Recent videos – Radical Imagination Project

Film crew

Norman Armstrong Free Wheel North
Radical Imagination Project. Discussions with folk who have worked and committed much of their time to community activism. Norman Armstrong
Norman, a tenacious community worker, who “gets things done” but unlike many fly-by-night “social entrepreneurs” is rooted in his community and has the philosophy and principals to match.
(Filmed by Radical imagination film group)
View on VIMEO

May Day picnic Glasgow Green 2016
A small may Day event on the Glasgow green at Free Wheel North. Part of an effort to have the Glasgow’s May Day event in the open. More information for next year to follow.
(Filmed by Radical imagination film group)
View on VIMEO

John Cooper on the spirit of revolt and the Castlemilk connection
John Cooper, a name synonymous with Castlemilk and community struggle over the last 40 years or so. The evening took us through the adventures and campaigns of himself and his Castlemilk comrades, from the miners strike to the present. A social history. Find more on the “Spirit of Revolt” website at. Film in two bits Talk and after discussion.
(Filmed by Radical imagination film group)
View on VIMEO

John Cooper – After talk discussion (Castlemilk Against Austerity) Castlemilk, experience and its relevance to the youth who take up the mantle today of community organising.
(Filmed by Radical imagination film group)
View on VIMEO

The Downtrodden Tenant
Bad housing exists not because the housing system is not working but because it is the way it works. Peter Morton has taught me more about technology in the last few months than I knew before. His boundless energy to educate, given the fact he is in a wheelchair and on strong medication through bad health is an inspiration. We are working on a pile of projects around the Radical Imagination and opening the “Open Source” to the people who need it most. This film denotes Peters struggle with Renfrew Council, their lack of duty of care and how the use of his technological skills were used to collect empirical data to back up a case against their failure to uphold their own housing policy. Downtrodden Tenant Blog
(Filmed by Radical imagination film group)
View on VIMEO

Self Determination Power Event Common Sense and Freedom 1990
A wee blast from the past. The Self-Determination and Power event was organised by a loose alliance of the Free University of Glasgow, the Edinburgh Review, then under the editorship of James Kelman advocate Peter Kravitz, and Scottish Child magazine, edited by Rosemary Milne. Also involved were Variant, then a glossy magazine containing provocations from Stewart Home, Pete Horobin’s Dundee-based Data Attic and others; West Coast literary magazine, Here and Now magazine, the radical-based Clydeside Press, and the Scotia bar, then a hub for free-thinking dissent down by the river just across from the Gorbals.
(Produced by Street Level)
View on VIMEO

Videos can also be viewed on Youtube


By Michael Albert
Source Z Communications

Greenwald is as quick, succinct, and clear in conversation as he appears in videos. He stuck me as likeable and certainly not the harsh fellow he is often made out to be. But some of his interview answers were troubling.trigger more text

Greenwald understands the coercive possibilities of capitalist owners or the state curtailing adversarial journalism from above. That is the danger Greenwald believes will not overtake First Look/Intercept because he feels the owner, Pierre Omidyar, is sincerely committed to never imposing restrictions and, more positively, to actively establishing a journalism-friendly workplace.
Keep reading article INTERCEPT?

The Future of ZCommunications

znetZ’s Future

Times are hard for all media, and particularly for alternative media. This is due to a combination of factors including but not limited to a growing audience disinclination to pay for information. If you couple that with alternative media being unable, in many cases, to get foundation or large donor funding, and with its commitment to not selling its audience to advertisers, which would likely yield little revenue in any event, the situation becomes dire.

In the face of such trends, only a few avenues, other than surrender and dissolution, exist.

  • A project can seek to generate new income from new channels, to pay its bills.
  • A project can severely reduce its costs.
  • A project can convince its audiences that support is desirable and worth their attention.

Z is following all these paths.
trigger more text

We are working beyond our own institution, for added income. We are cutting Z salaries of two of the three full time staff by 50%, after having also drastically cut all other smaller but significant budget items – such as costs of our online operations. And, in this mailing – which will reach roughly 100,000 people, and more if you pass it along – we are going to try to convince you of the desirability of giving Z some support.

Do you yourself personally directly gain by virtue of Z’s continued existence and work?

If you do, that would be one simple and obvious reason to support it. The widespread idea that you shouldn’t support it, in that case, because you can, after all, get virtually all its content free, has two problems.

