Subject: FOOD FOR THOUGHT, FOOD FOR THE TABLE: THE ROLE OF PUBLIC EDUCATION.
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
Here, at the start of another academic year (2015-16), I am pleased to share with you some thoughts recently sent to me by three American academics and social activists.
Years ago, when reading European history, and specifically descriptions of university student behavior in Germany during the last years of the Weimar Republic (1931-33), which of course was also during the period of the hyperinflation; there was an almost hysterical human tide on university campuses of students desperately seeking courses which would provide them employment. The massive flow of thousands of students first toward departments of education, then toward medical school, then law, then management, etc., etc …. Absent was ‘the big picture,’ that no academic training could guarantee employment in these times, that eventually only military and police training would provide job opportunities for German youth, and at a price which is recorded in the annals of European history.
History does not repeat itself, of course, but we do have something to learn from this past. As teachers, we stand before youth who are concerned about finding employment. I’ve see colleagues use this insecurity to heighten the competition in their classrooms and top maintain student discipline through fear. The effect is predictable, as students withdraw from one another and gear-up to go for ‘the prize,’ regardless of the cost. The alienation has never been greater than in today’s classrooms and the essential human skills of cooperation, meaningful communication, and creative interaction have atrophied, as has also the capacity for feeling empathy for others. We live in hard times, on and off campus, which are the reproductions, of course, of the sclerotic social system which has captured many of us.
It is in this context that I offer CEIMSA readers the three articles below, that speak to the historic trends described above, of thoughtless behavior inside a cage. At the start of this new academic year, I hope readers will contemplate ‘the big picture’ of which we are all a part and the role of our teaching under these conditions.
Professor of American Studies
University of Grenoble-3
Director of Research
University of Paris-Nanterre
Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements
To: "francis feeley" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Friday, 14 August, 2015 3:03:57 PM
Subject: Fwd: Unemployment Statistics for Your First Class, WHATEVER THE SUBJECT
Here's one for your list. Am forwarding it to all kinds of lists - please help - in the hope of getting a million students to read it or hear on the first day of class. I know, I know, but just in case...
Dear Colleagues -
Every university course needs to be placed in its proper context, and I think the ARTICLE BELOW on the real unemployment figures and how our government, the media and the Economics profession tries to hide them from us provides the ideal Introduction (first class or first reading) to ALL our courses. Hoping to get a leg up in finding a good job is what brings most students to the university and maybe even to the very classes we teach. We owe them a better picture of the problem they face than the self-interested distortions served up by the "authorities", who - they also learn - can no longer be trusted. That's a lot for a first class, and a good platform on which to construct a variety of insights. As for finding a path from here back to the main topic of your course... well, who said good teaching is always easy?
In presenting such hard-to-believe facts to your students, incidentally, it helps to remind them that the author of this piece, Paul Craig Roberts, is a former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in a Republican Administration and a former Associate Editor of the "Wall Street Journal", who has changed his spots.
Oh, and if you agree that this would be a great way for students to begin the new semester, please pass this on to your colleagues, lists, etc.
In Solidarity -
Dept. of Politics, NYU
Do you remember when real reporters existed? Those were the days before the Clinton regime concentrated the media into a few hands and turned the media into a Ministry of Propaganda, a tool of Big Brother. The false reality in which Americans live extends into economic life. Last Friday’s employment report was a continuation of a long string of bad news spun into good news. The media repeats two numbers as if they mean something—the monthly payroll jobs gains and the unemployment rate—and ignores the numbers that show the continuing multi-year decline in employment opportunities while the economy is allegedly recovering.
The so-called recovery is based on the U.3 measure of the unemployment rate. This measure does not include any unemployed person who has become discouraged from the inability to find a job and has not looked for a job in four weeks. The U.3 measure of unemployment only includes the still hopeful who think they will find a job.
The government has a second official measure of unemployment, U.6. This measure, seldom reported, includes among the unemployed those who have been discouraged for less than one year. This official measure is double the 5.3% U.3 measure. What does it mean that the unemployment rate is over 10% after six years of alleged economic recovery?
