More Teaching For Social Justice: US Social Forum

I receive from various Social Justice sites alerts about conferences and literature, and today I got an invitation as an education to the US Social Forum which is taking place later this month in Detroit, Michigan. The event at first sounds like a great opportunity. From the home page of the site:

The US Social Forum will provide a space to build relationships, learn from each other’s experiences, and share analysis of the problems our communities face. It will help develop leadership, vision, and strategy needed to realize another world.

Another World is Possible. Another US is Necessary!

Sounds great. So I began to look at the programs/workshops offered, I’ll share some with you:

Marx vs. Keynes -Marx vs. Keynes: What is a way out of today’s economic crisis? Is it possible to break with capitalist value production?

This interactive workshop will have two brief (20 minute maximum) presentations on the nature of the present economic crisis of capitalism, which has sent many economists back to the 1930s for guidance for today’s reality. What is similar and what is different about today’s crisis? After financial markets were saved from a 1930s style collapse, the “Great Recession” persists with an effective unemployment rate of over 20 percent among an outraged population in the real economy where we as workers earn a living and support our families. The only alternative put forward by some to the failed policies of the past, monetarism and tax cutting, has been a Keynesian return to 1930s style government intervention in the economy including massive deficit spending. Can this work today? Can it be said to have worked then when it was WWII that finally ended the Great Depression? As against these two orthodoxies, what is Marx’s concept of a general crisis of capitalism and the inter-relation between the ‘Falling Rate of Profit’ and ‘Under-Consumption’? What direction does Marx’s approach lead to in this crisis? What is Marx’s concept of a break with capitalist crisis-prone value production?

Read the above carefully, is that an accurate historical analysis of the Great Depression and Keynesian economics?

A World in Crisis: The Case for Socialism – Socialism has re-entered the political debate–but how do we get there?

Marxism for the 21st Century: Capitalist Crisis, Socialist Solutions – Workshop on current crisis/Marxist thought: reoccurring crises of capitalism, eco-socialist solutions, “neo-left” collaboration with Obama.

Interesting that the above workshop mentions President Obama.

WTF is Socialism Anyway???: The Campus as a Battleground of Class Struggle – “Socialism” is used to describe everything from bailouts to Nazis. YDS will gladly clarify, presenting a history of socialism and describing campus organizing.

This one above, I think, really reflects the kind of people this conference is presented by and those who would attend. I’m sure this workshop will also be historically accurate. You know, I wonder how they will explain the National Socialists party in Germany in the 1930s?

Why Capitalism is Organized Crime & Socialism is the Alternative – Join us in a discussion about why it is only socialism that can solve the ills of capitalist society and bring about a different world.

Look what capitalism is being compared to. Simply mind-boggling!

21st Century Socialism: What It Is and How To Get It – A discussion of the interconnection of democratic and socialist tasks in the current situation, radical structural reform, strategic paths, and a vision for a new socialism.

Sounds like “Fundamental Change” and “change we can believe in!”

The “War on Terror” & the “War on People of Color”: Muslim, Arab, South Asians Build Movement as Black & Brown U.S. Struggle – In the post 9/11 ‘War on Terror’, Muslims, Arab, South Asians join African American, Latino, Native American voices in building a common history of U.S. structural racism and strategizing a unified struggle for justice.

Speechless.

Our Schools, Our Future: Transforming Education through Grassroots Organizing and Winning Youth & Parent-led Educational Equity Campaigns – Does your school feel like a business more than an education center? Do you see racial tracking, high disappearance, high dropout rates and low college-going rates in your school? Do students and parents feel powerless over the decision-making process of your school system? If you say yes to any of these questions, YOU need to be at this workshop! Schools act like labor training centers for a racially and economically stratified society, where the power is held by the few, at the expense of the masses. It is no question that the current education system is the foundation that holds together systems of capitalism, white supremacy, and patriarchy. The question is how do we transform it? In this workshop, you will learn how youth and parents in the Bay Area, California have take significant strides towards educational change within their school systems.

This is called teaching for Social Justice and it is not about truth or honesty, it is about radicalism, indoctrination, and propaganda in our schools. And we wonder why our public schools are failing us? There is little learning going on and instead, lots of indoctrination.

