[Marxism] Classroom Exercise

Craven, Jim JCraven at clark.edu
Fri Mar 12 08:50:47 MST 2004

I have a large number of students from China (who have no desire to stay
here) who are generally very sharp and keen to learn. But they mostly
stay isolated among themselves. Some time ago (June 1999) I wrote this
open letter to the Government of China which, with the help of Henry,
was published in Chinese language in the China Press on 6-22-1999. What
I do is give out a copy of the letter in Chinese only to the students.
They have to find some way to have it translated and then write a short
essay on what they have learned from the exercise which includes
commentary on the content of the letter. Of course, all of a sudden the
Chinese students find the Americans approaching and begging them to
translate (teaching the Americans what it feels like to be locked out by
language) and this also forces discussions among them vis-a-vis the
content on the article as well.

Jim C. 

This is an open invitation to members of the Government of China.

Next time you are in the U.S. give me a call (I need some warning time)
and I'll take you on a personally guided tour of Indian Reservations
(Yakima, Lummi, Makah, Blackfoot, Lakota) to show you some realities
that the government of the U.S. will never show you and about which some
of our illustrious "progressive" academics know nothing and about which
some appear to care nothing.

Then we can hit some other spots on the tour. I can take you to a
shelter for refugees from U.S.-armed-and-trained death squads in Central
and Latin America. I can take you to some areas of Seattle and L.A.
where ethnic mafias (suitably anti-communist and formerly/still on CIA
payrolls) terrorize their "own people". After that, we'll have lunch at
some missions for the homeless and then we can do a little role
reversal: you work for a day in a Chinese restaurant run by Tong and
Kuomintang types and also get to see how white liberals really treat the
help when no one is watching.

Then we go to some land fills to survey the waste and products of
ostentacious lifestyles that are thrown away. We can visit some
orphanages with unwanted/unloved/disposable children that are the
products of bourgeois decadence and the ultra-invidualism/narcissism
central to the profitability/capital accumulation of capitalism.

Then we can go to some "Think Tanks" and you can interview--in
Chinese--some of our leading "China Scholars". You can sit in their
classes and see what kind of stuff they teach and produce. Perhaps we
could arrange open debates to contrast the preparation/depth/intellect
of your "America Scholars" with "our" China Scholars. Perhaps even a
tour of how the Faustian Bargains in academia are made and secured.
Perhaps some talks with actual students to get their views about the
quality of education and preparation for survival in the real world they
are getting.

Then we finish up the tour with a visit to the Court system where we can
watch "Justice" for two individuals: one rich, white and with an
expensive lawyer and one poor, non-white with a legal defender.

Call me and please bring plenty of film.

Jim Craven

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