In 1994 the Clinton regime stopped counting long-term discouraged workers as unemployed. Clinton wanted his economy to look better than Reagan’s, so he ceased counting the long-term discouraged workers that were part of Reagan’s unemployment rate. John Williams (shadowstats.com) continues to measure the long-term discouraged with the official methodology of that time, and when these unemployed are included, the US rate of unemployment as of July 2015 is 23%, several times higher than during the recession with which Fed chairman Paul Volcker greeted the Reagan presidency.
An unemployment rate of 23% gives economic recovery a new meaning. It has been eighty-five years since the Great Depression, and the US economy is in economic recovery with an unemployment rate close to that of the Great Depression.
The labor force participation rate has declined over the “recovery” that allegedly began in June 2009 and continues today. This is highly unusual. Normally, as an economy recovers jobs rebound, and people flock into the labor force. Based on what he was told by his economic advisors, President Obama attributed the decline in the participation rate to baby boomers taking retirement. In actual fact, over the so-called recovery, job growth has been primarily among those 55 years of age and older. For example, all of the July payroll jobs gains were accounted for by those 55 and older. Those Americans of prime working age (25 to 54 years old) lost 131,000 jobs in July.
Over the previous year (July 2014 — July 2015), those in the age group 55 and older gained 1,554,000 jobs. Youth, 16-18 and 20-24, lost 887,000 and 489,000 jobs.
Today there are 4,000,000 fewer jobs for Americans aged 25 to 54 than in December 2007. From 2009 to 2013, Americans in this age group were down 6,000,000 jobs. Those years of alleged economic recovery apparently bypassed Americans of prime working age.
As of July 2015, the US has 27,265,000 people with part-time jobs, of whom 6,300,000 or 23% are working part-time because they cannot find full time jobs. There are 7,124,000 Americans who hold multiple part-time jobs in order to make ends meet, an increase of 337,000 from a year ago.
The young cannot form households on the basis of part-time jobs, but retirees take these jobs in order to provide the missing income on their savings from the Federal Reserve’s zero interest rate policy, which is keyed toward supporting the balance sheets of a handful of giant banks, whose executives control the US Treasury and Federal Reserve. With so many manufacturing and tradable professional skill jobs, such as software engineering, offshored to China and India, professional careers are disappearing in the US.
The most lucrative jobs in America involve running Wall Street scams, lobbying for private interest groups, for which former members of the House, Senate, and executive branch are preferred, and producing schemes for the enrichment of think-tank donors, which, masquerading as public policy, can become law.
The claimed payroll jobs for July are in the usual categories familiar to us month after month year after year. They are domestic service jobs—waitresses and bartenders, retail clerks, transportation, warehousing, finance and insurance, health care and social assistance. Nothing to export in order to pay for massive imports. With scant growth in real median family incomes, as savings are drawn down and credit used up, even the sales part of the economy will falter.
Clearly, this is not an economy that has a future.
But you would never know that from listening to the financial media or reading the New York Times business section or the Wall Street Journal.
When I was a Wall Street Journal editor, the deplorable condition of the US economy would have been front page news.
Paul Craig Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. Roberts’ How the Economy Was Lost is now available from CounterPunch in electronic format. His latest book is How America Was Lost.
From: Bernie Sanders [mailto:info@BernieSanders.com]
Sent: Monday, August 31, 2015 5:09 PM
To: Francis Feeley
Subject: I want you to read this note
Bernie Sanders for President<https://s.bsd.net/bernie16/main/page/-/logo-2x.png>
Over the weekend, another positive poll came out for our campaign — one that showed us within single digits of Hillary Clinton in Iowa for the first time.
I want you to read this note I received from a supporter last week. It speaks to some of the reasons we are doing so well in Iowa, New Hampshire, and states across the country:
"I am unemployed. I am uninsured. I am a recent college graduate who graduated with a 3.75 GPA. I am going through a difficult divorce and I have $27 dollars in my bank account. I donated 10 of my remaining 27 dollars because I believe if Bernie is elected I will not have days like this. Days where I stress about where my next meal will come from. Days where I cannot go look for a job because I do not have the gas money to pound the pavement. Days where I cry when thinking about the unpaid medical bills and student loans in my name. I believe things will change. I am making an investment in a person I believe in with the hope that he will change my homeland for the better."
