Monday, August 19, 2013

Matt Taibbi: Politics: Ripping Off Young America: The College-Loan Scandal


Politics: Ripping Off Young America: The College-Loan Scandal

By Matt Taibbi
August 15, 2013 | 10:45am EDT
[Image] Full Size Image
Illustration by Victor Juhasz
On May 31st, president Barack Obama strolled into the bright sunlight of the Rose Garden, covered from head to toe in the slime and ooze of the Benghazi and IRS scandals. In a Karl Rove-ian masterstroke, he simply pretended they weren't there and changed the subject.
More Taibbi: The Last Mystery of the Financial Crisis
The topic? Student loans. Unless Congress took action soon, he warned, the relatively low 3.4 percent interest rates on key federal student loans would double. Obama knew the Republicans would make a scene over extending the subsidized loan program, and that he could corner them into looking like obstructionist meanies out to snatch the lollipop of higher education from America's youth. "We cannot price the middle class or folks who are willing to work hard to get into the middle class," he said sternly, "out of a college education."
Flash-forward through a few months of brinkmanship and name-calling, and not only is nobody talking about the IRS anymore, but the Republicans and Democrats are snuggled in bed together on the student-loan thing, having hatched a quick-fix plan on July 31st to peg interest rates to Treasury rates, ensuring the rate for undergrads would only rise to 3.86 percent for the coming year.
Though this was just the thinnest of temporary solutions – Congressional Budget Office projections predicted interest rates on undergraduate loans under the new plan would still rise as high as 7.25 percent within five years, while graduate loans could reach an even more ridiculous 8.8 percent – the jobholders on Capitol Hill couldn't stop congratulating themselves for their "rare" "feat" of bipartisan cooperation. "This proves Washington can work," clucked House Republican Luke Messer of Indiana, in a typically autoerotic assessment of the work done by Beltway pols like himself who were now freed up for their August vacations.
Not only had the president succeeded in moving the goal posts on his spring scandals, he'd teamed up with the Republicans to perpetuate a long-standing deception about the education issue: that the student-loan controversy is now entirely about interest rates and/or access to school loans.
Obama had already set himself up as a great champion of student rights by taking on banks and greedy lenders like Sallie Mae. Three years earlier, he'd scored what at the time looked like a major victory over the Republicans with a transformative plan to revamp the student-loan industry. The 2010 bill mostly eliminated private banks and lenders from the federal student-loan business. Henceforth, the government would lend college money directly to students, with no middlemen taking a cut. The president insisted the plan would eliminate waste and promised to pass the savings along to students in the form of more college and university loans, including $36 billion in new Pell grants over 10 years for low-income students. Republican senator and former Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander bashed the move as "another Washington takeover."
The thing is, none of it – not last month's deal, not Obama's 2010 reforms – mattered that much. No doubt, seeing rates double permanently would genuinely have sucked for many students, so it was nice to avoid that. And yes, it was theoretically beneficial when Obama took banks and middlemen out of the federal student-loan game. But the dirty secret of American higher education is that student-loan interest rates are almost irrelevant. It's not the cost of the loan that's the problem, it's the principal – the appallingly high tuition costs that have been soaring at two to three times the rate of inflation, an irrational upward trajectory eerily reminiscent of skyrocketing housing prices in the years before 2008.
More Taibbi: The Biggest Price-Fixing Scandal Ever
How is this happening? It's complicated. But throw off the mystery and what you'll uncover is a shameful and oppressive outrage that for years now has been systematically perpetrated against a generation of young adults. For this story, I interviewed people who developed crippling mental and physical conditions, who considered suicide, who had to give up hope of having children, who were forced to leave the country, or who even entered a life of crime because of their student debts.
They all take responsibility for their own mistakes. They know they didn't arrive at gorgeous campuses for four golden years of boozing, balling and bong hits by way of anybody's cattle car. But they're angry, too, and they should be. Because the underlying cause of all that later-life distress and heartache – the reason they carry such crushing, life-alteringly huge college debt – is that our university-tuition system really is exploitative and unfair, designed primarily to benefit two major actors.
First in line are the colleges and universities, and the contractors who build their extravagant athletic complexes, hotel-like dormitories and God knows what other campus embellishments. For these little regional economic empires, the federal student-loan system is essentially a massive and ongoing government subsidy, once funded mostly by emotionally vulnerable parents, but now increasingly paid for in the form of federally backed loans to a political constituency – low- and middle-income students – that has virtually no lobby in Washington.
Next up is the government itself. While it's not commonly discussed on the Hill, the government actually stands to make an enormous profit on the president's new federal student-loan system, an estimated $184 billion over 10 years, a boondoggle paid for by hyperinflated tuition costs and fueled by a government-sponsored predatory-lending program that makes even the most ruthless private credit-card company seem like a "Save the Panda" charity. Why is this happening? The answer lies in a sociopathic marriage of private-sector greed and government force that will make you shake your head in wonder at the way modern America sucks blood out of its young.
In the early 2000s, a thirtysomething scientist named Alan Collinge seemed to be going places. He had graduated from USC in 1999 with a degree in aerospace engineering and landed a research job at Caltech. Then he made a mistake: He asked for a raise, didn't get it, lost his job and soon found himself underemployed and with no way to repay the roughly $38,000 in loans he'd taken out to get his degree.
Collinge's creditor, Sallie Mae, which originally had been a quasi-public institution but, in the late Nineties, had begun transforming into a wholly private lender, didn't answer his requests for a forbearance or a restructuring. So in 2001, he went into default. Soon enough, his original $38,000 loan had ballooned to more than $100,000 in debt, thanks to fees, penalties and accrued interest. He had a job as a military contractor, but he lost it when his employer ran a credit check on him. His whole life was now about his student debt.
More Taibbi: The Scam Wall Street Learned From the Mafia
Collinge became so upset that, while sitting on a buddy's couch in Tacoma, Washington, one night in 2005 and nursing a bottle of Jack Daniel's, he swore that he'd see Sallie Mae on 60 Minutes if it was the last thing he did. In what has to be a first in the history of drunken bullshitting, it actually happened. "Lo and behold, I ended up being featured on 60 Minutes within about a year," he says. In 2006, he got to tell his debt story to Lesley Stahl for a piece on Sallie Mae's draconian lending tactics that, curiously enough, Sallie Mae itself refused to be interviewed for.
From that point forward, Collinge – who founded the website – became what he calls "a complaint box for the industry." He heard thousands of horror stories from people like himself, and over the course of many years began to wonder more and more about one particular recurring theme, what he calls "the really significant thing – the sticker price." Why was college so expensive?
Tuition costs at public and private colleges were, are and have been rising faster than just about anything in American society – health care, energy, even housing. Between 1950 and 1970, sending a kid to a public university cost about four percent of an American family's annual income. Forty years later, in 2010, it accounted for 11 percent. Moody's released statistics showing tuition and fees rising 300 percent versus the Consumer Price Index between 1990 and 2011.
After the mortgage crash of 2008, for instance, many states pushed through deep cuts to their higher-education systems, but all that did was motivate schools to raise tuition prices and seek to recoup lost state subsidies in the form of more federal-loan money. The one thing they didn't do was cut costs. "College spending has been going up at the same time as prices have been going up," says Kevin Carey of the nonpartisan New America Foundation.
This is why the issue of student-loan interest rates pales in comparison with the larger problem of how anyone can repay such a huge debt – the average student now leaves school owing $27,000 – by entering an economy sluggishly jogging uphill at a fraction of the speed of climbing education costs. "It's the unending, gratuitous, punitive increase in prices that is driving all of this," says Carey.
As Collinge worked to figure out the cause of those cost increases, he became focused on several highly disturbing, little-discussed quirks in the student-lending industry. For instance: A 2005 Wall Street Journal story by John Hechinger showed that the Department of Education was projecting it would actually make money on students who defaulted on loans, and would collect on average 100 percent of the principal, plus an additional 20 percent in fees and payments.
Hechinger's reporting would continue over the years to be borne out in official documents. In 2010, for instance, the Obama White House projected the default recovery rate for all forms of federal Stafford loans (one of the most common federally backed loans for undergraduates and graduates) to be above 122 percent. The most recent White House projection was slightly less aggressive, predicting a recovery rate of between 104 percent and 109 percent for Stafford loans.
When Rolling Stone reached out to the DOE to ask for an explanation of those numbers, we got no answer. In the past, however, the federal government has responded to such criticisms by insisting that it doesn't make a profit on defaults, arguing that the government incurs costs farming out negligent accounts to collectors, and also loses even more thanks to the opportunity cost of lost time. For instance, the government claimed its projected recovery rate for one type of defaulted Stafford loans in 2013 to be 109.8 percent, but after factoring in collection costs, that number drops to 95.7 percent. Factor in the additional cost of lost time, and the "net" projected recovery rate for these Stafford loans is 81.8 percent.
Still, those recovery numbers are extremely high, compared with, say, credit-card debt, where recovery rates of 15 percent are not uncommon. Whether the recovery rate is 110 percent or 80 percent, it seems doubtful that losses from defaults come close to impacting the government's bottom line, since the state continues to project massive earnings from its student-loan program. After the latest compromise, the 10-year revenue projection for the DOE's lending programs is $184,715,000,000, or $715 million higher than the old projection – underscoring the fact that the latest deal, while perhaps rescuing students this coming year from high rates, still expects to ding them hard down the road.
But the main question is, how is the idea that the government might make profits on defaulted loans even up for debate? The answer lies in the uniquely blood-draining legal framework in which federal student loans are issued. First of all, a high percentage of student borrowers enter into their loans having no idea that they're signing up for a relationship as unbreakable as herpes. Not only has Congress almost completely stripped students of their right to disgorge their debts through bankruptcy (amazing, when one considers that even gamblers can declare bankruptcy!), it has also restricted the students' ability to refinance loans. Even Truth in Lending Act requirements – which normally require lenders to fully disclose future costs to would-be customers – don't cover certain student loans. That student lenders can escape from such requirements is especially pernicious, given that their pool of borrowers are typically one step removed from being children, but the law goes further than that and tacitly permits lenders to deceive their teenage clients.
Not all student borrowers have access to the same information. A 2008 federal education law forced private lenders to disclose the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) to prospective borrowers; APR is a more complex number that often includes fees and other charges. But lenders of federally backed student loans do not have to make the same disclosures.
"Only a small minority of those who've been to college have been told very simple things, like what their interest rate was," says Collinge. "A lot of straight-up lies have been foisted on students."
Talk to any of the 38 million Americans who have outstanding student-loan debt, and he or she is likely to tell you a story about how a single moment in a financial-aid office at the age of 18 or 19 – an age when most people can barely do a load of laundry without help – ended up ruining his or her life. "I was 19 years old," says 24-year-old Lyndsay Green, a graduate of the University of Alabama, in a typical story. "I didn't understand what was going on, but my mother was there. She had signed, and now it was my turn. So I did." Six years later, she says, "I am nearly $45,000 in debt. . . . If I had known what I was doing, I would never have gone to college."
"Nobody sits down and explains to you what it all means," says 24-year-old Andrew Geliebter, who took out loans to get what he calls "a degree in bullshit"; he entered a public-relations program at Temple University. His loan payments are now 50 percent of his gross income, leaving only about $100 a week for groceries for his family of four.
Another debtor, a 38-year-old attorney who suffered a pulmonary embolism and went into default as a result, is now more than $100,000 in debt. Bedridden and fully disabled, he accepts he will likely be in debt until his death. He asked that his name be withheld because he doesn't want to incur the wrath of the government by disclosing the awful punch line to his story: After he qualified for federal disability payments in 2009, the Department of Education quickly began garnishing $170 a month from his disability check.
"Student-loan debt collectors have power that would make a mobster envious" is how Sen. Elizabeth Warren put it. Collectors can garnish everything from wages to tax returns to Social Security payments to, yes, disability checks. Debtors can also be barred from the military, lose professional licenses and suffer other consequences no private lender could possibly throw at a borrower.
