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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 46,179

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Neither war nor peace, but non-violent struggle:

From an essay by Gene Sharp discussing Gandhi's response to conflict.

Modern thought widely assumes that the peaceful alternatives to violence and war consist of negotiations, dialogue, diplomacy, negotiations, compromise, conciliation, and other tools of conflict resolution. Those are all good and useful tools in many situations and they need to be explored and developed further. However, that list does not include the full range of alternatives to violence. It does not give recognition to Gandhi’s views and experience in the development of satyagraha and the important wider historical practice of nonviolent struggle in social, economic, political, and international conflicts.

The article you posted does not even give recognition to those mentioned "peaceful alternatives." It assumes that "pacifist" = passive non-response.

Gandhi’s important contributions about how to deal with conflicts do not fit smoothly into established modern thought and practice. The
assumption usually is that in serious conflicts one ultimately must choose between surrender, using violence, and refusal to participate on pacifist grounds.

That's exactly what those supporting a violent response are saying.

Gandhi’s answer was to identify those conflicts where the issues are fundamental. Those are the conflicts when moral principles, human rights,and justice are at stake and when compromise is not possible or desirable. Then the primary task of the exponent of nonviolent means is to assist the oppressed people to become empowered by learning how to apply satyagraha, or nonviolent struggle, to change their situation, as Gandhi insisted.
Most Western conflict resolution advocates, pacifists, and peace researchers have not yet fully grasped this great contribution to the resolution of acute conflicts.

It's an interesting and relevant read.


Yes. And NO.

The key words being "the current system," which is dominated by corporate policies that are not educationally sound.

Developmentally, large classrooms with a lot of sitting and listening are not at all appropriate for young children.

What IS appropriate:

Learning through play. Developing fine motor skills with clay and crayons and paints, etc..

Abundant time reading with an adult, one-on-one and small group. Learning group behaviors like listening, taking turns...

Singing, rhymes, poems, etc..

LANGUAGE development: Actual conversations with adults.

Creating their own stories with puppets, toys, etc..

Learning one-to-one correspondence with concrete things...like the things they are playing with.

Building and making things.

Dancing, tumbling, etc...

Learning how to interact with other children in small, safe, environments with supportive adults.

All of that can be done by parents, and some do all or most. Not all parents do these things. Some children come to kindergarten without ever having read a book, without ever having held a crayon, without most of the developmental activities listed above that get them ready for academic learning. And, in the world of high-stakes testing, academics are there in kindergarten.

Not that children can't learn important academic skills in kindergarten; it's just that the rest must come first, and academics must be presented in developmentally appropriate ways.

It's not that children need to stay out of school until they are older. That's a dangerous thing to do, since most of the neural connections that they will need for academic learning are formed by age 4. They just need a system that supports the way they learn.

In the smaller picture, allow pre-school and kindergarten to be developmentally appropriate, and get as many kids there as possible. In the larger picture, dump the damned corporate model with the privatization agenda, and allow the rest of the system to be structured in healthier, more productive, more positive ways.

That's the beauty of humanity, Taitertots.

We can study brain development and learn something about how the brain functions and learns. We can look at a myriad of factors that influence how people learn and respond to their environment.

We can do so much, but the one thing we can't do, the one thing we will always fail at, is trying to standardize people. We're all different. When it comes to learning, we can identify things that work for most, but there is no one way that works for all. You don't have to learn like other people for your way of learning to be valid.

That's what brings the joy into every new year: new young people to get to know, to get to love, in all their glory, brilliance, dysfunction, strength, and need.

The current authoritarian standardization of our public school system is, in my opinion, abusive. For teachers as well as students. It benefits no one but the folks that need large cheap labor pools, cannon fodder, and obedient bubblers/voters.

Our public education system, our public school teachers, and our students need voters to give the current powers that be, those that are instituting abusive "reforms," the boot. We need a complete shift in priorities. I don't know how many more years I've got in me, but those years will be spent fighting for just that, and fighting to make something positive happen in my classroom amidst all the rest.

An Alternative to Accountability Based Education Reform

Since we are talking about alternative ways to respond to problems, this seems timely. Actual educators have known all along what really drives poor academic performance. Of course, who listens to actual educators? They are the enemy. Our schools are bad because of all those bad teachers, right?

Here's an article that addresses the SOURCE: social and economic inequality. It starts by pointing out that "the U.S. currently has one of the highest childhood poverty rates among nations against which U.S. schools are commonly compared." It goes on to suggest that "Education reform must be built on policies that directly address the rising social inequity in the U.S. The essential shift away from accountability, then, must begin with social reform that addresses inequity."

Eleven different policy changes for social reform are offered; here are a few:

End accountability based on standards and high-stakes testing: A growing body of research has shown that the accountability era has failed: “the absence or presence of rigorous or national standards says nothing about equity, educational quality, or the provision of adequate educational services, there is no reason to expect CCSS or any other standards initiative to be an effective educational reform by itself” (Mathis, 2012). A first and essential step to a new vision of education reform is to end the accountability era by shifting away from focusing on outcomes and toward attending to the conditions of teaching and learning—with an emphasis on equity of opportunity.

