Karl Marx on time

«Competition, according to an American economist, determines how many days of simple labour are contained in one day’s compound labour. Does not this reduction of days of compound labour to days of simple labour suppose that simple labour is itself taken as a measure of value? If the mere quantity of labour functions as a measure of value regardless of quality, it presupposes that simple labour has become the pivot of industry. It presupposes that labour has been equalized by the subordination of man to the machine or by the extreme division of labour; that men are effaced by their labour; that the pendulum of the clock has become as accurate a measure of the relative activity of two workers as it is of the speed of two locomotives. Therefore, we should not say that one man’s hour is worth another man’s hour, but rather that one man during an hour is worth just as much as another man during an hour. Time is everything, man is nothing; he is, at the most, time’s carcass. Quality no longer matters. Quantity alone decides everything; hour for hour, day for day» – Marx, The Poverty of Philosophy

Teachers: How Slowing Down Can Lead to Great Change

ometimes, in order to gain perspective on a situation, I imagine myself zooming into outer space and looking down on whatever is going on. From a distance of thousands of feet above whatever craziness is happening I can see more clearly and determine the actions that are available for me to take.

Over the last few years, I find myself frequently zooming out of education world I’m in attempting to gain perspective. From my vantage point somewhere in the stratosphere, here’s the image that often comes to mind: I see whirling, spinning educators crashing into each other, spinning off the map, and creating all kinds of unintended destruction. I see these beings spinning into states of physical and emotional breakdown. I see the stress and pressure fracturing communities of folks who should really be allies. I see anxiety, frustration, fear, and impatience. And I see extensive trails leading back towards the origins of this madness, each entity responding to something immediate with distant roots. It’s a frightening sight, I know.


The craziness has got to stop. It’s not serving anyone.


What’s at Stake? Συνέχεια

A Practical Utopian’s Guide to the Coming Collapse

David Graeber

What is a revolution? We used to think we knew. Revolutions were seizures of power by popular forces aiming to transform the very nature of the political, social, and economic system in the country in which the revolution took place, usually according to some visionary dream of a just society. Nowadays, we live in an age when, if rebel armies do come sweeping into a city, or mass uprisings overthrow a dictator, it’s unlikely to have any such implications; when profound social transformation does occur—as with, say, the rise of feminism—it’s likely to take an entirely different form. It’s not that revolutionary dreams aren’t out there. But contemporary revolutionaries rarely think they can bring them into being by some modern-day equivalent of storming the Bastille.

At moments like this, it generally pays to go back to the history one already knows and ask: Were revolutions ever really what we thought them to be? For me, the person who has asked this most effectively is the great world historian Immanuel Wallerstein. He argues that for the last quarter millennium or so, revolutions have consisted above all of planetwide transformations of political common sense.

Already by the time of the French Revolution, Wallerstein notes, there was a single world market, and increasingly a single world political system as well, dominated by the huge colonial empires. As a result, the storming of the Bastille in Paris could well end up having effects on Denmark, or even Egypt, just as profound as on France itself—in some cases, even more so. Hence he speaks of the “world revolution of 1789,” followed by the “world revolution of 1848,” which saw revolutions break out almost simultaneously in fifty countries, from Wallachia to Brazil. In no case did the revolutionaries succeed in taking power, but afterward, institutions inspired by the French Revolution—notably, universal systems of primary education—were put in place pretty much everywhere. Similarly, the Russian Revolution of 1917 was a world revolution ultimately responsible for the New Deal and European welfare states as much as for Soviet communism. The last in the series was the world revolution of 1968—which, much like 1848, broke out almost everywhere, from China to Mexico, seized power nowhere, but nonetheless changed everything. This was a revolution against state bureaucracies, and for the inseparability of personal and political liberation, whose most lasting legacy will likely be the birth of modern feminism.

A quarter of the American population is now engaged in “guard labor”—defending property, supervising work, or otherwise keeping their fellow Americans in line. Συνέχεια

The Case for Academics as Public Intellectuals

Talking only to one another is never enough.
By Nicholas Behm, Sherry Rankins-Robertson, and Duane Roen

College and university faculty routinely communicate ideas to colleagues in their field when they publish articles and present papers at conferences. However, unless they pursue interdisciplinary work, they do not often share ideas with colleagues in other fields. They engage with the general public or policy makers even less frequently, and when they do, they sometimes fail to translate their research into language that is accessible to audiences that lack familiarity with disciplinary discourses.