The upshot of all this is that the government can essentially lend without fear, because its strong-arm collection powers dictate that one way or another, the money will come back. Even a very high default rate may not dissuade the government from continuing to make mountains of credit available to naive young people.
"If the DOE had any skin in the game," says Collinge, "if they actually saw significant loss from defaulted loans, they would years ago have said, 'Whoa, we need to freeze lending,' or, 'We need to kick 100 schools out of the lending program.'"
Turning down the credit spigot would force schools to compete by bringing prices down. It would help to weed out crappy schools that hawked worthless "degrees in bullshit." It would also force prospective students to meet higher standards – not just anyone would get student loans, which is maybe the way it should be.
But that's not how it is. For one thing, the check on crappy schools and sleazy "diploma mill" institutions is essentially broken thanks to a corrupt dynamic similar to the way credit-rating agencies have failed in the finance world. Schools must be accredited institutions to receive tuition via federal student loans, but the accrediting agencies are nongovernmental captives of the education industry. "The government has outsourced its responsibilities for ensuring quality to weak, nonprofit organizations that are essentially owned and run by existing colleges," says Carey.
Fly-by-night, for-profit schools can be some of the most aggressive in lobbying for the raising of federal-loan limits. The reason is simple – some of them subsist almost entirely on federal loans. There's actually a law prohibiting these schools from having more than 90 percent of their tuition income come from federally backed loans. It would seem to amaze that any school would come even close to depending that much on taxpayers, but Carey notes with disdain that some schools use loopholes to go beyond the limit (for instance, loans to servicemen are technically issued through the Department of Defense, so they don't count toward the 90 percent figure).
Bottomless credit equals inflated prices equals more money for colleges and universities, more hidden taxes for the government to collect and, perhaps most important, a bigger and more dangerous debt bomb on the backs of the adult working population.
The stats on the latter are now undeniable. Having passed credit cards to became the largest pile of owed money in America outside of the real-estate market, outstanding student debt topped $1 trillion by the end of 2011. Last November, the New York Fed reported an amazing statistic: During just the third quarter of 2012, non-real-estate household debt rose nationally by 2.3 percent, or a staggering $62 billion. And an equally staggering $42 billion of that was student-loan debt.
The exploding-debt scenario is such a conspicuous problem that the Federal Advisory Council – a group of bankers who advise the Federal Reserve Board of Governors – has compared it to the mortgage crash, warning that "recent growth in student-loan debt . . . has parallels to the housing crisis." Agreeing with activists like Collinge, it cited a "significant growth of subsidized lending" as a major factor in the student-debt mess.
One final, eerie similarity to the mortgage crisis is that while analysts on both the left and the right agree that the ballooning student-debt mess can be blamed on too much easy credit, there is sharp disagreement about the reason for the existence of that easy credit. Many finance-sector analysts see the problem as being founded in ill-considered social engineering, an unrealistic desire to put as many kids into college as possible that mirrors the state's home-ownership goals that many conservatives still believe fueled the mortgage crisis. "These problems are the result of government officials pushing a social good – i.e., broader college attendance" is how libertarian writer Steven Greenhut put it.
Others, however, view the easy money as the massive subsidy for an education industry, which spent between $88 million and $110 million lobbying government in each of the past six years, and historically has spent recklessly no matter who happened to be footing the bill – parents, states, the federal government, young people, whomever.
Carey talks about how colleges spend a lot of energy on what he calls "gilding" – pouring money into superficial symbols of prestige, everything from new buildings to celebrity professors, as part of a "never-ending race for positional status."
"What you see is that spending on education hasn't really gone up all that much," he says. "It's spending on things like buildings and administration. . . . Lots and lots of people getting paid $200,000, $300,000 a year to do . . . something."
Once upon a time, when the economy was healthier, it was parents who paid for these excesses. "But eventually those people ran out of money," Carey says, "so they had to start borrowing."
If federal loan programs aren't being swallowed up by greedy schools for expensive and useless gilding, they're being manipulated by the federal government itself. The massive earnings the government gets on student-loan programs amount to a crude backdoor tax increase disguised by cynical legislators (who hesitate to ask constituents with more powerful lobbies to help cut the deficit) as an investment in America's youth.
"It's basically a $185 billion tax hike on middle-income and low-income citizens and their families," says Warren Gunnels, senior policy adviser for Vermont's Sen. Bernie Sanders, one of the few legislators critical of the recent congressional student-loan compromise.
Gunnels notes with irony that a few years ago, when Obama moved to eliminate private-lender middlemen from the servicing of federally backed loans, much hay was made out of the enormous profits private industry had long earned on the backs of students. The Congressional Budget Office issued a report estimating that Obama's program would save $86.8 billion over a 10-year period by eliminating private profits from the system. Obama said taxpayers were "paying banks a premium to act as middlemen," adding that it was a "premium we cannot afford."
The outrage over profits, however, was short-lived.
"It was wrong when banks were making an $86 billion profit on students, but somehow it's OK when the government makes a $185 billion profit on them," says Gunnels.
One of the reasons the money has kept flying out the government's door over the years is that data about student-loan-default rates has been carefully concealed from the public and from Congress. For years, when it reported statistics about student defaults, the DOE relied upon a preposterous arbitrary calculation called the "cohort default rate," which essentially measured the rate of default only within the first two years of graduation. In 2008, Congress passed a law forcing the DOE to switch to a theoretically more accurate three-year measurement, which it sent to Congress for the first time last year. Overnight, the picture looked a good bit grimmer. The 2009 number, based on the old two-year 2009 "cohort" rate, was 8.8 percent. When the new three-year number came out, the rate had jumped to 13.4 percent.
The Department of Education refuses to release more accurate default numbers. But outsiders think the DOE is lowballing it. The Chronicle of Higher Education charges that the government "vastly undercounts defaults." In 2010, it estimated that one in five had defaulted on their loans since 1995, that 31 percent of community-college students default and that an astonishing 40 percent of students attending for-profit schools end up defaulting. A report by the Inspector General of the Department of Education has come to similar conclusions about the reliability of the absurd and arbitrary "cohort" figure.
However high that default number really is, what's clear is that the state is still able to turn billions in profit on its lending, and expects to continue to do so for the next 10 years. The reason for that, again, lies in something everyone who has a student loan understands implicitly – the state and its collectors are not -squeamish collecting the money they're owed. The government is in the pain business, and business is good.
"They called me at work, sometimes two to three times a day, doing all the stuff they aren't supposed to do: threats, et cetera," says 41-year-old Shawn FitzGerald, who owes $300 a month and says he expects to be paying off education loans into his sixties. "They told the receptionist at my job that I was in legal trouble. . . ."
"Sallie Mae has started sending letters to my deceased mother," says Thomas Daggett of Chesterfield, Massachusetts, who left school in the Nineties and owes $35,000.
"I have been told I made the wrong decision going to college, as well as being told I was a failure, an idiot and a mooch," says Larissa, a young woman from a blue-collar town outside Chicago. "I've had ex-boyfriends that I never even lived with contacted by collection agents, my childhood friend's distant relatives contacted by them, as well as distant relatives of my own. . . ."
"I try not to look at the balances because the prospect of paying them off with my shit salary is so goddamn depressing it makes me want to chug vodka until I pass out," says Robert Boardman, a proud but underemployed owner of a doctorate from the University of Michigan.
There's a particularly dark twist to the education story, which is tied to the collapse of the middle class and the overall shittening of our economic landscape: College degrees are actually considered to be more essential than ever. The New York Times did a story earlier this year declaring the college degree to be the "new high school diploma," describing it as essentially a minimum job requirement. They found an Atlanta law firm that requires even clerks, secretaries and runners to have four-year degrees and cited research that everyone from hygienists to cargo agents needs to have graduated from college to get hired.
You can look at this development in one of two ways. One way is to see a college degree as a better investment than ever, which was the conclusion of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which noted that the difference in earnings between the poorly and well-educated has risen in recent years with the worsening economy.
But another way to look at this new truth is that, because of the poor job market, young people may have less of a chance than ever to actually get a good job commensurate with their education. If they don't have the degree, then they have no chance at all. So if they even want a clerking job, they must dive face-first into the debt muck and take their chances that they won't end up watching the federal government take bites out of disability checks while their law degree gathers dust downstairs somewhere. So, yes, a college education is a great thing, and you probably need one now more than ever – the problem is that it may very well be mandatory, may have less of a chance of ever getting you a job, and you may still be paying for it on your deathbed no matter what.
There are powerful reasons for both the left and the right to be willfully blind to the root problem. Democrats – who, incidentally, receive at least twice as much money from the education lobby as Republicans – like to see the raging river of free-flowing student loans as a triumph of educational access. Any suggestion that saddling befuddled youngsters with tens of thousands of dollars in school debts is somehow harmful or counterproductive to society is often swiftly shot down by politicians or industry insiders as an anti-student position. The idea that limitless government credit might be at least enabling high education costs tends to be derisively described as the "Bennett hypothesis," since right-wing moralist and notorious gambler/dick/hypocrite Bill Bennett once touted the same idea.
"It is wrong to suggest that student aid is a cause for growing college costs, in any sector," David Warren, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, wrote in The Washington Post last year, bemoaning the "re-emergence" of the Bennett theory. "To argue so is counterproductive to the goal of making higher education accessible and affordable."
Conservatives, meanwhile, with their usual "Fuck everybody who complains about anything unless it's us" mentality, tend to portray the student-loan "problem" as a bunch of spoiled, irresponsible losers who are simply whining about having to pay back money they borrowed with their eyes wide open. When Yale and Penn State recently began suing students who were defaulting on their federal Perkins loans, a Cato Institute analyst named Neal McCluskey pretty much summed up the conservative take. "You could take a job at Subway or wherever to pay the bills," he said. "It seems like basic responsibility to me."
But conservatives most of all should hate the current system for any number of reasons – for being a massive hidden tax, for being a market-defying subsidy artificially keeping ineffective and poor-performing institutions in business, and for being an example of arbitrary government power seizing not just money borrowed plus interest, but billions in additional fees and penalties from ordinary people.
Progressives should hate the predatory tactics of lenders and the sleazy way universities rely upon loan-shark collection methods to keep themselves in fancy new waterfalls, swimming pools and tenure-track jobs.
But nobody hates it enough, except for the people actually trying to pay the bills with increasingly worthless degrees. Instead, the credit keeps flowing and the debt bubble keeps expanding, thanks to leaders like John Boehner (whose daughter reportedly works at Sallie Mae's student-collections firm, General Revenue Corp.) and Dianne Feinstein (who introduced legislation to increase limits on Pell grants while her husband was heavily invested in for-profit colleges).
In a way, America itself is violating the Truth in Lending Act. It's cheering millions of high school graduates toward college every year, feeding them into the debt grinder under the banner of increased opportunity, when full disclosure would require admitting that there isn't a hell of a lot waiting for them on the other side, where the middle class has nearly vanished and full employment is going the way of the dodo.
We're doing the worst thing people can do: lying to our young. Nobody, not even this president, who was swept to victory in large part by the raw enthusiasm of college kids, has the stones to tell the truth: that a lot of them will end up being pawns in a predatory con game designed to extract the equivalent of home-mortgage commitment from 17-year-olds dreaming of impossible careers as nautical archaeologists or orchestra conductors. One former law student I contacted for this story had a nervous breakdown while struggling to pay off six-figure debt. It wasn't until he tapped into one of the few growth industries open to young Americans that his outlook brightened. "I got my life back on track by working for a marijuana delivery service in Manhattan," he says. "I've had to compromise who I am . . . because I started down a path that I couldn't turn away from. Student loans aren't hope. They're despair."
This story is from the August 29th, 2013 issue of Rolling Stone.
Related Links
Obama and the Road Ahead: The Rolling Stone Interview
Why Didn't the SEC Catch Madoff? It Might Have Been Policy Not To
The Growing Sentiment on the Hill For Ending 'Too Big To Fail'