Capitalism is killing us. Fight for SOCIALISM! A collaborative conversation in 2 parts – A conversation on Reform, Revolution and Socialism in the Era of Low-Wage Capitalism; Multi-media, spoken word and open roundtable dialogue with and for revolutionary thinkers/fighters, young leaders and some with decades of experience on paths to united action for reviving the fight for socialism in the U.S. Organization representatives and individuals invited.

They are teaching educators about radicalism and revolution, and they in turn will teach the children!

FINALLY my two favorites as I am clearly a Fascists according to these fine folks!

A Strategy to Counter the Tea Party Fascists - we will discuss a psychologically and spiritually informed alternative to the growth of the Tea Party movement and its resonance with sectors of the American public who might become the base for a future American fascism. We start with an assumption that is often doubted in the Left: that there are real human needs that right-wing movements address, albeit linking those needs to racist, sexist, homophobic, and militarist solutions. Those needs are both economic needs and spiritual needs. Our task is in part to acknowledge the reality of those needs but to help people understand that they could better be addressed by challenging the global capitalist system in which those needs are rooted.

Glenn Beck’s Nightmare: What it Will take to Build a Movement for 21st Century Socialism – Glenn Beck and other right-wing pundits have drummed up the fear of a socialist takeover of U.S. society.

Drummed up! Have they looked at the workshops they are offering? Glenn Beck doesn’t need to work very hard if this is one of his goals. These folks will help make anyone’s job easier if they are concerned about socialism taking over in this country.

This is just more data that our educational system is being hijacked by a movement that seeks to do nothing more than fundamentally change this country into something it was never intended to be!

Go ahead, anyone, defend this, please… help me out here!

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25 Responses to More Teaching For Social Justice: US Social Forum

  1. martin says:

    Thanks for bringing this to the forefront. This stuff is chilling. I was looking at the Democratic Socialists of America site earlier this evening. There is a definite and concerted effort to rehabilitate Socialism as a concept. Here is a snippet in one of publications:


    If so many people misunderstand socialism, why continue to use the word?

    First, we call ourselves socialists because we are proud of what we are. Second, no matter what we call ourselves, conservatives will use it against us. Anti-socialism has been repeatedly used to attack reforms that shift power to working class people and away from corporate capital. In 1993, national health insurance was attacked as “socialized medicine” and defeated. Liberals are routinely denounced as socialists in order to discredit reform. Until we face, and beat, the stigma attached to the “S word,” politics in America will continue to be stifled and our options limited. We also call ourselves socialists because we are proud of the traditions upon which we are based, of the heritage of the Socialist Party of Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas, and of other struggles for change that have made America more democratic and just. Finally, we call ourselves socialists to remind everyone that we have a vision of a better world.

    Gee, we’re stupid. We simply misunderstand the fact that millions were slaughtered in the Union of Soviet Socialist republics and in Germany under the rule of the National Socialist Party.

  2. Martin: It is extremely “chilling” and disturbing. Socialism defies all logic and human nature. Only the most committed ideologues could still embrace it.

  3. And don’t forget Alinsky’s “Rules For Radicals” is endorsed by the Nation’s largest teachers’ union, the NEA:

    http://www.nea.org/tools/17231.htm

    Despite what the naysayers and those teachers who are actually supportive of the movement would have us believe, there is a strong socialist element being pushed in many public school classrooms which explains, in part, the explosion of homeschooling.

  4. Sorry for the hyper commenting Chris, but in exploring the USSF site and event (and what another blogger described as a “wonderful opportunity”), I came across the “Leftist Lounge” which is affiliated with the USSF and links direct from their main page (Under “fundraising” and “be a sponsor”). Below is a link promoting “artwork” in the “Leftist Lounge” featuring, for example, Marxist Che Guevera and a poster with “Free Palestine” on it (I guess Helen Thomas would like that one). Other radical revolutionaries are featured as well, some holding weapons, including Leila Khaled who was into such peaceful “social justice” movements as hijacking planes. Another poster features “Commandante Ramona” holding a weapon. One poster features wording which says, “if I become hungry, the usurper’s flesh will be my food.” How wholesome. I thought these folks were all about “non-violence.” Yeah, I want folks attending that event to teach our children. Good Lord. Chilling and disturbing indeed.

