Ethnographic research, including participant journals, excursions and in-home interviews, was conducted by anthropologist Mike Youngblood and team with pre-graduates in Seattle, New York, Memphis and Chicago. What emerged were key insights into the journeys students take through school and the challenges they face. From the ethnographies, student personas were created, providing a foundation for ideation. The second part involved interviews with experts across disciplines to bring a fresh perspective and thinking to higher education. This included seven innovator interviews and two college executive interviews. An ideation salon was held with six experts to discuss personas and brainstorm ideas. The third element of the project involved further ideation within KvJ & Company through internal salons. To determine the top ten, ideas were organized into categories based on personas' needs and evaluated and prioritized using a scorecard of human design criteria, implementation criteria and the wacky accelerator The top ten ideas were built out to recognize potential revenue and costs associated with each idea".
Let's look critically at the report's 'study'. First of all, language has to be changed to sell the wholesale idea of privatization and exclusionary access for students who do not "fall in line" with the new college plans. This Orwellian colonization of public consciousness is right out of the novel 1984 and is being launched to hide the real agenda of the new dictatorship of capital designed for community colleges. These purveyors of despair and human decimation have no interest in college graduation rates Ă˘ as if failing capitalism and a growing surplus labor population can benefit from 'graduating more students.' Their aim is imposing more student debt loads on the backs of youth struggling for a better life.
So, with this in mind it is not hard to see why students, at what were once community colleges, have been renamed as "pre-graduates" for Wall Street must, in order to assure sovereignty over each campus, use political language in favor of a corporate educational troika designed to 'manage' the new college scheme and firmly wedge the idea as 'educational progress' in the minds of the public.
"Innovation advisors" are of course the private consultant firms that work with Wall Street to assure that education is linked to capitalist development. "Growth, innovation and leadership" are mere buzzwords used to redefine education and remove any semblance of critical thinking about society or the failing capitalist system and those who run it. "Ethnographic studies" are basically propagandized and sophisticated 'field' efforts that will work to serve and unseat any critical opposition to Wall Street and the privatizer's plans. "A foundation for ideation" signifies that the institutionalization of the full blunt trauma to the head of public education can be cemented under Ă˘scientific studies'. "Interviews with experts and fresh perspective and thinking" are tools in the propaganda belts of the new carpenters of privatized education. These "so called experts" are really identified administrative supplicants and lapdogs, now called CEOs, whose job it is to discipline any angry opposition to Wall Street and LuminaĂ˘s stated goals. "The Top Ten new ideas" are the findings of the Lumina Foundation and capitalist class they serve, and there is nothing new in them at all.
Why the need now to privatize what were once community colleges and replace the Master Plan in California that assured a free and unfettered access for students of all walks of life to college with the Master's plan to deny access to only those students Lumina, Gates and Wall Street deem are worthy of education?
The answer to this question is complicated and I have addressed it elsewhere but to recap:
Capitalism is experiencing a crisis of surplus labor. With technology replacing work, more and more and more people are becoming 'road dogs', meaning they will never work in the emerging cybernetic economy where jobs are replaced with robots. They must be managed like canines;
There must be an all out effort to quell dissent amongst the masses as they face a showdown with death by Internet; any liberal arts education that fosters ideas about critical thinking about society, the role of human beings and the development of a just and humane system that is not beholden to the one percent means that all liberal arts must be euthanized in favor of the new 'scientism' and permanent unemployment under financial capitalism;
The need is simple: to create an administrative class willing to implement the new model for mis-education and the dummying down of the curriculum must be fostered and this means access must be curtailed for those students who wish to develop their self potential in favor of students who wish to develop capital's potential, which is waning each day all over the world;
Any notion of shared governance must be replaced with the strategy that assures the loss of sovereignty and permanent fortification of the educational Troika;
Teacher's labor must now be redesigned to serve the interest of cybernetic learning, meaning loss of wages, benefits and tenure;
The new Master's plan must privatize education for it is one of the last bastions for capital accumulation in the dying financial capitalist system. Stock finagler and rating agency, Moody's has just released a gloomy report taken seriously by the financial class.