First, if you and others take that tack – there will either be no information from Z, or we will have to charge for all information we generate and convey.

And second, even if we manage to cut costs enough – like salaries – and to generate external income enough, by taking on work outside our operations – is it right that we should do that to sustain Z, rather than its huge pool of users sustaining it?

But what if you yourself don’t directly benefit very much from Z?

Think of those who write for Z or who work for it. The former get no payment for their labor. The latter get modest payment – which is soon to be less than minimal. In short, these folks provide labor free or nearly free. Why do they – we – do this?

Well, it isn’t because of non-income benefits we receive. The writers and the workers generating Z don’t do it for intellectual or emotional gains we get in reading the final product, for example, much less for the intrinsic fun of doing the work – it is not fun. No. We do it because of gains we hope and believe others will get, and movements will get, and society will get, from the appearance of the product. Is this stupidity on our part, and thus a mindset others ought to reject? Or is it exemplary, and thus a mindset others ought to cultivate?

I sometimes get email that says why are you fundraising? Sometimes such email is civil, honest, sincere. Sometimes, however, it is really aggressive, like, where the hell do you get off asking me for money. But all the time, ultimately, such email says, just do it all free. Give it to me free. Indeed, I will get messages like that in response to this emailing, and to coming campaigns on the Z site. And I am dumbfounded by it. Can leftists really think that that posture – do it free, give it to me free – is progressive?

Then by way of explanation, someone will add, I can get the information that I want without paying for it, without donating to sustain it, so why should I send Z any funds at all? And, again, to me this is mystifying. What it says is, I can get your information if I don’t support its production and dissemination, as long as others do – whether they do so by giving free labor or they do so by donating in response to appeals. So why should I donate?

Well, here is an answer that applies even if the person who is asking doesn’t, him or herself, get much gain out of reading Z. Suppose he or she is brilliant and incredibly knowledgeable, and knows everything that Z reports, analyzes, and discusses, without reading it, for example. Or suppose that for anything that the person does need to read, the authors send the material to to the person directly, as occurs, say, for some of our writers, who write for free, nonetheless. Or as occurs, say, for the three of us who do the labor, at cut rates.

The answer is, support Z anyhow because you believe in alternative media, because you realize that alternative media benefits society and movements, and because you realize that the extent to which that occurs or not depends hugely on reader support.


Open Learning

Free University Open Learning

“Workers City; the subversive past”. 45 mins duration.
A documentary chronicling some ideas around radical Scottish working class history.
Interviews with:

Farquhar McLay, poet, editor of “the Voices of Dissent” and “Workers City” anthology of prose and writing, subtitled the Real Glasgow Stands Up’.
John Taylor Caldwell, archivist, biographer of Guy Aldred and author of “Come Dungeons Dark” recently published by Luath Press.
James D. Young, historian and republican socialist, author of “The Rousing of the Scottish Working Class” and others. Recently working on major biography of Red Clydesider, John Maclean.
Hamish Henderson, Folk collector, songwriter and founder of the School of Scottish Studies at Edinburgh University. Writer of such ballads as “Freedom Come All Ye”. Variant Video

Spirit of Revolt Archive Glasgow from City Strolls on Vimeo.

April Third Movement  – Father and Sons

In Fall Quarter of 1968 and the Winter Quarter of 1969, a Public Broadcasting Laboratories team led by filmmaker Don Lenzer followed members of the Stanford Chapter of Students for a Democratic Society to meetings, parties, rallies, and protests. Their 90-minute documentary, Fathers and Sons, was broadcast in the Spring of 1969. While many of us criticized the film for its focus on four male undergraduates, the movie offers unusual behind-the-scenes glimpses of activists in that era. A video of this film is available on YouTube. Due to its length, it has been posted in seven parts:

Go to

The April Third Movement WEBSITE • PSC • 278A Hope Street • Mountain View, CA 94041

Boggs Educational Center Detroit

Re-Imagining Education. Children who attend the Boggs Educational Center walk to school each morning. Some walk with their parents, some with their siblings. This is easy to do; their school is located in their neighborhood.They play on the way, meet up with friends. They say hello to the adults they have come to know while walking this route since kindergarten. They pass gardens that they help senior citizens tend. They may stop to pick a weed or to filch a ripe cherry tomato. They pass art installations that double as functional play equipment and swing or jump or climb. They know all the tricks; they have helped design and build them.From the kids who have attended this school since its inception to the very new arrivals, everyone feels safe. They are surrounded by people who love them and who will look out for them and they know this to be true. They have risen to the high level of academic and social expectations asked of them at their school. The community has also risen to the level of support they need to be whole, healthy, and strong.