Truthdig: How Kafkaesque Bureaucrats Are Ruining Education in LA

How Kafkaesque Bureaucrats Are Ruining Education

  in LAEmail this item Email    Print this item Print    Share this item... Share

Posted on Aug 19, 2013

By Wellford Wilms
Last week the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second-largest in the nation, opened its doors to more than 640,000 students for the new school year. The following story is a sobering tale of bureaucracy run amok, to the detriment of its schoolchildren.
When John Deasy took over the Los Angeles Unified School District in 2011, he promised a “world-class” education for all students. A cornerstone of his plan has been to tie teachers’ jobs and salaries to their students’ scores on standardized tests. For the past two years Deasy has driven his vision relentlessly from his 24th floor executive suite in the district’s downtown headquarters, through a half dozen layers of administrators, to nearly 900 Los Angeles schools. 
But on July 2, 2013, a new school board was sworn in, and the majority seems skeptical of Deasy’s business model. Matthew Kogan, an educator who walked precincts for the board’s newest member, teacher Monica Ratliff, explained, “It’s a very narrow model and there’s a lot of hostile things about it towards teachers.” 
Despite intense pressure from the district headquarters to boost scores, academic performance is shockingly low and it trails behind students in most other large California districts. Just 39 percent of LAUSD students are proficient in math and only 41 percent are proficient in English (though their scores have improved since 2010). Nearly four in 10 LAUSD students fail to graduate from high school, and African-American students are nearly twice as likely to drop out as whites.
Deasy is quick to blame the schools for students’ poor performance but the real problem is right under his nose. As my experience attests, the villains aren’t the teachers, as many believe, but often are power-hungry district bureaucrats who set their own agenda and are accountable to no one. 
<a href=';cb=511308230' target='_blank'><img src=';cb=511308230&amp;n=abee66dc' border='0' alt='' /></a>
The story that I relate here portrays a microcosm of what paralyzes the LAUSD and every other large urban school district in America. After studying schools for 40 years, I know that concentrating power in the district office may give the illusion of control, but it dooms reforms at the schools where it counts because it emasculates principals, burns out teachers, infuriates the teachers union and drives away community support. Several months ago, after a bruising confrontation with LAUSD bureaucrats, my co-teacher, Avis Ridley-Thomas, and I were forced to abandon a decade-old partnership between UCLA and the LAUSD that had served some of Los Angeles’ neediest students. Ridley-Thomas, who founded the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Dispute Resolution Program, and I taught and trained hundreds of UCLA undergraduates to mediate disputes, and we sent them to schools to resolve conflicts among middle and high school students. The UCLA undergrads also teach the younger students how to defuse tensions for themselves through peer mediation, and they act as role models—big brothers and sisters—opening the younger students’ eyes to the larger world of higher education with field trips to UCLA. 
Mediation is an idea of profound importance because resolving conflict person-to-person without using force has been proven to produce trust and lasting solutions. The results have been remarkable, and it has not cost LAUSD a dime. The UCLA students have resolved more than 2,000 disputes, often in highly charged school situations that include potential suicides, bullying and name calling, any of which can easily escalate into violence. One UCLA student told me:
“It is an awesome experience. This one girl was starting to cut herself but she couldn’t talk to anyone. We sat down with her and she started crying because three boys she’d known in elementary school were bullying her, calling her fat and ugly. After she calmed down we met with the boys who had no idea of the harm they were causing. We had a third mediation with all of them and the boys apologized. It is amazing to see something like this happen right before your eyes.”

