The disturbingly-named blog commenter Mr. Mittens (whose mittens apparently prevent him from capitalizing words, which I have mostly corrected below in the spirit of promoting capitalism) weighs in with us on the history of anti-cop violence and other radical activism:
I recently spent some time researching the history of left wing bombing incidents in America- specifically the wave of anarchist terror that washed over the entire globe in the mid to late 1800s through the depression. Lots of attacks on cops. Lots of murdered cops. The radical flower bombers of the late 60?s merely picked up where their anarchist grand daddies had left off. Suddenly, they were marxist revolutionaries- but the same old disregard for the law, disregard for other persons and smoldering hatred of the police. a lot of armed robbery to liberate funds for the revolution. and lots of bombs.The more I studied the more I realized I had been lied to in school-or at least been sold a bill of goods that obfuscated and slanted incidents in favor of the radical leftist terrorists (I take this is because my teachers were of that generation). Next to nothing was taught about the unprecedented level of anarchist/communist violence against persons in the early 20th c- it was all about the brave labor movement and the evil business men and their thug cop storm troopers or the fascist government victimizing immigrants. Nothing about 39 bombs mailed to sundry citizens on May Day. Nothing about the likes of Sacco and Vanzetti being card carrying anarchists sworn to violence. Nothing about Haymarket Square in chicago where 60 police officers were wounded and 7 died when a supposed anarchist heaved a stick of dynamite at them at a rally.
Today, children are very likely to learn about Haymarket Square in their classrooms. Unfortunately, what they learn is the problem, as I detail in this report with Mary Grabar, published at Accuracy in Media.
And now for an object lesson in radical rewriting of history. The following “Occupy Education” manifesto was posted in both the (Howard) Zinn Education Project and Rethinking The Schools, two radical leftist education websites:
In this age of standardized, scripted curriculum and corporate-produced textbooks, it looks like not everyone is following the script. Teachers are “teaching outside the textbook,” in the slogan of the Zinn Education Project. This kind of defiant “We’ll decide what our students need to learn, not some distant corporation” needs to happen in schools across the country. We don’t need to take tents and sleeping bags to our town squares to participate in the Occupy Movement—although it would be great if more of us did. We can also “occupy” our classrooms, “occupy” the curriculum. At this time of mass revulsion at how our country—our world—has been bought and bullied by the one percent, let’s join this gathering movement to demand a curriculum that serves humanity and nature, not the rich.
“Bullied by the one percent.” Is this what your kids are hearing in schools? Of course, both Zinn Education and Rethinking offer their own “standardized, scripted curriculum and corporate-produced textbooks.” But they’re the standardizers and the scripters and the corporation, so it’s OK.
Because they’re using their capitalism to teach kids to hate other American capitalism.
Just like they’re teaching a version of history designed to teach children to hate their own country and blame — to be blunt — contemporary Republicans for the existence of slavery and other oppressions that occurred in the past. Not all slavery, not all oppression — just American slavery and oppression. The existence of historical or contemporary slavery practiced by other nations, for example, is simply disappeared from the curriculum. Only America is bad, and, according to these folks, it’s as bad today as it was when people owned slaves or paid children pennies a day to labor in factories.
The Occupy Movement may seem moribund on the streets, but according to this editorial, it’s alive in the hearts and minds of unknown numbers of schoolteachers:
The Occupy movement itself spurred new momentum. In Trenton, N.J., demonstrators briefly occupied the state Department of Education, protesting Gov. Chris Christie’s pro-charter school initiatives. In New York City, members of Occupy DOE (NYC Department of Education) have offered a spirited challenge to Mayor Bloomberg’s undemocratic, handpicked Panel for Educational Policy (PEP). At one meeting, Occupy DOE mocked the PEP functionaries, yelling “puppet!” after each was introduced. As reported in Rethinking Schools, Social Equality Educators in Seattle led an occupation of the state capitol to protest school budget cuts and to stage a citizens’ arrest of legislators for abandoning the state constitution, which proclaims the support of public education as the state’s “paramount duty.” Teachers’ actions inspired hundreds of students at Seattle’s Garfield High School, who walked out of classes and rallied at City Hall in solidarity. Blogs like Occupy Education created a forum for “messages that dare public schools to serve students’ passions instead of politicians and vendors’ coffers,” and feature poignant student artwork displaying different “occupy” interpretations.
One of the most militant of the occupations occurred in Chicago, where more than 100 parents, youth, and community members staged a four-day sit-in at City Hall to protest Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s “practice of maligning black and Latino neighborhoods by destabilizing their public schools and selling them off to the highest bidder.” Organized by the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO), and supported by the Chicago Teachers Union, UNITE HERE, and other community groups, demonstrators demanded that the mayor meet with the community to discuss its well-researched alternative to the Chicago elite’s profit-driven school improvement plans.
They’re also planning to Occupy the Curriculum:
It is equally urgent that we bring this occupy spirit to the struggle to reclaim classrooms and schools from the imposition of scripted, standardized, corporate-produced curriculum. Teachers and community allies must demand—and create—teaching materials about things that matter, within a pedagogy that respects students’ lives and cultures. If we cannot secure the right of educators, parents, community members, and students to determine the nature of the curriculum, then the 1 percenters—the textbook companies, billionaire-run foundations, high-priced consultants, and assorted corporate reformers—will have permanently revised the character of the curriculum.
There are hopeful signs. Some of you may have seen the Rethinking Schools blog in November. We reported on our Zinn Education Project Facebook site, which asked teachers about themes they planned to address in the coming month. The replies reflected a markedly unstandardized curriculum. People were teaching about the history of corporate personhood, the war in Afghanistan, the early women’s rights movement, and the link between industrialization and imperialism. From teachers across the disciplines and grade levels, we hear a defiant tone of “We’ll decide what our students need to learn, not some distant corporation.” This is a cry we need to amplify.
Part of this amplification is apparently going to be to bring “mic checks” to classrooms:
As teachers move to occupy the curriculum, we especially need to turn our attention to investigating the origins of the economic crisis that has laid a blanket of hardship and insecurity over so much of the world. Teachers need to share ways that we are equipping students with the critical skills to interrogate the economic inequality that from year to year yawns ever wider.
But educators can also draw inspiration from the Occupy movement’s playful yet profound expressions of grassroots democracy—the general assemblies, the mic checks, and the myriad ways that occupiers have found to make democracy participatory. The movement holds valuable lessons for school and classroom life.
To summarize: the people who banished memorization and recitation of poems and multiplication tables from classrooms on the grounds that such activities are too “authoritarian” and “hierarchical” are now going to lead children in inane mic checks, during which the students obediently parrot back the teacher’s words. And that’s not authoritarian and hierarchical because the hierarchical authority figures leading all this mindless chanting are leftists educating children about labor history.
That should work well.
It’s very interesting to read the New York Times on the Haymarket Square bombing of police officers. The Times expresses outrage at the murder of police officers, praises their courage, and condemns the terrorists.
Of course, the article as published in 1886. [http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/haymarket/newsnyt5-6.html].
I’ll leave the last word to Mr. Mittens, who describes the fate of the memorial erected to police officers who were killed in the 1886 bombing:
Well said, Mittens.