Campus Free Speech proves with its new report, Facts Still Count, that David Horowitz's recent books are not honest in their criticisms of campuses and faculty. The Center for Campus Free Speech is affiliated with the Democratizing Education Network, and a great source of information regarding important academic freedom and campus free speech issues.
As part of the Free Exchange on Campus Coalition, Campus Free Speech has just released a new report: Facts Still Count.
The Center for Campus Free Speech releases there Guide to Student Activity Fees - a primer on the legal issues involved in creating and managing a student activity fee system.
Student fee systems are used by students across the country to provide the resources for a wide variety of out-of-classroom activities.
Students fund everything from service organizations to advocacy to educational forums and guest speakers. They debate and learn about critical issues like multiculturalism, the environment, education policy, conflicts in the Middle East and religion. They learn new skills and create change on major problems the world faces.
Student activity fees give involved students the resources to create a vibrant marketplace of ideas on campus.
This report, by John Schmitt and Ben Zipperer of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, updates an earlier report from January of 2007, which found a steep rise in illegal firings of pro-union workers in the 2000s relative to the last half of the 1990s. It updates the index of the probability that a pro-union worker will be fired in the course of a union election campaign, using published data from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). It also takes into consideration the increase in card-check organizing campaigns that began in the mid-1990s and adjusts the index for this factor.
"Democratizing Our Universities to Confront Climate Change" was a workshop held at PowerShift 2009, in Washington, DC. The speakers are Ben Manski of Liberty Tree and Meaghan Linick-Loughley and Atlee McFellin of New School University.
Location: Barcelona, Spain Presented at the International Seminar on Participatory Democracy "Participatory Democracy. Political Actors and Social Movements" AbstractDiagnosing Democratic Collapse The U.S. political system suffers from a potentially fatal condition, a malady that can be diagnosed as "Democratic Collapse." The causes of this collapse are known: First, the consolidation of corporate control of the establishment political parties. Second, the sacrilegious enshrinement of corporations as persons under law, entitled to constitutional protections against citizens and governments.
Ben Manski is a Fellow with the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution in its Local Democracy and Democratizing Education program areas. He served as Co-Chair of the Green Party of the United States from 2001 through 2004, and was active in the U.S. student, labor, peace, and environmental movements throughout the 1990s. Ben has a degree in law from the University of Wisconsin, and has written on the corporatization of higher education in the United States.
An organizing guide for students, faculty, staff, and community members interested in promoting democracy in higher education, and a higher education system in service to a democratic, inclusive, society.
Evan Thornton at the Democratizing Education Convention, Madison, Wisconsin
To place the Canadian student movement in context, I want to start with a brief overview of the national affiliations on a typical Canadian campus, which I hope will help give an idea of the significant difference in the nature of the challenge faced by Canadian student organizers compared to their U.S. counterparts.
Faculty and Academic Staff:
Starting with teaching staff, the campus will typically have unionized Faculty Association that are affiliated nationally with the Canadian Association of University Teachers CAUT which represents 48,000 teachers, librarians, researchers and other academic professionals. In its own words CAUT is:
Evan Thornton is an associate of the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution, and director of University Watch. Thornton has three decades of experience in campus organizing, first as a student union organizer, then with labour, and most recently as director and editor of University Watch.
Uwatch.ca is an independently incorporated, non-profit donor-financed organisation largely run by volunteers committed to the vision that universities ought to be transparent institutions serving in the public interest. It is also intended as an umbrella organisation linking various stakeholders, including interested private citizens, community groups, students, student governments, agencies, think tanks, and so on.
Published in TNI's "Beyond the Market: The Future of Public Services" In January, 2006, Liberty Tree's Ben Manski and Patrick Barrett travelled to the Social Forum of the Americas in Caracas, Venezuela, where they made presentations on the state of the democracy movement in the United States. Ben Manski also participated in the international release of a new yearbook on public services, to which he and John Peck were contributors. Read their survey of corporatization in the United States, together with their analysis of what can be done about it, below.
