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Featured 30th Anniversary Article: “Back to Basics: A Politics of Meaning for Education”

Aug17

by: Svi Shapiro on August 17th, 2016 | No Comments »

[Managing Editor's note: Tikkun is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and to mark the date we have put together a special online anniversary issue that you can access at www.tikkun.org/tikkunat30. The issue includes articles, like the one featured in this post below, from the first decade of the magazine that are representative of what we have been doing for 30 years. And as another way to mark the occasion, we have temporarily reduced the price of a one-year print subscription to the magazine from $29 to $18. Click hereor visit http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/28103-2to subscribe! Already have one? They also make great gifts!]

From Tikkun Volume 8, No. 1. 1993.

If the Clinton administration wants to succeed in changing America’s education system, it must start by recognizing that the Right’s campaign to “return to basics” contains, at its heart, critical insights into the psychological, moral, and social context in which parents face their own future and that of their children. Although progressives have dismissed the conservative education agenda, citing its dehumanizing prescriptions and its distractions from the real issues, the Right has been able to harness deep-seated human concerns and anxieties to the practices and goals of schooling. As we build our own politics of educational meaning, it becomes imperative for us to take these concerns seriously and to address them in ways that will genuinely enhance the dignity, responsibility, freedom, and opportunities of the young.

Basic Skills: Toward a Curriculum for Survival

One of the rallying cries of those who believe America’s schools are cheating youngsters out of their educational “rights” has been the need to emphasize–or re-emphasize–the “basics.” On the surface, at least, what the basics are seems straightforward: teaching kids how to read, write, and do arithmetic. At one level there is an unassailable sensibleness to this demand: It is debilitating, disempowering, and deeply injurious for any American to lack these skills.

There is in the expectation that schools will instruct children so that they are functionally literate and numerate an obvious logic that is reinforced daily by the experiences of working-class and middle-class parents. To the extent that radical or progressive educators have taken issue with the Right’s version of the argument for the primacy of basics in the schools, they have seemed out of touch with Americans’ everyday concerns, needs, and demands. No agenda for education can possibly succeed if it does not take seriously the importance of teaching reading, writing, and numeracy.


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Featured 30th Anniversary Article: “The Rhetoric of Occupation”

Aug17

by: David Biale on August 17th, 2016 | 3 Comments »

[Managing Editor's note: Tikkun is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and to mark the date we have put together a special online anniversary issue that you can access atwww.tikkun.org/tikkunat30. The issue includes articles, like the one featured in this post below, from the first decade of the magazine that are representative of what we have been doing for 30 years. And as another way to mark the occasion, we have temporarily reduced the price of a one-year print subscription to the magazine from $29 to $18. Clickhereor visithttp://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/28103-2to subscribe! Already have one? They also make great gifts!]

From Tikkun Vol. 5, No. 2. 1990.

When I spoke this past November at the Tikkun conference in San Francisco, I began my remarks with an official disclaimer: I was speaking, I said, only for myself – my institutional affiliation was for identification purposes only. One might well ask why I began by stating the obvious. I did so because it is no longer possible to speak out freely on Israel without the risk of incurring venomous wrath and threats, both veiled and unveiled, to one’s very livelihood. There is a witch-hunt abroad in the land and many of us in the Jewish community are the witches.

Let me cite a few cases, taken more or less at random.

- Arthur Waskow is forced to resign from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College for advocating the creation of a Palestinian state;

- The Zionist Organization of America maintains files (which it publishes for its members) on American Jews who have taken pro-peace positions such as endorsing the Jewish Peace Lobby and signing ads sponsored by Tikkun

- A branch of the American Jewish Congress loses its funding from a major Jewish foundation because it allows another organization to use a room in order to hear a Palestinian speaker;

- Newspapers in the Bay Area report that the Israeli consul-general has spied on and harassed Jewish educational and communal organizations that have dared to engage in dialogue with the insidious P-people;

- Activists in Friends of Peace Now in Toronto report that they regularly receive death threats whenever they mount any kind of program or demonstration.