When we were forced to end the program, we also had to abandon plans for an even more ambitious project to establish schools as community centers for conflict resolution, where teachers, parents, students and police officers would mediate neighborhood disputes after hours. This would bring those groups together in some novel ways that would strengthen the fabric of the community. 
West Los Angeles College agreed to share the model with the other eight campuses in the Los Angeles Community College District and a greatly expanded network of LAUSD schools to increase the impact. We brought funders together at the schools with partners at the Los Angeles Police Department, UCLA, West Los Angeles College and the Institute for Nonviolence in Los Angeles, knowing that if it succeeded, it could be a model for the entire city. 
But on Feb. 1, 2013, everything stopped. An LAUSD employee—let’s call her Ms. Jones (not her real name)—invoked the district’s burdensome and complex procedures to effectively drive us away. The UCLA students were upset, but the real victims were the children in the schools who were deprived of a powerful learning experience. The other less tangible loss was what could have been a major step bringing mediation to Los Angeles neighborhoods, where violence often rules how conflicts are settled.
1   2   3   NEXT PAGE >>>


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Barack Obama and the Neo-Liberal Coup

Barack Obama and the Neo-Liberal Coup
Defenders of the policies of President Barack Obama have correctly pointed to the difficult circumstances he and ‘the nation’ faced when he entered office and the dim intransigence of Congressional Republicans while they fail to address that his actual policies have derived almost exclusively from the political-economic theories of neo-liberalism—the economics of the radical right. And as Mr. Obama moves his policy proposals for his second term forward what is once again apparent is that both the policies and his articulation of them are from the radical right. His proposals to shutter Federal housing agency stalwarts Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, his use of dubious legal opinions to consolidate the power of ‘the Executive’ and to justify the murder of citizens and non-citizens without due process, his support for trade agreements that effectively hand domestic governance over to multi-national corporations, his growth of an intrusive surveillance state and pompous dismissal of criticism of it and his stuffing his cabinet and likely the Federal Reserve Chairmanship with neo-liberal ideologues all confirm that the policies of his first term were not a product of circumstance, but rather the coherent implementation of a radical-right agenda.
Apparently unbeknownst to many, when promoting these policies Mr. Obama has in each case used coded talking points of the radical right to sell them. That these talking points come from the grim bourgeois banker and ‘national security’ ghettoes, company towns if you will, where the fantasies and rank hallucinations of executives and Boards of Directors go unchallenged by ‘subordinates’ goes some distance toward explaining Mr. Obama’s own dismissive tone and condescension during those exceedingly rare moments when inconvenient truths are raised in his presence. Whereas in a democracy leaders respond to the concerns of the citizenry, in a corporate-state ‘leaders’ decide both the questions and the answers. Were there not fundamentally different visions of political economy and society behind the left-right divide—actual content rather than the inane banter of paid Party hacks that passes for ‘debate’ in the U.S., circling Mr. Obama’s policies with the charge ‘radical right’ might seem hyperbole. So the charge here conveys that these policies promote / reflect political capture by neo-liberalism and the restructuring of government Mr. Obama has undertaken is a reflection of the architecture of this economic order.
While not necessarily the most momentous, one of the most telling policies that ties Mr. Obama’s undying support for Wall Street in his first term to his current policies is the decision to shutter Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSEs). These quasi-government agencies arose from the economic catastrophe of the Great Depression to insure home mortgages away from the predations of private mortgage lenders—the same ‘system’ of private mortgage lending that led once again to financial catastrophe in 2008. To add insult to injury, Mr. Obama’s talking points for the closures come straight from the Wall Street ghetto of Manhattan (my current home), including the well-refuted contention that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were responsible for the housing / mortgage catastrophe of recent vintage caused by Wall Street. The facts are that the catastrophe was caused entirely by mortgages that were underwritten by private mortgage underwriters and packaged into toxic garbage by Wall Street according to neo-liberal principles of ‘market’ economics. At this point in history Mr. Obama still has the audacity to repeat the Wall Street / radical right lie that the Federal government that ‘saved’ Wall Street at public expense was responsible for the financial and economic catastrophes Wall Street alone caused.
It is important to understand the genesis of the alternate reality that so dissociates official Washington and Wall Street from the facts as they apply to this world. After a (very) brief opening for self-reflection in the depths of economic catastrophe in 2008 the narrative developed that through the CRA (Community Reinvestment Act) the Federal government forced Wall Street banks to make the fraudulent mortgage loans that were major contributors to the crisis. The facts are that the mortgages made under CRA guidelines experienced no higher defaults than high quality mortgages made under similar lending guidelines. CRA loans played no role in the crisis. The second charge was that the GSEs—Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, predominated sub-prime lending when they were both late to the game and bit players. To any who have taken an honest look at the circumstances leading to the crisis, it was looting by Wall Street using related or captive private mortgage underwriters who knowingly underwrote fraudulent mortgages to feed their ‘securitization’ (toxic waste) pipelines that created the debacle. However, within days of the start of the bank bailouts the narrative was put forward by neo-liberal ideologues that the Federal government was entirely responsible for Wall Street’s murder of the global economy.
For a number of reasons this claim has more dimensions to it when put forward by Mr. Obama than when it is put forward by Wall Street apologists and / or Rush Limbaugh and John Boehner. In the first place, Mr. Obama’s same first term staff that engineered the phenomenally corrupt bailouts of Wall Street, including Timothy Geithner and likely soon to be new Fed Chair Larry Summers, were the Clinton Administration point-persons who led the deregulation of the banks to their near demise. Messrs. Geithner and Summers were subsequently given free rein by Mr. Obama to bury the consequences of their monumental corruption and ineptitude, trillions of dollars of garbage bank assets, in these government and quasi-government agencies through the bank bailouts. What Mr. Obama is now doing is ‘proving’ the canard of the radical right that government destroys everything it touches by pointing to the devastation he and his colleagues in misdirection created as evidence of its validity—the GSEs (Government Sponsored Enterprises) were corrupted by the corporate-state nexus of the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations, not by ‘government.’ And in practical terms, Mr. Obama is hiding evidence of his administration’s crimes in the bailouts while simultaneously continuing to put public resources into the hands of the same corrupt bankers who killed the global economy.
Two other related issues come together to suggest Mr. Obama is acting in bad-faith in nearly all his public pronouncements. According to still classified documents even the FISA Court, the kangaroo court that renders secret decisions on national security issues, found NSA surveillance under the Obama administration to be illegal. Ongoing ‘top secret’ classification of the court’s findings hides the administration’s criminality that ties in intent to its super-secrecy over the latest extension of the corporate-state coup, the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) agreement that by reports hands law-making authority to a coalition of multi-national corporations. This is more than simply shady dealing taking place behind closed doors. Through the public-private partnerships tied to illegal NSA surveillance and the accedence of law-making authority to ‘private’ corporate interests Mr. Obama is engineering what appears to be a full-blown corporate-state coup. Lest this read as hyperbole, using secret interpretations of secret laws passed by a secret court to subvert the public will and cover up crimes is police-state practice. To use private corporations to subvert privacy laws and Constitutionally determined lawmaking authority is a political coup. Those unfamiliar with these and their relation to European history in the first half of the twentieth century may wish to bone up on their history.
What is missing from most political analysis around these policies is their trajectory—Mr. Obama’s time in office comes several decades into the ascendance of neo-liberalism. While many on ‘the left’ object to neo-liberal policies such as ‘free trade’ and ‘deregulation,’ what is usually left unsaid is that it is a fundamentally totalitarian form of political economy that is well into being used to restructure most of the Western world. Few if any of the hundreds of millions of people whose lives have been re-arranged by neo-liberal policies were asked if they favored them. And the super-secrecy around TPP negotiations is designed to assure the voices of those affected by it are excluded. The only plausible reason for the exclusion is that enough is known by the negotiators about the views of the public for them to assume we would object en masse if the details of the agreement became public. When viewed in conjunction with the surveillance state Mr. Obama and NSA officials continue to aggressively cover-up and lie about and the consolidation and subsequent dissemination of the data collected by it across government agencies the precise point in the trajectory toward corporate-state coup becomes clearer. Tie in the public-private partnerships used by the surveillance state to circumvent domestic laws and the relation of neo-liberalism to totalitarian strategies and tactics is evident.
The historical trajectory from the mid 1970s to today places the instantiation of neo-liberal ideology into public perceptions several generations deep. And the build-out of totalitarian infrastructure—public-private lawmaking through ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council), public-private policing, public-private incarceration (‘private’ prisons) and the public-private surveillance state has taken place gradually enough to be missed by those not looking very hard. And ironically, neo-liberalism has been better sold to the public by well known political liberal icons in Ivy League universities than by the conspicuous purveyors of right-wing ideology. Princeton University economist Paul Krugman is a self-described ‘free trader’ in the older ‘Washington Consensus’ incarnation of neo-liberalism. But his trade economics call for a top-down restructuring of the global economy that is fundamentally anti-democratic. And none other than economist John Maynard Keynes, of whom Mr. Krugman is an acolyte, identified the totalitarian tendencies of Western economics toward making policy prescriptions in profoundly anti-democratic ways. As an ideology reified in global economic architecture, neo-liberalism forces its view of both what it is human beings want—wealth as capitalist production, and how to get it—through reorganizing economic relations according to its dogma.
However, as the social power evidenced in the bailout of Wall Street demonstrated, neo-liberal dogma is never forced on those with the power to resist it. Several decades of neo-liberal policies were implemented by the IMF (International Monetary Fund) on the citizens of nations too politically powerless to resist them. Closing corrupt, extractive banks was one of the absolute musts of IMF (neo-liberal) policy because they misallocate resources across entire economies if left intact. The point here is that neo-liberalism is purported by its proponents to create / produce an economic infrastructure conducive to ‘free markets’ but existing asymmetry in political-economic power assures it is only used to restructure the economic relations of those too powerless to resist it. The increasing crises of capitalism, and that of 2008 in particular, should have put an end to neo-liberalism—in the depths of the crisis even the IMF offered a mea culpa apologizing for decades of inflicting its policies on ‘other countries’ that ‘the West’ wouldn’t inflict on itself. The difference in treatment—in terms of both the hypocrisy of differentiated treatment and the theoretical incoherence of acting against principles in the face of the power to resist them, illustrated neo-liberalism to be a pernicious form of neo-imperialism hiding behind bogus economic theories. And in fact, the major points of disagreement amongst Western economists have been over responses to the crisis, not its causes. (To his credit Paul Krugman has taken the ‘the GSEs caused the crisis’ argument to task quite effectively several times).
The tendency of we in ‘the West’ has been to draw a circle around the visible political-economic relations—those close at hand, and to exclude from our realm of concern the broader impact of Western policies. However, neo-liberalism as both ideology and imposed political economy is now fact in the West. With quiet acceptance any pretense of ‘democracy’ has been replaced with the admonition that if we behave ourselves we can remain on the ‘winning’ side of political economic restructuring according to neo-liberal dogma. Left unsaid is that rapidly declining circumstance, in terms of both the increasing economic marginalization of most citizens and the imposition of the technologies of totalitarianism, is wholly the product of four decades of near-silent neo-liberal coup. What Mr. Obama’s insistence on continuing to push neo-liberal policies indicates is that no economic debacle will cause neo-liberalism to be re-thought by its proponents. What historical trajectory suggests is that the imposed political economies and failed policies of neo-liberalism will only result in their greater imposition until the world says ‘no more.’
Rob Urie is an artist and political economist in New York. His book Zen Economics will be published by Counterpunch / CK Press in Spring 2014.

