Vouchers and Argentina - and the "P" word

Armand Diego causebellum at yahoo.com
Mon Jul 8 18:52:47 MDT 2002

Three brief items:

VOUCHERS: Marxist should BOTH struggle against
privatization of education AND propose what kind of
public education they stand for.

Vouchers, as many said on the list already, is the old
same old trick of letting the system decay and then
offering that as proof that privatization could do
better.  Vouchers are the first step towards
privatization, means subsidizing parochial and private
education already in existence, union busting and
determining what kind of education a kid will receive
based on the laws of the market, the consumer's power
of the parents.  I already see Christian
fundamentalists, the Catholic Church and big
corporations competing for the voucher money and
imposing their own curricula (just imagine what that
would look like).

No to vouchers, and then what?

Some initial proposals: school governance and
administration by elected boards of teachers, workers,
parents and students.  The powers of such boards
should include governance, election of teachers by
"opposition" classes, self-discipline by peer
committees, curricula and administration, etc  These
boards will also be in charge of electing the
Superintendent of Schools and replace the School
Boards as they are constituted at present.

Taxation: scrap the indirect distribution of education
tax money - which eats about 20% of the revenue by
charging States and Federal overhead costs- by cutting
loose the right of the states to monopolize collection
and shift that right directly to School Districts;
shift a percentage of property taxation (one of the
fundamental tax base for education) from areas with
much more expensive property value to those where
property value is much less and progressively computed
according to the number of children and youth in each
area (to avoid the disparity of higher revenues for
rich white suburbs with higher property values and
less number of kids).  You may accompany this by a
proposal of progressive taxation on big corporations
to rebuild the schools, replace obsolete buildings and
make room to double the classrooms to obtain much
smaller number of students in each class. Re-introduce
arts, crafts, music, skills building and sports which
were progressively eliminated and other substantial
educational reforms like moving away from the criteria
of "clerk-education" that is now prevalent, etc

Would the parents, students and teachers like this as
an alternative?  Maybe so.  Would the bourgeoisie like
this system? I doubt it.

ARGENTINA:  Starting tomorrow, I will spend the next
month interviewing political activists and
organizations in Argentina.  If friends in the list
have concrete questions for those political forces,
make them and I will try to find the answers by asking
them.  While I definitely have my sympathies, I'm also
in good terms with most groups, so I can talk to them
and attend their meetings.

The "P" word:  Is nothing wrong to call a political
thought "P", what I think is not proper is to call
somebody a "P" as a way to disregard his/her politics
or as a substitute for political debate.

On the specific case it was used, was unnecessary,
because the person to whom it was directed was already
criticized about his stand on education/SWP/etc very
comprehensively and without any need of further
utilization of adjectives.

And to Louis: you did not un-sub Carlos Alternative
because he saw the list as a battlefield between
reformists and revolutionaries - a concept he never
expressed - but because he called the eulogizing of
killing Trotsky "crossing the class line."


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