Their school does not open at 7am and close at 3pm. Instead there is activity all day and all year round. The school is known for its beauty. Flowers, murals and sculptures decorate the grounds. It is also known for developing the potential of both the children and the adults involved. It has helped to stabilize the neighborhood. Jobs at the school have drawn carpenters, electricians, and artists–who in turn, have wanted their own children to attend. Because of the school, families seek to stay in the neighborhood, passing along news of apartments with decent rents. Once vacant houses are being renovated as community projects to improve the safety and viability of the neighborhood. And there are after-school and summer apprenticeships for older students to participate in its revitalization. The school has improved the quality of life in Detroit.

Math and science concepts are learned from activities that serve the community, from the pond designed and built by the biology classes to the baseball diamond designed in geometry and built by the students. The community is the classroom and the classroom serves the community: trucks from restaurants come to pick up produce the children have grown in the working farm next to the school; peer tutoring sessions are being conducted in the outside classroom built by the students; local teenagers run a day care program so that parents can attend a resume workshop and look for jobs online in the parent resource room. Some kids are getting haircuts at the neighborhood barbershop that was started by a former high school dropout who took entrepreneurial classes at the school. Students and their teachers are finishing up a mural designed by the art class. This mural decorates the playground that was built by members of the community over a series of weekends. Bikes are being repaired in the neighborhood bike exchange garage. Older students teach classes in bike-ethics and safety. Students petition the city for bike lanes and safety curbs on major streets near the school. In the auditorium, kids are rehearsing for the school play. Outside, music is blaring as dancers prepare a routine for a morning assembly.

All around are examples of real-world learning and student engagement, laughter and camaraderie. When there is conflict, the kids are not just told not to fight; they are taught how to work through their emotions and solve conflicts peacefully. The school honors voices, from the youngest student to the oldest, and seeks their input in all decisions that affect the school.

Our students have the academic and emotional tools to create meaningful lives. We graduate young men and women who feel successful whether they attend elite universities or begin self-run businesses in their neighborhood. They view their careers not as a means toward building individual wealth, but as a way of actively creating a just and equitable society.

The school’s students and graduates feel successful because they believe that their existence alone entitles them to be respected; they learn their lives have meaning. Student’s lives reflect an education that respects their unique contribution to building our society. They are not seeking an education as a means to get out of Detroit; they see their education as a means to make Detroit a wonderful place to live.
Place-Based Education

To fulfill our goals, we have selected to implement a Place-Based Education (PBE) program. PBE is a nationally renowned and research-based model that has facilitated high student achievement in areas like Oakland, Louisville, Boston, Portland, and New York City. BEC will pioneer PBE for low-income students in Detroit. PBE immerses students in local heritage, cultures, landscapes, opportunities and experiences, using these as a foundation for the study of language arts, mathematics, social studies, science and other subjects across the curriculum. PBE emphasizes learning through participation in service projects for the school and local community.
Place-Based Education

The following are the principles of the Place-Based Education model:

Learning takes place on-site, in the schoolyard, and in the local community and environment.
Learning focuses on local themes, systems, and content.
Learning is personally relevant to each learner.
Learning experiences contribute to the community’s vitality and environmental quality and support the community’s role in fostering global environmental quality.
Learning is supported by strong and varied partnerships with local residents, organizations, businesses, and government.
Learning is interdisciplinary.
Learning experiences are tailored to the local audience.
Learning is grounded in and supports the development of a love for one’s place.
Local learning serves as the foundation for understanding and participating in regional and global issues.

Back to Education page





City Strolls has been hopefully serving a useful community function for the last 10 years. During that time the site has hosted events, updates and community activities.

A quote has sat at the top of City Strolls from the start. “This is the city and I am one of its citizens. Whatever interests the rest interests me, politics, wars, markets, newspapers, schools, the mayor and councils, banks, tariffs, steamships, factories, stocks, stores, real estate and personal estate.” Walt Whitman. It still encompasses to me what are the essential ingredients to life in the city (or anywhere).

