Some people believe the United States is already a totalitarian state. If that is our reality, it doesn’t mean we can’t regain our status as a republic.
“Corporate totalitarianism means total control by corporate interests…. What’s happening in the United States today is a corporate coup of the U.S. government, and anyone who isn’t grieving that must not be looking.” Corporate Totalitarianism, or Not, Opinion by Marianne Williamson
We can’t beat back what we don’t understand.
Totalitarian power by definition is considered to be…
“…of or relating to a political regime based on subordination of the individual to the state and strict control of all aspects of the life and productive capacity of the nation…”
I’m sure that during the Kennedy presidency, foreign totalitarian regimes were the concern. But what JFK stated then can be used in the fight we must take-on today. To win this battle, our citizenry …
“[It] requires skilled manpower and brainpower to match the power of totalitarian discipline.”
He was discussing education. We must educate people to recognize and resist conformity for the sake of conformity. We need brainpower? Not a problem.
But, whom are we matching wits against? And how powerful is their discipline, their control over us?
That is where my passionate support for public education keeps me digging for answers. I don’t like what I have found.
When the public education system is completely controlled and directed to focus on the “productive capacity of the nation,” then we are concentrating our manpower and money on one of the corporate-elites’ endpoints — the production of their manpower supply. This is where we must focus our brainpower. This is where the corporate-elite coup must be stopped.
Children do need to be employable. The public education system helps fulfill that goal. I get that.
What I don’t get is the public’s willingness to let education be narrowed and controlled —made into a test-and-sort system— to fill corporate workforce needs. What don’t people understand about the importance of control of the public education system?
Organizations of all kinds with a variety of political ideologies have jumped on the “education reform” bandwagon. They are the ruling elite — ultra-rich individuals and foundations of all structures, sizes, and attractively deceptive names. And they are hiring people just like you to work on promoting and selling their agenda. (Recognize astroturf?)
Are we sure we want these groups — under the guise of philanthropic efforts and state control — in control of our productive capacity?
In The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements, Eric Hoffer explains that—
“… propaganda articulates and justifies opinions already present in the minds of the recipients.”
Now, think about this: How many parents have been frustrated at one time or another with something that happened in their public schools?
How many business owners have been frustrated at one time or another by hires who didn’t seem adequately prepared for work?
Same question, professors and college students, etc. etc. … I’m NOT saying there is a HUGE problem; I’m saying there are some underlying unaddressed social tensions associated with public education. There has always been a constant desire to improve schools — as there should be. But that fact has been used against us.
Hoffer illuminates how leaders play on our emotions —
“…leadership articulates and justifies the resentment damned up in the souls of the frustrated.”
Because of frustration, we are vulnerable to massive changes not always of our choosing. With education reform as we have called it for the last 30 years, the massive changes aren’t fixing the real problems. The pseudo-reforms are only feeding the corporate State. (And, yes, that is state with an authoritatively capital “S.”)
America was given a choice long ago, but it was an “either/or” choice. (America’s Choice: High Skills or Low Wages) That’s a propaganda technique that creates a false dilemma. You have only two choices and you MUST pick one. It looks like we did. And these same education elite-D.C.-think tankers moving us to make that choice also took control of our system. We are implementing their plan.
The State — Big Money running what we used to call Big Brother (our government) — is no longer a republic. As Chris Hedges explains in Our Invisible Revolution,…
“Our shift to corporate totalitarianism, like the shift to all forms of totalitarianism, is incremental. … The ‘consent of the governed’ is a cruel joke. Barack Obama cannot defy corporate power any more than George W. Bush or Bill Clinton could.”
WE can defy them. You see, I believe this because of what I see. I see a corrupted federal education law that must be stopped. It can be stopped.
The “new” education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), is a perfect example of persisting totalitarian creep into the education of the next generation. ESSA continues the marketable propaganda of No Child Left Behind — accountability, flexibility, and choice — while moving the corporate-elite agenda of privatization forward by leaps and bounds. The law, and those executing it, further corporate-elite control over what is becoming their workforce development system.
And now, it is obvious that the public education system is being used for other purposes. Here’s how.
We bought the plan to focus education on a narrow set of skills (standards). Once the State dictated a couple sets of standards it didn’t take long before others followed. Now, we are poised to lose control of civics (social studies) education. (The Koch Brothers Sneak into School. It’s real. It’s legal….and you are paying for it.)
The ESSA law establishes a Presidential Academy for civics instructors. Innocent enough? Perhaps. BUT when accountability for education is being left up to “the State,” who’s to say? How narrow will the civics instruction be? Who will be controlling the content? And who is training “our” educational leadership?
Convinced that this is some serious stuff?
Well, let’s look further at totalitarianism. It can be defined as…
“…tending toward monopoly.”
Big Money has monopolized education policy — from State to Federal and Federal to State — including local policies through the training of parents and school board members. This is the problem many of us have with Common Core National Standards. They aren’t just standards. They are based on a vision for a totalitarian workforce development system paid for by the public but privately controlled. The corporate-elite created the Common Core System. (America’s Choice?)
So, who is in control of the education of the next generation?
“Controlling information and controlling dissent are part of what goes into maintaining a totalitarian state,” said Jerrold Post, director of the political psychology program at George Washington University.
See why the public education system is such a big piece in the game?
The anti-Common Core groups are fighting hard. The anti-high stakes testing groups are still battling after over two decades. Anti-charter/voucher groups are on the rise. Their individual efforts deserve our respect and admiration, but it hasn’t been enough to stop the coup.
To date, federal education law continues under the control of the corporate-elites. We are still only minor players.
“Through their control of politicians, political parties and corporate media, they do everything necessary to make sure that political candidates who resist them get nowhere near the levers of power.” Marianne Williamson
We, the populace, are rising. But,…
“An uprising that is devoid of ideas and vision is never a threat to ruling elites.” Chris Hedges
That is where the ideas and visions of JFK can still serve us well.
Totalitarian discipline did creep into education law. But we don’t have to comply with it. Civil disobedience is needed at every opportunity.
Reinforcements are a must. All the groups out there saying they are fighting against corporate-elite rule need to recognize where their strength and numbers are needed most. We know the corporate-elite takeover is real. We have the brainpower to match theirs. What we lack is the collective manpower focused where we can make a huge difference right now…. and in the future.
Join forces. Help stop the escalating takeover of our public schools.