May 8, 2008

  1. A Kind and Just Parent: The Children of Juvenile Court (Beacon Press, 1997)
  2. The Good Preschool Teacher: Six Teachers Reflect on Their Lives (Teachers College Press, 1989)
  3. To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher (Teachers College Press, 1993)
  4. To Become a Teacher: Making a Difference in Children’s Lives (Teachers College Press, 1995)
  5. A Light in Dark Times: Maxine Greene and the Unfinished Conversation (Teachers College Press, 1997)
  6. City Kids/City Teachers: Reports from the Front Row (The New Press, 1996)
  7. Teaching for Social Justice: A Democracy and Education Reader (The New Press and Teachers College Press, 1998)
  8. A Simple Justice: The Challenge of Small Schools (Teachers College Press, 2000)
  9. Zero Tolerance: Resisting the Drive for Punishment—A handbook for parents, students, educators and citizens (The New Press, 2001)
  10. Sing a Battle Song: The Revolutionary Poetry, Statements, and Communiques of the Weather Underground 1970 – 1974 (Seven Stories Press, 2006)
  11. Fugitive Days: A Memoir (Beacon Press, 2001)
  12. On the Side of the Child: Summerhill Revisited (Teachers College Press, 2003)
  13. Teaching the Personal and the Political: Essays on Hope and Justice (Teachers College Press, 2004)
  14. Teaching Toward Freedom: Moral Commitment and Ethical Action in the Classroom (Beacon Press, 2004)
  15. Teacher Lore: Learning From Our Own Experiences (Longman, 1992)
  16. Prairie Fire (Red Dragon Press, 1976)

IRAQ SURGE: A Predictable Colonial Catastrophe

June 11, 2007

The direction of events and outcomes is tragically predictable, and the comparisons of May 2003 and May 2007 tell a story:

US troops in Iraq: 150,000 / 150,000.

Other “Coalition” troops: 23,000 / 12,000 (Albania is hanging in there!)

US troop deaths: 37 / 123 ( “troops” does not include the massive mercenary army called “contractors”)

Iraqi civilian deaths (est) : 500 / 2,750

New Iraqi civilians displaced by violence: 10,000 / 80,000

Iraqis who say the country is moving in the right direction: 70% / 36%

So much for all the empty rhetoric and rationalization— the despised “foreign fighters” in  Iraq R Us.


June 3, 2007

Xenophobic Raillery


Friday, June 1, 2007

One way to get clarity on foreign policy issues is to turn the dynamic around. Pretend you are a citizen of the other country; what would you think and what would you do?

If you were an Iraqi, four years after you were invaded by a foreign power because it had been attacked by people who shared your religion and general geographic area but not much else (sort of like the United States retaliating for Pearl Harbor by attacking Korea), and you had seen your cities destroyed and your friends either dead or displaced, what would you do? Better yet: What would most members of the current administration suggest that you do? What would be the patriotic thing to do?

Put like that, it’s pretty easy: You should resist. You should join the heroic underground. You should take back Cleveland by force, and lay waste the enemy’s headquarters in Miami. You should hum “America the Beautiful” while harassing enemy soldiers marching from Stockton to San Rafael. So we should not be surprised when residents of other nations do what we would do in similar circumstances.

Now suppose you’re an illegal immigrant. Why did you become an illegal immigrant? It wasn’t a childhood ambition; it’s not fun working in a strange nation far from friends and family. Economic necessity brought you here. It’s the market economy in action; people go where the jobs are. Border, schmorder — I want to feed my family.

So now there’s this complicated plan. If the current bill passes as written (and the odds are that it won’t, but the new bill won’t be any better), you have several choices. If you’re here because you overstayed your visa, too bad; the bill doesn’t apply to you, you’re still illegal. If you crossed the border illegally, you can apply for a guest worker visa and stay for two years, then go back to your country of origin and wait one year, then come back here for two more years, and then go home, plus you pay money, plus you have essentially no workplace rights. That sound like a plan to you? Didn’t think so.

Or you can apply for a “Z visa,” which will cost a lot of money with no guarantee that you’ll get citizenship. If you do get citizenship, you won’t be able to bring your parents over, or your grandchildren, plus you’ll have to tell the government exactly where you are. Meantime, you can immerse yourself in the wonders of the brand-new points system, which allows you to earn points for advanced degrees, special skills, although … I’ve lost you, haven’t I? You’re not buying. Of course you’re not.

Understand: The new immigration bill isn’t designed to solve anything. It’s designed to give the appearance of solving something. This bill has sections that provide members of Congress with talking points no matter what their political beliefs. It’s a political document. It’s not meant to be an instrument of policy.

Then why craft a bill at all? Because companies large and small need the workers. Because companies large and small need a fig leaf to cover their practices, which will go on no matter what happens in Washington. Are people who hire illegal aliens in favor of “amnesty?” Not the right question, because it’s a political question. People who hire guest workers are in favor of profits. They’re in favor of low wages. Once again, it’s the wonders of a market-based economy. All questions are economic questions.

So here we have an unworkable scheme that almost everyone will ignore anyway. In one way, that’s a good thing, because we need the workers. Agribusiness needs the workers, so there’s the guest worker program. Silicon Valley needs the workers, so there’s the points program. I have heard various estimates about how many jobs illegal immigrants take away from American citizens; I’m not sure anyone knows for sure what the real data are. I do know that not many citizens are willing to become migrant laborers or busboys or stone masons or janitors or nannies or maids, at least not for the wages that are being paid.