So, assuring that intellectual life is reduced to crass and violent entertainment, thereby subjugating the masses through information control and reduction of thinking opportunities, along with handing over the entire enterprise of education to Wall Street is the key to understanding why students, faculty and staff face reductions in opportunities, wages, benefits and a new dystopic vision of what it means to be educated.
Again, Lumina is stunningly clear on its goals and objectives for the new system of mis-education for profit:
Ă˘Â˘Develop online content (TED-talk like lectures)
Ă˘Â˘Develop online testing
Ă˘Â˘Develop relationships with businesses and cities for locations
Ă˘Â˘Develop a mobile unit or education Ă˘jukeboxĂ˘ to broadcast classes
Ă˘Â˘Develop a key card to recognize and track student activities
Ă˘Â˘Develop awareness of locations ("meet ups" are critical)
Ă˘Â˘Cut cost of real-estate
Ă˘Â˘Cut cost of teaching and lecturing
Ă˘Â˘Generate and syndicate content and courses
Ă˘Â˘Pay-by-the-class increases revenue and makes classes accessible to more people, including hobbyists
Ă˘Â˘Provide courses through employers in workplaces
Ă˘Â˘Right place, right time classes create more value and generate more revenue".
How does Wall Street get away with it
The key to understanding how the privatizers and their paid courtesans get away with all of their menacing plans can be found in a close study of how they have decimated K-12 education. Using the phony moniker of "philanthropy", these protagonists of despair and greed have ginned up the public to accept both school "choice" (which is the choice of Wall Street) in K-12 schools, along with incessant carnival barking for cybernetics as educational progress. They have placed themselves firmly in the saddle of dictatorships for capital and with their tarnished cash and mega-billions of dollars, they have managed to do what Lewis Powell so sagaciously proposed in early 1972-- create shadow institutions of propaganda and mind control.
Wall Street has managed for more than four decades now to create echo-chamber like think tanks that work with all levels of community, placing their camel noses under as many tents as they can rummage up. They have infiltrated the media, which is now their sock-puppet press, wholly controlled by five corporations, and they have partnered with coin-operated politicians who introduce legislation favorable to their interests. This is especially true when it comes to using corporate democrats, their favorite allies, for they are thought of as not having the stench of the ruling class attached to their political bodies, when in fact, as the Obama administration and Clinton administration have shown, the most virulent and insidious privatization of America occurs under the thoughtful visage of the corporate democrats.
The financial capitalist class has also keenly used the anti-intellectual culture of America as their playground, knowing that most Americans are more bewitched by tales and stories of the movies stars, celebrity culture and Hollywood violence than they are with being educated in any meaningful way. Thus, they have an anti-intellectual romper's room to work in and this allows them to get away with the literal "murder" of the public commons.
Most Americans have no idea what it means to be critically educated and the majority, I would argue, would at this juncture in history rather be entertained than educated. All of this provides the perfect storm for the Shock Doctrine dictates of capital.
When meaningful resistance is present, for example at Santa Monica College last April, the malevolent capitalist class and their gunslingers like Lumina and Gates have come down hard, pepper spraying students in the case of SMC, or actually placing Homeland Security on campuses to assure that all "persons of interest" are identified and targeted for police action and marginalization.
The privatizers have also created avatars in the form of real human beings, for example like Alex Abramoff the son of Casino Jack, who they have cloaked to run for student body president thereby attempting to create a student body governance structure that is really a front for their insidious plans.
They have used public campus newspapers, many which derive their revenues from placing ads for for-profit colleges in their pages, to assure no critical analysis of these issues are confronted or reported on (ibid). Censorship of critical issues of the day is now the job of the Ă˘journalismĂ˘ department of many schools and the student newspapers are little more than courtesans rags for power.
