Black and White Keys

  I sat down hesitantly at the piano bench on Read more

Betsy DeVos is the new Cathie Black

Now that Betsy DeVos has successfully bought herself a Read more

99%: The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film

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As the two-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street nears, I have to admit I’m getting excited about the launch of this film. I’ve heard murmurings of it, like some hot reviews from Sundance, and I see many familiar faces in the trailer…

I’ll be at this Wednesday night’s FREE Rooftop Films screening, so join me if you can!

(It’s also on Facebook.)

Community Non-profits Come Together to Paint a School’s Legacy

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This summer, Brooklyn-based non-profit Bailey’s Cafe – in partnership with our Paul Robeson Freedom School and the Church of St. Luke & St. Matthew – will embark on a community mural project to preserve the legacy of Paul Robeson High School, shuttered by the NYC Dept. of Education. Bailey’s executive director Stefanie Siegel writes:

Bailey’s Cafe is a Brooklyn-based organization, connecting generations to make a better world. We are the fiscal sponsor and lead organization for a mural project that would preserve the legacy of the school; although it was a group of young people and staff members who wrote the original proposal to Citizens Committee for New York City. Citizens is now recognizing Bailey’s as the lead partner and continues to want to see the project completed. They were only waiting for us to find an appropriate site and now we have a perfect mural wall on the Vanderbilt side of the Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew in Fort Greene Brooklyn.

The original vision for the mural was for it to fill the walls of the Lyles Studio, named after Marcia Lyles, the principal responsible for transforming Robeson into the great school it was, until 2002 when the small school movement was started by Bloomberg and Klein and larger schools, like Robeson, became over crowded and inundated with high needs students—beyond the numbers we could successfully serve. The idea is for the mural to capture all of the history of the school through the memories of those who experienced it. We have two lead artists for the project but we would like all members, past and present, of the Robeson community to participate in the design and creation process, should they so desire. Not only is this project for the Robeson community but it is also, potentially, a model for other school communities, who have gone through the destructive, humiliating process of having your school declared a failure and phased out, as to how to preserve their history.

The struggle to save Paul Robeson High School was a struggle for justice to be served. We did not win the fight; the school will be officially “phased out” by June 2014. Despite this failure, many lessons were learned and it is these lessons, the story of one urban school, that can connect people who were not part of the immediate Robeson community. It is the legacy of the life of Paul Robeson, who took up the banner of the working classes, the underdog, the undesirable that can give our mural project a more universal, inclusive design and message.  Following this tradition, it is part of the process for creating the mural to have the immediate (and extended) community engaged in the project.

We will model the work on the mural after the Groundswell Community Mural Project wherein the community (defined with a broad brush) is invited into the design process and the celebration of the final work.  We are inviting community members of all ages to join us in designing and creating the mural on this beautiful wall.  We hope to begin work during July and will have a schedule of times when our lead artists will be working and it will be possible to come by and pick up a brush.

Deep appreciation to the church community for welcoming us.  We are looking forward to working with you.

If you have questions:   stefaniesiegel@aol.com or the Bailey’s Café voice mail:  718-670-7063

Outing the lobbyists

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Occupiers are some of the most humane people in the world, and it’s difficult for us to actually confront the human beings behind the disastrous policies that are destroying the social fabric of our countries. We want to be polite. We want to be kind.

It’s time to be braver. The politico-corporate bandits that are quietly undermining our welfare thrive because we don’t tell them (and their friends/neighbors/daughters/babysitters/barbers/teachers) to their face how their actions hurt us.

That’s why I confronted William Morris, head of GE Global Tax Policy, for his greed-driven aggressive tax avoidance. A self-proclaimed “reverend“, Mr. Morris is in fact the world’s largest enabler of tax loopholes, and has single-handedly saved the world’s biggest corporations billions while starving local governments of tax revenue so they have to cut teachers, social workers, firefighters, hospitals, and daycare centers. He wrote the laws at the IRS and then broke them (or followed them?) at General Electric. And he sits on influential NGOs like the OECD’s tax policy working groups to quietly derail any efforts to fix the problem.

We need to out the William Morris’s of the world if we’re going to get any kind of real tax reform. Stat.

See below for the vid:

 

On The Streets of Istanbul

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There’s something happening here.

It’s unpredictable. It’s chaotic. It’s raw and imperfect. It’s growing.

About to board a flight from Paris to NYC – I was repping Occupy Wall Street at the OECD Forum – I changed plans abruptly. I flew to Istanbul, grabbed a cab with another random globe-trotter I met, destination Taksim Square. Inside the square is a park called Gezi.

