Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Enterprise village

by geezer in Paris Sun Jun 3rd, 2007 at 08:42:41 AM EST

             Enterprise Village

     --or, Foundations of Democracy?

Some years ago we needed to return to the US because of what was becoming a family diplomatic emergency- a new baby was coming. Relatives were overwhelmed with the need to participate in that strange ritual of being as involved as possible in the rather sloppy birth drama.  It was the middle of the school year. My son Adrian was ten, and would need to get into school, but we were not too worried- he had available to him one of the better public schools in the area, and all his records were in order.
When we registered him, we were told that we were fortunate- that a new program called "Enterprise Village" was being initiated for the good students, and that he could participate---if his three years of French schooling had not retarded his educational development too severely. When tests showed him to be about two years ahead of his American cohorts, we heard no more about that issue.

From the diaries - afew


Based on the cooperation of local and national business groups, and the local school system, Enterprise Village was to be a harbinger of the future- a shining example of how to properly prepare kids for the new job opportunities that were being created for the next generation of young workers. This description was at least partially true- this sort of program is now common in the U.S.

Adrian was a good student then, and loved to read, to learn and to think. He was ambivalent about going back. His language skills and cultural adaptation had finally reached the point where he was at home in France and in French schools, and he had friends. We told him that it  was temporary, and that he would have the chance to decide for himself where he wished to reside and to learn. The school he would attend was the same one he had attended before we came to France, and that helped. He reluctantly agreed.

Any experienced traveler can imagine the chaos as we reassembled a household in our abandoned-looking home in Florida and prepared for the arrival of a new baby. At least school was a done deed, we thought--one less thing on our plate--and we shipped Adrian off to the "Village", and got on with adjusting to being back.

The administrative staff at Adrian's school was well known to us. We had pulled him out of the same school and moved to France four years earlier when they stashed the library in boxes and turned the space into a "Media center", so we had some real differences with their approach. But we were confident that our boy was in well-meaning hands, and the options were limited. The sincerity and good intentions of the principal and her team was real, and her good humor was contagious. So we swallowed our doubts, and stuck him in there.

Adrian, however, was not so happy. He would come home a bit bedraggled, and bury himself in his old books, which he had rediscovered in our library. Wondrous event! A feast for the mind- an entire room full of books, many of which he could now, for the first time, read for himself. Kipling's Jungle Book, in the full size version, was now intelligible to him! So it was a while before we realized that he was miserable. Months, in fact.

By the time we thought to remark on his black moods, and to question him about them, he seemed to be adapting to the new school. Yet his joy in learning seemed to be waning.
We asked about "enterprise village", and this is what he told us.

He would go to what would have been his regular class, where they would take attendance, and then they would watch "Channel One". Whatthehell was channel one, we asked, and what was it doing in his home room?
Turns out "Channel One" is a deal where the school gets a lot of video equipment "free" if they make the kids available every day as a captive audience to watch a program of kid-friendly stuff---and ads, of course. Too weird, we thought. We do not do television in our home, but---it's the real world, we told ourselves. Perhaps it's time he got exposed- inoculated, we hoped.
After his dose of consumer-speak, he would go to another part of the building, where the real schooling took place. The teachers there were hired and vetted by the cooperative committee that ran the program and made curriculum, and finally, at long last, he got to learn.
What did he learn? (are you ready for this?)

To run a fast food restaurant.
Operate a register, keep daily accounts, change the grease in the fryers----

This for the good students.
Dear God, I wonder what future the "business community" sees for the rest? From the fryer into the fire? Markets and education, naked.

I finally had the wit to ask, "What do the other kids think?"
"I dunno. Until they locked the doors, a lot of them left to sneak off to the playground."
The next week, I asked again. "So now what do they think?" He said, "Well, they made them unlock the doors because it was a fire hazard, but they just put a cop in the playground".
A short time later, a week before Adrian left that school for another similar one in Orlando, I asked once again what the other kids thought.
Adrian said, "Better, dad. We found a hole in the fence, and now we sneak off to play ball where the cop can't see us."
"Don't the rent-a-teachers rat you out to the real staff?"
"Nah. They want everybody to think we love it. There's always some kids left."

