One of Bill Ayers’ courses at the University of Illinois includes Pedagogy of the Oppressed as required reading. Author Paulo Freire, a Brazilian Marxist, declared:
“This, then, is the great humanistic and historical task of the oppressed: to liberate themselves and their oppressors as well.”
It turns out that the Freire book is required reading in “Raza Studies” or Mexican-American courses in the high schools in Tucson, Arizona, where students have been protesting Arizona’s new immigration law. Other required books are Occupied America by Rodolfo Acuña, a professor emeritus of Chicano studies at California State University in Northridge (CSUN), and Prison Notebooks by Antonio Gramsci, the Italian Communist.
Occupied America, the fifth edition, includes an image of Fidel Castro on the front cover, and Castro and Che Guevara on the back cover. It refers to white people as “gringos” and actually includes a quotation on page 323 from Jose Angel Gutierrez of the Mexican American Youth Organization (MAYO), who was angry over the cancellation of a government program. He declared:
“We are fed up. We are going to move to do away with the injustice to the Chicano and if the ‘gringo’ doesn’t get out of our way, we will stampede over him.”
The book goes on:
“Gutierrez attacked the gringo establishment angrily at a press conference and called upon Chicanos to ‘Kill the gringo,’ which meant to end white control over Mexicans.”
Reviewing this material for the National Association of Scholars, Ashley Thorne commented that, “Actually, ‘kill the gringo’ meant ‘kill the gringo.’ But admitting that makes Mexicans look radical, infuriated, revolutionary. Acuña sidestepped that image and substituted it with one of browbeaten Latinos rising to overthrow injustice.”
The Arizona citizens upset about this kind of material said that they initiated an investigation into the problem back in 2007 and found it difficult to get access to the books. One activist said the concern began when parents came to be aware of violence in the schools directed against white and black children. “This investigation was undertaken to find the roots of this hate,” she told me. Another person, in turn, “told me the books in their Mexican-American classes are kept under ‘lock and key’ and the kids can’t even take them home. She said she asked to see them but they were very secretive about them and she was prohibited.”
However, the citizen activists persisted, demanding access to the books under a state open records law. The courses, after all, are taxpayer-funded. Eventually, a list of books was produced, and a controversy ensued.
The footnotes for Pedagogy of the Oppressed tell us a lot about the nature of the book. Sources include Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Mao, Herbert Marcuse, and Vladimir Lenin.
The American Educational Research Association (AERA), which Bill Ayers serves as a vice-president, includes a “Paulo Freire Special Interest Group” in his honor. AERA has more than 25,000 members, including “educators; administrators; directors of research; persons working with testing or evaluation in federal, state and local agencies; counselors; evaluators; graduate students; and behavioral scientists.”
More open than even Bill Ayers about the mission, Paula Allman wrote Critical Education Against Global Capitalism, incorporating the ideas of Marx, Freire and Antonio Gramsci, the Italian communist who emphasized the subversion of Western cultural institutions such as the educational system. Allman is in the School of Continuing Education at the University of Nottingham, England. The foreward to her book is by UCLA Professor Peter McLaren, one of those on Bill Ayers’ own “blog roll” of favorite web sites, and an open advocate of “Revolution as education,” the subtitle of one of his books. Allman, he wrote, was “part of a bold new group of Marxist educationalists in Britain…”
Here, McLaren is leading the charge, as Ayers tags along and gets most of the “glory.”
Bill Ayers explains to his students that Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed is “a complicated and layered book that will likely take you some time and sustained commitment.” This is a book written by a Marxist for the purpose of sparking communist revolution. As the title indicates, this is a Marxist view of oppressors and the oppressed. Hence, students reading this book are supposed to come to an understanding of how various groups in society are being “oppressed.” In fact, students themselves may come to believe, under careful guidance, that they, too, are members of the “oppressed” class. Didn’t such a realization lead to the “student movement” of the 1960s, of which Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dohrn, were prominent members?
Perhaps this has something to do with the “new SDS,” a new group of student activists being groomed by the Movement for a Democratic Society, under the watchful eyes of Ayers, Dohrn and their comrades.
The “Oppressed” in America
In the hands of a skillful “educator,” and in the context of the reading of Pedagogy of the Oppressed and Occupied America, the apparent aim is to convince the Mexican-American youth that they are the victims of the “oppressors” -– white society. Occupied America opens with a map of “The Mexican Republic, 1821,” showing Mexico in control of the Southwest United States. The subtitle of Occupied America, “A History of Chicanos,” sets the tone. Freire promises them “liberation” from the gringos.
There are many obvious flaws in the book, and the treatment of communist subversion in the Western hemisphere is one of them. The book examines the wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua in the 1980s from the standpoint of the U.S. trying to maintain “North American hegemony” and the power of the “ruling elite.” President Reagan is portrayed as a fool for insisting that the Soviets and Cubans constituted any kind of threat to the region. Pro-communist groups such as the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) are depicted as helping refugees and countering “Reagan’s propaganda.”
