|Dan La Botz January 30, 2014|
Susan Weissman. Victor Serge: A Political Biography. New York: Verso, 2013. Notes. Biographical glossary. Bibliography. Index. 452 pages.
From its opening pages Susan Weissman’s Victor Serge: A Political Biography thrusts us into the life of this remarkable revolutionary and writer as he plunges into the Russian Revolution with all of its contradictions. Weissman has written a wonderful intellectual and, above all, political life of Serge that focuses on his experience in the Bolshevik Party and then in the Left Opposition, explaining how he attempted to understand and express through his journalism, essays, histories, memoir, novels and poems the meaning of it all as the workers’ revolution first faltered and was then transformed into the Stalinist regime. Weissman’s Victor Serge takes up virtually all of the major incidents, issues, and personalities of the revolution during the 1920s and 1930s, giving particular attention to Serge’s coincidences and differences with Leon Trotsky.
|Lois Weiner January 29, 2014|
It’s hard to overstate how frightened US teachers are in many schools and districts. We know from research that many teachers in schools now chose this career because they love kids and/or their subject matter. Some of activists in social justice causes but many have never taken an interest in what they’ve viewed as “politics,” remote from their work. These teachers aren’t prepared for the ferocity of the attack they’ve experienced, and teachers unions have been so weakened, legally and politically, that teachers
|Lois Weiner January 22, 2014|
Does appointment of Carmen Fariña signal a dramatic shift in policy for New York City public schools? Writing in the Indypendent, NYC teacher and union activist Brian Jones suggests, correctly I think, the situation is more complicated than supporters of Bill de Blasio want to believe.* On the one hand, Fariña is indeed different from her predecessors in the past decade.
|Lois Weiner January 16, 2014|
Teacher activists have been buzzing in the blogosphere about AFT President Randi Weingarten’s shift, endorsing a moratorium on linking teacher evaluation to students’ scores on standardized tests and on the new national curriculum, Common Core.
|Marvin Mandell January 8, 2014|
The following is a response to an article trying to enlist the poet Homer on the side of hawks by the Boston Globe’s resident neocon right winger Jeff Jacoby. This letter was not published.
|Dan La Botz January 2, 2014|
The Mexican Congress passed President Enrique Peña Nieto’s energy reform bill in December, allowsing private and foreign investment in the energy sector, despite widespread public opposition and massive protests by opponents. Peña Nieto and his supporters argued that the energy reform would allow more effective development of the country’s petroleum resources, leading to economic growth and more jobs.
|Lois Weiner December 31, 2013|
There’s no strict recipe we can follow to build social movement teachers unions though the process will require some indispensable ingredients, robust democracy for one. Another element is creating relationships among people who inhabit very different social spheres. While the principles on which we organize are key, so are the ways we struggle together, creating friendships.
|Dan La Botz December 29, 2013|
During the early 1990s I became involved in the national debate over the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) then in the final stages of negotiation between Canada, Mexico and the United States. Twenty years later, it’s clear that NAFTA, the creation of a North American common market of sorts, was a watershed event, but I have to admit I had not really been paying much attention to it until I got a phone call in November 1990.
|Lois Weiner December 26, 2013|
In much of the global south, teachers are leaders of their communities. In Iran, two teachers are in mortal danger because they have defended their community’s religious freedom. Amnesty International has sent an alert for urgent action to defend them. I’ve sent an email message, reproduced below.
|Lois Weiner December 25, 2013|
One of the most confusing aspects of the last decade’s education reforms is that a reform that will do great harm often contains an element that’s useful, even progressive.