Flint 1936, Birmingham 1963: Two Protests That Changed American History

flint 1936

Mark Naison: Two examples from America’s history show how protest movements that involved grave risk, that broke the law, and that used extremely controversial and disruptive practices, helped organize America’s workers and brought an end to legal segregation.

How Occupy Wall Street Has Revitalized Neighborhood-Based Protest

hollis flyer

Mark Naison. As in the Hollis Queens example, Occupy Wall Street has not only changed the conversation about economic inequality in the United States, but given people around the nation hope that they can do something about it!

Education Reformers and “The New Jim Crow”

school hallway

Mark Naison: Current school reform policies represent a brilliant tactic to avoid dealing with the real causes of poverty and inequality in society, while finding a convenient scapegoat in public school teachers and their unions.

How Civil Rights Law Demonizes Teachers

teacher student

Mark Naison: The notion that “School Reform is the Civil Rights Cause of the 21st Century” has become a cruel joke to teachers and students who find themselves deluged with unnecessary tests and placed under intolerable stress in the name of educational equity.

Public School Reform Won’t Solve Income Inequality

income inequality

Mark Naison: We can do a lot more to promote racial and economic equality through programs of progressive taxation, promotion of unionization in low wage enterprises, and efforts to uproot discrimination in the labor market.

Trayvon Martin’s Murder: Memories of a Block Captain

shooting

Mark Naison: George Zimmerman is clearly a sick, tormented man, but that his neighbors put him in that position suggests deep-seated problems on their part as well.

Race to the Top: Squeezing the Life Out of Children

latina student

Mark Naison: Are parents and their children doomed to ten years of torture introduced in the name of “restoring national competitiveness,” “preparing young people for the job market” and “weeding out bad teachers?”

America’s War on Teachers

striking teachers

Mark Naison: One question we must ask is why this campaign has acquired such strong bipartisan support and why the public has not spoken out more against it.

Occupy and Organized Labor: Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win

minneapolis strike

Mark Naison: If I dare to dream, I can see where this collaboration between Occupy and Labor might lead—to the unionization of Wal-Mart, to the unionization of McDonalds, to the unionization of financial services workers in the nation’s largest banks.

The Coming Revolt: When Will the Sleeping Giant Awake?

Mark Naison: You cannot beat down and repress such a large number of people without generating a response. Where it comes, and when it comes may be a mystery, but come it will. And when it does, it will shake this nation to its foundations.

Creating Cruel and Unusual Punishment for Our Nation’s Children

black student

Mark Naison: The punitive, stress-filled environment that No Child Left Behind and Race to the Hop has created is good for no one’s children. But it is especially damaging to children who come to school hungry and fearful because their families are living on the edge.

The Real Culprits in America’s Decline Are Shifting Responsibility to Schools and Teachers

urban decay

Mark Naison: Are 28 percent of the homes in the United States under water because of union teachers? Can they also be blamed for the 44 percent Black unemployment rate in the city of Milwaukee?

American Schools: When “The Best and The Brightest” Don’t Have the Answers

duncan obama

Mark Naison: President and his chief education adviser, Arne Duncan, believed that a key problem in America’s schools was the low quality of the people working in them, they felt no need to include principals and teachers.

Turning the Tide: An Historian’s View of School Reform

high school principal

Mark Naison: Over time, people of courage and integrity will turn the tide and begin to restore sanity to educational discourse and develop a powerful alliance of teachers, parents and students, supported first by the Occupy movement, and later by unions, religious organizations and progressive politicians.

How a Crackpot Education Reform Theory Became National Policy

college students

Mark Naison: Someday, Test Based Education Reform will go the way of Prohibition. But not before incalculable damage is done to the nations children

Teachers Demand Arne Duncan’s Removal

arne duncan

Mark Naison: We, the undersigned, a cross section of the nation’s teachers and their supporters, wish to express our extreme displeasure with the policies implemented during your administration by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

How Attacks on Teachers and Government Workers Will Impact All Our Lives

occupy lausd

Mark Naison: The attack on Teachers Unions has been driven by foundations and funding sources traditionally associated with the Democratic Party and has been enthusiastically endorsed by the Obama Administration.

