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Repression Breeds Resistance: Reflections on 10 Years of the Prison Industrial Complex

By: 
Isaac Ontiveros and Rachel Herzing
Date Published: 
March 11, 2011

Five years ago, one of us wrote an introduction to a series of pieces on the prison industrial complex (PIC) in Left Turn’s fifth anniversary issue. There, the police shootings of Amadou Diallo and Abner Louima, the horror of the US prison population topping 2,000,000 people, the heightened surveillance following September 11, 2001, and the rapid construction of a police state in post-Katrina New Orleans were the context for the discussion. In the five years that followed, the PIC has continued to grow and adapt to the shifting terrain of a country at war abroad and with itself.

Demilitarization as Rehumanization

By: 
Clare Bayard
Date Published: 
March 11, 2011

The antiwar movement never died. The movement has shifted to the work of long-term, community-based organizing to mount a comprehensive challenge to US militarism. This work is growing inside grassroots movements led by veterans, immigrants, queers, and low-income communities of color. Everywhere domestic militarization burns to the bone, people are fighting for a different future. The mass street marches of 2003 sought to preemptively raise the political cost of the Iraq war. We always knew that beyond those marches we would have to confront the real human cost if the wars moved ahead.

The Corporate Hijacking of Public Education

By: 
Crystal Sylvia
Date Published: 
March 11, 2011

*See "The Myth of the 'Crappy Teacher'" which accompanies this article in the print edition.

The education reform movement currently sweeping the country has been embraced by the likes of Bill Gates, President Obama, Al Sharpton, Newt Gingrich, Bill Cosby, and Oprah Winfrey. Some may be inspired to see such a divergent group joining forces to help make public schools better for children. However, when you take a closer look at the policies involved in this reform, the reality is quite chilling.

Michelle Rhee, the former Chancellor of DC Public Schools (DCPS), is the face of what needs to be called corporate education reform. The premises of corporate education reform are: the main impediments to improving public schools are teachers’ unions because they rigidly defend bad teachers; schools need to be run like businesses to make them less bureaucratic and more dynamic; educational experience is not required to be a teacher, principal, or chancellor; the corporate education reform model is the only way public education can be transformed; and success can be measured through data-driven outcomes, with the most important data being student test scores.