So complaints about immigrants are essentially xenophobic raillery. Are the illegal immigrants a burden on our welfare system? Yup. But, passing a law that makes you feel good, or makes someone feel good, is dangerous fun. We have lots and lots of laws against illegal drugs, and what have they gotten us? A gigantic prison system that stresses the public budget far more than illegal immigrants do, plus — we still have drugs!

Immigrants are not drugs; they are human beings. They offer services and they spend money. They raise families and create communities. Heck, if the Native Americans had had border guards, we’d all be illegal immigrants. We’re all in this together; maybe we should start acting like it.

Imagine a Man….

May 27, 2007

wealthy, successful, gifted, and strong.  He sees himself as an exceptionally good person, uniquely virtuous, his actions always guided by the highest purposes. It’s true that he has robbed and murdered several of his neighbors, burned down their homes, appropriated their land and pillaged their resources. But remember, he’s a man of unique virtue and high purpose, an exceptionally good person, at least in his own mind. What should we do with such a man?

History Lesson

May 27, 2007

Senator Christopher Bond of Missouri said that it was a bad idea for the Senate to investigate the prewar predictions by so-called and self-styled US intelligence agencies.  He called for the nation to stop rehashing past controversies and to focus on”the myriad of threats we face today.”Exactly!” as Stephen Colbert would say. It’s hard enough to keep things straight today, and if you add in yesterday and the day before, let alone last year, things just get too confusing.  Moving on.

Whenever the powerful announce that we’re in a crisis and that we don’t have time for discussion or consideration, that can be easily interpreted: don’t ask any questions; don’t think about it; shut up and get in line.

The US military is reported to be viewing “The Battle of Algiers,” the brilliant anti-imperialist film dramatizing the French occupation of Algeria, searching for lessons about how to be successful in an “counterinsurgency.”  The big lesson is of course beside the point: don’t invade another country; as soon as you put your first boot into foreign soil, you own every problem; your miserable humiliating defeat is inevitable, the only open question, at what cost?

Pro-war, Anti-war…

May 23, 2007

The cowardly Democratic Party, one of the two major pro-imperialist parties in the US,  collapsed in the face of executive opposition to its wimpy time-table-for-withdrawal. The Democrats woofed noisily about the responsibility of the so-called Iraqi government, insisting that it step up and play its puppet  role more perfectly, and then settled back into their comfortable and customary scold-and-whine position. All the bluster might provide  (they hope) a little needed cover for the betrayal.

Billions more down the drain of war and conquest, murder, rape, torture, and theft. Bush wins, and the predictable result: no justice and no peace—unpopular power trumps popular will.

Let’s keep working for the day he’ll be held to answer as a war criminal. A day of both justice and peace.

“They Think We Want to Take Over Their Country”

May 18, 2007

said an army officer incredulously as he led the search in Iraq for 3 missing GI’s. He couldn’t believe the lack of cooperation from local people in helping locate his comrades.

Most Iraquis have concluded that the US wants to take over their country. Aside from empty platitudes about democracy and freedom, what exactly is the evidence to the contrary?

Wolfowitz, War Criminal

May 18, 2007

Paul Wolfowitz resigned from the World Bank after careful negotiations in which the bank’s board noted that his mistakes were in “good faith.” How nice.

His “ethical mis-step” involved getting his girlfriend a nice job and good pay. Period. He engineered the unfolding nightmare in Iraq, led the decimation of worker’s rights and the deepening emisseration of the poor around the world in the name of “restructuring,” oversaw huge transfers of wealth from the Third World to the imperial headquarters, and this was the best the board could do? Well, of course, on those deeper and more fundamental ethical issues the board is in full agreement with Wolfowitz. It’s a through-the looking-glass world, and any hope for ethical clarity from those gangsters is a fool’s errand.

Let’s look forward to the day Wolfowitz will be tried as a war criminal. Let’s work for peace, and let’s never forget.


May 16, 2007

The prewarUS goal (!!) of three million barrels of Iraqui oil production a day has never come close, and now a new government report estimates that between $5 and $15 million dollars a day of declared oil production has gone missing over the four years of occupation. Billions in theft and graft. Like we don’t know.

Needless Killing

May 13, 2007

I heard an interview with an American in Iraq who claimed that the Marines deplored all “needless killing.” Well, of course. But how to seperate the needless from the other kind— the killing most needful? If you buy the Big Lie that got the US to Iraq in the first place the distinction may seem reasonable if bizarre, otherwise it’s the rantings of a madman, a down-the-rabbit-hole picture of the world, his brain on drugs. It’s all needless, all the blood and destruction on the hands of Bush and Cheney to start.

The American went on to express sympathy for the troops, noting that he knew “the pressure they’re under.” Hmmmm? Pressure  from Bush? From Big Oil? And by the way, any sympathy for the pressure experienced by the people living under the boot of occupation?

He answered that— cliche alert— “this is a new kind of war” because it’s a “counter-insurgency” (see, e.g., Viet Nam, Algeria, India, Afghanistan, Mozambique…).  He elaborated by way of a Marine slogan he’d learned: “Be kind and courteous, and plan to kill anyone you meet.”

Americans abroad.