It's not George, friend, it's us. This shit exists because we in the US allow it, we endure it. Perhaps we (many of us) even want it. It exacts it's price. Does anyone wonder why half the population still thinks Bin Laden is hiding under the bed? If Sarkozy does the same, (and all indications are that he would love to)--- where will you run to, to give your children the chance to think?

The "Land of opportunity"?

Display:
What did he learn? (are you ready for this?)

To run a fast food restaurant.
Operate a register, keep daily accounts, change the grease in the fryers----

This for the good students.

More and more often, I hear otherwise reasonable and educated people argue that having lots of people get a university education is not an economically efficient use of resources.

I never argue the point because what needs to be argued is the frame of economically efficient allocation, and that's reached the status of a societal dogma.

So I'm not optimistic about the future.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 1st, 2007 at 12:46:53 PM EST
I never argue the point because what needs to be argued is the frame of economically efficient allocation, and that's reached the status of a societal dogma.

which is, sorta, a rough paraphrase, why (aside from sleep dep and distraction) I was unable to engage w/M's recent impressive array of charts and graphs on labour, unemployment, etc...  seemd like it was all framed w/in that self-referential mental disneyland of money, industrialism, economic "efficiency" etc. -- it is not I think possible any longer to pretend that we can solve our collective problem(s) as a species by staying inside this frame...  well not for me anyway.  ymmv.


time for Truman to leave the show...

[apologies to M, that impressive presentation deserved a far more thoughtful and meditative response, but this is the best I can do for the nonce... we are all living -- and thinking -- inside Enterprise Village, and I want out...]

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Fri Jun 1st, 2007 at 04:24:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The illustration style reminds me of scraperboard - which you never see these days

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Jun 1st, 2007 at 04:29:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it's a woodcut (block print) I believe... name of Flammarion... I think wikipedia has lots of info on it as it is so popular an image (reproduced on stacks of posters and t shirts).

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...
by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Fri Jun 1st, 2007 at 04:49:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My company has the name of a rather famous woodblock artist ;-) I've always been fascinated by the medium (and also scraperboard, since it is a cheaper version )

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Jun 1st, 2007 at 04:56:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lynd Ward was my favourite Western-world block cutter.

But of course the heart and soul of block printing imho is Japan... Hiroshige's Tokaido road print series, etc... ravishingly lovely, unimaginably meticulous craft in both carving and printing...  there is a guy in my own  (present) home town in California who's a great admirer of this tradition and did some very tasty block prints of the Monterey coast, umm google to the rescue:

Tom Killion block prints

these are all places I actually know and have seen from similar vantages w/my own eyes.  nice work.

friend of mine does lino cuts (and occasionally scratchboard) as an alternative to wood blocks which are physically demanding to carve.  all these media terrify me because I am not sure of my line, and certainty of line is required in subtractive media :-)  no erasing and redrawing allowed!

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Fri Jun 1st, 2007 at 05:42:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I love those Killion prints. In fact I covet them ;-)

Of course scratchboard is both subtractve and additive.

But my personal fave woodblock artist is that 'Old Man Man About Drawing'

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Hokusai-fuji7.png

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Jun 1st, 2007 at 05:52:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Mongaku by Ukiyo-e woodblock master Kuniyoshi. (I'm rather a fan.)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Jun 1st, 2007 at 06:16:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
a stunning image...

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Jun 1st, 2007 at 06:20:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I love Hiroshige's work. I have the whole Tokaido prints set.


"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Jun 1st, 2007 at 07:00:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
<sigh>  beautiful

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...
by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Fri Jun 1st, 2007 at 07:06:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Any chance this piece of the thread become a blockprint article? Seems we have some collectors and knowledgeable fans amongst us.

