Views in brief
Throwing students' potential away
IN RESPONSE to "Teachers and the testing mania": Excellent report. Yet what is difficult to understand in the corporate Democratic/Republican movement to take over education is the ideological basis to "reinvent" education at this present time in American history.
The educational model in the U.S. is historically based on the European/Prussian model of order and control, after the French Revolution. In the U.S., the model evolved into a factory-based system. In Chicago, it's clear that the old public schools were all designed to resemble factories.
Today, technology is a game-changer and has revolutionized the relationship of production between the worker/student and the economy. When Mayor Rahm Emanuel says that he isn't interested in investing public money in the students and schools that perform at the bottom 25 percent (in an unequal class system), he is actually saying there are no jobs for these students, and there will not be any future jobs for these students, so why should local taxes be used to invest in them.
Thus, Chicago's political leaders are basically saying, "Let them decline further and suffer more, and they then will become customers for the prison/military corporate industries." So what do corporate leaders in America think these so-called "losers of the bottom 25 percent" will become? Without a doubt, they will be the real leaders of tomorrow, with or without, the support of declining government commitments and dollars.
This is the American story, from the American agricultural revolution, to the Industrial Revolution and now the technological revolution. The leaders have and will emerge by economic necessity.
Thank you, Karen Lewis of the Chicago Teachers Union, for teaching students how to lead and analyze history. She has become the real American leader and is now recognized throughout the world as a true leader of working people--not Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Test over, Rahm, you failed.
John Chavez-Pedersen, Chicago
Caught saying what they all believe
WHOEVER SECRETLY filmed Mitt Romney in his most candid moments before multimillionaire donors should be thanked and rewarded.
Romney, the Republican Party and their donors confirmed what so many of us already knew so well--the ruling class couldn't possibly be more out of touch with the realities that many, if not the majority of, Americans face.
Romney has not spent a nanosecond of his whole life worrying about the basic sustenance of survival such as food, shelter or medical care.
He sincerely believes he has worked so hard his whole life that he has rightfully "earned" the true privilege of owning multiple properties and a horse barn much bigger than the space most people live in. In his eyes, a lot of the rest of the world are lazy incompetent leeches sucking off the system in order to barely have enough food for survival and the so-called "privilege" of health care and shelter. (Something that Mitt has never had to be concerned about lacking.)
The world we live in dictates that employers can see your Facebook page at will. The government can read your e-mails and social networking if they want to. They can also listen to your phone calls when and if they want to for virtually any reason. And, according to the Obama administration, the president has the right to deem whichever Americans are overseas as "terrorists" and kill those people without them ever facing trial.
Most hypocritically, the Obama administration, with the help of Congress, led by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, is trying hard to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for a fate we can only not want to imagine. They are also attempting to imprison Bradley Manning for life for helping expose government war crimes.
What is this government so afraid of exposing? It seems being exposed to the exact same standards they want everyone else to be.
Greg Morse, Providence, R.I.
Standing up to a corporate giant
IN RESPONSE to "Walking out on Wal-Mart": American workers have been so beaten down and convinced of their own mediocrity that rarely in the past decade have we seen people standing up for themselves. With the Occupy movement and the recent resurgence in union relevancy, maybe we will see labor fight back against the owners and controllers of production and capital.
We are not mediocre. We are not lazy. We are not practicing the politics of envy. Is this Shenzhen? Will we need mass suicide and This American Life to bring to light the plight and demise of the American worker--or is this the United States, where hard work and playing by the rules actually earns you something to build a life on?
Alana Berry, Lawrenceville, Ga.
Islam deserves criticism
IN RESPONSE to "Cutting through the anti-Muslim propaganda": I am an avid reader of the International Socialist Review and this website. I believe you have some insightful things to say about U.S. capitalism and social justice that more people really need to be reading.
I agree with about 95 percent of what is written here, including that Obama and the Democrats are just as much puppets for the 1 percent ruling class as the Republicans. This website makes a brilliant response to the "lesser of two evils" argument that is constantly being put forward by liberals, which I am extremely glad to see being put out there.
However, it is on the issue of Islam that I have the biggest disagreement with you. I feel that you are only able to see Muslims as victims and never acknowledge the horrific acts that are often committed in the name of Islam.
You seem so focused on supposed bigotry toward Muslims and "Islamophobia," yet you never once seem to mention the awful way women, homosexuals, and religious minorities are often treated in Muslim countries.
I am not saying all Muslims should be targeted for their religious beliefs or discriminated against. I am also fully aware that U.S. imperialism abroad definitely plays a major factor in the grievances of the Muslim world.
However, I think it is wrongheaded and idiotic to cry "Islamophobia" whenever any criticism is made of Islam as a set of beliefs--certain tenets of a religion can be dangerous.
Matt Duran, from the Internet
Taking control where it matters
IN RESPONSE to "Is education a ticket out of poverty?": Even organizing unions is a problem. The more successful workers are in organizing, the more likely that a company will move their facilities to low-wage countries.
I see hope in what workers did in Argentina when they took over plants that were shut down. I think workers' co-ops is a way out for the workers affected, and for the country. Here is a good reason to get an education--so workers can take over companies and run them for themselves and their communities.
Edward Kortman, Colorado Springs, Colo.