All posts by truant

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

The arrival of Janet Napolitano as the president of the University of California adds to the gradual liberal façade of oppressive state policy in our lives. Her first appearance locally here in Berkeley was met with protests but not nearly enough to throw to light this dubious appointment that lacks any citizen input. I mean, were you asked who is to run the schools?

Janet Napolitano’s first move as the new president was to freeze tuition — a gesture called for way back in that distant 20th century. But regardless of its tardiness this will look good on her resume when the media touts her next move. Conversely Janet’s pedigree as viewed by the left is short but hiss–able. As Democratic Governor of Arizona she shamelessly aided the right–wing agenda of bashing brown skin people, administrating policies that made alliances with such blatantly malevolent characters as Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Later as head of Homeland Security she continued in this manner with the deportations of immigrants at wholesale numbers. The fact that this was done AFTER the nefarious Bush Jr. presidency stokes the skepticism that there is any difference between Democrat and Republicans. The deportations actually increased after 2008! But the whole organization of Homeland Security is suspect. That is unless their definition of security is to prolong and expand harsh laws in the handling of so–called immigrants, while real threats to life and infrastructure come in the form of climate and environmental chaos, weapon proliferation and a meltdown of civil society. Good job assholes!

Perhaps appointing someone like Janet Napolitano, who has no experience in managing education, is a continuation of the entertainment and business industries having sway in the popular political arena. With an army of handlers helping such a figurehead make the easiest of decisions all that is needed is a competent voice to make the decree. People should have gotten the point by now with leaders being synonymous with Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger and George Bush Jr. that the alien–like policy doesn’t need a visible mastermind much less your consent. These are people with no job experience besides fulfilling a character type. Janet’s station as a liberal woman (a member of a “minority class”) makes her job to practice having a smile while kicking those trying to rise above abject poverty.

This abhorrence in American culture to give a look at how capitalist policies makes for blowback is a real embarrassment to anyone living with a conscience. Very few news sources besides whiny lefties will ever draw attention to the spike in the number of border–crossers with the arrival of NAFTA jobs in the global South twenty years ago. That is, they are essentially state sanctioned sweat–shops — the kind that normalizes garment factories burning down and hundreds of low wage souls perishing in a lame ass attempt to protect business from labor laws and unions. Slave labor is the new policy without saying as much, a practice not all that new by the way. But the skitzo mainstream media is in denial of its sleight–of–hand function in misdirection when facing issues. Or to sound like an old lefty paper — Prime Time endeavors to have the poor betray its own class when processing the anger of the present day situation. It’s far easier to hate the day laborers standing a block from Walmart than it is to go after the overseers running shop of the world’s largest chain.

A glance at a nearby Palmist’s crystal ball could predict Napolitano’s contribution to come. The 9 UC campuses will expand the partnership with developers in land grabs and new construction. The solidification of corporate giants such as oil companies and pharma industries in guiding research will more deeply infect the curriculum and make sick the developing minds. Doors will be opened to bring more out–of–state students, which will generate high revenues to take home for the administrative class. Meanwhile the people living next door to the colleges — often in slums — will never dream of attending a UC as they see their Jr. Colleges fight eviction as in City College of San Francisco. The few menial jobs that people can access on a college campus will be increasingly unpleasant and with a shrinking revenue. These are all policies consistent with cutthroat business ethics. Colleges seeking high credit ratings for loans have gotten into the practice of IMF–type operations.

Hell, Janet may even bring in the heinous Arizona policy, which outlaws ethnic studies in classrooms. This seems especially apt in a Koch brothers’ type agenda since California’s population is headed for a white minority. By Arizona legally denying the teaching of the world’s culture it ultimately enforces a white European malaise across communities just when people of color could stop pretending to fawn over a colonial lie and start to know and respect their past. Ethnic Studies is a direct result of people of color revolting and demanding change from the academy to the streets.

Perhaps this is the treatment we get for not committing either way. By neither fully rolling on our bellies nor jumping at our aggressor and biting back, that we are given this luke–warm– fascism. The kind of boiling that will make the increase of temperature seem “tolerable” for most while those complaining can be muffled off camera. The last marker of collective backbone demonstrated by university students was in the late 1990s when people of conscience (and intelligence!) fought to expand affirmative action — not erase it. Affirmative action functions to counter the work of white supremacy of the last 400 years against brown skinned people. The irony of descendants of (European) immigrants pointing fingers and shaming brown skin people (with indigenous blood) is the joke that should clear the room.

But by the early 2000s the momentum of protests across UC campuses to save Affirmative Action also helped to mobilize a challenge to the insane tuition increases. Protests against deportations even spread to California’s K–12 as was seen with the inspired “Day without an Immigrant” rallies that happened in May of each year. Whole communities created festivals of convergence and open resistance while mainstream America marveled at Bush Jr. This prairie fire spark is what is needed across this flaccid country to make a more fair and involved community.

People wishing to see similar examples in history can look at the Columbia University takeover in 1968 that within months helped to create a national movement of radicals not only in colleges but also in high schools. Imagine the fear it inspired in law & order types who watched kids go from teenyboppers to protest organizers. Our coming together to bring muscle in fighting the policies like tuition hikes, racism, corrupt corporation influence, and war had gained momentum on college campuses. Protests 45 years later (essentially on the same core issues) helped fuel the national movement that eventually was articulated as the Occupy movement.

So to appoint Janet Napolitano, a well likeable liberal minority (though women are 51% of the population) is a diversion tactic so that people don’t keep pressuring for real change. Change like destruction of the grading system, community control of who is in power (Democratize the Regents), better pay and representation for the lower tier workers, and an eradication of corporate and military influence on campus….more demands on the way. I’ve always felt that as dour and hopeless every day seems to be the actual potentials of change is matched by the enormous sum of conscious beings alive on the planet. Imagine if more people were involved… That’s actually inevitable.

As we trod on in this unsustainable modern way of life and rest our very survival on some capitalist dice game…one wonders if any other future awaits us. The gradual changes that can be made by progressive leaders seem to have little effect on the course of these days. No longer is working within the system a convincing detriment to the diet slavery and death offered as a replacement for us owning our own lives. Perhaps the leadership necessary to free us resides away from the high thrones and the media spotlights. The time wasted following celebrities is better spent other places. More protests directed at fucked up policies are called for. There are a thousand websites you will be referred to fulfill your desire to participate and revolt. Rather I suggest you just follow the latest struggles at the local K–12 schools and colleges, then show up when asked to.