If you do not get out and engage with other human beings you will not have much to say about them. City Strolls was, back in the day, when I had time to organise strolls and participate in them, about doing just that – strolling in your city. Not walking to go someplace with your head down, but looking up like a tourist and looking at, sometimes even well known things afresh. There was no planned root to a stroll. Time varied from 2 hours to 6 or so. Kids would be bored for the first bit but soon would be off exploring where they wanted, because we were free to wander anywhere, it wasn’t important. The conversation went where it needed to go. There were no leaders we were all tour guides.

Like other aspects of our lives, we need to put ourselves in the moment, to understand the connections. We learn by walking, by observing, by juxtaposing elements, how things overlay, interact, relate to each other. Looking at things from different angles, reserving judgment till we know all of the facts –till we look ourselves.

Peoples lives today are filled with endless farcical anomalies and deviations that folk are forced to worry about. We can only offer or highlight a few alternative paths through this debris, that may shine some light on the things we should really be worrying about. And on things that can offer some reflection on more human ways to live.

City Strolls Is dedicated to:

• Common Good awareness and the commons in general.
• Creating critical connections towards movement building.
• Encouraging organising social change towards institutional change.
• Creating events to encourage solidarity, learning and understanding.
• Encouraging skill sharing, networking and the avoidance of reinventing the wheel.
• Including: Encouraging the use of what we have that is free and available.
• Encouraging the use of free software and computer programming.
• Encouraging education and learning, Free University, Open Education…
• Encouraging growing, gardening, Understanding food sovereignty and permaculture.
• Transferring the organisational skills learned in the garden to the community.
• Participatory Action Research and the production of community documentation.
• Encourage young folk to organise and encourage their responsibility through self run projects.
• Relearning the city and taking it back from commerce, traffic and corporate blight.
• Carry out tasks and events with imagination to encourage participation.
• Broadening awareness of wider political activity.
• Using any medium available to express these ideas.

Myths that surround exams Lesson Plans

by Bertell Ollman From Z Net

Psychologist, Bill Livant, has remarked, When a liberal sees a beggar, he [sic] says the system isn’t working. When a Marxist does, he [sic] says it is. The same insight could be applied today to the entire area
of education. The learned journals, as well as the popular media, are full of studies documenting how little most students know and how fragile are their basic skills. The cry heard almost everywhere is The
system isn’t working.

Responding to this common complaint, conservatives starting (but not ending) with the Bush adminstration have offered a package of reforms in which increased testing occupies the central place.

The typical liberal and even radical response to this has been to demonstrate that such measures are not likely to have the desired effect. The assumption, of course, is that we all want more or less the same thing from a system of education and that conservatives have made an error in the means they have chosen to attain our common end. But what if students are already receiving, more or less, the kind of education that conservatives favor. This would cast their proposals for reform in another light. What if, as Livant points out in the case of beggars, the system is working

Before detailing what young people learn from their forced participation in this educational ritual, it may be useful to dispose of a number of myths that surround exams and exam taking in our society

(l) /Exams are a necessary part of education./ Education, of one kind or another has existed in all human societies, but exams have not; and the practice of requiring frequent exams is a very recent innovation and still relatively rare in the world.

(2) /Exams are unbiased./ In 1912, Henry Goddard, a distinguished psychologist, administered what he claimed were culture free IQ tests to new immigrants on Ellis Island and found that 83 percent of Jews, 80 percent of Hungarians, 79 percent of Italians, and 87 percent of Russians were feebleminded, adding that all feebleminded are at least potential criminals. IQ tests have gotten better since then, but given the character of the testing process, the attitudes of those who make up any test, and the variety of people coming from so many different backgrounds who take it, it is impossible to produce a test that does not have serious biases

(3) /Exams are objectively graded./ Daniel Stark and Edward Elliot sent two English essays to 200 high school teachers for grading. They got back 142 grades. For one paper, the grades ranged from 50 to 99; for the other, the grades went from 64 to 99. But English is not an objective subject, you say. Well, they did the same thing for an essay answer in mathematics and got back grades ranging from 28 to 95. Though most of the grades they received in both cases fell in the middle ground, it was evident that a good part of any grade was the result of who marked the exam and not of who took it.

(4) /Exams are an accurate indication of what students know and of intelligence in general./ But all sorts of things, including luck in getting (or not getting) the questions you hoped for and one’s state of mind and emotions the day of the exam, can have an important affect on the result.