As science writer Dennis Meredith has noted, academics have been criticized for their inability to make their research on critical topics, such as climate change and evolution, understandable to lay audiences. Harry Boyte, codirector of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship, and Elizabeth Hollander, senior fellow at Tufts University, note in the 1999 Wingspread Declaration on Renewing the Civic Mission of the American Research University that communicating only to disciplinary audiences rather than to the public at large has reinforced “increasingly competitive, individualist” silo cultures. The lack of interaction with academics in other fields and with the public causes important research to be obscured in translation, encourages public skepticism, and intensifies negative perceptions of higher education. Συνέχεια

Prison spending bleeds education system

Prison spending bleeds education system

By Benjamin Todd Jealous and Rod Paige, Special to CNN
April 7, 2011 — Updated 1309 GMT (2109 HKT)
"Misplaced Priorities: Over Incarcerate, Under Educate" details the social and economic impact of runaway prison spending.
«Misplaced Priorities: Over Incarcerate, Under Educate» details the social and economic impact of runaway prison spending.
  • Jealous, Paige: Runaway prison spending has squeezed out spending on education
  • Writers: U.S. has 5% of world’s population but locks up 25% of the prisoners
  • They say tens of billions goes to jail drug addicts, mentally ill and jobless, pot smokers
  • Over-incarceration, under-education hurts the most vulnerable, they write

Editor’s note: Benjamin Todd Jealous is president and CEO of the NAACP. Rod Paige was the U.S. secretary of education from 2001 to 2005 under President George W. Bush.

(CNN) — There is a bipartisan tide of lawmakers who are trying to fix our nation’s out-of-control corrections system, and make funding for education the priority.

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill to transfer thousands of nonviolent offenders from state prisons to county jails, an admirable effort to reduce prison overcrowding and make treatment programs more effective. In Virginia, Gov. Robert McDonnell is working to close eight prison facilities and use that money to support higher education.

And Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger asked in his 2010 State of the State address: «What does it say about any state that focuses more on prison uniforms than on caps and gowns?»

A new report by the NAACP, «Misplaced Priorities: Over Incarcerate, Under Educate» details the social and economic impact of runaway prison spending over the past 30 years. As prison populations have grown, prison spending has squeezed out spending on education.

The United States accounts for 5% of the world’s population but locks up nearly 25% of the world’s prisoners.
–Benjamin Jealous and Rod Paige

Between 1987 and 2007, the nation’s prison population tripled, growing by 1 million people. The United States accounts for 5% of the world’s population, but locks up nearly 25% of the world’s prisoners. Unsurprisingly, prisons have become a big budget item for many states. During the last two decades, state spending on prisons grew by 127%, six times the rate of spending on higher education.

A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers, reformers and interest groups — including the NAACP, former chairman of the American Conservative Union David Keene and Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform — is beginning to challenge assumptions about our criminal justice system.

In California, Attorney General Kamala Harris won election by promoting policies that are «smart on crime» rather than «tough on crime.» States such as Kansas, Michigan, New Jersey and New York have made a good faith effort to reduce prison populations and close facilities. With the proper reforms, we can ultimately use this funding to address the root causes of our society’s crime problem.

The rise in America’s penchant for punishment can be traced back to the 1970s, as the «War on Poverty» gave way to the «War on Drugs» and policymakers embraced stricter sentences for drug offenders. Since then, we have spent tens of billions to incarcerate people who struggle with drug addiction and mental health challenges, or are simply jobless or lack education.

Policymakers should be able to propose sentencing reform without fear of being labeled «soft on crime.»
–Benjamin Jealous and Rod Paige

The NAACP’s report suggests that this has the highest impact on the most vulnerable communities, which are often communities of color. The «tough on crime» approach to sentencing disproportionately punishes poor and minority communities — African Americans are imprisoned for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of their white counterparts.

Policymakers should be able to propose sentencing reform without fear of being labeled «soft on crime.» Mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses have proven ineffective and racially charged. Public money would be better invested in treatment programs that allow drug abusers to forgo prison, or work toward early release, as a reward for tackling their addictions. Similarly, GED programs provide an opportunity for early release and also motivate prisoners to earn an education, which ultimately helps reduce recidivism. Finally, parole should be more attainable, but prisoners should remain accountable.

A leaner prison system would allow states to really help communities rather than effectively sweeping the most unseemly elements under the rug. «Misplaced Priorities» finds that in Houston, Los Angeles and Philadelphia, the lowest-performing schools tend to be in areas with the highest rates of incarceration.