These forces have partnered with the seedy underworld of for-profit, drive-by colleges that fleece students and leave them in debt purgatory for the rest of their lives, beholden to a system of rape and pillage. Jack Scott, for example, former Chancellor of the California Community College system brazenly proposed capitulation by favoring partnerships with Kaplan University, the blood bank for the Washington Post (ibid).
They have also created a national corporate media structure that acts as a stenographer for their disturbing plans, thereby piling the manure of propaganda in and on the heads of the public with no opportunities for a critical or thoughtful examination of the financial capitalist plans and no platform for democratic sharing of points of view to promote independent and democratic thinking.
The shock doctrineers have moved stealth like, quickly and quietly, under the auspices of democratic change, crisis and benevolent largess clothed in frothy rhetoric when in fact their aims are malevolent and their largess the result of looted monies from both worker exploitation, in the case of say, Bill Gates, and/or debt income in the case of Lumina and Sallie Mae.
They have used religious reactionaries who do not even want knowledge of the human body to be taught to students, let alone critical thinking/reasoning, to drum up support for their plans and herd the masses under the guise of faith-based charity and similar schemes.
If students, faculty, working people, the disabled and indeed the majority of us who seek to create school as a "home for the mind", are to beat them at their offensive game, then we must wake up and see how they operate. This will take meticulous and arduous critical analysis for they far outnumber us in both capital to assure their plans are put in place, and access to the microphone of a deracinated culture from which they operate, celebrate and broadcast their rancid strategies. And they are moving fast now, not just here in the US but all over the world.
They are smart, ruthless and own the armed forces and the police who work to assure there will be no resistance to their plans.
Simply signing petitions, writing letters to corporate newspapers or calling on corporate democrats to step up to the plate and such, will never work. In fact, it is a strategy that is playing right into the neo-enclosure colonistĂ˘s hands, for this is the exertion that the new Masters want the working class to engage in -- to come to the throne with petitions, handwringing and pleas while the masters yawn, host large country club dinners to create more havoc, secretly bivouac in fancy hotels to launch new neo-enclosure plans and move quickly across the terrain, saddled up with a lynch posse for anything public, be it schools or hospitals.
No, now is the time to create working class and community ties that can then be harnessed to the development of class-based organization and development of political parties and massive resistance. Only with direct action can we hope to win. For as Chris Hedges and other notable scholars and activists have noted, liberalism is dead and I would add, it is the real problem.
Only a mobilized class-conscious-left has the chance to take on these hoaksters and hustlers who seek to reduce humanity to robotization and create the oppressive Brave New World where we become "Insolvent Green". Getting rid of the road dogs, the surplus population no longer needed under capitalism, is their goal and they will use any force to accomplish it for they know angry and class-conscious masses are the biggest threat to their dominance.
Once again, the plans for the wholesale privatization of education and elimination of educational opportunities for American students, is clear in the Lumina report, of which there are many:
Ă˘Â˘Partner with innovative companies and foundations
Ă˘Â˘Develop failure curriculum
Ă˘Â˘Develop physical failure lab
Ă˘Â˘Develop specific courses on failure
Ă˘Â˘Doesn't cut costs for the university, but enables students to avoid paying multiple times for the same challenging course
Ă˘Â˘ Generate and syndicate failure content and courses.
If we are to create an environment that can stand up to these disastrous "shock doctrineers" in an Age of Irrationality and an environment of ignorance, we must understand how social class works and what is in store for all of us if we fail. This means understanding how the bankrupt and debt ridden capitalist class operates maliciously worldwide to seed and then harvest a new world of both manipulation and repression. Without a clear understanding of the historical as it exists in the present moment, we will find our contemporary life littered with a growing surplus population that must be manipulated and eventually repressed -- a future owned and harnessed by "them".
This then is our mission: education, mobilization and tying our understanding and our wakening lives to clear organizational goals that stand up to the farce being perpetrated in the name of freedom.
City College of San Francisco is in progression and their efforts are a site for growing resistance and understanding. Now is the time to turn up the volume, organize communities of power and enlightenment and begin the long, arduous march towards creating a better world. We either accomplish this feat, or we enter the new Digital Dark Ages.