Hurricane Katrina destroyed as yet uncounted lives, communities, and ecosystems. The hurricane also destroyed popular visions of the US state, sweeping away the last vestiges of federal paternalism, revealing the costs of corporatization in its wake. Years of budget cuts, cronyism, and corporatization rendered the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) incompetent to manage this greatest of national emergencies.
This report was drafted by Mishy Leiblum and Jed Murr, retreat participants from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Photos by Ben Manski. The retreat was a project of the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution's Democratizing Education Program.
Bringing the inspiration of the Wisconsin protest wave -- from the occupation of the state's capitol to the recent national Democracy Convention in Madison -- to the planned October 2011 occupation of Freedom Plaza in D.C.:
Around the world students, pupils, teachers, parents and employees have been protesting against the increasing commercialisation and privatisation of public education, and fighting for free and emancipatory education in the past decade.
This year will see people unify this struggle on the international and global level for the "Global Wave of Action for Education."
The following aims unite us worldwide:
What are we struggling against?
* The effects of the current economic system on people and education systems:
→ tuition fees or any form of fees which exclude people from accessing and equally participating in education
→ student debt
→ public education aligned to serve the (labour) market;
► The so called Bologna-Process (as with its counterparts around the world) is aimed at implementing education systems that primarily train people in skills serving the labour market. It promotes the reduction of costs for training a person, shortens the length of time spent studying, and produces underqualified workforces.
→ turning education into a commodity (like all other aspects of life)
→ (increasing) influence of business interests on basic budgets for public education
→ (increasing) budget cuts on public education worldwide
→ the "privatisation" of public funds with the subsidisation of private educational institutions
→ the commodification and exploitation of labor within educational institutions
* We stand against the discrimination and exclusion within any educational institution based on:
→ socio-economic background (education systems are currently set up so that people with less money can't participate equally)
→ political ideologies and activities
→ sexual orientation
→ ethnic background
→ skin colour
* We stand against the prioritisation of research towards commercially valuable patents rather than open knowledge freely available to all!
→ Public educational institutions are increasingly forced to compete for private sponsorships to do (basic) research; at the same time private funds have the tendency to be invested into research promising to be profitable (- leading to a decline in funding for areas of research which may be important but not deemed economically lucrative). On the basis of profitability, educational institutions and participants are deemed 'excellent' and often fulfill the criteria to receive additional public funding.
* We stand against the prioritisation of income-generating research grants ahead of education and basic research
* Activities for the army within educational institutions:
→ no research specifically for military purposes
→ no recruiting and advertising activities for the army
What are we struggling for?
→ free and emancipatory education as a human right: education should primarily serve the individual's interest to be emancipated, that means: to be enabled to critically reflect and understand the power structures and environment surrounding him-/herself; education must not only enable the emancipation of the individual but society as a whole
→ education as a public good serving public interests
→ academic freedom and choice: freedom to pursue any educational discipline
→ free from monetary mechanisms of payment by participants and any kind of discrimination and exclusion and therefore freely accessible to all individuals
→ sufficient funding of all public educational institutions, no matter if deemed profitable or not
→ all educational entities/institutions should be democratically structured (direct participation from below as a basis for decision making processes)
Why on the local and global level?
The impacts of the current global economic system create struggles worldwide. While applying local pressure to influence our individual local/regional politics and legislation, we must always be aware of the global and structural nature of our problems and share our tactics, experiences in organizations, and theoretical knowledge to learn from each other. Short-term changes may be achieved on the local level, but great change will only happen if we unite globally.
Education systems worldwide do what they are intended to do within the economic and state system(s): select, train and create ignorance and submission. We unite for a different education system and a different life.
We, the undersigned students, faculty, staff, parents, and concerned citizens worldwide stand united across all divisions of nationality, race, religion and field of studies to declare our support for the aims and objectives of the "Education is NOT for - Global Week of Action" called for by the independent "International Student Movement".
We are united in working to ensure that:
Public education is accessible to all and recognized as a fundamental right; NO to tuition fees!
Public education is free from exploitative corporate practices and state interests which conflict with those of the individual and the public interest.