Our campaign is doing so well because we are telling the truth about the reality of American life today. We are talking about a reality in which most of the new wealth and income in this country are going to the top one percent while working families are struggling more than at any point since the Great Depression.
Our success is also because over 400,000 people have contributed to this campaign, even though some, like the author of the note I shared, can hardly afford it. Through our campaign, the American people are finally telling the billionaire class: "ENOUGH is ENOUGH, this great nation and its government belong to all of the people, not just a wealthy few."
But we still have a long way to go.
Francis, make a $25 contribution to our campaign today, and not only will we win Iowa and New Hampshire, but we’ll win the presidential election and take the White House back from the billionaire class. <https://go.berniesanders.com/page/m/24fb23da/43f662b3/5a91c934/621d0fbd/2981406592/VEsH/>
Let me tell you another thing. This campaign doesn’t have a Super PAC, and I don’t spend a lot of time asking rich people to contribute to our campaign. And even if I did, it would probably be a tremendous waste of time.
We will sink or swim based on what we get from the working families of this country. And I could not be more proud of the way we’ve funded our political revolution.
Here are two more stories I received from campaign contributors last week. I want you to read them — they are important:
"I lost my job in 2012 and my house in 2015. I am currently unemployed and looking for work. I don't have a lot of money and barely surviving on food stamps. Despite all of that, I am compelled to donate because I feel that Bernie Sanders will help bring America back to the middle class. A small donation now in exchange for a better future is a no-brainer. The inequality gap must be fixed!"
"I am broke. I was a proud union electrician. I have never donated money to a politician before however, as broke as I am, I trust Bernie and want to say that I am a part of this revolution. God bless him!"
When we started this campaign, the word "fringe" was tossed around a few times. No one is using that word any more.
Every day, thousands of people are joining our political revolution. It’s why we are leading in New Hampshire, within single digits in Iowa, and closing the gap nationally with each passing day. If we continue to stand together, we’re going to win.
Make a $25 contribution to our campaign today, and together we’ll take our country back from the billionaire class. <https://go.berniesanders.com/page/m/24fb23da/43f662b3/5a91c934/621d0fbd/2981406592/VEsE/>
We will win in 2016. Not just the White House, but the U.S. Senate, U.S. House, and statehouses across the country because we are creating an unprecedented grassroots movement which taps into the American people’s desire for real change in this country.
Our success wouldn’t be possible without you.
(not the billionaires)<https://s.bsd.net/bernie16/main/page/-/website/billionaires.png>
PO Box 905 - Burlington VT 05402 United States - (855) 4-BERNIE
Crispin Miller" <email@example.com>
To: "newsfromunderground" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Monday, 31 August, 2015 5:26:31 PM
Subject: [MCM] Stand up for an honest university! BIG RALLY on Sept. 1, in Washington Square Park....
Some sobering facts about today’s NYU:
· At over $70,000 a year, NYU is now the nation's most expensive university.
· Princeton Review has rated NYU's financial aid "the worst in the United States."
· NYU's graduates carry a debt burden 40% above the national average.
· NYU's administration is exceptionally bloated, with its top bureaucrats making six- and seven-figure salaries, with raises averaging 18%, while faculty raises average 2.5%.
· NYU is notorious for student suicides (as reported in HuffPost and elsewhere).
· NYU has more female students—well over 1,000—using the “dating” website Seeking Arrangement, which introduces them to wealthy older men (as reported in New York magazine and The Atlantic).
· In 2013, the New York Times revealed that NYU's Board had been approving six- and seven-figure "loans" to purchase lavish summer homes for NYU own top administrators (while scores of student sleep on benches).