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The Greatest Show on Earth How Billions of Words, Tweets, Insults, and Polls Blot Out Reality in Campaign 2016

Aug12

by: Tom Engelhardt on August 12th, 2016 | No Comments »

From our ally Tom Engelhardt at TomDispatch.com

Yep, it finally happened. Inearly May, after a long, long run, the elephants of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus were ushered into retirement in Florida where they will finish their days aidingcancer research. The Greatest Show on Earth was done with its pachyderms. The same might be said about the Republicans after Donald Trump’s version of a GOP convention. Many of them had also been sent, far less gracefully than those circus elephants, into a kind ofenforced retirement(without even cancer research as an excuse). Their former party remained in the none-too-gentle hands of the eternally aggrieved Trump, while the Democrats were left to happily chant “USA! USA!,” march a barking retiredfour-star generaland aformer CIA directoron stage to invoke the indispensable “greatness” of America, and otherwise exhibit the kind of super-patriotism and worship of the military usually associated with… no question about it… the GOP (whose delegates insteadspent their timechantinglock her up!“).

And that’s just to take the tiniest of peeks at a passing moment in what continues to be, without the slightest doubt, the Greatest Show on Earth in 2016.


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An interview with African American scholar Adolph Reed on Bernie Sander’s Campaign and the New Class Politics

Aug12

by: Adolph Reed & Daniel Zamora on August 12th, 2016 | No Comments »

This article was originally published here.

Bernie Sanders’s campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination was historic. The expectations were, to say the least, modest. One year ago, ex-Obama chief strategist David Axelrod didn’t hesitate to mock his candidacy saying that “people will have a fling with Bernie. Bernie is like a great fun date because you know he’s not going to be around town too long, and I think you’re going to see people flirt with that.”

But, against all odds, within months Sanders would raise over $200 million in small contributions, and win more than thirteen million votes (43 percent of the total) and twenty-three states. Though he fell short of the nomination, Sanders left an impact on a generation of new voters and the political discourse in the country.

What exactly that will mean for the Left and the country’s labor movement remains to be seen. But in an interview for the Belgian journal Etudes Marxistes, Adolph Reed discussed the phenomenon and what it could mean for the future.



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Patriotic Muslim Dad Hails Dead Son’s Participation in US Crime Against Humanity in Muslim Iraq

Aug11

by: Jay Janson on August 11th, 2016 | 7 Comments »

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When she was Senator, Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton voted for the US invasion of Iraq, an obvious international crime against humanity that would take the lives of a million and half innocent Muslims, probably half of them children. Last week her nominating Democratic Convention, featured a Muslim father, whose son was killed participating in US crime against Muslim people ranting about what a bad guy her opponent Donald Trump is and praising himself and his son as patriotic, though Trump had spoken out against the illegal and criminal invasion of Iraq.

Here below, are the very terse, concise, precise, unequivocal, brief to the point, clear and easy to understand Nuremberg Principles of International Law, mostly written by Americans, signed on to by all nations and first used to hang a number of Nazi leaders of a Germany, that invaded only some twenty nations – US since has invaded perhaps more than as twice that number.[1] (Few Americans are interested in this comparison)

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The Box: Solitary Confinement Takes Center Stage

Aug9

by: Sarah Asch on August 9th, 2016 | No Comments »

The Box , a play directed by Michael John Garcés and written by Sarah Shourd.

A white supremacist with a swastika tattooed above his left eye addresses the audience: “People without hope are fucking dangerous.”

One of six characters in The Box, a play that debuted at Z Space theater in San Francisco in July, Jake Juchau (played by Clive Worsley) presents one image of life in long-term solitary confinement. The play was written by Sarah Shourd, an American journalist who spent 410 days in solitary in Iran after being accused of espionage, and then returned to the U.S. and began conducting research about the domestic uses of solitary confinement.

“Years of research went into this play,” Shourd notes in the playbill. “I traveled to visit prisoners in solitary confinement in 13 facilities across the country.” Shourd also explains that the six prisoners in her play are fictional combinations of the real life stories she gathered. “The characters in The Box won’t allow us to sit comfortably in our own skins,” Shourd writes. “They force us to ask questions: Why are we torturing people in lieu of rehabilitation? What are we going to do about the violence plaguing our society? How does change happen? How do we connect our own suffering to something larger?”


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Trumped

Aug5

by: David Swanson on August 5th, 2016 | 3 Comments »

This article was originally published atdavidswanson.org

Why would it be that 8 years ago you couldn’t win a Democratic presidential primary if you’d voted for a war on Iraq afterpushingall the Bush White House lies about it, and yet now you can? Back then the war looked closer to ending, the death count was lower, and ISIS was only in the planning stages. Reports on the fraud, criminality, and knowingly self-destructive nature of the war launch — reports like the Chilcot report — hadn’t yet been produced. How can you drag this albatross across the finish line at this late date in 2016?

