Michigan Schools facing bankruptcy: The Shock Doctrine at play

More than 150 school districts and charter schools in Michigan are teetering on the edge of going broke, a situation that is likely to get worse under Governor Rick Snyder’s proposed budget cuts of $470 per pupil.

These are the districts that have been so starved of public funds that Snyder’s cuts would put them in a deficit, which is the capitalist plan.  They would then join the 43 districts and charters already going bust.

It’s a situation that has mobilized school leaders.  They are now testifying in Lansing, writing lawmakers and sending letters to parents. They say that after years of closing schools, laying off staff and slashing programs, there’s little left to cut.   Of course they are right.  The schools have been starved of funds for decades precisely to lie in wait for the day that the entire system could be collapsed.

The proposed cuts would be “a final blow so powerful, it would almost undeniably shut our doors,”, said Garden City Superintendent Michelle Cline in testimony to a state House appropriations subcommittee last week.

This is what has been planned by the capitalist class for years

Of course the call of those in power is now for austerity or what they like to frame as ‘shared sacrifice’.  This is what the capitalist class likes to call the socialization of criminality and theft.  Forcing workers to contribute more to health care is one call; forcing them to put their pensions into 401K’s is another.  Either way the larcenous thirty years of neo-liberalism has now “drowned the public commons in a bathtub”, as the notorious conservative and behind the scenes sophist Grover Norquist has been calling for, for many years. It has been and is the plan.

Norquist knows that the real issue is the destruction of all public commons and public workers in favor of privatization and monopolization, which is how US capitalism works.  Vouchers are of course the target for the capitalist class that is waging war on all public school workers, students and programs.  It has been for years, as I wrote in my book, ‘Vouchers and the Privatization of Education’, ABC-CLIO back in 2000.  Charters have merely served nicely as Trojan horses in the effort to break the public educational sector.  They now are no longer necessary as K12, Inc., the online educational privatization corporation, has gobbled up more and more of the Michigan ‘educational market’.  Other capitalists will follow and have. 

Their plan is to put all ‘learning’ or better stated ‘obedience training’ online where they can profit off the commodification of not simply education, but everyday life while cultivating servitude through control and training.  Readers might remember that K12, Inc. was started by William Bennett, the former ‘Educational Czar’ under the senior ‘George Herbert Walker Bush’.  He is also the same person who praised and recommended abortion for black women as a way of genocide against black people.  When he is not gambling millions in crumbling Las Vegas casinos he is working full time with the likes of former junk bond trader and ex-felon, Michael Milken, to commodify children and childhood itself, as a way to create exchange value for ever growing profits.

Maker no bones about it, the cities are broke!  This is and has been the plan: to divest completely from American public services, claim they are broke, force union cutbacks and actual destruction of collective bargaining, privatize education and eventually public pensions and turn all public services over to theocratic corporations who seek to profit off life as commodification while thrusting those now dependant on public services such as schools, health care, unemployment insurance and the like, into theocratic faith-base charity schemes, supported by the government, of course.  It is modern day feudalism and the plan is to reconstruct society around those who fight, those who pray and those who rule – much like the tripartite system of feudalism in the dark ages.  We may be now entering the digital dark ages.

The good news is that workers, students and parents and the unemployed are fighting back.  We can only hope that our movement for social justice will grow, state to state and we mobilize into a national movement that seeks to confront the capitalist system.  Rosa Luxembourg, the great economist of the last century was right: “It is either socialism or barbarism.”

Go to www.youtube.com/dftmembers to see the latest videos in the fight to defend public education. Post comments, forward the link to your friends. Come to our Defend Public Education/Save our Students meetings every Saturday at 4:30pm at 19484 James Couzens (Lodge north service drive, just north of 7 mile).

It is time to turn our attention to Europe for instructions as to how to confront capitalism.  It is also time to rutn to our brothers and sisters in Latin America who have faced austerity with mobilization and strategies.  Unless we organize state by state with the goal of a national movement we will lose.

To see how this debate is being framed by the corporate press and how the ‘set-up’ is being devised for workers you can go to some of the sites below.

Metro Detroit school districts fearful of being taken over by emergency financial managers

Database: See how much your district has put aside for a rainy day

PDF: Metro Detroit school discticts’ low fund balances (396 KB)

PDF: Metro Detroit school discticts in deficit (383 KB)

Database: See how much your district has put aside for a rainy day

Metro Detroit school districts fearful of being taken over by emergency financial managers