It is now occupied. With thousands of bodies: young, old, all religions, all political persuasions. It began early last week, when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan began to demolish the park to build a new commercial development. A small group of people – mostly youngsters like my friend Ege (see below) – fought back. And almost a week later the country is on spiritual (and in some places literal) fire. In over 48 cities people are protesting.

The air in the streets around Taksim is electric, because the police have withdrawn, at least for now. Last night, Saturday, techno music bumped in disco clubs while swarms of youth alternately ran from police flashes and tear gas and boogied down. Windows smashed, but nothing looted. Street medics applying bandages at narrow intersections, youth drunk with power and beer celebrating the (small) victory.

This morning’s rain washed away some of that evidence, but the sun started to emerge again around 11am, as did the protesters but now in much larger number. Some of them, clad in pink gloves and with blue trashbags, cleaned up the evidence of the reverie the night before. Bonfires that had burned and government vehicles that had exploded to applause had disappeared. Now, little kids and strollers replaced them. Flags of every color and political stripe.

I hear that the protests have been repressed brutally in other cities, and I may have to leave Taksim to Ankara later today to see for myself. People are basking in the uncertainty without fear, and nobody I speak to doubts that the whole country supports this uprising. It is beyond political now, they say.

What looked disorganized last night is beginning to congeal, but no one can tell me what will happen tomorrow when business is supposed to start up again. I guess we’ll see.

Justin Wedes is an activist, educator, media-maker and community organizer. He’s the co-founder of the Paul Robeson Freedom School in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. Its mission is to provide engaging, culturally-relevant curriculum to young adults in Brooklyn in order to train them to become educator-leaders in the struggle for high-quality, free education. To support the school and Justin’s independent media work, visit our website.

See more pics from the last few days on my facebook and twitter.

 

My Trip to the 2013 OECD Forum on Jobs, Equality & Trust

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“We did nothing technically illegal”

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The next time they tell you the financial crisis was not fraud… call <bullshit>.

Bank Secrecy Act violations;
Money laundering for drug cartels;
Violations of sanction orders against Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and former Liberian strongman Charles Taylor;
Violations related to the Vatican Bank scandal (get on this, Pope Francis!);
Violations of the Commodities Exchange Act;
Failure to segregate customer funds (including one CFTC case where the bank failed to segregate $725 million of its own money from a $9.6 billion account) in the US and UK;
Knowingly executing fictitious trades where the customer, with full knowledge of the bank, was on both sides of the deal;
Various SEC enforcement actions for misrepresentations of CDOs and mortgage-backed securities;
The AG settlement on foreclosure fraud;
The OCC settlement on foreclosure fraud;
Violations of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act;
Illegal flood insurance commissions;
Fraudulent sale of unregistered securities;
Auto-finance ripoffs;
Illegal increases of overdraft penalties;
Violations of federal ERISA laws as well as those of the state of New York;
Municipal bond market manipulations and acts of bid-rigging, including violations of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act;
Filing of unverified affidavits for credit card debt collections (“as a result of internal control failures that sound eerily similar to the industry’s mortgage servicing failures and foreclosure abuses”);
Energy market manipulation that triggered FERC lawsuits;
“Artificial market making” at Japanese affiliates;
Shifting trading losses on a currency trade to a customer account;
Fraudulent sales of derivatives to the city of Milan, Italy;
Obstruction of justice (including refusing the release of documents in the Bernie Madoff case as well as the case of Peregrine Financial).

via @ddayen

On Free Education and Peter Cooper’s Gift of Self-Help

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And wisest he in this whole wide land

Of hoarding till bent and gray;

For all you can hold in your cold dead hand

Is what you have given away.

-Joaquin Miller 

 

I’m scaling the wide road leading up to the imposing Gothic arches of Greenwood Cemetery in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. All the sounds of the city are muted today, held in the droplets of drizzle that wrap the old cemetery in a blanket haze. Each tombstone reaches up from the soil and pierces this gently-falling blanket, an enduring human testament to a spirit long-removed from the Earth. A groundskeeper chats in thickly-Italian English to some passers-by about the recent upswing in suicide in Italy driven by a stalled economy and rising debt. I’m tempted to join the conversation, but I restrain myself and only ask politely:

 

“Do you know where Peter Cooper is?”