    Here’s the link:
    http://www.leftistlounge.com/index.php/component/photoblog/art/art

  5. Chris – if you will indulge me one more comment . . .

    Another poster in the “Leftist Lounge” at the USSF site has the following wording on it:

    America is F****** evil
    Israel is F****** evil
    Right Wing Evangelical Christians are F****** evil
    The Founding Fathers were F****** evil

    That’s just a sampling. Here’s the link – (Warning, foul language):
    http://www.leftistlounge.com/images/photoblog/art/art/great-001.jpg

    No, there’s no anti-American, leftist radicalism going on here. I’m quite confident that none of the educators attending this “wonderful opportunity” will be bringing back this worldview and radical leftist political views to their taxpayer financed classrooms and sharing it with the impressionable minds they teach. Just crazy conspiracy theorists would believe such a thing. Move along, nothing to see here.

  6. Chris says:

    “Just crazy conspiracy theorists would believe such a thing. Move along, nothing to see here.”

    LOL

    “These are not the droids you are looking for….”

    Richard, don’t worry, I am simply involved in hyperbole and over-simplification and there is nothing to all this. These are fringe people I am spending my time on. They have good intentions and mean no harm,,,, Just visit cwmemory.com….

    Also, could you imagine if there was a major conference with 12,000 people that was pushing a Christian Conservative view of history… imagine how bent out of shape people would be. This I am reporting on is simply nothing… why?

    Also, and have made it clear here on this site. I am just as bothered by, for example, what the Texas School Board is/was attempting to do with its curriculum.

    Chris

  7. Chris:

    “Why?” Excellent question. Will we get an answer? Probably not. I would differ with you, however, on one point. I think the concern, both legitimate and illegitimate, of what the Texas School Board did pales in comparison to this garbage. Would it be a stretch to label the “F bomb” poster hate speech? How can anyone possibly promote and/or defend that?

    One may disagree with the “Christian” perspective, but I believe their (Texas) intention was to promote the teaching of our Founding principles and was simply a pendulum swing back from this type of thing. Given a choice, I’ll take the Texas perspective over this hyper-radical-leftist worldview any day of the week. Thanks for posting this. I’m posting some follow up comments later this evening on my blog.

  8. Kevin says:

    Chris,

    If you can demonstrate that the agenda of this particular organization is widespread throughout our public schools than I will be disgusted, concerned, outraged, and anything else you want me to be. That’s all I am questioning about your post. I am asking for evidence. I’m sorry that this is such a problem.

  9. Chris says:

    Agenda? Kevin, please, the agenda is written all over the site. And I am not asking you to be outraged. I am not outraged. I am concerned. Just as I would be if there was a right wing conference with workshops for teachers that had one goal only, and that is to indoctrinate educators and young people. That is the agenda. It is not about higher learning or inclusive studies, or whatever. Also, I have pointed out the agenda of these social justice sites in numerous instances. Just look for their mission statement.

  10. Kevin says:

    Chris,

    I’m trying to be as clear as possible. I’m not for one second disagreeing with you re: this organization’s agenda. Actually, we both agree in that it has no place in the classroom. My post was in response to your claim that this somehow constitutes a threat to our schools. I simply don’t see any connection. Like I said, as far as I can tell this is not being marketed to teachers and you have provided no evidence that social justice curricula are being used widely in public schools. All you have to do is support your claims here and I will be satisfied. Again, where is the evidence that this agenda is present in our schools?

  11. Corey Meyer says:

    As a public school teacher, I for one am not going to this conference nor will I even discuss the topics they mention with my students come this fall. Chris, I think Kevin has a valid question…how much is this supported by teachers? I would think that it is not and I would hope that it is not. I cannot imagine teachers in my neck of the woods even contemplating teaching this stuff in the classroom. Do I teach about communisim and socialism…sure, but I also teach about capitalism, american exceptionalism and freedom. I don’t really believe this is making its way into the classroom through teachers.

