“Private power doesn’t like public education, for many reasons. One is the principle on which it’s based, which is threatening to power. Public education is based on a principle of solidarity. So, for example, I had my children fifty years ago. Nevertheless, I feel and I’m supposed to feel that I should pay taxes so that the kids across the street can go to school. That’s counter to the doctrine that you should just look after yourself and let everyone else fall by the wayside, a basic principle of business rule. Public education is a threat to that belief system because it builds up a sense of solidarity, community, mutual support. The same is true of Social Security. That’s one of the reasons that there is such a passionate attempt to destroy Social Security, even though there are no economic reasons to do so, none of any significance at least. But public education and Social Security are residues of a dangerous conception that we’re all in this together and we have to work together to create a better life and a better future. If you’re trying to maximize profit or maximize consumption, then working together is the wrong idea. It has to be beaten out of people’s heads. Solidarity makes it hard to control people and prevents them from being passive objects of private power. So you have a propaganda system that overcomes any deviations from the principle of subjugation to power systems.”
— Noam Chomsky. Power Systems: Conversations on Global Democratic Uprisings and the New Challenges to U.S. Empire. (via getweirdtonight)
A Quebec cabinet minister delivered a curt apology Wednesday for linking the symbol of the province’s protest movement to violence and intimidation.
“If people were hurt by my comments I’m sorry,” Culture Minister Christine St-Pierre told reporters in a brief scrum before heading into question period.
The minister had been fielding a barrage of condemnation from her opponents, and from artists, for comments she made earlier in the week.
She had tied the red square to violence and intimidation after a prominent artist had refused to come to the national assembly to accept an award — as knight of the National Order of Quebec.
Storyteller Fred Pellerin said he was bursting with pride over the recognition but that, after thinking about it for a while, he decided he would have felt guilty for accepting such a prize while Quebec was embroiled in a social crisis.
It was in reaction to Pellerin’s decision that the minister made the comments.
Speaking of debts, as most governments now do in order to explain why they can’t create anything and need to cut back on whatever is already there, here’s what I think we owe to those striking Quebec students.
We owe them for taking a shot at saving our national honour in the eyes of the world. We’ve lost brownie points on the environment, our even-handedness in areas like the Mideast, our commitment to peacekeeping — but their campaign for equal, publicly funded access to higher education hits a note closer to that other, previous Canada…
The students have fought this one on the issue of free — in the sense of publicly funded — post-secondary education. If post-secondary seems a bridge too far, think about this: any argument you can make against accessible post-secondary schooling, would apply in exactly the same way to high schools and elementary. In fact, during the last Depression, when high school still wasn’t widely available, there were the same arguments you hear now about how we couldn’t afford it. It was then, in that economic mess, that the fight was fought. I’m not talking about Quebec; it happened here in Ontario. The students aren’t just out to save a few bucks personally; they’re fighting for a historic principle.
OK, now having opened the door, as they say in the courtroom shows, I suppose I have to address the cry: There isn’t enough money! Along with its twin: The numbers don’t lie. Actually, since numbers are animated by people, they do anything people do: they lie, obscure, omit — so let me just point this out: When something is a widely agreed social priority, the numbers obediently adjust. The money gets found. That happens in every war and natural disaster. In those cases nobody ever says there’s no money. They raise taxes, rejig priorities, rearrange financial schedules. Suddenly it’s no prob. In other words, this isn’t just about economics, it’s about politics…
Rick Salutin in The Toronto Star (more here)
Tim DeChristopher is the only person to have been named an Utne Reader visionary while in prison: He’s serving a two-year sentence for disrupting a federal oil and gas lease auction in Utah in an act of environmental protest.
One reason we nominated DeChristopher as a visionary is because he became a hugely inspirational figure to other environmentalists as he wrote and spoke about his principled act of civil disobedience right up until he was led to his cell. But make no mistake: He is in prison mainly because he dared to continue speaking out.