Lenin and nationalism

Walter Daum WGDCC at cunyvm.cuny.edu
Sat Apr 8 08:31:17 MDT 1995

To Louis Proyect:

OK. Here is some analysis from internal documents of the Revolutionary
Socialist League in 1973, of which I was a member.

First, there had been a UFT strike in 1967 (chiefly over wages), which was
opposed by the  Ocean Hill-Brownsville governing school board under Rhody
McCoy. Shanker of the UFT had originally supported community control, as a
weapon against the central board, and had asked OH-B for support in the
strike. This was turned down, and the local board actively tried to break
the strike by hiring scabs, etc.

Second, there was open intervention by the Ford Foundation which, in response
to the ghetto uprisings of the '60's, was funding various programs to preserve
stability in the interests of capital. Their line was to counterpose community
control to increased funding (e.g., for smaller classes), and to abolish all
teacher job security. Reference: Mario Fantini, "Participation, Decentralizatio
n, Community Control and Quality Education," Ford Foundation position paper.

One quote cited from Fantini: "As an independent district, the community is
free to hire, transfer, or release personnel -- the same as, for example, a
Scarsdale or a Newton."  A very cynical strategy: raise hopes in local control,
then leave the ghetto schools on their own with the same rights but hardly the
same resources as Scarsdale or Newton (MA). In this the FF was working along
with the federal Office of economic Opportunity.

Another "Ford-sponsored" book, Dilemmas of Social Reform, by Peter Marris and
Martin Rein, wrote as follows about the poverty programs of the era:
"Racial discrimination can be accepted as an ugly but undeniable fact of
American society, without making fundamentally more disturbing inferences
about the inherent injustice of the way resources are distributed in a
capitalist society."

Enough for now. The current struggle (CUNY budget cuts) demands attention
and, unofortunately, long meetings.


On Fri, 7 Apr 1995 13:06:21 -0400 (EDT) Louis N Proyect said:
>On Fri, 7 Apr 1995, Walter Daum wrote:
>> back to documents to refresh memories nearly 30 years old, I recall that
>> Shanker's UFT ran a pretty racist strike, but on the other hand there was
>> lots of evidence that the "community control" slogan was being used by
>> the powers that be to try to break the teachers' and municipal unions.
>Louis Proyect:
>Since there was "lots of evidence", please cite some.
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