2019 UTLA Strike: Day 5

By Jen M.

It’s 12:01 AM. At 10:30AM we meet at Grand Park in Downtown LA-the heart of capital-between Union Station and The Broad.

I’ve been trying to answer some of the questions my last article brought up for me since 5PM yesterday. I made this Coggle by starting with Eli Broad – because at the first meeting I went to of the grassroots organization, Schools LA Students Deserve, I heard that the opening of the Broad Museum was being protested. They said Broad, whose face was postered up all over the city as a testament to his ego, was trying to privatize 50% of LAUSD.

Two years later I earned my BA and was headed for CSUN’s credential program, and I still didn’t understand what “Charter” meant. So, I’ve included some Capitalist Linguistics 101 in the Coggle. It’s coded language is all. It’s rhetoric. I’m teaching rhetoric this semester; once the strike is over. This just slapped me in the face pretty hard – how obvious this all is – how available the dots to connect to reveal the doublespeak. I’ve heard what I’m saying now from other people in other ways, but nothing clicks for me unless I find it out myself.

I started with a Google Image search for Broad, thinking I’d make some relevant street art at the nearby museum. I just kept Googling the names of the people in the pictures with Broad and went all A Beautiful Mind on this Coggle. I found Bill Ring’s “Guerrilla Guide to LA Unified” and this point in the timeline:

June 2005 – Senator Gloria Romero initiates Senate Select Committee on Urban School Governance hearings. Inaccurate testimonials touting improvements in the quality of education and accountability, supposedly occurring in mayoral controlled New York and Chicago schools, are paraded. In Los Angeles, Bob Hertzberg, mayors Richard Riordan, James Hahn, and Antonio Villaraigosa,“testify”, along with Board President, Jose Huizar.

So, I figured, I had to write a follow up to that last strike report. “Testify” in quotes, translates to how long all of these competing investors have been desperately vying for the last realm of power in purpose I might ever hope to have through labor and education.

I feel that if we do not reverse the trends of these charter movement billionaires by going well beyond what we could win with this strike, we will be losing the ability to define truth. Maybe we already have. Maybe it’s too big, that Spectre or invisible hand, illuminati paranoid analysis that is the string theory connecting every systematic loss of agency people have suffered since feudalism. Maybe it’s not over, though.

“Who controls the past now controls the future
Who controls the present now controls the past
Who controls the past now controls the future
Who controls the present now?”

 

I sat on my friend’s couch today. He tells me things that are in his head. Like a conversation he had with a woman who said God, if there is one, is most definitely on the other side of the universe. We are Neitzche-Millennial-Skeptics boarding on cynicism so we consider this philosophically. But I am too Vulcan pragmatic and I’m not sure what to do with the idea that we’re like the first Sims I ever made and abandoned to deletion from cyberspace when I upgraded from Windows 2000 to Windows XP. I’ve already been in that headspace, it’s very Tyler Durden, and it’s why I came so late to this fight. My friend, he says we can’t win from here, that we have to go with monkeywrenches to the third world countries this country builds its hilltop churches on. I’ve heard other people express similar sentiment, arguing against the delusion of dismantling the machine with the master’s tools. But in reality I don’t even have a passport and the second I think I know what to do to “succeed” in controlling the present in any realm of the repressive state apparatus, I’ll do well to keep in mind WikiHow’s: “How to Start a Revolution.”

This will help me laugh. This will remind me that I know nothing. Then, after I sleep, maybe I will wake up and remember the only things I need to know – I feel a sense of responsibility to my community, to students everywhere, especially the ones that look for learning outside of the box, outside of the institution.

I say to my friend, on the couch across from me, “What would it be like if we had a classroom without a teacher?” He says shit wouldn’t happen, but he must know he was being cynical because we had just casually brainstormed how to morph personality disorder into a Plato’s Republic. I tell him he’s not seeing the full picture. I tell him, I don’t mean a classroom with the kind of students that need someone to tell them what to do next and next and next. I mean the students that maybe just graduated high school and don’t know if they want to go to college or they fell out of high school or college. The ones that don’t know what they want to do but definitely know they don’t want “vocational” education. Fucking equisapians. Nah, the equisapians are cool, though. They didn’t have a choice. It’s Broad and Beutner that killed Basquiat. You know.

I leave my friend with Christy C. Road’s graphic novel, Spit and Passion. I go with thoughts of Cuba that don’t fully manifest until just now. And now I know what to bring with me tomorrow. Water, because it’s life. A light heart, because the things we carry are heavy enough. And Assata’s words – the ones we chanted when I first went to Stop LAPD Spying and Schools LA Students Deserve, because Black Lives Matter, motherfuckers:

It is our duty to fight for our freedom.
It is our duty to win.
We must love each other and support each other.
We have nothing to lose but our chains.

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