David Sirota Expose - It's Profits First

A Scandal That's Exposing Ugly Truths About the School Privatization Agenda

The recent scandal ousting Florida's top education official shows the privatization movement is about profits.
Paradoxes come in all different forms, but here’s one that perfectly fits this Gilded Age: The most significant lesson from the ongoing debate about American education has little to do with schools and everything to do with money. This lesson comes from a series of recent scandals that expose the financial motives of the leaders of the so-called education “reform” movement — the one that is trying to privatize public schools.
The first set of scandals engulfed Tony Bennett, the former Indiana school superintendent and much-vaunted poster boy for the privatization push. After voters in that state responded to his radical agenda by throwing him out of office, he was quickly hired to lead Florida’s education system. At the same time, his wife not-so-coincidentally landed a gig with the Florida-based Charter Schools USA, a for-profit company that not only has an obvious interest in Bennett privatizing Florida schools, but that also was previously awarded lucrative contracts by Bennett in Indiana.
Grotesque as it is to shroud such self-enriching graft in the veneer of helping children, the self-dealing controversy wasn’t Bennett’s most revealing scandal. That distinction goes to recent news that Bennett changed the grades of privately run charter schools on behalf of his financial backers. Indeed, as the Associated Press reported, “When it appeared an Indianapolis charter school run by a prominent Republican donor might receive a poor grade, Bennett’s education team frantically overhauled his signature ‘A-F’ school grading system to improve the school’s marks.” Yet, the Associated Press also reported that just a year before, Bennett “declined to give two Indianapolis public schools (the) same flexibility.”
In response, the American Federation of Teachers is asking Indiana to release emails between Bennett and the education foundation run by former Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Fla., another prominent face of the “reform” movement. The union is requesting this correspondence because of another scandal, this one publicized by the Washington Post.
Under the headline “E-mails Link Bush Foundation, Corporations and Education Officials,” the newspaper earlier this year reported on correspondence showing the foundation carefully shaping its education “reform” agenda not around policies that would most help children, but around legislation that would most quickly expand the profit margins of its donors in the for-profit education industry.
Before all of these controversies, of course, there were plenty of ways to see that something other than concern for kids has been driving “reformers’” push to privatize public schools.
You could, for example, contrast privatizers’ pro-charter-school propaganda with Stanford University’s study showing that most charter schools perform no better — and often worse — than traditional public schools.
You could juxtapose the Reuters story screaming “Private Firms Eyeing Profits From U.S. Public Schools” next to the New York Times headline blaring “Hedge Funds’ Leaders Rally for Charter Schools.”
You could consider that the most prolific fundraiser in the education “reform” movement is not someone with a stellar record of education policy success, but instead Michelle Rhee, the former Washington, D.C., schools chief whose tenure was defined by a massive cheating scandal.
But maybe the best way to see that profit is the motive of the education “reform” movement is to note that no matter how many kids they harm or how many scandals they create, Bennett, Bush, Rhee and other privatizers continue getting jobs, continue being touted as education “experts” and continue raising huge money for their cause.
Thanks to that dynamic, education politics is spotlighting a fact that should be taught in every civics class. It is a fact that contradicts the pervasive rhetoric about meritocracy, but it is, alas, a fact: If you are backed by enough money, you will almost always retain your status in America — no matter how wrong you are and how many lives you ruin.
David Sirota is a best-selling author of the new book "Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live In Now." He hosts the morning show on AM760 in Colorado. E-mail him at, follow him on Twitter @davidsirota or visit his website at

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

From Socialism to Neoliberalism: A Story of Capture (Part 1 of 2)

Part 1:

From Socialism to Neoliberalism: A Story of Capture (Part 1 of 2)

[The following comes from a text I had worked on several years ago. For a variety of reasons, the project never came to fruition, but I've been revisiting my notes from this period in preparation for my current work. Note: as a portion of an unpolished and unfinished work, elements of this narrative may seem out of place or missing. I put this up, however, because it is always worthwhile to keep an eye trained on the past when pushing forward into the future.]
images (38)
“The essence of the democratic surge of the 1960s was a general challenge to existing systems of authority, public and private. In one form or another, this challenge manifested itself in the family, the university, business, public and private associations, politics, the governmental bureaucracy, and the military services… [This influx of democratic consciousness can be attributed in part to an awareness in] social issues, such as use of drugs, civil liberties, and the role of women; racial issues, involving integration, busing, government aid to minority groups, and urban riots; military issues, involving primarily, of course, the war in Vietnam but also the draft, military spending, military aid programs, and the role of the military-industrial complex more generally.”
-Samuel P. Huntington The Crisis of Democracy: Report on the Governability of Democracies to the Trilateral Commission
The criticisms Huntington was retrospectively firing towards practitioners of democracy were not aimed at the socialists that were congregating around the AFL-CIO, but at the far more anarchic and oppositional young movements that were personified in the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). The pivotal fracture between these two wings of the left had occurred with the signing of the Port Huron Statement. This paradigm shift was the event that severed the ‘old guard’ of social democrats from the new generation, marking the tone in which the cultural would operate with throughout the 1960s. Two intellectuals that bear the primary responsibility for the radicalized politics of the New Left – C. Wright Mills, the American sociologist and author of The Power Elite; and Herbert Marcuse, a veteran of the Frankfurt School of critical theory, where he can developed his own brand of revolutionary politics through a distinctive blending of Marxism, Freudianism, and rugged sense of individuality (a cocktail that had offended orthodox Marxists). Both men had come to be seen as threats to the Establishment; when the revolts of 1968 erupted in Paris, protestors carried massive banners in the streets bearings the names “Marx, Mao, Marcuse!” in red ink. Mills, on the other hand, had been denied funding for future research by the Ford Foundation after he had published The Power Elite in 1956.i Perhaps ironically, Marcuse’s most famous and influential work, One Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society, had been completed with monetary aid from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Social Sciences Research Council.ii
Tom Hayden, the primary author of the Port Huron Statement , had been infatuated with the writings of Mills, and the condemnations contained in the statement drew directly from The Power Elite. Earlier Hayden had completed his master’s thesis by drawing heavily on Mills’ work. The elderly sociologist had passed away just months before the debut of the Port Huron Statement, but Marcuse had a front-row seat to what had seemed, at least for a moment, like the beginning of a world revolution. One Dimensional Man would later become the manifesto of the SDS, with the young activists attracted to Marcuse’s emancipatory ethos – primarily of his attack on institutionalized governance and other power structures. He lobbed criticisms at Big Labor, which he saw as a something that had co-opted revolutionary potential as its ‘white-collar’ membership increased.iii This had offended the segments of the Old Left that were rallying around the AFL-CIO, but it struck a chord with the SDS, who were abandoning representative democracy for a far more theoretical participatory framework. This, too, was indebted to Marcuse and One Dimensional Man: “free election of masters does not abolish the masters or the slaves,” he had written.
C. Wright Mills 