(5) /All students have an equal chance to do well on exams,/ that even major differences in their conditions of life have a negligible impact on their performance. There is such a strong correlation between students family income and their test scores, however, that the radical educational theorist, Ira Shor, has suggested (tongue-in-cheek) that college applications should ignore test scores altogether and just ask students to enter their family income. The results would be the same with relatively few exceptions, the same people would get admitted into college, but then, of course, the belief that there is equality of opportunity in the classroom would stand forth as the myth that it is.

(6) /Exams are the fairest way to distribute society’s scarce resources/ to the young, hence the association of exams with the ideas of meritocracy and equality of opportunity. But if some students consistently do better on exams because of the advantages they possess and other students do not outside of school, then directing society’s main benefits to these same people compounds the initial inequality.

(7) /Exams, and particularly the fear of them, are necessary in order to motivate students to do their assignments./ Who can doubt that years of reacting to such threats have produced in many students a reflex of the kind depicted here The sad fact is that the natural curiosity of young people and their desire to learn, develop, advance, master, and the pleasure that comes from succeeding which could and should motivate all studying has been progressively replaced in their psyches by a pervasive fear of failing. This needn’t be. For the rest, if the only reason a student does the assignments is that he/she is worried about the exam, he/she should not be taking that course in the first place.

(8) /Exams are not injurious, socially, intellectually, and psychologically. /Complaining about exams may be most students first truly informed criticism about society because they are its victims and know from experience how exams work. They know, for example, that exams don’t only involve reading questions and writing answers. They also involve forced isolation from other students, prohibition on talking and walking around and going to the bathroom, writing a lot faster than usual, physical discomfort, worry, fear, anxiety, and often guilt.

They are also aware that exams do a poor job of testing what students actually know. But it is here that most of their criticisms run into a brick wall, because most students don’t know enough about society to understand the role that exams especially taking so many exams play in preparing them to take their place in it.

But if exams are not what most people think they are, then what are they The short answer is that exams have less to do with testing us for what we are supposed to know than teaching us what the other aspects of instruction cannot get at (or get at as well). To understand what that

is we must examine what the capitalist class require from a system of education. Here, it is clear that capitalists need a system of education that provides young people with the knowledge and skills necessary for their businesses to function and prosper. But they also want schools to give youth the beliefs, attitudes, emotions, and associated habits of behavior that make it easy for capitalists to tap into this store of knowledge and skills. They need all this not only to maximize their profits, but to help reproduce the social, economic, and even political conditions and accompanying processes that allow them to extract profits. Without workers, consumers and citizens who are well versed in and accepting of their roles in these processes, the entire capitalist system would grind to a halt. It is here particularly as regards the behavioral and attitudinal prerequisites of capitalist rule that the culture of exams has become indispensable. So what do exams teach students

(l) The crush of tests gets students to believe that one gets what one works for, that the standards by which this is decided are objective and fair, and therefore that those who do better deserve what they get; and that the same holds for those who do badly. After a while, this attitude is carried over to what students find in the rest of society, including their own failures later in life, where it encourages them to blame the victim (themselves or others) and feel guilty for what is not their fault.

(2) By fixing a time and a form in which they have to deliver or else, exams prepare students for the more rigorous discipline of the work situation that lies ahead.

(3) In forcing students to think and write faster than they ordinarily do, exams get them ready mentally, emotionally, and also morally for the speed-ups they will face on the job.

(4) The self-discipline students acquire in preparing for exams also helps them put up with the disrespect, personal abuse, and boredom that awaits them on the job.

(5) Exams are orders that are not open to question discuss this, outline that, etc. And taking so many exams conditions students to accept unthinkingly the orders that will come from their future employers.

(6) By fitting the infinite variety of answers given on exams into the straitjacket of A, B, C, D, and F, students get accustomed to the standardization of people as well as of things and the impersonal job categories that will constitute such an important part of their identity

later on.

(7) Because passing an exam is mainly good for enabling students to move up a grade so they can take a slightly harder exam, which if they pass enables them to repeat the exercise/ ad infinitum,/ they begin to see life as an endless series of ever more complicated exams, where one never finishes being judged and the need for being prepared and respectful of the judging authorities only grows.