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sat Jun 2nd, 2007 at 05:10:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why can't people just understand that high value-added jobs are good, and that low value-added jobs are bad?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sat Jun 2nd, 2007 at 02:45:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The debate is between jobs (and education) that create tame consumers, vs. jobs/education that creates troublemakers, --from a corporate point of view.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Sun Jun 3rd, 2007 at 05:35:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If I ran a high value-added business, I would much prefer hiring trouble-makers over mindless zombies. If I need zombies I'd rather just use machines.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Jun 3rd, 2007 at 12:12:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, the zombies are really only an interface to the machines, especially in the service industry. They are there because the customers prefer an interface with human-like interaction. If digital avatars with natural language processing is ever made to work well enough, I'm sure there would be a sharp decline in human-manned fast food outlets, for example. Just imagine: completely uniform, reliable service at each McD. These guys don't pride themselves on variability.

Failing the development of the language bit, I'm sure they will at least figure out how to outsource, with remote voice interaction. Only a matter of time.

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Sun Jun 3rd, 2007 at 12:31:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Machines have zombi too:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zombie_process


On Unix and Unix-like computer operating systems, a zombie process or defunct process is a process that has completed execution but still has an entry in the process table, this entry being still needed to allow the process that started the zombie process to read its exit status. The term zombie process derives from the common definition of zombie--an undead person. In the term's colorful metaphor, the child process has died but has not yet been reaped. [...]
by Laurent GUERBY on Sun Jun 3rd, 2007 at 04:02:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Zombies don't buy.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Mon Jun 4th, 2007 at 03:51:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder how long it will take to destroy the french school system to this level...

One statistics I'd like to know is how many french expats in the USA with child reaching ten year old choose to come back in France vs stay in the USA.

by Laurent GUERBY on Fri Jun 1st, 2007 at 03:24:37 PM EST
Yes, that would be quite interesting.
Might be a tough one to find.
But expats and immigrants tend to view the target country through pretty rosy glasses- a tendency I try to be aware of in myself. Just as I am very positive about their Paris school in the main, French expats in the US with whom I have spoken tend to take a "see no evil" point of view.
Wish I knew a bit about woodblock printing. Perhaps I could comment on my own piece.
My first wife Joyce and I loved to do serigraphy, but in truth she was the artist.
With two girls of school age, this issue interests me more right now.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Sat Jun 2nd, 2007 at 02:00:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In 1964-1970 there was yet a vibrant intellectual component in the US schools. Google "Edwin Fenton, teaching method" for a look at a way of teaching that challenges thought without reducing kids to recording machines or parrots. Gone, gone. My father damn near lost his job as a history teacher for using his method. In Upper Arlington, Ohio, students just did not read Thoms Jefferson's letters about his love affairs with black slaves. Oh, yes they did.

The dialog on Viet Nam was pretty rich and vigorous, and it led to action, much of which was very important in ending a war as obscene as this one. Compare that period with the response of young people today- or non-response. Weird, when you consider that it will be their asses that get shot up- an idiot can see a massive military involvement coming.

I see the contrast between now and when Adrian began his schooling, and I would guess you may have another 10 years, --depending on just how Napoleanic Sarkozy becomes.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Sun Jun 3rd, 2007 at 05:32:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a rosy view of the Vietnam protests and is unfair to very many young people today, as Chomsky has repeatedly pointed out, e.g.:


As late as October 1965, the first major public demonstration against the war, in liberal Boston, was broken up by counter-demonstrators, with the strong support of the liberal media. By then the war against Vietnam had proceeded far beyond the invasion of Iraq in scale and violence.

 Iraq is consumed by violence today, but it is radically different from Indochina, where the US was fighting an murderous war against the general population, who supported the indigenous South Vietnamese resistance, as US experts knew very well, and reported, sometimes even publicly. Very belatedly, a significant anti-war movement developed, by 1967-8, including direct resistance to the war, but it's worth remembering how long it was delayed, and how much more horrendous US actions were in VIetnam than in Iraq, by the time it did develop.
...

there was only scanty attention to the far more intense bombing of SVN, which was already disastrous in 1965 when it was sharply escalated, and by 1967 led the most respected Vietnam specialist and military analyst, Bernard Fall (no dove), to wonder whether the society would even survive as a cultural and historical entity under the US assault.