In these communities, high incarceration rates create a vicious cycle of perpetually lowered expectations. Studies suggest that cyclical removal and return of so many parents leads to a breakdown of formal authority and weakened social networks. Meanwhile, many prisoners re-enter society unable to vote, secure a good job or find safe and affordable housing. Adding under-funded schools to the mix can remove the only source of hope.

The link between education and incarceration means that reforms can be targeted to address this vicious cycle. «Misplaced Priorities» finds that in many cities, a few struggling neighborhoods overburden prison budgets. In one striking example, New York City spends $16.6 million each year to incarcerate residents from the 11216 ZIP code. Residents of 11216 suffer from a 53% unemployment rate and the local high school has a 50% graduation rate. A reformed criminal justice system, along with a renewed focus on education, would benefit this neighborhood immensely, and produce immediate savings for New York.

Over-incarceration is an issue that can appeal to common-sense reformers and budget hawks of any political affiliation. Until we shift our priorities away from prisons and toward education, the vicious cycle of over-incarceration will only continue, therefore undermining America’s promise for a better future.

We call on everyone — parents, policymakers and educators — to join us in working for solutions to create a quality education for all children. Top-notch education keeps America competitive and the American dream accessible to everyone.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writers.

Upsized classes, downsized education

With class size looming large among the issues in the Portland teachers’ contract fight, New York educator Brian Jones dispels the myths of the corporate school reformers.

Members of the Chicago Teachers Union rally during their 2012 strikeMembers of the Chicago Teachers Union rally during their 2012 strike

ONE OF the most glaring contradictions in today’s debates about public education is the fact that people who are fantastically wealthy or politically powerful–or both–advocate for models of public education that are profoundly different from what they choose for their own children. Συνέχεια

Foucault’s boomerang: the new military urbanism

Stephen Graham 14 February 2013

As our planet urbanizes more rapidly than ever before, an insidious set of boomerang effects, linking security doctrine in cities in the global North with those in the South, are permeating state tactics of control of everyday urban life.

On 4 February 1976, Michel Foucault, the eminent French social theorist, stepped gingerly down to the podium in a packed lecture at the Collège de France in the Latin Quarter on Paris’s South Bank. Delivering the fifth in a series of 11 lectures under the title ‘Il faut défendre la société’ (‘Society must be defended’), for once Foucault focused his attention on the relationships between western societies and those elsewhere in the world. Moving beyond his legendary re-theorisations of how knowledge, power, technology and geographical space were combined to underpin the development of modern social orders within western societies, Foucault made a rare foray into discussions of colonialism. Συνέχεια

Jobs and Growth: Supporting the European Recovery (IMF)


Jobs and Growth

The IMF Book “Jobs and Growth: Supporting the European Recovery” will launched at the European Policy Center (EPC) on Tuesday January 28th in Brussels. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde will introduce the session followed by response and comments by Wolfgang Schäuble, Finance Minister of Germany, and Luis de Guindos, Minister of Economy and Competitiveness of Spain. The event will be chaired by Fabian Zuleeg, EPC Chief Executive. Συνέχεια

Ο διαχωρισμός του νου και της καρδιάς

«ΤΡΙΑ ΠΑΘΗ, ΑΠΛΑ, ΑΛΛΑ ΚΑΤΑΚΛΥΣΜΙΑΙΑ εξουσιάζουν τη ζωή μου. Η λαχτάρα για αγάπη, η αναζήτηση της γνώσης και η ανυπόφορη θλίψη για τα βάσανα του ανθρώπινου είδους». Με αυτά τα λόγια ξεκινάει την αυτοβιογραφία του ο Μπέρτραντ Ράσελ.

ΠΕΦΤΟΝΤΑΣ ΣΥΝΕΧΩΣ ΘΥΜΑΤΑ ΤΩΝ ΔΙΑΧΩΡΙΣΜΩΝ, όλων των ειδών, βάζοντας όρια και (περι)ορισμούς, διαιρούμε τον κόσμο μέσω της νοημοσύνης μας και των αισθήσεών μας. Αυτό που βιώνουμε γίνεται εικόνα, λέξη, μετά της δίνουμε σημασία, νόημα, και δημιουργούμε τους δικούς μας συσχετισμούς, τη δική μας ιστορία, που προσπαθεί να επικοινωνήσει με τις άλλες. Kατά έναν τρόπο επινοούμε τον κόσμο, τον φανταζόμαστε στη μορφή που τον βιώνουμε ή βλέπουμε απλώς μια εκδοχή του, τη δική μας. Συνέχεια

‘We Do Not Believe in Degrees’

By Surya Venu – KOCHI

Published: 07th January 2014 11:33 AM

An university where one does not require a certificate, or do an entrance exam or get whopping marks to join. An institute where one is not judged or evaluated by the marks one scores but by honest feedback. Is that possible? Well, it is possible says Manish Jain. He is a leader in Alternative Education and co-founder of Swaraj University, based at Udaipur, Rajastan. He was in Kochi to attend the GIFTIVAL 2014.