· The only US university to partner with the government of Abu Dhabi (over strenuous faculty objections), NYU's name was tarnished further when, last year, the Times reported that the migrant laborers building NYU's glittering campus there had been routinely jailed and beaten, their passports seized, their pay withheld, and otherwise abused.
· Just months after making a big show of offering asylum to blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng, NYU quietly cut off his stipend, withdrew his security detail, and then evicted him, despite a (verbal) promise to house him for at least three years—a move perhaps not unrelated to the wishes of the Chinese government, which wields some influence because of NYU's branch in Shanghai.
· NYU Prof. Andrew Ross, a vocal critic of Abu Dhabi's labor policies, was recently denied entry to Abu Dhabi, where he had planned to go for research purposes.
Unprecedented Coalition of Students, Professors, Labor from NYU, Cooper Union, The New School and Greenwich Village Community Unite to Fight the Corporate University!
Event: Rally to Save the Village; Save Our Parks; Stop Wasting Our Tuition on Bad Labor Practices, Unwanted Development and Reckless Real Estate Expansion
Date/Time: Rally/March on Tuesday, September 1st from 4pm – 6pm
Place: Meet @ Garibaldi Plaza in Washington Square Park (enter @ Washington Place and Washington Square East)
Endorsers (list in formation): NYU Faculty Against the Sexton Plan (NYUFASP); NYU's Student Labor Action Movement (SLAM); the Committee to Save Cooper Union (CSCU); NYU's Graduate Student Organizing Committee(GSOC); NYU Divest; Law Students for Economic Justice (LawSEJ), Whose NYU?; Coalition for Fair Labor, Roosevelt Institute; NYU-American Association of University Professors (NYU-AAUP) Student Employees at the New School(SENS); Free Cooper Union; Union of Clerical, Administrative and Technical Staff at NYU (UCATS); NYU Adjuncts and The New School Part-Time Faculty Union (ACT-UAW Local 7902); Office & Professional Employees International Union(OPEIU Local 153); Washington Square South Citizens Action Committee; Community Action Alliance on NYU 2031(CAAN 2031); SoHo Alliance; and more.
Event will include speakers and a special performance by members of the internationally acclaimed show STOMP.
Find this event on Facebook. Twitter: #SavetheVillage #WhoseNYU #HamiltonGetReady
On Sept. 1, in Washington Square Park, an unprecedented coalition will stage a rally/march against the ruinous financial policies and practices at NYU, Cooper Union and the New School. Students, faculty and staff at those three famous downtown schools will join the people of the Village, and representatives of several labor unions, to protest the elite financial schemes now threatening the survival of those schools and their historic neighborhoods.
The rally will begin at 4:00 p.m., on Tuesday, Sept. 1, in Washington Square Park’s Garibaldi Plaza and will climax in a march to Coles Sports Center —now slated to be closed this fall, and torn down soon thereafter. Speakers will address a range of issues, including the destruction of our city's open spaces (4 Greenwich Village parks are slated to be crushed to make way for NYU’s massive, unwanted, multi-billion dollar expansion), student debt, and the overall corruption of this and countless other universities. Members of the internationally acclaimed show STOMP will lend their support by performing at the rally.
Speakers will expose the many ill effects of Wall Street's stranglehold on US higher education: cash-strapped students who go hungry, sleep on benches, and/or even have to sell their bodies for the funds for their tuition and expenses (a problem more widespread at NYU than any other US university); destruction of our city parks, and other public spaces, to make way for the huge unwanted multi-billion dollar Sexton Plan; faculty increasingly exploited and despised, paid ever less to do more work, and without any voice in governance; partnerships with foreign regimes that routinely violate essential human rights, including academic freedom.
“NYU is now an institution driven not by a concern for education, but by an elite financial calculus that ends up hurting allof us in many ways: the students, faculty and staff within the school itself, as well as its long-suffering neighbors. What’s happening at NYU is indicative of a nation-wide trend that has turned institutions of higher learning into profit-driven corporations,” said Mark Crispin Miller, NYU Professor of Media, Culture & Communication.
For more News From Underground, visit http://markcrispinmiller.com