Well, you can’t, in fact. Claiming that Hillary Clinton won the 2016 primary is like claiming Bush won the 2000 election. It’s one of those things that everyone will say, using it as shorthand, and repeating it until everyone forgets that the thing wasstolen. So, let me rephrase: How can you get people to pretenden massethat you won the 2016 Democratic presidential primary despite lugging around the same baggage as 8 years before only now stuffed with putrid rotting flesh?

And not only that, but how can you pull loved ones of people you sent to kill and kill and kill and die in that criminal calamity onto the stage of your coronation convention and get people to cheer for it?

How can you get your supporters to scream “U – S – A! U – S – A!” at anyone who shouts “No more war”?


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But, Mr. Putin, You Just Don’t Understand

Aug4

by: By David Swanson on August 4th, 2016 | 1 Comment »

This article was originally published here

Once in a while one of the videos somebody emails me a link to turns out to be well worth watching. Such is this one. In it a former U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union tries to explain to Vladimir Putin why new U.S. missile bases near the border of Russia should not be understood as threatening. He explains that the motivation in Washington, D.C., is not to threaten Russia but to create jobs. Putin responds that, in that case, the United States could have created jobs in peaceful industries rather than in war.

Putin may or may not be familiar with U.S. economic studies finding that, in fact, the same investment in peaceful industries would create more jobs than does military spending. But he is almost certainly aware that, in U.S. politics, elected officials have, for the better part of a century, only been willing to invest heavily in military jobs and no others. Still, Putin, who may also be familiar with how routine it has become for Congress members to talk about the military as a jobs program, appears in the video a bit surprised that someone would offer that excuse to a foreign government fixed in U.S. sights.

Timothy Skeers who sent me the video link commented: “Maybe Khrushchev should have just told Kennedy he was just trying to create jobs for Soviet citizens when he put those missiles in Cuba.” Imagining how that would have played out may help people in the United States to grasp how their elected officials sound to the rest of the world.


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“Pow, Pow, Yous Are Dead!” Children, Toy Guns, and the Real Thing By

Aug4

by: Frida Berrigan on August 4th, 2016 | No Comments »

[From our ally TomDispatch.com]

 

It was a beautiful evening and the kids — Madeline, two; Seamus, almost four; and Rosena, nine — were running across a well-tended town green. Seamus pointed his rainbow flag with the feather handle at his sisters and “pow-powed” them, calling out, “Yous are dead now, guys. I shot yous.”

Madeline and Rosena laughed and just kept on running, with Seamus at their heels. I hid my face in my hands. It wasn’t just that he was playing guns, but that he was using a Pride flag as his gun at a vigil to mourn those killed at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. My pacifist husband Patrick ran to redirect their activities, replacing the flag with a ball and glove and beginning a game of catch. Vigil organizers were taking turns reading the names of those killed into a microphone.

“… Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22
Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36
Luis S. Vielma, 22…”


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She Stoops to Conquer: Notes From the Democratic Convention

Aug3

by: Jeffrey St. Clair on August 3rd, 2016 | 2 Comments »

Rabbi Lerner’s Note: Now don’t go jumping to the conclusion that I agree with Jeff St. Clair’s perspective just because I’ve posted it here. As I repeatedly say, we want a variety of perspectives on the elections on our website, and welcome yours if it’s original, lively, says something most of our readers will not have likely heard in the mainstream media, and is smart. That is not the same thing as true or accurate Asi turns out, he has written columns in which he denounces me personally as an apologist for Zionism (I wish he’d send those charges to the American Jewish leaders who repeatedly attack me for being an anti-Israel self-hating Jew!) So you have to judge for yourself if his perceptions match yours on what was happening at the convention. But we thought there were some points here worth considering, though that doesn’t mean we agree with them. Our goal is to create a contexgt in which you can read a variety of voices that never get into the lamestream media! To keep us alive, please subscribe to Tikkun at www.tikkun.org/subscribe or even better, join our interfaith and secular-humanist-and-atheist-welcoming Network of Spiritual Progressives at www.spiritualprogressives.org (membership in which at the $50 or more level gets you a free subscription to Tikkun plus more.

This Article was originally published by Jeffery St. Clair here

 

 

+ First things first. I want to apologize to the Sandernistas for any impolite things I may havewritten about youin the past 10 months.

I especially want to apologize to those of you who rose up after your leader abandoned you,

after Bernie wiped out your votes and muted your voices,

after he turned you over to the DNC’s thuggish floor managers and security guards,


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