Excerpts from an interview:

What are the objectives of Swaraj University? Συνέχεια

Κορνήλιος Καστοριάδης «Ο Κύριος των σημασιών έχει τον θρόνο του πιο ψηλά από τον Κύριο της βίας» semen


…Όποια και να είναι η ρητή διάρθρωση της εξουσίας δεν μπορούμε ποτέ να σκεφτούμε την εξουσία μόνο ως την αντίθεση φίλου εχθρού, όπως ήθελε ο Καρλ Σμιτ. Ούτε μπορούμε να σκεφτούμε την εξουσία και ούτε καν την κυριαρχία ως το μονοπώλιο της νόμιμης βίας. Πριν και επάνω απ” το μονοπώλιο της νομίμου βίας υπάρχει το μονοπώλιο του νομίμου λόγου. Και το μονοπώλιο του νομίμου λόγου το ίδιο  δεσπόζεται κι αυτό από το μονοπώλιο της νόμιμης σημασίας. Ο Κύριος των σημασιών έχει τον θρόνο του πιο ψηλά από τον Κύριο της βίας. Μόνο όταν τα κτίρια των θεσμισμένων σημασιών αρχίζουν να καταρρέουν μέσα στον πάταγο και τον θόρυβο αυτής της κατάρρευσης, μόνο τότε μπορεί να αρχίσει να ακούγεται πραγματικά η φωνή των όπλων. Και ακόμα για να μπορέσουν τα όπλα να επέμβουν χρειάζεται ο λόγος, πρέπει δηλαδή η επιταγή της υπάρχουσας εξουσίας ή αυτού που αντιτίθεται στην υπάρχουσα εξουσία να επιβάλλεται πάνω στις περίφημες ομάδες ενόπλων ανθρώπων. Ο τέταρτος λόχος του συντάγματος Παυλόφσκι, Συνέχεια

Call It What it Is: Predatory Reform

Posted: January 15, 2014 in Uncategorized

“Shutting down public schools and handing them over to private organizations is not a ‘turnaround,’ it is a heist.” – Sabrina Stevens


I am a member of a bloggers group called Basecamp, which has about 100 amazing bloggers comprised of teachers, activists, academics, parents and others from around the country.  Frequently new questions or topics of conversation are posed by members of the group. About a week ago Robert Perry (in a discussion strand) called for examination of, ”the elusive ed reformer catch phrase,” and asked us to consider what we should replace the word “reformers” with. The ongoing “conversation” via email responses was lively and informative. Reformers, as they are self-named is simply not enough we all agreed, besides being an outright lie. It’s like calling Donald Trump the “the salt of the earth.” Συνέχεια

Economists: Your Parents Are More Important Than Ever

The lesson of today’s monumental social mobility study is simple. Your family could be the most important economic determinant in your life.

Jan 23 2014, 4:12 PM ET


Let’s go ahead and call social mobility in America what it really is: social immobility.

Even in the parts of the country where students have the best shot at moving up the income ladder, the vast majority of them fail to make it past one rung. About 8 percent of kids born in the early 1980s who grew up in families in the poorest fifth managed to reach the top quintile of earners today. For those born smack dab in the middle of America’s income distribution, there was just a 20 percent chance of making it to the top. Συνέχεια

Is Poverty Killing our Kids?

by Anna Hall 01-22-2014 | 4:41pm

Despite all the modern conveniences of the 21st century, our information-saturated culture, an exhaustive supply of self-help books, and giant advances in medical technology, doesn’t it seem like our society is more stressed, our anxiety higher, and more of our kids prescribed behavior modification drugs?

Child sitting alone, Suzanne Tucker / Shutterstock.com

Child sitting alone, Suzanne Tucker / Shutterstock.com

What if one of the reasons for our strung-out culture was the social, emotional, mental, and physiological outworking of the effects of poverty?

In the latest release of the Shriver Report, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, founder of the California Pacific Medical Center’s Bayview Child Health Center, has found through medical research and experiences of her patients that the stress of poverty can be manifested in alarming behaviors and predispositions. Συνέχεια