We’re in Deep Shit!

We’re in deep shit. This is the succinct conclusion from Nina Turner’s ignominious defeat in Cleveland this month 50-44%, The progressive wing of the party can’t be faulted for going all out for her in a bloody campaign. We pulled out all the stops. But so did our adversaries in both the Democratic and Republican parties, the neoliberal movement led by Barack Obama. He appears to have facilitated an elegant replay of the day before Super Tuesday when he convinced the neoliberal allies ganged up on Bernie to oust him from the race. It worked in the sense that despite […]

The Zone of Proximal Development and Political Organizing

It might be useful to those of us on the left who are sincere about implementing our vision of a human-centered society to think of ourselves as teachers and learners. One tool that teachers use is the zone of proximal development, a pedagogical concept developed by Soviet psychologist Lev Vigotsky in the 1920s. The way to teach a student is to learn from that student what they already know then help them to understand the next step. If you give them work that’s too easy, they won’t learn anything useful. If you give them work which is too hard, they […]

Oakland Black Student Reparations

On Wednesday, February 24, 2021, at 5:30 PM the Oakland Board of Education will be voting on a proposal for Reparations for Black Students. You can get the link to the meeting here. Brought forth by a broad coalition of groups including the teachers union, Parent Voices, Black Organizing Project, and many others, this is an enormous step forward. It is likely to pass in some form, but two things to watch for: (1) Some board members may oppose and separate the critical provision to STOP ALL SCHOOL CLOSINGS, a racial justice issue. OUSD has closed 16 historically Black schools […]

Election Post Mortem

Here’s the deal. Black people elected Joe Biden, and he owes them big time. It’s time to once again raise the one demand that fully challenges white supremacy: reparations. The constitution has reproduced what it was written to produce: a white supremacist republic. Leftists have tended to extol the virtues of the American Revolution, Tom Paine, Jefferson at least rhetorically. I think we need to revise our view. 1776 was a slave owners revolt. As well as a revolt of the land pirate Native genociders. They could see the writing on the wall from London, which abolished slavery in 1831, […]

Dismantling Systemic Racism in the Schools

DISMANTLING SYSTEMIC RACISM IN THE SCHOOLS: A Grassroots Strategy Thanks to Black Lives Matter – the New York Times estimated that up to 25 million people were in the streets worldwide in the months of May and June, 2020 – the issue of systemic racism and how to dismantle it has risen to the fore of the political discourse. Clearly, the police represent the front line of systemic racism, as indicated by the fact that although Blacks represent 13% of the population, they comprise 36% of police killings. Defunding the Police as a demand raised by BLM effectively addresses this […]

The OWG Brigade

NOTICE TO ANY SPOOKS WHO MIGHT BE LISTENING: THIS IS SATIRE It is possible that something approaching civil war is imminent in the United States. Already five people have died in confrontations between antiracists and white supremacists, beyond those killed by the police. The situation may escalate quickly, particularly if the election is as inconclusive as many expect. I would like to propose that we form the OWG Brigade, a group of Old White Guys over the age of 70 to assume the front lines in the upcoming battles. Why is it always the youth that are killed in wars? […]

Will we need to make the country “ungovernable?”

I watched some of both conventions, especially the final acceptance speeches. I’m voting for Biden as a strategy to better maintain democratic spaces in order to organize the working class for fundamental change. But I don’t remember a single thing he said in his acceptance speech. Trump was brilliant. I know that’s not an adjective usually associated with this seriously disturbed man. What was most brilliant was giving the speech at the White House in front of an enthusiastic crowd. Yeah, they weren’t social distancing nor were many wearing masks. Some of them may die. Doesn’t change the effect of […]

Top 13 Movies Celebrating Black Liberation

These are my personal choices. There are doubtlessly more, some I may not know about. Please contribute your own suggestions in the comments. Malcolm X (1992): Spike Lee’s masterful bio pic which rivals Citizen Kane as best movie ever IMHO. Chi-Raq (2015): A musical comedy about urban/gang – and worldwide – violence based on Aeschylus’ Lysistrata told in hip-hop verse (think sex strike)! And it works! Deacons for Defense (2003): Forest Whittaker and Ossie Davis in a drama about armed resistance among Alabama Blacks in the Civil Rights Movement. Freedom Road (1979): Muhammed Ali (!) stars in this Reconstruction story about armed resistance to […]

Learning Pods and Hubs

LEARNING PODS AND HUBS: There’s been a lot of news in the press about learning pods and hubs. Pods are the spontaneous creation of mostly middle class parents to address the weaknesses of the remote learning programs. Families get together, and, for as much as $2000 a child, they form clusters of ten or so children, with tutors and unemployed teachers to assist and coordinate the children’s learning. It’s sort of a grass roots movement, but of primarily privileged families. San Francisco is allegedly forming learning hubs at various libraries and recreation centers, for low-income students without access to internet […]

Socialist Strategy and the Biden Debate

I’m presenting a guest blog this week from Max Elbaum. This is the article I have been wanting to write for weeks. Max nailed it. I know it’s long, but please read the whole article. This man has a mountain of experience and years of study and thought on now to build a revolutionary socialist movement in the U. S and world-wide. This is the kind of thinking  – as well as the comradely tone – we need right now. SOCIALIST STRATEGY AND THE BIDEN DEBATE By Max Elbaum, One of the editors at Organizing Upgrade. The COVID-19 pandemic and […]