Quite unlike Vietnam, there were massive protests against the invasion of Iraq even before it was officially undertaken, and opposition has continued high, much higher than during corresponding stages of the US invasion of SVN.

...
Looking more closely at the anti-war movements in both cases, I think, as noted, that it has actually been greater in the case of Iraq than it was during any comparable state of the Indochina wars. Furthermore, this country has significantly changed as a result of 60s activism and its aftermath. The movement against the war in Vietnam, when it finally developed, was not "diluted" by the wide-ranging concerns of activists today.[ which include many young people - cf the anti-globalization protesters. TW]  

I can easily elaborate even keeping to my own experience. Consider just talks. In the late 1960s almost all requests were about the Vietnam war. Today, only a fraction are about the Iraq war, not because the war is not a concern, but because there are so many other live and imporant concerns.

Furthermore the deluge of invitations is far greater in scale, on all sorts of issues that were scarcely discussed 40 years ago, and audiences are far larger and much more engaged. And there are many other factors detracting from activism, such as the enormous amount of energy drained away by the "9/11 Truth Movement." There may be an impression of less anti-war activism today than in Vietnam, but I think it is quite misleading -- even though protest against the war in Iraq is far less than the crimes merit.

http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Chomsky/Iraq_Yester_Today_Tomorow.html




Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Sun Jun 3rd, 2007 at 09:59:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...where the US was fighting an murderous war against the general population, who supported the indigenous South Vietnamese resistance, as US experts knew very well, and reported, sometimes even publicly.

Does Mr. Chomsky happen to have listed references for this statement?  That was not my experience in Vietnam then or more recently.  The SVn city dwellers of the era didn't want to be organized into work units, and the farmers just wanted to be left alone by both sides.  They supported the insurgency at the point of a gun or knife and many were murdered by the insurgents for no reason other than suspician of support for the Gov of SVn.  My sources were up close and personal.

More recently, in the North, it's pretty much the same.  I spoke to many who said "I'm just doing my job, leave me alone."  Others said things like, my parents hated the Americans because of the war, but they would like me to be educated in the US.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Sun Jun 3rd, 2007 at 10:41:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IF, after all that's been published about the Vietnam War, you still believe this I don't suppose any text will change your mind. But perhaps regarding the popularity of Ho Chi Minh and the Viet Minh you might believe Eisenhower:


As dictated by the Geneva Conference of 1954, the partition of Vietnam was meant to be only temporary, pending national elections in 1956.
... The President of South Vietnam, Ngo Dinh Diem, declined to hold elections. This called into question the United States' commitment to democracy in the region, but also raised questions about the legitimacy of any election held in the communist-run North.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower expressed U.S. fears when he wrote that "80 per cent of the population would have voted for the Communist Ho Chi Minh."[26]

26. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Mandate for Change. Garden City, NJ. Doubleday & Company, 1963, p. 372.

Perhaps you missed the Pentagon Papers:

In 1971, the Pentagon Papers were leaked to the New York Times. The top-secret history of U.S. involvement in Vietnam, commissioned by the Department of Defense, detailed a long series of public deceptions.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War


CF.:

"... The real bomb that not only blew open the true history of the war but exposed to full view the hideous nature of every post-World War II U.S. government was the other 4000 pages: the classified documents reproduced as the sources of the study.

... The paperback edition of the excerpts published by The New York Times sold one and a half million copies, "though," Wells argues, "few people actually read it." But the impact, especially of the documents, was astonishing.