 

He directs me down a road called Central Avenue. Greenwood is a dense village of intersecting streets whose 560,000 permanent residents span the entire spectrum of human achievement. Many have been left with gaudy mausoleums and obelisks to their name, but not Peter. His gravestone, which he shares with his wife Sarah Beddell, is a simple and practical rectangular monument adorned with four epitaphs, one on each of its faces. It sits atop a grass island at the end of Central Avenue, and Cooper’s two children & their families – his son served as Mayor of New York City from 1879-1880 – surround Peter and Sarah.

What strikes me first about the epitaphs is their sheer humility, which even my own deep cynicism can’t refuse:

 

Simple and devout in spirit.

Industrious and honorable in business

 

And of his vast wealth and business empire – Cooper was one of the wealthiest men in New York in his time – his memorial says simply:

 

He devoted his genius and energy not more to useful private enterprises than to the direct service of mankind.

Chiefly through the gift of that education which leads to self-help, self-respect and good citizenship.

 

As I encircle the grave, I wonder what has become of this dichotomy between useful private enterprises and direct service of mankind that Cooper’s epitaph carves out. Written near the turn of the 20th century, at a time of expansive industrial growth and wild prosperity for the well-born few, the notion of direct service above profiteering must have seemed oddly virtuous. Over 100 years later, in a time of “disaster philanthropy” and “tax-exempt charitable donations”, it seems downright radical.

 

Cooper exhibits a remarkable self-restraint coupled with a deep sense of indebtedness to the society that built him. One gets the impression that his humble upbringing brought him to this point: he became apprentice at a young age to a carriage maker in lieu of a basic education, which was beyond his fiscal means. In his free time, he taught himself to read and write. He understood education to be the single most important maker of prosperity for the masses, and created an institution to embody that principle and carry it beyond his lifetime.

 

Shortly after his death, Otis M. Macmillan compared Cooper’s life to that of the still-living William Henry Vanderbilt, son of the railroad mogul Cornelius Vanderbilt, and an avid art collector living at the time in a palatial Fifth avenue mansion:

 

One was a philanthropist, the other is a miser. 

One was benefactor, the other a stumbling block. 

One did well; the other is constantly doing harm. 

One helped his fellow-man – the other is injuring him. 

 

Cooper wasn’t just a philanthropist, however, but an advocate against predatory usury and the debt system, a devout Universalist Unitarian, and a father who shunned excesses and reportedly returned his wife’s expensive horse carriage for a more modest one. Vanderbilt is enshrined in fiction history as Ayn Rand’s ambitious robber baron Nat Taggart. Cooper’s gentle face and sage white beard are his legacy.

 

The thing is – we need Peter Cooper more than ever today. America’s masses stand defenseless, knees buckling under the pounding weight of student loans. Youth look with dazed uncertainty into their financial futures, burdened by the poor job prospects and the empty leadership of their congressmen long-sold to monied special interests, to 21st-century Vanderbilts. Their yearning for Cooper’s promise of education for self-help and good citizenship has been rebranded by corporate spin-masters and their political minions as entitlement and handouts to cover up a heist of college endowments and public coffers that threatens the very future of accessible higher education for all.

 

Will another Peter Cooper appear to save the day? I’m not counting on it. Today’s philanthropists grew up in a time very different from Cooper’s apprentice days, in suburban homes with white picket fences. Absent from their worldview is the subtle, beautiful logic of self-help that Peter Cooper embodied and that drove him to establish a free school for qualified youth regardless of their race, religion, sex, wealth or social status. Today we ‘let the market handle it’. Collapse the dichotomy of direct service and useful private enterprise into one giant educational experiment to extract more wealth from the young to pay the old. Put the education of young America on a credit card and hand it to us later. Turn self-help to self-indebtedness.

 

The GI bill – which provided, among other things, free higher education to WWII servicemen – yielded the best return on investment this country has ever seen. Beyond the remarkable 7:1 monetary return in the form of enhanced economic activity, consumer spending and tax revenue, the GI bill produced 14 Nobel Prize winners, three Supreme Court justices, three presidents, 12 senators, 24 Pulitzer Prize winners, 238,000 teachers, 91,000 scientists, 67,000 doctors, 450,000 engineers, 240,000 accountants, 17,000 journalists, 22,000 dentists and millions of lawyers, nurses, artists, actors, writers, pilots and entrepreneurs.

 

The other grand experiment in free education in this country, the Freedom Schools movement, also produced an amazing return on investment: in the 2012 Presidential election, voter participation rates were higher among African-Americans than whites. Take a moment to reflect on that. Not even fifty years ago, before the Voting Rights Act of 1965, African-Americans did not even have the right to vote. The thousands of young blacks that attended these schools for civic engagement and empowerment in 1964-65, and their children, are now at the forefront of what Peter Cooper called good citizenship.

