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Thu Apr 30, 2015 at 10:22 AM PDT

Bernie Sanders runs for President

by dcampbell

Excellent piece

http://www.dailykos.com/...

source on the largest democratic socialist organization in U.S.
www.dsausa.org

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The Sacramento Bee editorial board was correct in their Friday Feb.6, 2015,  piece, “Civic Education is Essential to Democracy, “  I  congratulate them on their position. http://www.sacbee.com/...
However, they missed the boat on how to get to improved civic education.
While it is accurate that we have a general problem in California  of civic engagement of the young,  it is also true that we have a very specific problem with the rate of Latino and Asian voter participation and  civic engagement.  Together they comprise over 60% of the students in our schools.  And, the textbooks have yet to acknowledge their presence.
 Rates of voting and voter registration provide a window into civic engagement.  The proportion of state voter  registration that is Latino and Asian has remained far below the proportions of these groups in the state’s overall population. In 2010, Latinos in the state made up 37.6% of the general population while they were on 21.2 % of the registered voters. The Asian population was 13.1 % of the state but  only 8.1 % of the registered voters.

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If you believe in public education, if you think preparing students to live and work in a democracy is an important role for state government- then this election is important.  The election will set the direction of school improvement for the next four years.
California voters have a choice.   It is not a perfect choice, but the options are stark. We can continue with the current improvements in k-12 education (Torlakson), or we can move the state down the road of test driven, corporate neoliberal model of schooling (Tuck).  Wisconsin, Indiana, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Kansas, Louisiana, Texas, are following this route- and their schools are failing.
Incumbent  Tom Torlakson is a former teacher and is  supported by both major teacher unions.  He supports extension of Prop. 30 taxes passed in 2012 which have restored funding to California schools after the devastation of the national  economic crisis when over 30,000 teachers were dismissed in the state.
The corporate right wing failed in 2012 in their attempt to take away union rights in California Proposition 32  while neoliberals were successful in 2010 and 2012 in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and elsewhere.  These anti labor campaigns have severely weakened unions in the nation as described by Harold Meyerson in the new issue of the American Prospect.   http://prospect.org/... . The question in this election is whether California’s teacherwill be similarly defeated.

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Corporate “reformers” pile millions into the effort to elect an anti union  Superintendent of Public Instruction in California.

Corporate school  “reformers” have raised over $4 million from the very rich during the last week to contribute to the campaign to elect  anti union leader Marshall Tuck as Superintendent of Public Instruction in California.   According the Sacramento Bee The fund includes $1 million each from Los Angeles businessmen Bill Bloomfield and Eli Broad, a major financier of efforts to overhaul public education. The Gap co-founder Doris Fisher and Laurene Powell Jobs, philanthropist and widow of Steve Jobs, have each contributed $500,000.

Incumbent  Tom Torlakson is a former teacher and is  supported by both major teacher unions.  He supports extension of Prop. 30 taxes passed in 2012 which have restored funding to California schools after the devastation of the national  economic crisis when over 30,000 teachers were dismissed in the state.  Schools in other states without new taxes currently continue to reel from austerity budget cuts.

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Another opportunity missed.
California education policy makers have once again written and published a nice looking report on school curriculum – this one on the need for improved civic education.  As is the norm for these tasks, a group of “well respected” civic leaders have participated.
They have written a report, Revitalizing K-12 Civic Learning in California, and they call it a Blue Print for Action. http://www.powerofdemocracy.org/...
They call for a major revision of civic education.  That is fine.
On Page 42 they call for discussion of their proposals on social media. Well, here is some discussion.
 They even recognize the diversity of California students.  They say,

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A victory for the corporate “reformers” in the decision of the court in Vergara v California.
California judge Rolf Treu ruled Tuesday  in the Vergara  v.California case that California teacher tenure laws deprive students of their right to an education that is guaranteed  under the state Constitution and violates their civil rights. The decision is a major defeat for teachers’ unions and will presumably lead to challenges of tenure laws in other states.  The ruling overturned five state statutes giving California teachers firing protections and rights to tenure and seniority.
The implementation of the ruling has been stayed while under appeal.
What do the  sides  agree upon?
It is clear that many students in California receive a substandard education and that failing schools are concentrated in poor and minority neighborhoods.   The judge cites the long history of  successful law suites Serrano V. Priest I, II. III, and more that mandated changes in state funding to provide equal funding.  There is also general agreement that teacher quality is a significant factor in improving education.

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Wed Jun 04, 2014 at 01:02 PM PDT

Electoral strategy on the left ?

by dcampbell

I read the statements by Green Party activists opposing Bernie Sanders running as a Democrat.  These are being posted in many places.  That is fine.  Their position is that he should run as an independent leftist. This is an important discussion
In addition to the well intentioned appeals, lets look at some data.
Here are election results from the last Governors election in California.  The Greens and Peace and Freedom were on the ballot.
Elections—California  2010
Governor.
Jerry Brown     53.8 %    Democrat
Meg Whitman  44.6 %  Republican
Laura Wells      1.2 %    Green
Carlos Alvarez   0.9 % Peace and Freedom.

