Ed Deform and Neoliberalism

    People are comparing Egypt and Wisconsin. The link? Neoliberalism. Tattoo the word on your arm. Look at the entire ed deform program in the context of neoliberalism. Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism" is the bible ed deform resisters. Paul Krugman on Friday referenced Klein's groundbreaking work. Now if only Krugman would tie the  string to the ed deforms and tell people that charter schools are the battering ram of neoliberal assault on the public school system. Leonie Haimson's husband, Michael Oppenheimer, teaches at Princeton with Krugman. Michael should whisper sweet anti ed deformer words in his ear.

    Confused about the Democratic Party support for ed deform? The Clintons are classic neoliberals and the rest of the party is in step.

    Confused about why the UFT/AFT/MulGarten crew won't put up a defense? They too are neoliberals, who are close relatives of neocons. That was why Vera Pavone and I titled our review of Richard Kahlenberg's "Albert Shanker: Tough Liberal" Albert Shanker: Ruthless Neocon. We could easily have called it "Ruthless Neoliberal" but didn't want to confuse people who think neolineral is a modernized version of classic American liberalism when it is exactly the opposite.

    Union leaders like Weingarten differ from the anti-union neoliberals in that they feel unions should exist - naturally - but in limited format - in support of the government/corporate state more than the membership. But of course they support the concept of unions - look how well they have done as leaders who misdirect the energies of the members. That is why Weingarten is helping find ways to get rid of teachers. See NYC Educator: A Fine Day for a Sellout

    With the myriad of anti-teacher crap pervading the headlines, AFT President Randi Weingarten thinks it's a good time to discuss faster ways to fire us
    If things ever get sticky just watch where they stand.

    What is neoliberalism?

    Yves Smith at http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/02/al-jazeera-on-egypts-revolt-against-neoliberalism.html  has the links:
    In his Brief History of Neoliberalism, the eminent social geographer David Harvey outlined “a theory of political economic practices that proposes that human well-being can best be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills within an institutional framework characterised by strong private property rights, free markets, and free trade.”

    Neoliberal states guarantee, by force if necessary, the “proper functioning” of markets; where markets do not exist (for example, in the use of land, water, education, health care, social security, or environmental pollution), then the state should create them.

    Guaranteeing the sanctity of markets is supposed to be the limit of legitimate state functions, and state interventions should always be subordinate to markets. All human behavior, and not just the production of goods and services, can be reduced to market transactions.

    And the application of utopian neoliberalism in the real world leads to deformed societies as surely as the application of utopian communism did…..
    KRUGMAN ARTICLE BELOW THE FOLD

    Shock Doctrine, U.S.A.

    By PAUL KRUGMAN



    Published: February 24, 2011

    Here’s a thought: maybe Madison, Wis., isn’t Cairo after all. Maybe it’s Baghdad — specifically, Baghdad in 2003, when the Bush administration put Iraq under the rule of officials chosen for loyalty and political reliability rather than experience and competence.


    As many readers may recall, the results were spectacular — in a bad way. Instead of focusing on the urgent problems of a shattered economy and society, which would soon descend into a murderous civil war, those Bush appointees were obsessed with imposing a conservative ideological vision. Indeed, with looters still prowling the streets of Baghdad, L. Paul Bremer, the American viceroy, told a Washington Post reporter that one of his top priorities was to “corporatize and privatize state-owned enterprises” — Mr. Bremer’s words, not the reporter’s — and to “wean people from the idea the state supports everything.”
    The story of the privatization-obsessed Coalition Provisional Authority was the centerpiece of Naomi Klein’s best-selling book “The Shock Doctrine,” which argued that it was part of a broader pattern. From Chile in the 1970s onward, she suggested, right-wing ideologues have exploited crises to push through an agenda that has nothing to do with resolving those crises, and everything to do with imposing their vision of a harsher, more unequal, less democratic society.
    Which brings us to Wisconsin 2011, where the shock doctrine is on full display.
    In recent weeks, Madison has been the scene of large demonstrations against the governor’s budget bill, which would deny collective-bargaining rights to public-sector workers. Gov. Scott Walker claims that he needs to pass his bill to deal with the state’s fiscal problems. But his attack on unions has nothing to do with the budget. In fact, those unions have already indicated their willingness to make substantial financial concessions — an offer the governor has rejected.
    What’s happening in Wisconsin is, instead, a power grab — an attempt to exploit the fiscal crisis to destroy the last major counterweight to the political power of corporations and the wealthy. And the power grab goes beyond union-busting. The bill in question is 144 pages long, and there are some extraordinary things hidden deep inside.
    For example, the bill includes language that would allow officials appointed by the governor to make sweeping cuts in health coverage for low-income families without having to go through the normal legislative process.
    And then there’s this: “Notwithstanding ss. 13.48 (14) (am) and 16.705 (1), the department may sell any state-owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state. Notwithstanding ss. 196.49 and 196.80, no approval or certification of the public service commission is necessary for a public utility to purchase, or contract for the operation of, such a plant, and any such purchase is considered to be in the public interest and to comply with the criteria for certification of a project under s. 196.49 (3) (b).”
    What’s that about? The state of Wisconsin owns a number of plants supplying heating, cooling, and electricity to state-run facilities (like the University of Wisconsin). The language in the budget bill would, in effect, let the governor privatize any or all of these facilities at whim. Not only that, he could sell them, without taking bids, to anyone he chooses. And note that any such sale would, by definition, be “considered to be in the public interest.”
    If this sounds to you like a perfect setup for cronyism and profiteering — remember those missing billions in Iraq? — you’re not alone. Indeed, there are enough suspicious minds out there that Koch Industries, owned by the billionaire brothers who are playing such a large role in Mr. Walker’s anti-union push, felt compelled to issue a denial that it’s interested in purchasing any of those power plants. Are you reassured?
    The good news from Wisconsin is that the upsurge of public outrage — aided by the maneuvering of Democrats in the State Senate, who absented themselves to deny Republicans a quorum — has slowed the bum’s rush. If Mr. Walker’s plan was to push his bill through before anyone had a chance to realize his true goals, that plan has been foiled. And events in Wisconsin may have given pause to other Republican governors, who seem to be backing off similar moves.
    But don’t expect either Mr. Walker or the rest of his party to change those goals. Union-busting and privatization remain G.O.P. priorities, and the party will continue its efforts to smuggle those priorities through in the name of balanced budgets.

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Ed Deform and Neoliberalism


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