 

If free education to WWII servicemen and to Mississippi black youth can produce such a massive return for society, let us envision what the same legislation could produce for all youth: from coast to coast, rich and poor alike, rural, urban, immigrant and non-immigrant.

 

This is the way out of the crippling debt that’s stalling our economy once more.

 

This is the way out of the ever-growing abyss separating the uber-wealthy and the permanently poor in America today, carving out separate sets of laws for Wall Street and for Main Street.

 

This is the way out of persistent unemployment and the mismatching of skills and available jobs that comes from the lack of access to higher education, an upside-down absolutely un-meritocratic system.

 

As I walk out of Greenwood Cemetery, I once again hear the thick Italian accent of the affable groundskeeper, whose name I now learn is also Pete. He’s moved on to discussing politics with the entrance guard, and they see me approach and ask if I found Peter Cooper. I answer in the affirmative, and Pete suggests that I bring the trustees of Cooper Union and the President himself over to see Cooper’s grave as well.

 

“I’ll suggest it to the students occupying his office,” I reply.

 

“They get it.”

 

Justin Wedes is an activist, educator, media-maker and community organizer. He’s the co-founder of the Paul Robeson Freedom School in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. Its mission is to provide engaging, culturally-relevant curriculum to young adults in Brooklyn in order to train them to become educator-leaders in the struggle for high-quality, free education. To support the school, visit their website and join them on Friday, May 24th as they present “The World is my Home – The Life of Paul Robeson”.

 

More photos from the grave of Peter Cooper:

 

The Cathie Black Fiasco: Lessons for Confronting Entrenched Power

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Nearly 3 years have passed since that quiet afternoon in November 2010 when I glanced at my phone to see the newsflash:

 

SCHOOLS CHANCELLOR JOEL KLEIN STEPPING DOWN. BLOOMBERG TO APPOINT CATHLEEN P. BLACK, HEARST MAGAZINE, AS REPLACEMENT

 

The news is always presented so matter-of-factly, so unemotionally. The effect is predictable and comforting to so many in a hectic, unpredictable world like the one we inhabit. The news usually makes sense of it for us.

 

Usually, but this news didn’t make sense. Not to me.

 

I called my teacher friends, then a principal, then a parent advocate. Nothing but confusion. Nothing but disbelief. And shoulder-shrugging acquiescence. There’s enough crisis fatigue going around the public school system to slide this next unbelievable fact into the shoebox of unbelievable, but inevitable, administrative moves. Mayoral control means mayoral control, and if you don’t like it “you can boo me at parades.”

 

Hold on a minute.

 

There’s laws protecting us from this? Protecting the public from administrative overreach and cronyism, right? You need some educational experience – maybe a year in the classroom – to run the largest school system in the country, right?

 

Not quite. You do need permission from the state, in the form of a waiver signed by the State Commissioner of Education, which I found out as I frantically researched the laws online. At the time, his name was David M. Steiner, something of an academic himself. He was close with the Mayor, the Upper East Side political elite, and the charter school operators – what I call the new ‘corporate education reform’ establishment – but perhaps he could be swayed?

 

So I sat down and wrote an open letter to David, asking him not to grant the waiver to Cathie Black. I posted it up onto an online petition site and sent it around to a few friends in the schools. I couldn’t have imagined what would happen next.

 

Building Momentum 

 

That night, my email and petition ricocheted across the internet. I realized quickly that so many people felt as I did that there was something fundamentally wrong about this move by the Mayor, and that we had to stop it. I also knew that an online petition alone wouldn’t do it, so I sent a Facebook message to some of my former students in Red Hook:

 

Want to help get rid of Cathie Black? Msg me back.

 

Team Red Hook in November, 2010

The next day, four of us met in Red Hook at a cafe near the school I used to teach in. Red Hook is a quiet but potent hotbed of resistance against mayoral control and the encroachment of centralized power into education, and we quickly set to work on a ground campaign to flyer and canvass the neighborhood for petition-signers. Our group grew, and we got a dose of reality when my former principal came into the cafe one day and nervously warned me against organizing anything in the neighborhood. (By this time, newspaper accounts of our work had begun to circulate, some mentioning the school and alluding to the political battle that ultimately led to my departure from the school and resignation from the DOE. Lesson #1: It’s often easier to confront power from outside the system.)