But Reagan is attacked not only for resisting communist subversion. “In 1981 Reagan declared war on working families by firing 11,400 air traffic controllers…” it declares. When Reagan was elected president, “he appointed his Mexicans to offices.” (emphasis in original). The book explains that Reagan’s Mexicans were not “committed people” but “were conservative” and, for the most part, had “few links to the community.” What’s more, “resistance to bilingual education increased during the Ronald Reagan years,” it says ominously.
Despite a controversy over the use of such books as Occupied America in the Tucson, Arizona schools, the University of Arizona in 2008 co-sponsored a four-day institute with Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican American/Raza Studies program that featured Peter McLaren as a keynote speaker. McLaren’s website opens with music and the face of Che Guevara on a red flag urging people to “join the revolution,” while another speaker, Sandy Grande, an associate professor of education at Connecticut College, has a website that features a Che Guevara quotation:
“The first step to educate the people is to introduce them to the revolution. Never pretend you can help them conquer their rights by education alone, while they must endure a despotic government.”
Grande’s research “has focused on critical theory and American Indian intellectualism and she has written widely on topics that include revolutionary struggle, identity, power and environmental ethics.” According to her bio, Professor Grande’s approach “is profoundly inter- and cross-disciplinary, and has included the integration of critical, feminist and Marxist theories of education with the concerns of American Indian and environmental education.” It says that she “teaches Foundations of Modern Education, School and Society, and Methods of Teaching. In addition to these courses, she has also taught courses in Multicultural Education, History of American Education, and the Pedagogy of Revolution.”
Grande, chair of the Education Department, says that “our legacy builds upon on a long list of teacher/intellectuals: Paulo Freire, Maxine Greene, Peter McLaren, Michelle Fine, Antonia Darder, Joel Spring, Michael Apple, Marie Clay, Linda Thuwai Smith, Lisa Delpit, and Vine Deloria.”
Ayers must be wondering why he failed to make the grade.
One of the leading critics of the Freire approach is Sol Stern of the Manhattan Institute, who points out that China and Cuba, “whose regimes Mr. Freire praised,” never reformed their own educational systems along these lines and instead have concentrated on producing more industrial managers, engineers and scientists.
It seems that Pedagogy of the Oppressed is being reserved for the capitalist countries still in need of “liberation.”
In a lengthy analysis, Stern notes that Pedagogy of the Oppressed “has achieved near-iconic status in America’s teacher-training programs” and that one study found that it was “one of the most frequently assigned texts” in the curricula of 16 schools of education — 14 of them among the top-ranked institutions in the country. “These course assignments are undoubtedly part of the reason that, according to the publisher, almost 1 million copies have sold, a remarkable number for a book in the education field,” he noted.
The Fake “Conservatives” in Britain
Guess which political party is dedicated to funding “the training of an army of independent community organizers to help people establish and run neighborhood groups?” It’s the British Conservative Party, which “won” the May 6 elections but failed to get a majority of members of Parliament. It was the first “hung parliament,” with no party getting a majority, since 1974.
But don’t assume that because this party, led by David Cameron, calls itself and is called “conservative,” that it is truly conservative. This “conservative” party had actually adopted variations on the ideas of the left-wing and socialist parties in Britain. It openly said that it favored the idea of creating a “Big Society” supposedly as an alternative to Big Government.
Making a complete mockery of the term “conservative,” the British Conservative Party also wants:
- A new “Big Society Bank,”
- A “National Citizen Service,”
- An annual “Big Society Day” to celebrate the work of neighborhood groups and encourage more people to take part in social action.
In reports in advance of the British election, our media were referring to the “center-right” British Conservative Party. But this party is on the left, in terms of many domestic, social, and foreign policy issues, and was not “conservative” in any traditional sense. It offered voters very little alternative to the competing leftist parties.
This is a warning of what happens when traditional conservatism is watered down and loses its appeal and meaning. This will continue to happen to the Republican Party if it continues to ignore the “values voters,” caters to socially “progressive” libertarians, and spends money on such things as lesbian dancers at strip clubs. This actually occurred under chairman Michael Steele.
Except for some talk about making bureaucracy more efficient, the British Conservative Party became a laughingstock in terms of promoting limited government. What’s more, it had moved far to the left in order to attract votes from the sexually different.
A story on the British Conservative Party website, “Conservatives Champion Gay Equality,” said, “Under the leadership of David Cameron, the British Conservative Party has gone further in supporting gay equality than other centre-right parties in similar countries and the Party is now taking the case for greater equality to America, in particular highlighting the benefits of civil partnerships. [Nick] Herbert discussed the issue on the [British] Today programme, and is due to give a speech at the Cato Institute in Washington D.C. on the theme.”