America’s Teachers See Growing Poverty Up Close

poor student

If You Want to Know the Human Impact of The Current Recession, Ask America’s Teachers One of the things I’ve discovered in recent years is that when it comes to education policy, the last people asked for input are America’s teachers. We have a President who holds an” education summit” that includes the nation’s top [...]

Where is the Love? Thoughts on Teachers and Teaching That Educational Reformers Don’t Seem To Get

master teacher

Mark Naison: Achieving mastery of a fixed body of material is prioritized; opening minds, healing hearts, and building confidence are widely neglected as “soft” attributes not amenable to measurement and evaluation.

Drugs and Ron Paul’s Appeal to Young Voters

ron paul clowns

The Drug Economy, Neo Liberalism and the Social Basis of Ron Paul’s Appeal to Young Voters “New York streets where killers’ll walk like Pistol Pete And Pappy Mason, gave the young boys admiration Prince from Queens and Fritz from Harlem Street legends, the drugs kept the hood from starving” Nas, “Get Down” That big ol’ [...]

6 Things Obama Must Do to Bring Back Disillusioned Activists

obama family brasilia

Mark Naison: It’s time that liberals stop trying to scare disillusioned activists with the prospect of a Republican presidency and start trying to scare the White House and the Democratic leadership into doing something to show they are worthy of activists votes.

99 Percent Clubs: Online Public Square and Free Speech Zone

ola-dassault-kwazi-mario

Mark Naison: What we did not envision, when we created our 99% C lub, was how it would create an incredible online free speech zone and public square not only for club members, but for people with no direct connection to Fordham who found out what we were doing.

Challenging Ron Paul’s Followers on Racism

ron paul and racism

Mark Naison: Ron Paul’s presidential run, either as a Republican or an independent, cannot gain traction without gaining support from at least some people of color, leftists and liberals.

Some New Year’s Resolutions

occupy los angeles ted fisher

I am going to continue to support the Occupy movements, which I consider the best hope for democratic change in the last 40 years, in every way I can

The Sixties Student Movement and the Working Class

columbia strike

Mark Naison: During the 1960’s, New York city was the scene of an incredibly powerful anti-war and student movement. Like Occupy Wall Street, this movement was often attacked for being unrepresentative of the city’s working class. In reality, this movement was far more diverse in class and race than critics at the time, or historians, realized.

Tim Tebow and the Politics of Whiteness

tim tebow

Mark Naison: Best of all, Tebow doesn’t confirm racial stereotypes. He is strong, tough, athletic, dominating the game because defensive players can’t tackle him. And he has clearly won the respect of his black teammates. I like that.

My Barack Obama Problem

Photo: Pete Souza, Official White House photographer

Mark Naison: The straw that broke the camel’s back, after many disappointments, was the image of the President regaling a $2,500 a plate dinner in San Francisco while Occupy Oakland was being attacked by an army of police.

Will Occupy Fade Away?

Ky Primo writes a note on her view of "Occupy Los Angeles" while her friend Eddie Daniels holds a sign during the protest march in Los Angeles on Saturday, October 15, 2011. The note read "Let us educate ourselves, help educate others on how banks, taxation and trade work. Use the energy to amend the Constitution to separate money and state. Yes we can." (Photo: Ted Fisher)

Mark Naison: If the Occupy movement’s showed us, in words and deeds, “This Is What Democracy Looks Like” those attacking the Occupations showed the world, albeit unintentionally “This Is What a Police State Looks Like.”

Useful Examples for Occupy from the Great Depression

great depression

Mark Naison: The “grunt work” of organizing Depression Era protests — at least until 1936 — was done by radicals who for the most part eschewed, or de emphasized electoral politics.

Occupy Should Stay Unattached to Political Parties

occupy la

Mark Nathan: We need grassroots social movements of such force that it will reinvent what is possible in mainstream American politics. The Occupy movements have started such a process.

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