Nobody has described this more potently than W. D. Ehrhart, the wounded marine who has since become one of the great poets and writers of nonfiction produced by the war, in a whole chapter of his memoir Passing Time devoted to his reading of the Pentagon Papers:

'Page after page endless page of it. Vile. Immoral. Despicable. Obscene. . . . I'd been a fool, ignorant and naive. A sucker. For such men, I had become a murderer. For such men, I had forfeited my honor, my self-respect, and my humanity. For such men, I had been willing to lay down my life.'"

http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~hbf/ELLSBERG.htm

AS to what the US did to Vietnam:


No matter how stupefying, the numbers remain important. To narrow the focus to the period between 1965 and 1974 when Lyndon Johnson's and Richard Nixon's administrations bombed North and South Vietnam and conducted search-and-destroy campaigns of attrition, approximately one million Vietnamese civilians were wounded by warfare.[39] Vietnamese civilian deaths numbered around 250,000 in South Vietnam; 65,000 civilians died in the bombing of North Vietnam. North Vietnamese and Viet Cong military casualties comprised approximately 660,000 killed compared to 225,000 South Vietnamese and 50,000 Americans troops. The estimates of North Vietnamese wounded are still in the "countless" category, but roughly 500,000 South Vietnamese and 300,000 American soldiers were wounded between 1965 and 1974.[40]

The Vietnamese countryside, home to an ancient Vietnamese way of life, became the most heavily bombed landscape on earth, having more bombs dropped on it than all countries involved in World War II combined.

http://userwww.sfsu.edu/~epf/1996/vietnam.html

As to Vietnamese wanting their children to be educated in the US - well it is a BIT richer than the little country it devastated, but perhaps they might change their minds if they read the above account of some "education" in the US. This "education" also has some unsurprising gaps regarding Vietnam, as Howard Zinn (author of A People's History of the United States) points out:


"... Vietnam is something that, by the way, is still not taught very well in American schools. I spoke to a group of people in an advanced history class not long ago, a hundred kids, asked them, "How many people here have heard of the My Lai Massacre?" No hand was raised. We are not teaching Vietnam. If we were teaching the history of Vietnam as it should be taught, then the American people, from the start, would have opposed the war, instead of waiting three or four years for a majority of the American people to declare their opposition to the war."

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/04/16/1338223



Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Sun Jun 3rd, 2007 at 04:42:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you Ted for the fine response.

I don't intend to begin a new debate on the entire Vietnam war, post WWII American military actions, or the character and motivations of the American politicians and leaders that started and pursued them, or for that matter to evaluate the American education system (which is under review to a small degree in this diary).  My only points are that the Vietnamese peoples are like other humans throughout the world.  They had/have no great loyalty to either communism or democracy as long as they were allowed to go about their business with a reasonable degree of freedom that allowed them to feed and cloth and care for their families, etc.  That is why I disagree with the statement that the "general population" supported the insurgency.  I find it easy to believe that Ho Chi Minh was extremely popular after booting the French out of Vietnam, but I don't believe that degree of popularity remained consistent throughout the entire period of the American involvement in Vietnam and in particular I believe that large segments (the vast majority) of the former SVN population were not supportive of the insurgency primarily due to its brutal methods and a belief that once in power its leaders would make things even worse.   I understand, probably better than most at this forum, that the war itself was a grotesque and despicable crime against humanity fostered upon the peoples of Vietnam as well as the US and allied men and women who fought there.

Vietnam today is a far different place than what we would have expected it would become following America's withdrawal in 1975.  It cautiously seeks American economic involvement, and it's citizens are no more antagonistic towards Americans than towards any other nationality.  Given the impact of the war, I can't quite fathom how this can be so, but it seems to be the case. Perhaps the fact that 70% of Vietnamese in the North were born since the war ended may have something to do with that and maybe applies to the circumstances you have noted about American students of history.  All I can say is that I am extremely thankful that not everyone/every generation carries a grudge.  (Yes, I think maybe its children could do as well by attending University in countries other than the US, but there are many fine institutions in the US also).  

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Sun Jun 3rd, 2007 at 10:37:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All I can say is that I am extremely thankful that not everyone/every generation carries a grudge.

Compared to Vietnam, the US carries too many grudges (Cuba, Iran...)