(8) Because their teachers know all the right answers to the exams, students tend to assume that those who are above them in other hierarchies also know much more than they do.

(9) Because their teachers genuinely want them to do well on exams, students also mistakenly assume that those in relation of authority over them in other hierarchies are also rooting for them to succeed, that is, have their best interests at heart.

(10) Because most tests are taken individually, striving to do well on a test is treated as something that concerns students only as individuals. Cooperative solutions are equated with cheating, if considered at all.

(11) Because one is never quite ready for an exam, there is always something more to do, students often feel guilty for reading materials or engaging in activities unrelated to the exam. The whole of life, it would appear, is but preparation for exams or doing what is required in order to succeed (as those in charge define success).

(12) With the Damocles sword of a failing (or for some a mediocre) grade hanging over their heads throughout their years in school (including university), the inhibiting fear of swift and dire punishment never leaves students, no matter their later situation.

(13) Coupled with the above, because there is always so much to be known, exams especially so many of them tend to undermine students self- confidence and to raise their levels of anxiety, with the result that most young people remain unsure that they will ever know enough to criticize existing institutions and become even physically uncomfortable at the thought of trying to put something better in their place.

(14) Exams also play a key role in determining course content, leaving little time for material that is not on the exam. Among the first things to be omitted in this tightening of the curriculum are students own reactions to the topics that come up, collective reflection on the main problems of the day, alternative points of view and other possibilities generally, the larger picture (where everything fits), explorations of topics triggered by individual curiosity, and anything else that is likely to promote creative, cooperative, or critical thinking.

(15) Exams also determine the form in which most teaching goes on, since for any given exam there is generally a best way to prepare for it. Repetition and forced memorization, even learning by rote, and frequent quizzes (more exams) leave littletime for other more imaginative approaches to conveying, exchanging and questioning facts and ideas.

(16) Multiple exams become one of the main factors determining the character of the relation between students (with students viewing each other as competitors for the best grades), the relation between students and teachers (with most students viewing their teachers as examiners and

graders first, and most teachers viewing their students largely in terms of how well they have done on exams), also the relation between teachers and school administrators (since principals and deans now have an objective standard by which to measure teacher performance), and even the relation between school administrations and various state bodies (since the same standard is used by the state to judge the work of schools and school systems). Exams mediate all social relations in the educational system in a manner similar to the way money mediates relations between people in the larger society with the same dehumanizing results.

While exams have been with us for a long time, socializing students in all the ways that I have outlined above, it is only recently that the mania for exams has begun to affect government policies. Why now Globalization, or whatever it is one chooses to call this new stage, has arrived. But to which of its aspects is the current drive for more exams a carefully fashioned response The proponents of such educational reform point to the intensified competition between industries and workers worldwide and the increasingly rapid pace at which economic changes of all kinds are occurring. To survive in this new order requires people, they say, who are not only efficient, but also have a variety of skills (or can quickly acquire them) and the flexibility to change tasks whenever called upon to do so. Thus, the only way to prepare our youth for the new economic life that awaits them is to raise standards of education, and that entails, among other things, more exams.

A more critical approach to globalization begins by emphasizing that the intensification of economic competition worldwide is driven by capitalists efforts to maximize their profits. It is this that puts all the other developments associated with globalization into motion. It is well known that, all things being equal, the less capitalists pay their workers and the less money they spend on improving work conditions and reducing pollution, the more profit they make. Recent technological progress in transportation and communication, together with free trade and the abolition of laws restricting the movement of capital, allow capitalists to consider workers all over the world in making their calculations. While the full impact of these developments is yet to be felt, we can already see two of its most important effects in the movement of more and more companies (and parts of companies) out of the U.S. and a rollback of modest gains in wages, benefits, and work conditions that American workers have won over the last 50 years.

The current rage for more exams needs to be viewed as part of a larger strategy that includes stoking patriotic fires and chipping away at traditional civil liberties (both rationalized by the so-called war on terrorism), the promotion of family values, restrictions on sexual freedom (but not, as we see, on sexual hypocrisy), and the push for more prisons and longer prison sentences for a whole range of minor crimes.