 

As our efforts grew, and the neighborhood became activated to our cause, we set up shop in the office of a friend of mine. She was also nervous about any public association with our group, so we kept our presence there “under wraps”.

 

 

City Education Committee Chair Robert Jackson at a rally against Black’s appointment. (Photo: NY Times)

By this time, political momentum against the appointment had begun to build. Lead by the grassroots success of our petitioning, one by one local electeds andcommunity leaders began to speak out against the Mayor, though often in deeply-softened terms. It became apparent that the City was on the offensive as well now, rallying elite celebrities like Oprah and business leaders to “endorse” Cathie Black. Remarkably, as noted by education historian Diane Ravitch, the City didn’t think to gather the support of any education experts, but Cathie did reach out personally to UFT President Mulgrew, perhaps encouraged by his offer to help train her and his endearing words about her in a NY Times piece days before. (Later, Mulgrew would take on a much more adversarial tone as public opposition to her appointment intensified.)

 

 When the People Lead the Leaders Will Follow

 

In the last week of November, opposition intensified and got more creative (e.g. this group of teachers who go to apply for Cathie Black’s job at Hearst). The NY Times came out with a piece about the internal dilemma Commissioner Steiner was having over whether to approve Cathie. He assembled a panel of “experts” to help guide him through the decision – experts that many of us were certain would side with the Mayor – but this panel had actually voted against her appointment. He now had to figure out how to do this appointment right. Meanwhile, we printed out the thousands of public comments on our petition and delivered it right to the Commissioner’s door.

 

Cathie Black Gets Her Stinking Waiver’

 

On Monday morning, we awoke to the news – this headline’s from Gawker – that the Commissioner had sided with the Mayor, albeit with a caveat: in order for Cathie to get the job the Mayor must appoint a “second-in-command”, a chief academic officer to assist Cathie in all things educational. As one anonymous State Education Dept. official put it:

 

“This is the product of an extensive dialogue between the state and the city about the concerns raised by the commissioner. The feeling is that it substantially addresses those concerns”

 

It was a slap in the face to the tens of thousands – perhaps millions – of New Yorkers who had rallied, petitioned, signed, called, emailed, commented and – yes – complained about the Mayor’s bonehead move.

 

Here’s where things get interesting…

 

Legal Action & Disruption

 

The Deny Waiver Coalition – of which I was a part – immediately decided to file a lawsuit against the appointment. At meetings and on conference calls, I reminded the (mainly-adult) members of this group that there must still be a way for regular folks to voice their opposition. We needed sustained action, and the Panel For Educational Policy (PEP) meetings became that exact forum.

For three long months, we made it nearly impossible for Cathie Black to speak. It’s important to note that this was not a noble, pretty protest. This was

A sign at a January, 2011 PEP Mtg

organized chaos: yelling, booing, jeering, singing, picketing, protesting. The idea was simple: you are not qualified to lead our schools, let alone shut down 22 of them!

 

The protest became a wider referendum on Mayoral Control, which ultimately had led to this fiasco, yet the first demand remained clear: FIRE CATHIE BLACK.

 

Finally, on February 3rd, Cathie Black lost her cool. She fired back at our boos with a jeering sound that showed utter contempt for our protest and our legitimate grievances against her boss, Mayor Bloomberg. The Daily News called that night an “ugly circus”, blaming the teachers unions. But the damage had already been done.

 

We had kept up the sustained pressure and scrutiny that turned every word, every action, but Cathie Black into a headline. She was quoted at a parent meeting talking about birth control as a solution to lower Manhattan school over-crowding. Camera crews followed her around and she couldn’t get into the schools.

 

This is what resistance looks like.

 

Finally, with a 17% approval rating and a populace in plain revolt, Cathie Black stepped down, or was fired, after merely 100 days in office.

 

Uncovering the Emails

 

America journalist and humorist Finley Peter Dunne said that “the job of the newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” One independent reporter, Sergio Hernandez then at the Village Voice, took the motto seriously: he sought to uncover the email exchanges between Cathie Black and City Hall in the early days of her appointment. Why had she been appointed? How was the city handling her appointment?

Investigative journalist Sergio Hernandez (via Facebook)

Sergio realized that inter-agency emails are generally protected from Freedom of Information requests, but Cathie Black was not a City employee at the time of her appointment and her communications with the City were not protected from public view. For two years, he battled with the City in court to release the emails. When they further-entrenched themselves, he lurched forward to uncover the costs of their legal defense: more than 168 hours and $25,461.42 in litigation time.