The “Gay” Conservatives
Herbert, who is openly homosexual, is the Conservative Party Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. He “married” his boyfriend last year.
Herbert said in the speech at Cato, a major libertarian think tank in the U.S., that “I’m especially honored to be sharing a platform with one of Britain’s most valuable exports, Andrew Sullivan.”
Keep in mind that Andrew Sullivan, who is HIV-positive, was caught soliciting so-called “bare-backing sex”-unprotected anal intercourse-with other homosexuals. This revelation, however, hasn’t hurt his marketability on the liberal talk show circuit, especially the Chris Matthews show. Sullivan, who sometimes calls himself a “gay conservative,” has since “married” another man.
At Cato, Herbert said he looked forward to the day when “the Prime Minister of the UK or the President of the United States could just as easily be gay as black.”
He declared that homosexuality “isn’t a condition to be cured and it can’t be willed away through prayer.” In fact, however, homosexuality can be cured or changed through secular therapy, ministries, and other methods. That is why the group, Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, exists.
The Cato Institute is the preferred vehicle for insinuating such “values” as homosexuality into the conservative movement and the Republican Party here. Cato is also militantly pro-marijuana.
Cameron, Conservative Party leader and candidate for Prime Minister in the May 6 election, says he is not only pleased that the age of consent for gay men was reduced from 21 to 18 in 1994 and to 16 in 2000, but believes that criminal convictions related to past homosexual activity should be expunged from one’s personal records.
Here were some other gems from Cameron:
- “We are totally committed to the fight for gay rights and there will be absolutely no going back on equality legislation if a Conservative government is elected next month.”
- “We have backed tougher legislation to crack down on gay hatred and we will extend tax advantages and new rights to flexible working to those in civil partnerships.”
The reference to “gay hatred” is designed to justify government repression of those with anti-homosexual views.
Cameron was so desperate for gay votes that he gave an interview to a British publication known as Gay Times, which advertises “gay escorts” and “the hottest hardest online gay movies.” He also announced that he would send Herbert to Poland to try to convince Polish Catholic politicians to tone down their opposition to homosexuality.
Sounding like Obama’s “safe schools” czar Kevin Jennings, who promoted homosexuality in schools before getting his administration job, Cameron told a British publication called “Pink News” that he wants to give teachers “the tools” they need to deal with prejudicial attitudes such as “homophobia” in the schools. He also declared:
- A willingness to consider additional funding for transgendered people suffering from mental problems;
- That he rejects “socially conservative views,” which he compares to “homophobia;”
- That gay couples should be free to adopt children;
- That tax breaks for married couples should also be granted to homosexuals in a “civil partnership.”
Branching into other areas, the British Conservative Party favors:
- Action “to combat climate change” and “immediate action to give Britain leadership in a low carbon world.”
- “A strong and effective relationship with China.”
- “We will back the NHS [National Health Service]. We will increase health spending every year.”
There is a section in the party’s “Conservative Manifesto 2010” that calls for “One World Conservatism,” including a commitment to fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations by spending more on foreign aid.
It happens to be the same goal as that of the “progressive” Obama Administration.
Don’t be fooled by the “conservative” victory in Britain.
Kagan’s Goldman and Gay Controversies
President Obama says he wants his Supreme Court nominees to represent ordinary people. But how many of them sat as paid members of an advisory panel for Goldman Sachs, now under indictment for deceiving investors? USA Today was the first to disclose that Obama Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan was on the Goldman panel from 2005 to 2008.
The White House played down the connection, and most of the media followed suit. Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said her work for Goldman had nothing to do with the activities in the case that the Securities and Exchange Commission has filed against the firm. He claimed, “This is a panel that had absolutely nothing to do with the decisions that Goldman has made that they’re now being investigated for.”
So what did she do for Goldman anyway? Where are the minutes of those meetings? Goldman describes its Global Markets Institute as being in the business of providing “research and high-level advisory services to policymakers, regulators and investors around the world.”
At the recent Goldman annual meeting, Peter Flaherty of the National Legal & Policy Center confronted Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein about Goldman’s financial support of Jesse Jackson. Blankfein said he didn’t know if Goldman supported Jackson. Flaherty said, “I challenged him by asking, ‘You do not know?’ and ‘You give Jackson’s group six-figure sums and you don’t know about it?’ I believe that Blankfein does know and he was being dishonest.”
So what about Goldman and Kagan? More work needs to be done by the media on this controversy. Our media should not be content with what the White House and Goldman say
Answers are also needed in regard to reports that Kagan is a lesbian. Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth points out, “Kagan has a strong pro-homosexual record, including, as Harvard dean, fighting to keep military recruiters off the campus because the military bars homosexuals. Americans certainly have a right to know if her activism is driven by deeply personal motivations that could undermine her fairness as a judge.”