Open Primary.  2014
Governor   Jerry Brown  55.1 %
          Neil Kashkari   18.3 %  ( R)
          Tim Donnelly    14.7 %  ( R)
        …..
           Luis J. Rodriguez  1.4 %   Green
           Cindy Sheehan      1.2 %   Peace and Freedom.

In 2012  , the voters of California working with labor passed Prop, 30 to raise taxes on the rich to fund our schools and some vital social services.   This was a direct reversal of austerity.  It has produced significant progress- but not enough.
The vote was Yes  55.4 %
        No  44.6 %
The Greens run as a socialist party as does Peace and Freedom.
Beyond the fervor and the righteousness of the writers, where is the evidence that a Green candidate for President would move beyond the extreme marginalization of past candidates?
If the Green candidates are hopelessly marginal, then what is a strategy for Democratic Socialists of America and others on the left ?
Duane Campbell
Sacramento

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On March 31, Eleven  states will hold holidays celebrating  labor and Latino Leader Cesar Chavez.    A new film Cesar Chavez: An American Hero,  starring  Michael Peña   as Cesar Chavez and  Rosario Dawson  as Dolores Huerta opens in cities across the country on April 4, 2014.  Here is a trailer http: //www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLkfMrqAmD0
Here is a review by Randy Shaw. http://antiracismdsa.blogspot.com/...
Let us be clear.  Chavez was religious, but he was not a saint. Neither were the growers, the Teamster collaborators, nor corporate agribusiness saints.  Celebrations should not be about hero worship or uncritical praise, nor should we ignore the present oppression of farm workers in the U.S.  
What Chavez and Huerta did  accomplish along with Philip Vera Cruz ,  Marshall Ganz, LeRoy Chatfield, Gil Padilla and  hundreds of others was to   organize in California the first successful farm worker union against overwhelming odds.

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Julie Watson of The Associated Press reports Jan.27 in the Sacramento Bee that  nine public school students are suing the state over laws on teacher tenure and seniority which really means that the usual anti union corporate machine has launched a new front in the war on teachers.  See  https://sites.google.com/...
These students ( or their parents)  want to invalidate a series of current laws which protect teachers from political interference. Their campaign foci just happen to co-inside with campaigns of a variety of the usual corporate suspects from Michellle Rhee, the Waltons, Students First, Democrats for Educational Reform, and other well financed political action committees.
However, as we learned in the campaign against bi-lingual education ( Prop.227 in 1996), parent and student front groups can provide an effective campaign strategy. A law suite designed for publicity was an important element in the abolition of bilingual education for the children of California.  It will be difficult to get past the framing of the AP article to real issues

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Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 05:07 PM PST

I disagree with these liberals

by dcampbell

I read today the post, Adios  to Gringolandia, by One Pissed Off Liberal  and particularly the 500 + responses. I am puzzled.  This writer is leaving the U.S. because politics has become so defeating.
In our local group, The Progressive Alliance, last week we discussed the piece.   
Generation Hopeless? Occupy has left some Millennials questioning their place in social movements. BY MATTHEW RICHARDS
http://inthesetimes.com/...
In this piece the writer is not leaving the U.S., but he is giving up on politics.  These posts, the 500 responses and the viewpoints they represent concern me.
The first author tells us that he has protested, voted, picketed, etc. and  Mathew Richards records his experiences in Occupy.

I am willing to assert that I have protested, picketed, voted, organized, etc. at least as much as these writers.  I can demonstrate that if you wish. And, yes many things are currently difficult.

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Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 09:03 PM PST

The Right to Stay Home- a review

by dcampbell

The Right to Stay Home : How US Policy Drives Mexican Migration
The Right to Stay Home: How US Policy Drives Mexican Migration by David Bacon  is a well written, well informed book that explains political and economic currents shaping the US immigration experience.
The U.S. public is  engaged  in a sustained and divisive debate over immigration. Unfortunately, at the same  time ,  most U.S. do not recognize that U.S. economic policy,  particularly NAFTA created many of  the conditions that produce the very immigration of some 8 million people  that many on the Right and the Tea Party   so oppose.
The passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994 accelerated a neo-liberal form of economic growth in Mexico that drove poor farmers, particularly in the indigenous south to lose their farms and their livelihood.  In  response  young men, and increasingly the young women,  made the dangerous trek to the U.S. in search of work and an income to feed their families and keep their families from losing their  farms.  

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The Government is Open: Now fight for Just Government Policies
By Joseph M. Schwartz  

Progressives welcome the defeat of Republican efforts to use the government shutdown and the threat of government default  to overturn the Affordable Care Act.  This is a victory for majoritarian democratic government over an extreme minority’s attempt to overturn democratic legislation.  
But the democratic left should be aware  that a victory over minoritarian extremism could well be followed by a bi-partisan budget agreement  that would further gut anti-poverty programs such as Food Stamps, WIC, and Head Start, cut the real value of Social Security, and curtail Medicare and Medicaid funding.
The Senate bill that will reopen the government through Jan. 15 and extend the debt ceiling until Feb. 7 will be accompanied by a motion that instructs House and Senate negotiators to reach accord by Dec. 13 on a blueprint for taxing and spending over the next decade. The elite Washington consensus between Republicans and moderate Democrats in favor of fiscal austerity threatens to yield a bi-partisan long term budget agreement that would gut the historic gains of the New Deal and Great Society programs.
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