  12. Chris says:

    Kevin, let me be as clear as I have been here:

    http://www.blog4history.com/2010/05/an-example-of-social-justice-instruction/

    and here:

    http://www.blog4history.com/2010/05/planning-to-change-the-world-a-plan-book-for-social-justice-teachers/

    and here:

    http://www.blog4history.com/2010/04/health-care-student-loan-overhaul-social-justice/

    and I could go on.

    These are Teacher organizations.

    Let’s go on, let’s take California;
    http://www.tcla.gseis.ucla.edu/reportcard/features/5-6/curriculum.html

    Where they are Implementing a Social Justice Curriculum in Inner City Schools.

    Here’s a NY site:
    http://www.nysut.org/cps/rde/xchg/nysut/hs.xsl/rfk.htm

    But these are nothing compared to:

    Educators Social Justice Plan book
    http://www.justiceplanbook.com/

    Educators’ Network for Social Justice – they claimed 10K
    http://www.ensj.org/Conferences/2010Program

    Or how about Teachers for Social Justice:
    http://www.teachersforjustice.org/

    Education for Liberation Network
    http://www.edliber.ation.org/

    And I could go on……

    Am I clear here? I don’t know how big or small this movement is and how far it goes…. irrelevant. It is there and it seems to be growing.

    I thought you and I had decided to just live and let live man…I recall you telling me “Good Riddance”…. or something to that effect.

    Also, you didn’t even alert me to your post, considering where we left things that would have been appropriate. I respect you as a teacher and I meant what I last said in the comments section of your site, but I was not happy as I would have commented on a couple of things you have written the past 7 months or so and did not as I was respecting this truce,

    Chris

  13. Chris says:

    Corey, thank you for commenting and it is nice to meet another teacher. I hope you will continue to visit and share your thoughts and reactions. I hope my last response to Kevin helped you with your concern.

    I have been covering this topic for months, which people would know if they read this blog regularly.

    Thanks again!
    Chris

  14. Kevin says:

    Chris,

    I apologize for raising these questions. Actually, it’s a sign of respect for you as a teacher that I do so. i didn’t see my post as insulting, but as simply a response to what I had read here. Isn’t that what the blogosphere is about? I appreciate the links you provided in your last comment. It makes for some interesting reading.

    Actually, the range of links you offer seem to deserve a much more nuanced response than what you wrote in your last post. I thought this teacher in particular http://www.tcla.gseis.ucla.edu/reportcard/features/5-6/curriculum.html was asking some interesting questions of her students. I certainly didn’t view it as constituting indoctrination. Have a nice weekend.

  15. Kevin says:

    One more quick point. Many of these programs are being implemented in inner city/urban school districts. Have you given any thought to why that is? I would be very interested to know a bit more about the conditions that are giving rise to these programs. Either way, this is clearly nothing to worry about and I am convinced that in the broader context of what goes on in our classrooms this doesn’t even appear on the radar screen.

  16. TF Smith says:

    Um, not to spoil a good hysterical rant with facts, but how does this statement:
    “Let’s go on, let’s take California;”

    , for example, stem from this evidence:

    “http://www.tcla.gseis.ucla.edu/reportcard/features/5-6/curriculum.html”

    which, as I read it, is one op-ed piece by a single teacher at a single grade school in a single school district in a single county in a state with (IIRC) the second-largest school-age population in the country?
    And, of course, an op-ed published in an on-line journal that has no official connection with the university that is mentioned, much less the school, district, county office of education, or state superintendent of schools.

    FYI, I’ve read the California state social studies standards; I’ve written about the California state social sciences standards; I have used the California state social studies standards in the classroom, and seen them used by others; I have four children in California public schools, from elementary to high school, and I have reviewed the work, curriculum, textbooks, and talked with their teachers.

    Guess what? “Social justice” does not show up at all.

    Here is the link to the state social studies standards:

    http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/ss/documents/histsocscistnd.pdf

  17. Chris says:

    TF, happy that you got a good laugh from my typos…. It’s not in the curriculum, duh! it is about teachers teaching the curriculum within the social justice framework. Also, when did you write about social justice, where, and can I see it somewhere in print or Internet? Thanks for the post ……………………………..