Herbert Marcuse

The popularity of One Dimensional Man was immense, with some 100,000 copies sold in the immediate years after its publication.iv Having been translated into sixteen languages, it was soon being used as the “official text” of SDS training sessions and before long the philosopher was travelling the globe, abandoning the dreary confines of scholarly institutions, and addressing students and activists from New York City to Rome in auditoriums and bars.v
The influence of these icons on Hayden and his comrades greatly disheartened Aryeh Neier, a young director in the League for the Industrial Democracy who had formed the SDS as its youth wing in Neier had been the one to initially bring Hayden into the organization, but he, along with Michael Harrington, was rapidly growing dismayed at both the hard left bent of the student activists and the rightist slant of its senior membership:
I was unenthusiastic about the 1962 “Port Huron statement” drafted by Hayden… the language about “participatory democracy” seemed like a justification for demagogy… We [the LID] wanted to hold onto SDS because its work on college campuses was making headway and had become the organization’s raison d’etre. SDS probably wished to preserve ties to the parent group because that is where the money came from. After a time, however, it became plain to both sides that the relationship between the LID and SDS had to be severed. Though I disapproved of SDS’s leftism, I was also unhappy about the LID’s rightward drift…vii
This move to the right had been triggered by one of the primary socialist intellectuals of the American dissident underground, a prolific left-wing journalism and immigrant from the Soviet-occupied Poland named Max Shachtman. At a time when the liberal establishment had made significant inroads into the left under the veil of progressivism, Shachtman’s ideology appealed and made sense to a great many who founding the increasingly dictatorial nature of the Soviet Union to be a threat equal of greater to that of capitalist exploitation. Shachtman bore the credentials of a maverick – he had been expelled from the Communist Party in 1928 for his allegiance to Stalin’s main rival, Leon Trotsky, and in 1928 had formed the Trotskyite Communist League of America. In 1934 the party was reformed as the Worker’s party, and in 1958 it was merged into the much larger and more powerful Socialist Party of America (SPA), which at the time was aligning itself closely with the LID, the AFL-CIO, and the burgeoning civil rights movement.
Over the years Shachtman’s ideology had evolved from rigid Trotskyism to anti-Soviet activism; his myriad of socialist organizations repeatedly splintered and fragmented as he denied the popular theory amongst the Left that the USSR was a “degenerated worker’s state.” Instead, he argued, it was a machine of imperialism that obstructed the “permanent revolution.” Shachtman had begun to see the United States as a force that, that despite the contradiction that the nation’s commitment to capitalism was contrary to their otherwise socialist goals, could be used for good in countering the threat of the Soviet Union:
In the first place, the division in the capitalist camp is, to all practical intents, at an end. In any case, there is nothing like the division that existed from 1939 onward and which gave Stalinist Russia such tremendous room for maneuvering. In spite of all the differences that still exist among them, the capitalist world under American imperialist leadership and drive is developing an increasingly solid front against Russian imperialism.viii
As the decade wore on, Shachtman would increasingly push himself and the milieu coalescing around him closer and closer to the Cold War politics of the Establishment. By 1961 Shachtman was endorsing the CIA’s failed Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba, and in 1965 he was speaking out against troop de-escalation in South Vietnam.ix In 1972 his transformation was complete – attacking presidential hopeful George McGovern’s peace-oriented foreign policy a “monstrosity,” Shachtman announced his support behind the hawkish ‘Senator from Boeing,’ Henry “Scoop” Jackson.x The transformation would have long-lasting implications for American politics; many scholars have identified the collision of leftism and Senator Jackson as the birthing moment of the neoconservative ideology. The irony was that the radicals who followed Shachtman to the doorsteps of militant bureaucracy were, in fact, a great number of central players in the successes of the Civil Rights movement.
images (39)
Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson (center)
Bayard Rustin
By the mid-1960s, the larger questions that were plaguing the left and casting doubts on its very nature were also being reflected in the Civil Rights movement, creating similar schisms between various factions. Just as the Establishment-leaning left rallied around Shachtman and the anarchic students clung to Mills and Marcuse, the Civil Rights movement was torn between the Black Nationalist organizations (who were taking their cues from the writings of Marcus Garvey, Franz Fanton and Mao) on one hand, and on the other there were the more moderate forces, such as the NAACP and the Congress for Racial Equality (CORE). The latter had been established in 1946 as a subset of the Quaker’s Fellowship of Reconciliation; a young man by the name of Bayard Rustin had helped the fledgling organization find a foothold in the world of activism.xi Rustin would rapidly become a powerful figure – after assisting CORE in its early years, he had become a prominent member of the War Resister’s League, eventually sitting amongst the organization’s top leaders as its general secretary. In the process he had become skilled in the methods of nonviolent resistance and was regarded as something as an expert. He continued to remain active in Civil Rights, and became a close acquaintance of Martin Luther King, Jr. when he travelled to Mississippi to help stage the Montgomery Bus Boycotts. On hand as aids to Rustin were two young organizers by the name of Tom Kahn and Rachelle Horowitz, members of the Socialist Party of America’s youth league, the Young People’s Socialist League (YPSL,) who had been dispatched to Mississippi by Michael Harrington.xii
images (40)
Hungary: 1956
Unlike their mentor Harrington, both Kahn and Horowitz were committed Shachtmanites. Kahn’s infatuation had begun when he caught one of Shachtman’s infamous speeches after the Soviet forces invaded the neighboring country of Hungary. “I still remember the portrait of horror Max painted that night – of rolling Russian tanks, of defenseless Hungarian workers and students fighting back with stones, of a heroic people’s crushed hopes, and of our democratic socialist links to those hopes,” Tom Kahn later wrote of their first encounter at a meeting in some smoky backroom in New York City. “I do not remember whether that was the night I signed up. But it was the night I became convinced.”xiii Kahn’s embrace of Shachtman’s interpretation of socialism stuck with him, and he continued carry on these ideas as he integrated himself and Horowitz with the Rustin-King milieu.
Meanwhile, the Montgomery Bus Boycotts had been proven widely successful; it had led to legislation overturning the laws segregating the state’s bussing industry. Perhaps even more importantly, however, was the long-term ramifications of the events – it was a rallying point, the first shot fired in the civil rights movement as it blossomed into a national force. In the aftermath, Martin Luther King, Jr., at the urging of Rustin and Ella Baker, an outspoken leftist and director at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), brought together sixty prominent African American religious leaders to a conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Tasked with crafting an organization dedicated to nonviolent protest against segregation, the brain trust created the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). In many ways it became the central hub and umbrella group for much of the civil rights movement, and helped propel King to the front of the struggle.
In 1960, at a conference organized by the SCLC, CORE, and SDS, the organization put up money to create a youth wing, the Students Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). This organization would differ from its parent in many ways: whereas the SCLC concentrated its energies solely on civil rights, the SNCC began to adopt a more controversial point of view, incorporating themes of income inequality into much of its rhetoric. The movement was prompted by the influence Rustin and Kahn (by this point acting as Kahn’s assistant) on Stokley Carmichael, a young leader in the organization.xiv Much akin to these Shatchman-inspired activists, the SNCC still shied away from militant radicalism; for example, the organization’s first chairman, H. Rap Brown, banned several Communist Party members (including Marcuse student and future Black Panther, Angela Davis) from the Los Angeles chapter.xv
images (41)Kahn, Horowitz, and Rustin were together again in 1963, helping to organize the March on Washington where King delivered his famous “I have a dream” speech. The march itself had been the brainchild of Rustin and another prominent dissident, A. Philip Randolph, who years earlier had been the only black representative in the AFL-CIO after its 1955 merger. Randolph and Rustin were bound together by their political ideology – moderate democratic socialism, and the centerpiece of their demands was a federal jobs program that guaranteed full employment to every American citizen.xvi The two saw in the march an opportunity to integrate civil rights with the battle for these economic rights, something that surely appealed to Kahn and Horowitz. But moderate organizations, including the NAACP, CORE, and the SCLC, were rather reluctant to cast their lot in with socialist ambitions. In one instance, the SNCC, whose leader John Lewis was slated to deliver a speech during the march, became overtly critical of the SCLC – the ‘elder statesman’ of the movement was being viewed as too moderate and supportive of the Kennedy administration. The Civil Rights Act, they felt, was “too little, too late,” and the march was the perfect chance to voice this belief.The moderates were horrified. “I don’t understand why you SNCC people always have to be different,” NAACP leader Roy Wilkins told Lewis. “You’re double-crossing the people who gathered to support this bill.”xviii Wilkins, along with UAW leader Walther Reuther and other leaders, pressured Lewis into revising the speech he was slated to give that day.
Tom Kahn
Subsequent records have Kahn appearing frequently appearing in the background of these events, helping to edit or write the speeches that would define the movement. He had been known not only for his organizing abilities, but for the passion that he poured onto paper with his pen. He soon became both Rustin and Randolph’s personal ghostwriters; according to Horowitz he actually had a hand in writing or rewriting many of the speeches the day of the march.xix His abilities played a significant role in generating support from the AFL-CIO for Civil Rights – Randolph’s speech at the AFL-CIO’s 1963 annual convention, ghostwritten by Kahn, had even moved the normally stone-hearted George Meany.xx Later that year Rustin was approached by Norman Podhoretz, a later neoconservative figurehead, to write an article for the magazine of which he was chief editor, Commentary. Commentary, the organ of the American Jewish Committee, had proven itself to be an intellectual powerhouse in the 1960s by publishing articles by individuals ranging from the philosopher Hannah Arendt to Irving Kristol. Its editorial board was also close to the nexus of the Socialist Party of America through public intellectuals such as Sidney Hook. Rustin agreed, and with Kahn ghostwriting, the magazine soon put forth an article that would later be described as the “seminal piece for the civil rights movement.”xxi