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2007 at 04:31:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I tentatively agree.  However, not everyone in policy making positions allows personal feelings to sway them.  The problem occurs when those without the ability to think beyond such feelings carry the day.  The Cuban exile community in the US has had a disproportionate influence on US policy towards that country whereas the policy towards Iran has been up and down, but there is an huge element of mistrust on both sides. Iran's support of Hezbollah, the taking of diplomatic hostages, and its recent defiance of UN/IAEA directive and alleged failures to honor the terms of the treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons,  and the US's behavior during the Shah years, blatant support of Iraq following its invasion of Iran, and its partisan support for Israel all contribute to that environment.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Mon Jun 4th, 2007 at 11:09:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A half hour spent reviewing newspaper headlines from the time, and comparing them to now, will show you that there was a lot of them, and an almost rabid anger at the traitorous commie pinko students who protested --then-- and a just dumbfounding absence of any mention of campus protest today, by comparison. Remember, ---a story untold is a memory hole.
As to invitations to speak---perhaps modesty causes Chomsky to neglect to mention that this is no surprise in his case, since then he was seen then as a traitorous pinko, whereas today he is arguably "TheAt my alma mater, Ohio State University, it indeed took a completely unreported invasion and occupation of the hugely populous main campus by the national guard to truly jump-start the discussion. Before that time, it was almost impossible to get anyone to talk about dead soldiers, from either side, on campus.
Amazing what the reek of tear gas on your hair and clothes can do, --or the sight of the city hosing down the ugly brown patches on the sidewalk the day after.
After that, the dialog got serious and widespread, and OSU is the hardest of hard cases, if you want to speak of the outside world.
Let's look at your quote again:
Looking more closely at the anti-war movements in both cases, I think, as noted, that it has actually been greater in the case of Iraq than it was during any comparable state of the Indochina wars. Furthermore,
    this country has significantly changed as a result of 60s activism and its aftermath.
The movement against the war in Vietnam, when it finally developed, was not "diluted" by the wide-ranging concerns of activists today.[ which include many young people - cf the anti-globalization protesters. TW]  
--------------
I can easily elaborate even keeping to my own experience. Consider just talks. In the late 1960s almost all requests were about the Vietnam war. Today, only a fraction are about the Iraq war, not because the war is not a concern, but because there are so many other live and important concerns.

Chomsky does not say that the anti-war movement was ineffective or unimportant. In fact, he says it has significantly changed the country, and he clearly implies, here and in many other writings, that the movements of the 60's and 70's were seminal in enabling the protests of today. He simply says here that they were late in beginning. True. They (we) were inventing the damned process, and no one could (or wanted to) believe that we really would bomb a half million Cambodians to  death, for the poorest of reasons, ---and then lie about it. Then, there was no public precedent to look at to massively act. Yes, there were other US atrocities, other mass actions and movements, the labor movement chief among them--but who read about that in school?
There were none recent enough to still hang on the radar. Media? "Freedom of the press is for those who own one" (Hearst?) has been a feature of the democratic dialog in the US for a long, long time.

Furthermore the deluge of invitations is far greater in scale, on all sorts of issues that were scarcely discussed 40 years ago, and audiences are far larger and much more engaged. And there are many other factors detracting from activism, such as the enormous amount of energy drained away by the "9/11 Truth Movement." There may be an impression of less anti-war activism today than in Vietnam, but I think it is quite misleading -- even though protest against the war in Iraq is far less than the crimes merit.

During the 60's and 70's, Chomsky was seen as a dangerous America-hater, and reviled widely- almost universally in the US. Modesty may blind Chomsky to the fact that he is widely viewed today as "one of the most important intellectual alive today". Yes, he is still reviled in the US MSM, ---but a lot of academia and the wider world gets it.
The point of the piece is to illustrate a fundamental (and frightening) shift in education, not just in the US, but worldwide, I think.

"Enterprise Village" is the result of market theology applied to schools.

These kids can, along with the religious right, elect the next president, --and the next. With the mental Mctools they have---how will they respond to a fatherly authoritarian, --of any party? cskendrick is right.
 

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Mon Jun 4th, 2007 at 03:48:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Chomsky does not say that the anti-war movement was ineffective or unimportant."

One of the reasons I admire Chomsy is that he doesn't go in for sweeping generalizations and gives credit where's it's due (cf. my recent debate with Heathlander over his sweeping generlizations about the media). So your sentence is correct, but an over-simplification.