Public education primarily serves democratic and public interests, instead of private, business, state and/or labour market interests.
Public education empowers individuals to become emancipated and autonomous people, able to critically evaluate themselves and their environment, and thus be actively involved in a genuinely democratic society.
If we are to have such a society we need general public discussions on the role of public education systems: Whose interests do they - and should they - primarily serve?
Who buys elections? Who bribes politicians? Who writes the anti-worker and anti-environment laws? First and foremost, the answer is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its state affiliate, the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC).
Join Dennis Kucinich, the fighting progressive from Ohio, former mayor of Cleveland, seven term congressman, and twice presidential candidate. as he joins us in launching a national campaign to "Shut the Chamber!"
The Hunger Strike is over - Miami administrators have agreed to bargain with the union!
Students at the University of Miami are hunger striking to demand that Miami President, and former Clinton cabinet member Donna Shalala honor the right of campus janitors to form a union. This hunger strike is ongoing and follows on the heels of a two-week hunger strike by janitors at the university. They need your support.
It's been a month of student and student labor sit-ins, ranging from Virginia to the Florida State Capitol to Berkeley. Students have also won a series of victories in their struggle to create a national anti-sweatshop Designated Supplier Program. And students have joined together with faculty, staff, and community members in a series of Tent State Universities (read below).
As people throughout the country struggle under the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, public education from pre-K to higher and adult education is threatened by budget cuts, layoffs, privatization, tuition and fee increases, and other attacks. Budget cuts degrade the quality of public education by decreasing student services and increasing class size, while tuition hikes and layoffs force the cost of the recession onto students and teachers and off of the financial institutions that caused the recession in the first place. Non-unionized charter schools threaten to divide, weaken and privatize the public school system and damage teachers’ unions, which are needed now more than ever. More and more students are going deep into debt to finance their education, while high unemployment forces many students and youth to join the military to receive a higher education. And all of the attacks described above have hit working people and people of color the hardest.
In California, students, teachers, workers, parents, and faculty have taken action against these attacks. They took to the streets in a one-day strike on September 24th, organized strikes and actions across the state during the University of California Board of Regents meeting from November 18th to 20th, and have called for a state-wide day of action on March 4th. These actions have created a broad mass movement in California, drawing in students from all over the state to create a powerful struggle. As the effects of the economic crisis continue to spread into the education system nationally, it’s time to join our voices with students and workers in California and draw inspiration from their example.
We support each group or coalition organizing in the manner and for the duration of their choosing. In solidarity with those in California, we the below-signed individuals and organizations call on students, teachers, workers, parents, faculty, and staff across the country to join together on March 4th to Take A Stand For Education!
You’re invited to a free community forum, Corporations Are Not Persons and Money Is Not Speech. The event includes a presentation by and discussion with David Cobb, the national spokesperson for Move to Amend.
Cobb will discuss the national Move to Amend campaign and what we can do to abolish never-intended corporate constitutional rights and reverse the legal doctrine that money is speech! Download flyer here.
12:00pm-2:00pm RALLY AT STATE CAPITOL: Ride the Wave Back to the Capitol!
2:00pm-3:00pm MARCH TO WMC: Take Wisconsin Back from the Corporate Interests!
4:00pm Registration Opens at Georgia O'Keefe Middle School, 510 South Thornton Ave., Madison
5:00pm & 7:00pm MAJOR PANELS at Georgia O'Keefe Middle School:
5pm UNDERSTANDING AUSTERITY: Wisconsin in a global perspective
7pm BUILDING A POPULAR MOVEMENT: Overcoming inequality & uniting us all in common cause
~ Sunday, April 10th ~
8:30am Registration Reopens at Downtown Campus of Madison Area Technical College
9:30am-11:00am MAJOR PANEL: DIRECT ACTION CAMPAIGNING: Achieving the Will of the People when government closes its doors
1:00-2:30pm Lunch Break
4:30pm-6:30pm MAJOR PANEL: DEMAND DEMOCRACY: Democratizing our elections, economy, budget process, and constitutions