These events served to finally commit the large combines of organized labor to throw their weight behind the push for racial equality. To solidify these ties the AFL-CIO provided Rustin and Randoloh with $25,000 to form the A. Philip Randolph Institute.xxii Norman Hill, an activist that had known Bayard from their days in the CORE together and had worked on the March on Washington, assisted in establishing the Institute and would eventually become its longtime president. The Institute served not only to further the causes of Civil Rights and worker’s rights, but championed support for the state of Israel (it later financed a full page ad in the New York Times titled “An Appeal by Black Americans for United States support of Israel,” which proved divisive in the more militant and pro-third world sectors of the African American population)xxiii and acted as platform for Rustin and Randolph’s democratic socialism. The Institute proposed a “Freedom Budget,” a “proposal for a massive, systematic attack on all the causes of poverty… call[ing] on the Federal Government to spend $185 billion over a ten year period in housing, education, guaranteed annual income, expanded medical care and social insurance, and most important, in creation of jobs to eliminate unemployment…”xxiv  The name for this proposal, which never managed to catch on in policy-making circles, was suggested to Rustin by none other than Shachtman.xxv
Joining forces with the AFL-CIO marked a period of transformation in Kahn. Even amongst the moderate left, the union federation had been often viewed as a sort of reactionary body; even though their viewpoints were often complimentary, the Cold War mentality of George Meany had seemed reactionary amongst the SPA membership and the Shachtmanites. But Kahn was starting to reconsider things. In a letter to Rachelle Horowitz he had written “‘I can’t quite seem to drive out the negative that characterizes my world view these days. Everything points me more and more into an alliance with George Meany against intellectuals and radical moralists.”xxvi He had already staunchly rejected the ethos of the SDS, as Horowitz notes:
He also refused to be cowed by the attractive sound of ‘participatory democracy,’ the slogan most often used by SDS to rally students and fend off divisiveness in its own ranks…he wrote, ‘Decision by consensus, borrowed from the Quakers, helps to prevent the expert abuse of parliamentary procedure, but it also discourages the crystallization of opposing viewpoints, seeking the gentle obliteration of differences.’… He did not see participatory democracy as a viable or more democratic alternative to representative democracy, as many in SDS did.xxvii
Becoming Establishment
In 1963 the League for Industrial Democracy was bordering on collapse. SDS had formally split from the organization, and dismayed at the encroaching Shachtmanites, Neier left to join the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which had been formed shortly before by another LID veteran, Roger Baldwin.xxviii In 1964, however, the organization would undergo a resurrection as Kahn and Harrington assumed control of it, bringing it into full partnership with the Socialist Party of America. The LID had already been close to the AFL-CIO, thanks to the efforts of Neier (ironically, he had used money donated from the union to hire Tom Hayden),xxix but the two became practically joined at the hip under the direction of their new leadership. They brought into the fold Jack Conway, of the AFL-CIO’s Industrial Union Department, Lane Kirkland, and Albert Shanker, a veteran member of CORE and head of the United Federation of While Neier refrains from identifying these individuals by name in his memoirs, he dutifully notes that they were “loyal Shachtmanites.”xxxi Harrington, however, was certainly not, and he envisioned the new LID as something far different from what it would become: “The sixties… were going to be a time of renewed reform, the first such period since the New Deal. In that perspective, the LID was supposed to become a center for discussion and debate where trade unionists, blacks and intellectuals could meet and analyze events and programs.”xxxii In addition to the AFL-CIO principles, the organization became staffed with the editors of Dissent magazine, as well as Rustin and Norman Hill.xxxiii
Throughout the 1960s, the reformed LID remained generally quiet about foreign policy recommendations, choosing to instead focus on Rustin’s Freedom Budget. The interlocking channels worked in tandem to push the idea: after the A. Philip Randolph Institute published The Freedom Budget, it was further distributed by the LID, and before long, the AFL-CIO published an edition tailored to the labor movement.xxxiv As appealing as the idea was in many corners, it would never come to fruition. Poverty alleviation programs had already become a staple of public policy after Harrington’s The Other America was consumed by the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, and the Ford Foundation was busy at work promoting community development corporations. Despite the fact that the Freedom Budget was more in the line of thinking of Keynes (who ideas were undergoing a major resuscitation) than Marx, Washington was unwilling to indulge in a major structural shift in the nature of both the American governmental and economic systems.
Dismayed at the apparent inability to create widespread change from below, Kahn began to shift his focus away from grassroots organizing the political arena itself. He attacked the SDS and other icons of the New Left in Commentary, writing that their dismissive attitude towards organized labor, rooted in the working classes integration into the dominant power structure, “contain[ed] strands of middle class prejudice.”xxxv He was further horrified as contingencies, such as the Weather Underground, broke away from the SDS and formed into militant terrorist organizations. Things seemed to be falling to pieces on all fronts: Vietnam was escalating, peaceful protests were falling away to violence and rioting, bombings and shootings peppered the urban landscape, and assassinations of important figureheads of change were looming on the horizon. The prospects of a revolution of any kind were, indeed, looking grim.
With the death of Robert Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey became the presidential frontrunner for the Democratic Party. He had already solicited the support of the labor movement, and the more dovish union leaders, such as Walter Reuther of the UAW, saw in the candidate an opportunity to end the war. Humphrey had been an advocate for intervention in Vietnam, but Reuther reasoned that he would not risk the labor vote over continued troop escalation. He solicited Kahn to write a speech for the candidate that would create an alliance between him and the anti-war movement.xxxvi The proposed policy shift would put Humphrey in support of a halt in bombing campaigns to allow peace talks to occur. The bid proved to be unsuccessful – when Johnson came out in opposition of this idea, Humphrey refused to break party ranks and chose not to endorse it.xxxvii
Kahn himself followed in the footsteps of his mentor Shachtman and had become rather ambivalent towards the war. Humphrey’s maneuvers had fractured his left-wing support, but in 1969 Kahn found it worthwhile to award him with the LID’s Man of the Year Award. This turn of events caused an uproar and must have been quite a scene – as the former speechwriting icon of the Civil Rights movement attempted to deliver the award, anti-war demonstrators war stormed the ballroom. Kahn, however, had already taken measures against such events. As Humphrey rose to the podium to deliver his acceptance speech, members of the Seafarers International Union escorted the protestors from the ballroom.xxxviii The debacle caused problems for Kahn and sent reverberations through the LID and the Left at large. Harrington protested the award dinner, and members of the Dissent editorial board demanded a split from the LID.xxxix The magazine’s primary editor, Irving Howe, managed to prevent the division, but wrote a letter distancing the publication and its board from the ceremony.
Kahn would continue his movement into politics in 1972 when he became a speechwriter for Senator Henry Jackson’s “Jackson for President” committee. The hawkish politician had already won the support of Shachtman, and with the transition of Kahn into his camp, the floodgates were opened for the so-called radical left to begin to openly support the continued militarization of US foreign policy. Jackson was a Democrat in the New Deal mold; he was staunchly pro-labor and despite being from the Pacific Northwest, he had won the support of the Southern conservative factions of the elite. As stated earlier, the nucleus that had formed around Jackson would later be regarded by many as the birthplace of the neoconservative movement. The roster of his senatorial staff and aids reads like a roll call of those who would later become big players in Washington in the Bush era: there was Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Elliot Abrams, Doug Feith, and Frank Gaffney.xl
Jackson himself was deeply entrenched in the corridors that linked big money to politics – after all, his nickname, “the senator from Boeing,” was derived from his cozy relationship with the defense contractor back in his days on the Senate Armed Forces Committee.xli Jackson had also been a reoccurring attendee to the little known National Military-Industrial Conferences, launched in 1955 by a partnership between the hard-right American Security Council (ASC) and two organizations that Dumhoff would later identify as being centers for the ‘isolationist’ divisions of the power elite – the Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.xlii These series of conferences sought to bring together and help network participants from the National Security Council and the Pentagon with representative from corporations such as United Fruit, the Rockefeller’s Standard Oil, Honeywell, and Sears Roebuck.xliii Jackson’s warhawk approach to foreign policy placed him firmly in a very distinctive circle of policy-makers and intellectuals – one of his primary influences had been Reinhold Niebuhr, the two sharing the view “that any scheme of provisional injustice in international relations depended on American power willingness to use it.”xliv The ideological relationship between the two was furthered by Jackson’s selection of Dorothy Fosdick, who had been one of Niebuhr’s State Department protégés and a member of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 1954 conference on international relations theory with the theologian, as his closest aid. The pairing was described as a “perfect match” – Fosdick’s “major contribution to Jackson’s career lay in broadening, deepening, and refining his political sensibilities.”xlv She remained his chief foreign policy adviser for twenty-eight years.
It was a strange sight – the former left-wing icon had transformed from his position behind the scenes of the most important events of the Civil Rights movement to writing speeches for a man whom Eisenhower might as well have invented to the term “military-industrial complex.” It was also a testament to how far divided the Left had become since the divisive fracture at Port Huron: on one side was a nearly-full integration into Establishment, and on the other were the people who were wondering, just as Marcuse had in the opening pages of One Dimensional Man, why “we submit to the peaceful production of the means of destruction, to the perfection of waste, to being educated for a defense that deform the defenders and that which they defend.”xlvi