He does add that the real reason the Vietnam war ended is that elite opinion turned against it, it was too costly and had little prospect of success.


"In fact, he says it has significantly changed the country, and he clearly implies, here and in many other writings, that the movements of the 60's and 70's were seminal in enabling the protests of today."

Yes, of course he would acknowledge that; but he's more inclined to give credit to recent and current youth and sees it as more of a continuing process; not just heroes of the 60s changing everything.


"He simply says here that they were late in beginning. True. They (we) were inventing the damned process, and no one could (or wanted to) believe that we really would bomb a half million Cambodians to  death, for the poorest of reasons, ---and then lie about it. Then, there was no public precedent to look at to massively act. Yes, there were other US atrocities, other mass actions and movements, the labor movement chief among them--but who read about that in school?"

Yes, it WAS very late, shockingly so in retrospect, and I think the draft focused the mind of many young people.

I think you realised "we were inventing the damn process" went a bit far, and I'm glad to see you give a brief mention to earlier dissent and protest - and these earlier dissenters didn't learn about it in school either. It goes back a long way, e.g. the English, French and American revolutions, opposition to WWI, widespread socialist and communist movements in the 1930s, even in the US, etc. Cf Chomsky:

'I think this goes back 400 years, to the history of British democracy,' he says. 'Go back to the 17th century, when the first democratic revolution [after the English Civil War] was crushed - the establishment were scared. They were very scared, because the rabble was coming out and speaking openly and challenging them, these 'men of best quality', and it was by no means clear that they were going to be crushed. Well, they were, but the problem remained.

http://www.paulkingsnorth.net/noam.html

There's an important  geographical aspect as well as the historical one, Chomsky:

"He meant, he explains, by way of a history lesson, that today's movement is more promising in terms of furthering the interests of real people (rather than political ideologues) than any of the old 'Workers Internationals' - the global gatherings of the left which helped lay the foundations for twentieth century socialism. 'The primary theme of the left and the workers movements, from their modern origins,' he says, 'has been globalisation. That's why every union is called an international ... the First International [held in London in 1864] was promising, but it was narrow. It was primarily European workers ... furthermore it was killed, mainly by Marx, because it was getting out of hand - it was getting too democratic, starting to respond to the wishes of a majority of the participants, and Marx didn't like that. The Second International [which began in 1889 in Paris] was very broad, and social democratic - but it was still European, and it was killed by the Second World War. The Third [in Moscow, from the 1930] was just an outlet for Bolshevik propaganda, and the Fourth International was Trotskyite - so there's never been anything that's realised the initial hopes.'

And does today's movement do that? 'Well, this one is different. For one thing it originated in the South - there's a reason why the World Social Forum is in Porto Alegre and not in London. This movement originated in the South, but then it developed a level of international solidarity which is quite new. Still Southern-based, but bringing in significant sectors of more developed societies, so it has an international scale that none of the 'Internationals' ever had. It's also much broader - it's not a working men's association, it has participants from all parts of life, with different interests but common aspirations ... and it's growing. And it's serious. There has never been an international movement of peoples' organisations with anything remotely like the geographical scale, the diversity and participation, the range of interests and concerns ... there has never been anything like this. It's a genuine peoples movement.' »
Ibid.


"The point of the piece is to illustrate a fundamental (and frightening) shift in education, not just in the US, but worldwide, I think."

Yes, but I was disagreeing with  your follow-up comment in which you said:

"The dialog on Viet Nam was pretty rich and vigorous, and it led to action, much of which was very important in ending a war as obscene as this one. Compare that period with the response of young people today- or non-response. Weird, when you consider that it will be their asses that get shot up- an idiot can see a massive military involvement coming."

And you weren't saying that they protest but it's not covered, as you now imply:

"... and a just dumbfounding absence of any mention of campus protest today, by comparison. Remember, ---a story untold is a memory hole."

As I said, Chomsky has correctly pointed out that it's just not true that there's less protest now - there's more, and the 60s generation can't take all the credit for it. There are still young people who read outside the set curricula and, as he also points out (see above), many of them are in the South.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2007 at 09:32:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I will ramble on here. It's almost dawn, and I take the liberty.