    Chris

  18. Chris says:

    TF Smith (or whoever you are) wrote over at cwmemory.com:

    ———
    And not to belabor the point, but when one actually clicks through to the website of the organization Mr. Wehner is so concerned about and checks their event program’s list of workshops, guess what? Searches for “social sciences” and “social studies” find….

    zip. nada. nothing.

    “History” comes up a few times, but nothing to do with teachers or teaching, from what I can find; there is one workshop for “radical educators” but given that it is sponsored by the Experimental College of Extension or something equally luminary, I think America can sleep safely tonight…
    ——–

    Glad you can sleep well ….

    These sites and others

    Educators Social Justice Plan book
    http://www.justiceplanbook.com/

    Educators’ Network for Social Justice – they claimed 10K
    http://www.ensj.org/Conferences/2010Program

    Or how about Teachers for Social Justice:
    http://www.teachersforjustice.org/

    Education for Liberation Network
    http://www.edliber.ation.org/

    are about Social Justice…. a way of teaching… A WAY OF TEACHING THE HISTORY. You missed my point. They want all teachers focused on presenting their curriculum with social justice in mind.

    And the more I think about it… anyone who understands what “teacher for Social Justice” is, would know that it is not about Social Studies. It is a “way” of teaching. So I am very interested in reading what you know about teaching for social justice as you seem to be so smart….

    Chris

  19. TF Smith says:

    Well, other than making clear you are capable of using a search engine (congratulations, by the way), I still see no evidence for your thesis regarding public school teaching methods or curricula in California; certainly not enough to justify a passing grade, Mr. Wehner. Better luck next semester.

  20. Chris says:

    TF – OR WHOEVER YOU ARE. I have no idea what your point here is? All you can do is flipped comments based on nothing…Also, please, answer my question as I answered yours. When did you write about social justice, where, and how can I obtain a COPY!

    Chris

  21. Chris – Why the ad hominem criticism over using a search engine to gather information about this subject? What’s that got to do with anything? Is someone technologically challenged? I suppose you would have more credibility if you would go to your local library, use their card catalog filing system (assuming they still have one), then scan what you find and post pdf files that can be printed out in hard copy?

    “Denial is a defense mechanism in which a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence.”

  22. TF Smith says:

    My point is that you made a sweeping judgment about social science standards in California and you have no evidence for it. That’s a fail.

    Also, my point is about social science standards in California, which is what I have written about, studied, taught, etc. – NOT “social justice” whatever that is (and which you do not define, either). That’s another fail.

    It is really hard to take someone seriously as an educator/scholar whose conclusions are based on opinion, not evidence. So I’m not sure if the Tigers’ parents and guardians are getting their money’s worth, to be honest.

  23. Chris says:

    TF – once again you misrepresent me. I never said anything about Social Studies STANDARDS in this post or anywhere in relation to California.

    All you have done is try to insult me, which you have failed as I couldn’t care less about you.

    You have provided NO FACTS TO DISPUTE MY CLAIMS of a movement in this country that is called “social justice” and that is instructing educators to teach a certain way and one that I have suggested is fairly radical. I have provided data on California on this site.

    So, do not post here again unless you first answer my question about when you wrote about Social Justice and where I can read it. And second, can post some data that challenges the existence of social justice instruction in California, which as I said I have provided on this site and it is not the link above which you are fixated on.

    Just one such link on this site concerning social justice instruction in CALIFORNIA:

    http://www.blog4history.com/2010/05/an-example-of-social-justice-instruction/

    “School of Public Service & Social Justice

    Mission
    We are committed to developing socially conscious members of society who positively contribute to their community. We work to provide students multiple career pathways by offering sufficient information, experiences and support to make informed post secondary decisions as well as prepare students to graduate from Santee Education Complex with certificates and/or Associate degrees in hand. ”

    http://www.santeefalcons.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=46518&type=d&termREC_ID=&pREC_ID=59286

  24. TF:

    “NOT “social justice” whatever that is (and which you do not define, either). ”

    I believe those promoting it have defined it quite adequately.

  25. Carol Neilson says:

    Another name that equates with Social Justice, without calling it Social Justice is “sustainability”. So if you see that label on anything, it’s just Social Justice under another name.

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