Is there a connection between exams and the privatization of public education They appear to be separate, but look again. With new investment opportunities failing to keep up with the rapidly escalating surpluses in search of them (a periodic problem for a system that never pays its workers enough to consume all the wealth they produce), the public sector has become the latest last frontier for capitalist expansion. Given its size and potential for profit, what are state prisons or utilities or transport or communication systems or other social services next to public education But how to convince the citizenry that companies whose only concern is with the bottom line can do a better job educating our young than public servants dedicated to the task What seems impossible could be done if somehow education were redefined to emphasize the qualities associated with business and its achievements. Then by definition business could do the job better than any public agency.

Enter exams. Standardization, easily quantifiable results, and the willingness to reshape all intervening processes to obtain them characterize the path to success in both exams and business. When that happens (and to the extent it has already happened), putting education in the hands of businesspeople who know best how to dispense with inessentials becomes a perfectly rational thing to do.

What should students do about all this Well, they shouldn’t refuse to take exams (unless the whole class gets involved) and they shouldn’t drop out of school. Given the relations of power inside education and throughout the rest of society, that would be suicidal and suicide is never good politics. Rather, they should become better students by learning more about the role of education, and exams in particular, in capitalism. Nowhere does the contradiction between the selfish and manipulative interests of our ruling class and the educational and developmental interests of students stand out in such sharp relief as in the current debate over exams. Students of all ages need to get involved in this debate in order to raise the consciousness of young people regarding the source of their special oppression and the possibility of uniting with other oppressed groups to create a truly human society. Everything depends on the youth of today doing better on this crucial test than my generation did, because the price for failure has never been so high. Will they succeed Can they afford to fail.

Sports, education in the capitalist economy

One question that inevitably comes up in casual conversation down the pub or wherever when the topic takes on political overtones is.
“If your so interested why don’t you get into politics then? ”
This question, which is usually a put down and implies. Political interest is for politicians and experts and is the concern of professionals and those who know. Rather, than something that interweaves in all aspects of peoples lives However as someone put it

‘when the arrogant forces of commercial interests and investors come into contact and threaten the welfare and interests of the individual the connection between political interest and social interest becomes clearer.’

Or should become clear (as has becoming the case with football) when the working-mans-sport becomes a wealthy mans hobby

There is no clearer example of this than the situation the sports fan finds them selves in, especially sport. As Cary Watson, (US) explains If you want to hear anti capitalist rhetoric or discussion don’t go looking in the editorial pages of the newspaper. Go to the sports section. It is there that you will find the vilification of the top league teams and their management by the fans.

As sporting generations who have invested emotionally and financially in the various clubs, watch as tickets become unaffordable to the average fan and as grounds turn more space over to executive suites; coverage goes from main networks to pay as you watch cable, cynical merchandising of strips which change most every season specifically aimed at the young into pressurize parents into buying each one as it appears. Up and coming talent in smaller clubs is snatched up by bigger clubs before they can make any mark in the team that nurtured them.

Big teams like Rangers and Celtic whose conceived roots are in Glasgow threaten to shift their allegiance to another country and league to play football. Is that to do with the health of the game or egotistical and self- important greed? Ask any football fan.

A new vein of dissent

So could what its fans usually see as apolitical and only a game, work as a catalyst for wider political awareness. As sport is globalized and “Coke” fastens its grip on anything that moves a new vein of dissent is materializing from an unexpected source namely the sports fan.

And from the land of corporate America Watson precede “It seems clear that when sports fans react with rage at the actions of the Yankees and Irsays of the world, they are not just bemoaning the state of the game. Part of this fury stems from the realization that money, capital, is being used as a weapon, and a blunt one, at that. Its capitalism unmasked and a significant number of people, most of who wouldn’t describe themselves as socialists if their lives depended on it, are appalled at what they see. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the anti – capitalist bent of so many fans and sports journalists is that it creates a fertile environment in which to educate people about the larger problems created by a capitalist economy.

Thanks to the mendacious and piratical behavior of pro sports, millions of fans are savvy to the ways and means a huge bankroll can stack the deck against their rooting interests and the interests of their sport. It is not a huge jump from there to show people how the capitalism that ruins their favorite team or sport can, and is, ruining lives within and without the U.S.”

And finally an indication of how the beautiful game here is getting in line with its American cousins. As the captain of the Irish team was sent home from the teams training camp preparing for the world cup, due to a conflict with the team manager. Manchester United (the player’s team) sent their private jet specially to fly him home. The new strip will be due out two weeks after Xmas no doubt to pay for it

Based on z mag article (lost link)