One of the great miracles of revisionist history in my lifetime has been the near-eradication of the real nature and content of the protest movements that emerged from the sixties and seventies. They (we) were reacting not only to Viet Nam, but to far more- to the whole cold heart of consumer-producer society- reacting to what has come to be viewed more through the lens of Market theology here. There are rare instances in which      that explosion of social creativity has been cronicled without an overriding ideological filter attached, and I am happy for that. Nonetheless, my own son knows almost nothing about my time, and what he thinks he knows is wrong.

Richard Nixon grabbed the ear of Attorney General John Mitchell and they (with others) cooked up one of the most elaborate packages of intelligence collection and covert action in American history. Most of it illegal. It was arguably Cointelpro and it's coterie of cohorts (some of which were aimed at congress) that finally pushed congressional opinion off the high wall that surrounds impeachment.
Nixon was determined that the "evil little bastards" (meaning the commie pinko students) would never do it again. Do what? Mess up a perfectly good war.
HE thought we did it.

But it was far more than the war that he hated.

Google Edwin Fenton, I say again. Fenton and others like him--Neil Postman in "Teaching as a subversive activity", Goodman and Perls in "Gestalt therapy", Pirsig and "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance", Bucky Fuller, Tom Wolfe's "The Electric Kool-aid Acid Test"-- were widely read, and Ken Kesey and Tim Leary, and Stewart Brand and the whole team behind the "Whole Earth Catalog" made a huge difference then-and now. They were the watershed that informed us, not really Marx. New, I say. Did not exist before. But their voices gradually fell silent, sometime after "Gravity's Rainbow", and I hear only a few new voices in America now, and they write fiction mostly.

I would dearly love to see a mass movement, of anyone---students, fruit pickers, domestic workers,---  with legs and guts in the US. If Chomsky sees a Southern movement, great. I defer to his knowlege. Action in Portugal is great, but it really is not germane. It's not their job to burn tires on the white house lawn.

     It is ours.

The rare but precious incident at the graduation at U of Mass was a flyspeck, not a movement.

And, --yes, we were inventing the process. That which remains untaught, unlearned, and unavailable to us cannot inform our actions much. As the movement grew, it began to inform itself, and develop it's own complex  ideological smorgasbord of ideas. Sometimes naive, sometimes deep. These ideas were new, and many of them came from the above sources.

My perspective on the times is hardly rosy-
Read Joachim Wach, on the formation of religious subcultures, and/or most anyone on models of collective behavior. WE are the people our parents warned us about.

Total Information Awareness. Poindexter's passion. Shit, Stans and Mitchell were Pikers.
But my ears are getting old--and techno is aimless machine mumblings written by people who must hate music, I think. As media today is to people who hate ideas.
And have no memory, and no heroes.
I still have heroes.  
Santayana.
Erin Watada.
http://thankyoult.live.radicaldesigns.org/

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Tue Jun 5th, 2007 at 12:16:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oops. Correction:
"It was far more than the antiwar movement that he hated."

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Tue Jun 5th, 2007 at 12:28:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some years ago we needed to return to the US because of what was becoming a family diplomatic emergency- a new baby was coming.

And the baby needed to be able to run for President?

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 2nd, 2007 at 02:15:36 PM EST
Aie. The hubris of having heretical dreams.

---More likely to be able to run from presidents.

The kids from "Enterprise Village" now vote.

cskendrick is right--it will only get harder.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Sun Jun 3rd, 2007 at 05:17:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From the inception "Education" in America was a function of "industry."  Our system was conceived as a support for industrialization and movement away from the agrarian age that characterized our very beginning as a country.

It is just that by and large the industry we have given away has been replaced by the "service" industry.  Intead of mechanical engineers now we train hamburger engineers.

Only the upper class educations with their private schools enjoy a education that is enlightenment rather than function based.

Our educational system by and large sucks.

alohapolitics.com

by Keone Michaels on Sun Jun 3rd, 2007 at 10:36:48 AM EST


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]