(Photo credit: Channi Anand/AP)

Greed is killing hundreds of thousands of people around the world, an avoidable catastrophe, fueling surges and viral variants, and ensuring that COVID will linger, mutate, and strike back, killing many more people inside the US. As COVID ravages India — three hundred and sixty thousand new cases were reported on a recent day — and stalks through Latin America and Africa, Americans are beginning to relax and enjoy the benefits of expanding vaccination coverage, too-often blinded to the unnecessary suffering facing humanity.

The big US and European pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, and Moderna, hold…

A review of Teacher Unions and Social Justice: Organizing for the Schools and Communities our Students Deserve

When the history of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic is written, one of the most searing stories will be the transformative accomplishments of millions of teachers across the country. With no warning, teachers were thrown into a crisis in which they had to improvise new ways of reaching children, to devise activities to give coherence to student learning, and to bridge the isolation and crisis faced by many families with social and financial support.

It will also be remembered as a time of unprecedented…

Last summer was a heady time. Historic, truly epic, protests and even uprisings took place in response to the police murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and so many more. But they were not just a response to that — they were the motion unleashed of decades, centuries of white supremacist violence and insult. Defunding the police; ending mass incarceration; removing racist monuments; opening up housing and health care; all of these demands were front and center and the possibilities of making real change seemed endless.

Then the fascist was chased from the White House and the militias were…

–a book review of We are not dreamers: Undocumented scholars theorize undocumented life in the United States by Leisy Abrego and Genevieve Negrón-Gonzales

American schooling reflects and contains all the contradictions, all the inequities that characterize the broader society. And the condition of immigrants, the designation of some people as legal and worthy while others are “less than,” is a central problem facing our students.

Now Leisy Abrego and Genevieve Negrón-Gonzales have produced a book which challenges the myths, both the vicious xenophobic ones and the problematic liberal ones, about who the undocumented students are and what should be done.

America is not just a world power, it is an empire. But why do we fix the arbitrary border of the empire at the 50 states? The Roman Empire claimed all of its conquered territories as provinces of greater Rome. We would learn a great deal by understanding the US global system as comprising not only the 50 states but all of the subject regions of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Europe ties in too, as a lesser partner in the imperialist center.

Looked at this way, democracy has never been a dominant feature of the US political-economic system. Subject…

Now that 45 is gone, or gone-ish, I have been seeing a lot of think pieces about the US social failures that led to the rise of this fascist movement. One critique that comes up often is that our schools have failed, that we have allowed too many millions to be suckers for dim-witted conspiracy theories, we have allowed a narrative that feeds white people’s paranoia, we have simply not taught history and civics and even statistics well. Certainly the defunding of education has left schools deprived of opportunities to develop rich experiences for students.

This may all be true…

A book review of The Empty Shield: A Decision by Giacomo Donis

I believe I first got wind of Giacomo Donis’ book, The Empty Shield: A Decision (2020, Eyewear Publishing, London), in a note from my brother Bill. Apparently there was this book, self-described as a “political autobiography,” by a guy who left the US and moved to Italy, self-exiling at the height of the Vietnam war. Not only that, but it recounts days and weeks of riding the New York subways, thinking, reflecting, over-thinking, obsessing, about whether to leave or not, and how to live in a world gone…

There is plenty to worry about in the escalating government attacks in Portland and other cities. Certainly it portends a new level in the escalating Trump drive towards fascism. Who would not be alarmed at those weapons, those drones, those kidnappings? It’s no joke.

The situation is not good. No revolutionary welcomes the arrival of fascism as some kind of trigger leading to “the revolution.” No, we don’t want that. But we can’t be surprised by the escalating violence of the state. It simply means that they are losing. …

Third of three articles

[I can only post this under one name but this is actually by Dr. Belinda Hernandez-Arriaga <bmhernandezarriaga@usfca.edu>, Dr. Amy Argenal <aargenal@usfca.edu>, and Dr. Rick Ayers <rjayers@usfca.edu>, University of San Francisco.]

On the morning of Good Friday, photos started coming in to the WhatsApp chats of our team, Bay Area Border Relief (BABR), showing an unknown female’s body floating at the edge of the Rio Grande at the Matamoros Border. There was little information about her story until calls came in later that day. “I just spoke to her the other day,” refugee leader Miguel said. “She…

Second of three articles

[I can only post this under one name but this is actually by Dr. Belinda Hernandez-Arriaga <bmhernandezarriaga@usfca.edu>, Dr. Amy Argenal <aargenal@usfca.edu>, and Dr. Rick Ayers <rjayers@usfca.edu>, University of San Francisco.]

Fue un adios una despedida in the dark…. Saying goodbye to walk the bridge.

The calls began coming in to us at Bay Area Border Relief (BABR) Wednesday night. Four children from Camp One had been forced to walk alone on the long bridge over the Rio Grande to turn themselves in to Border Patrol agents. Step by step, young children leaving their parents to be…

Rick Ayers

Rick Ayers is an associate professor of education at the University of San Francisco.

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