By the end of the sixties, however, the interplays between the elites, represented by the philanthropic endeavors of foundations, and the grassroots movements had been intensifying. King was beginning to adopt the mindset of his more radical colleagues; with increasing frequency he began to tackle the wider issues of the Vietnam War and income inequality. In his speeches he began to castigate America’s crony-dominated system as “socialism for the rich, private enterprise for the poor” – a phrase he had lifted from the pages of Harrington’s The Other America.xlvii In 1967 he told his SCLC that “evils of capitalisms are as real as the evils of militarism and the evils of racism.”xlviii In a similar manner the SNCC was moving further and further to the left, working closely with the burgeoning Black Panthers Party. They eventually became so intertwined that their ideologies, rhetoric, and personnel often blended together. As former SNCC leader James Foreman recounts, the SNCC’s New York division worked closely in helping set up the Black Panther chapter in the city, with the SNCC’s international affairs offices serving as the Black Panther’s initial headquarters.xlix
Things progressed for the worse in 1968, following the assassinations of King and Robert Kennedy Jr. The legions that had so passionately clung to their dog-eared copies of books by Mills and the Frankfurt School were in tatters. Many, such as former Marcuse student Naomi Jeffe had disappeared underground in the violent Weather Underground faction.l Faced with the upsurge of militancy from below, the elites followed suit, utilizing multifaceted tactics to undermine the resistance. Stockley Carmichael, who had become the SNCC chairman in 1966, became the target of a covert FBI campaign (known as “COINTELPRO”) to disrupt the movement. Later documentation revealed that in 1968 the organization planned to leak information that Carmichael was “a CIA informer… It is also suggested that we inform a certain percentages of reliable criminal and racial informants that ‘we have heard from reliable sources that CARMICHAEL is a CIA agent.” It is hoped that these informants would spread rumors in various large Negro communities across the land.”li
McGeorge Bundy
The foundations continued to do their job as well. In 1967 McGeorge Bundy, recently graduated from the State Department, had navigated the Ford Foundation into Civil Rights territory by providing massive grants to CORE. The actions of the former Cold Warrior were attacked by many upper-class white members in the establishment. Regardless, Bundy insisted that “full equality for all American Negroes is now the most urgent domestic concern of the country.”lii In keeping with the modus operandi of moneyed philanthropies, Bundy’s commitment to racial equality occurred in a way that would ultimately be beneficial for capitalist interests. The Ford Foundation poured huge sums into community development corporations as a part of Bundy’s plan.liii Funding CORE also seemed to dovetail this pursuit. According to James Foreman, “McGeorge Bundy… called a meeting at the Ford Foundation in New York City of twenty or more Black leaders… Bundy announced to the assembled Black leaders that a decision had been made to destroy the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and to save the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). This decision was based on an assessment that it was possible to wean CORE away from the concept of Black Power through massive infusion of money for its operation.”livThe popular commentator Earl Ofari Hutchinson readily agrees with this perspective, writing that “CORE, under the direction of Roy Innis, was one of the first organizations to back the plan of President Nixon for black capitalism.”
SDS at Columbia University
This redirection in funding not only undercut the radical SNCC, but also impacted the status of the SCLC. Foundation funding of the organization sharply declined, officially opening up a void for CORE and the NAACP to fill. King’s legacy itself was selected for a sanitizing process: almost immediately after his death the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change was established in Atlanta, drawing its funding from philanthropic foundations, and corporations such as General Motors, U.S. Steel, Amoco, and Union Pacific. The Ford Motor Company put up $1 million for the center’s initial establishment. A little over a decade later the Center would be dolling out capital-friendly advice to activists and interested persons, something that clashed directly with the stance that King had taken towards the end of his life. One example of such an operation as an annual lecture series at the University of Georgia that the Center sponsored titled “The Free Enterprise System: An Agent for Nonviolent Change.”lv
As the decade drew to a close, the optimism and rebellious nature of the change movements had diminished. The two assassinations had knocked the wind out the sails of many participants, and the schisms between the SDS at large and the Weather Underground rendered many disenfranchised with the Left. The ugly side of the counterculture was revealed by the infamous murder at a Rolling Stones concert in Altamout and the bloody crimes committed by the Manson family, while overseas the revolutionary spirit that had paralyzed France, Germany, and beyond had long since faded away, relegated to small underground groups that operated in an often violent manner. Foundations continued their crusade against radicalism – in one notable instance the Ford Foundation had dismantled a SDS-backed student revolt at Columbia University – where student-strikers had seized control of the campus – by providing $40,000 to a moderate faction called the Students for a Restructured University, which promptly negotiated a compromise with the Columbia administration.lvi These events were further elaborated on a first-hand account of the student occupation by SDS member James Kunen titled The Strawberry Statement, hinting a further-reaching agenda in the Establishment. In it he recounts that men from the Business International Corporation (a known CIA front company),lvii as well as Rockefeller interests, were attempting to “buy up a few radicals,” hoping to stir up “a lot of radical commotion so they can look more in the center as they move to the left.”lviii Importantly, Kunen identifies these individuals as the “left-wing of the ruling class” and the “boys who wrote the Alliance for Progress.”lix But with the advent of Nixon’s ascendant to power and the promise of expansion in Vietnam, the moderate liberal’s plan didn’t seem to be working, and it wouldn’t be until the election of Jimmy Carter that they would occupy the White House. As for the grassroots level, spaces were opening up in what had previously been a tapestry of solidarity and interaction, and now the Shachtmanite sphere was winning out.
i Joan Roelofs Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism State University of New York Press, 2003, pg. 43
ii Herbert Marcuse One Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society Beacon Press, 1964, acknowledgements
iii Ibid, pg. 38
iv Gerd-Rainer Horn The Spirit of ’68: Rebellion in Western Europe and North America 1956-1976 Oxford University Press, 2007, pg. 147
v ed. Andrew Feenberg The Essential Marcuse: Selected Writings Beacon Press Books, 2007, pg. xxx
vi Aryeh Neier Taking Liberties: Four Decades in the Struggle for Rights Public Affairs, 2005 pg. xx
vii Ibid, pg. xxi
viii Max Shachtman, ‘Stalinism on the Decline: Tito versus Stalin: the Beginning of the End of the Russian Empire,’ New International, Vol.XIV No.6, August 1948, 172-178
ix James P. Cannon The Struggle for a Proletarian Party Resistance Books, 2001, pg. 9.; Maurice Isserman The Other America: The Life of Michael Harrington, Public Affairs, 2000, pg. 268
x Tom Kahn “Max Shachtman: His Ideas and His Movement” reprinted in Democratiya , No. 11, Winter, 2007
xi Ed Edwin interview with Bayard Rustin, September 12th, 1985, Columbia University Oral History Collection,
xii Rachelle Horowitz “Tom Kahn and the Fight for Democracy: A Political Portrait and Personal Recollection”Democratiya No. 11, Winter, 2007,
xiii Ibid
xiv Clayborne Carson In the Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening in the 1960s Harvard University Press, 1995 pg. 163
xv Ibid, pg. 270
xvi Jerald E. Podair Bayard Rustin: American Dreamer Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2008 pg. 50
xvii Kimberle Crenshaw, Neil Gotanda, Garry Peller and Kendall Thomas Critical race theory: the Key Writings that Formed the Movement The New Press1996 pg. 154
xviii Charles Euchner Nobody Turn me Around: A People’s History of the 1963 March on Washington Beacon Press, 2011 pg. 151
xix Horowitz “Tom Kahn and the Fight for Democracy”
xx Ibid
xxi Ibid
xxii “A. Philip Randolph is Dead” Associated Press
xxiii Jervis Anderson A. Philip Randolph: A Biographical Portrait University of California Press, 1986pg. 345
xxiv “The Freedom Budget” The Harvard Crimson, November 17th, 1967
xxv “A meeting for Max”, New America vol. 11 no. 1, December 31st, 1972
xxvi Horowitz “Tom Kahn and the Fight for Democracy”
xxvii Ibid
xxviii Neier Taking Liberties, pgs. xxiv, xxii
xxix Ibid, pg. xx
xxx Horowitz “Tom Kahn and the Fight for Democracy”
xxxi Neier, Taking Liberties pg. xxi
xxxii Horowitz “Tom Kahn and the Fight for Democracy”
xxxiii Ibid
xxxiv Ibid
xxxv Tom Kahn, “The Problem of the New Left” Commentary, July 1966
xxxvi Kevin Boyle The UAW and the Heyday of American Liberalism, 1945-1968 Cornell University Press, 1998pg. 249
xxxvii Ibid
xxxviii Horowitz “Tom Kahn and the Fight for Democracy”
xxxix Gerald Sorin Irving Howe: A Life of Passionate Dissent NYU Press, 2005 pg. 244
xl Janine R. Wedel Shadow Elite: How the World’s New Power Brokers Undermine Democracy, Government, and the Free Market Basic Books, 2011, pg. 147-191; Peter Beinart “Interpreting the Jackson Legacy in a 9/11 Landscape” Henry Jackson Society Lecture, September 17th, 2008
xli Richard S. Kirkendall “Two Senators and the Boeing Company: The Transformation of Washington’s Political Culture” Columbia Magazine Winter 1997-98: Vol. 11, No. 4,
xlii Russ Bellant Old Nazis, the New Right, and the Republican Party: Domestic fascist networks and their effect on U.S. cold war politics South End Press, 1988, pgs. 33-35
xliii Ibid
xliv Henry Jackson: A Life in Politics, pg. 46-47
xlv Ibid, pgs. 84-85
xlvi Marcuse One Dimensional Man pg. xli
xlvii Michael Harrington The Other America: Poverty in the United States Scribner, 2007 pg. 170
xlviii Colin Barker, Alan Johnson and Michael Lavalette Leadership and Social Movements Manchester University Press, 2001 pg. 111
xlix James Foreman The Making of Black Revolutionaries University of Washington Press, 1997 pg. 531
l Becky Thompson A Promise and a Way of Life: white antiracist activism University of Minnesota Press, 2001, pg. 391
li Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall Agents of Repression: The FBI’s Secret Wars Against the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement South End Press, 2001, pg. 49
lii Tamar Jacoby “McGeorge Bundy: How the Establishment Man Tackled America’s Problem With Race” Alicia Patterson Foundation,
liii Ibid
liv Forman The Making of Black Revolutionaries pg.xvi.
lv Joan Roelofs Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism State University of New York Press, 2004, pg. 132-133
lvi K.R. Bolton “Socialism, Revolution, and Capitalist Dialectics” Foreign Policy Journal May 4th, 2010
lvii “CIA Established Many Links To Journalists in US and Abroad” The New York Times December 27th, 1977
lviii James Kunen The Strawberry Statement: Notes of a College Revolutionary Avon, 1970, pgs. 130-131
lix Ibid