 

This week, we saw what the Mayor had spent over $25,000 of taxpayer money defending: the City’s frantic efforts to justify his appointment of Cathie by means of celebrity endorsements and well-placed news quotes, phone calls to union leaders and local politicians. The emails reveal a coziness between City Hall and big money that confirms what I have long suspected: Michael Bloomberg is completely detached from the day-to-day realities of the 99%. (He frets constantly about losing the top .05% of taxpayers, though!) The emails also reveal a very calculated attempt on the part of City Hall to manage and control the flow of information to the general population through media outlets like the NY Times. A year later, when Occupy Wall Street hit, we’d learn just how tight that relationship was when a call from City Hall led to TIME magazine removing an “overly-inflammatory” photo of an elected official being arrested during the Zuccotti Park eviction.

 

Brave journalists like Sergio Hernandez are the life-blood of corporate and governmental transparency and accountability efforts, and they should be honored.

 

The Next Cathie Black Moment

 

It is impossible to not place this whole fiasco on a continuum of escalation of public discontent with our unaccountable, unrepresentative “leaders”. Not long after Cathie resigned did sleeping bags pop up outside of City Hall for Bloombergville, a protest against budget cuts to education, healthcare and more in Spring, 2011. When City Councilman Charles Barron of Brooklyn’s East New York neighborhood stood on the steps of City Hall that month and declared that we would “Bring Egypt to NYC” and “shut this city down!” he wasn’t far off: weeks later 20,000 New Yorkers marched on Wall Street. Then, on September 17th, 2011, 150 brave citizens – including myself – occupied Wall Street with tents. The resistance continues.

In Cathie Black we saw the epitomy of cronyism and the removal of any real agency from the decisions that affect our lives, but Cathie Black moments abound

Occupy The DOE at Tweed Courthouse in October, 2011

in NYC today. Slowly, the democratic structures that give us voice and power have been stripped away from us, privatized, barricaded behind ever-growing bureaucracy and harsh police enforcement. The social contract is broken each day. The rising inequality and burdening debt that puts half of New Yorkers in, or at the brink of, poverty also steals from us the precious few hours of freedom from work that we need to be active contributors in our civil government. As the old saying goes: something’s gotta give.

 

There will be more Cathie Blacks, but we can take lessons from this struggle as one of the few true victories against corporate control of our lives. As the number of our grievances accumulate exponentially, let us not forget that there’s at least one Cathie Black behind each of them. Let us not forget that it was only through sustained pressure on many fronts – legal, journalistic, direct action, political – that the effort to un-seat Cathie Black came to fruition. At each step along the way, resistance was present, and every action that drew us nearer to victory was branded as a “failure” or a “circus” or a petty “disruption” by those in power opposed to change.

 

Shortly after Cathie Black resigned, the David I wrote my open letter to followed suit and stepped down. When the Daily News asked Cathie how she was feeling she replied:

 

“I’m fine, I’m fine… And I went out and bought a new pair of running shoes, so I’m off.” 

 

 

 

Justin Wedes is an educator & activist living in Brooklyn, NY. He is co-founder of the Paul Robeson Freedom School, a youth summer program sponsored by the Coalition for Public Education & Occupy Labs to train the next generation of youth & educator-leaders to create real education reform and community-controlled public schools. He’ll be hosting a Cathie Black Email Reading Party to benefit the school this Sunday, May 5th, 7-9pm, at DBA Bar in the Village.

VICTORY! Bloomberg will Have to Give Over Cathie Black Emails

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UPDATE: You can get some context on the whole fiasco here, and RSVP to the Cathie Black Email Reading Party here!

This morning, independent journalist Sergio Hernandez reports that:

“New York’s highest court has now confirmed, as the trial court and Appellate Division ruled, that the Mayor’s Office has no basis to withhold the Cathie Black emails, and we look forward to the Mayor’s Office finally complying with its obligations under FOIL,”

I have offered to host the email reading party as soon as the Mayor complies, so we can finally see what he has spent “more than 168 hours and $25,461.42 in litigation time” hiding about his relationship with Cathie Black and why he hired her despite having absolutely zero educational experience.

Of course you don’t have to FOIL anything to see what New Yorkers think about Cathie Black – just read the comments on our 11,000+ strong petition below:

Petition to Deny Waiver to Cathie Black

Lawrence Lessig on How to End Corruption & Restore the Republic

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Professor Lawrence Lessig, of Harvard Law School, has a plan to end political corruption in the U.S.

What do you think?