Honor school and teacher autonomy: Individual schools and classrooms vary dramatically across the U.S. School autonomy and teacher professionalism are the greatest sources of understanding what populations of students need. The current move toward national standards and tests is inherently a flawed concept since student needs in Orangeburg, SC, are dramatically different than student needs in Seattle, WA.

Address wide range of issues impacting equity—funding, class size, technology, facilities: Moving away from accountability and toward equity is a shift in the goals and then standards against which education policy is evaluated. Issues of funding, class size, technology, and facilities must be addressed to assure all children experience an equity of opportunities in every school.

More: http://www.publicschoolshakedown.org/alternative-to-education-reform

It's time we, as a nation, started looking at more constructive solutions to all of our problems. I think our domestic problems should be at the top of our priority list; that's where our focus and resources should be. This one is particularly crucial. To me, yes, because I'm a teacher and am tired of the relentless efforts to degrade my profession and destroy public education. To everyone, because public education is a keystone in a free, democratic society. Probably why the efforts of the 1% to destroy it have been so persistent, so pervasive, and so devastating.

For some people, IT'S ALWAYS ABOUT OBAMA.

It's not about the atrocity of war.

It's not about the determination of the powerful to keep us at war.

It's not about a tired, bankrupt nation who is willing to put most of our dwindling resources towards perpetual war while maintaining strict "austerity" at home on the domestic front.

It's not about the MIC and their influence.

It's not about the immorality of war, the futility of war, the arrogance and inevitable collapse of empire.

It's never about the issue at hand.

It's always about Obama, and how the situation should be spun to make him the hero. The conquering hero, the smarter hero, the nth dimensional chess hero, the misunderstood hero, the abused hero...it's always about Obama.

Not for me. Give me a fucking break.

What if...

We can create infinite hypothetical situations that could lead to more war.

What if we focused on non-military responses and interventions, instead?

Here's what I consider a real possibility:

For the rest of my lifetime, some humans are going to be committing atrocities upon others, individually, in smaller groups, nationally, and globally. "Getting Bin Laden/Assad/Saddam/" etc. doesn't stop that, or even slow it down.

The real solution is not going to come militarily. Killing begets killing. War begets war. Atrocity begets atrocity. And I consider bombs an atrocity.

The real solution to human violence will come, not through punishment, revenge, and violence, but through peaceful means.


Anyone who meets my standards of integrity on issues will be automatically dismissed, by you, as "unelectable." As indicated by your "can get elected" phrasing.

If that's true, that nobody worth voting for can be elected, the first front ought to be true election reform, getting private money out of the process.

Of course, if enough people ignored the "unelectable" hysteria and simply voted for those who meet the highest standards on social and economic justice, rejecting the neo-liberals, neo-conservatives, and bat-shit crazy fascists, we might find that we could get some better candidates elected after all.

My red line?

As an individual, my red line is right in front of my nose.

If someone within my physical reach to help is attacked, I will be there. I will be there with my cell phone to call 911, and my body to offer as protection. I will not carry nor use a firearm.

As a citizen of a nation, my NATIONAL red line is here:

If someone launches a physical attack on the nation, I want us to defend ourselves. Right here. I don't need to chase the attacker around the globe. I am actively opposed to compromising civil liberties at home in the name of "security." I don't need revenge, punishment, or to prove anything to anybody. I just need to end the attack.

As for the rest of the world...I am actively opposed to unilateral action anywhere. I am willing to support UN efforts to intervene to protect human rights IF:

1. Multiple diplomatic efforts and other sanctions have been vigorously pursued, supported, given time, and still failed.

2. There is global consensus on the need to use military force.

3. The U.S. is one part of a multi-national force acting under UN command.

Edited to add:

I don't believe violence is ever an appropriate tool. Because I'm human, and not a saint, I will use physical force to protect, only in the last extremities after everything else has been tried first, and only to stop harm.

To protect. Not to attack.

I'm having lunch with a Republican friend today.

He's an "old" Republican, like I am an "old" Democrat. It's amazing how much we find to agree about.

I know that will surprise many DUers, who view me as a "purist," etc., etc., etc.; and, at the core of things, I am. I freely admit to being a purist on issues. That's just another way of saying I'm an idealist, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

Here at DU, which is supposed to be a community of like-minded people, I don't soften my positions. I freely admit, and always have, that I am not a partisan. I'm about issues, and when my party is wrong on issues, I'm going to call them out on it.

So how can I have a Republican friend? It's not hard.

Believe it or not, underneath all of the political propaganda, we agree on almost everything. He's been appalled by his party in recent years, and the tea party terrifies him. He told me recently that he hasn't changed his registration because it gives him some political cred when he talks to Republicans, especially elected Republicans. And he does. He's quite active. He thinks it's important to reach any sane Republicans that might be left, to encourage them to take back their party. Still, he no longer votes for them.

It's funny; I can tell him all of my harder-left, socialist-leaning opinions on policy, and he isn't shocked, and agrees with much of it. Unlike some Democrats at DU, he is actually open to those ideas.

So, I'm having lunch with him today, and sprinkled in among the personal chat will be conversation about his current actions in our local community, and how I can help. I won't be proselytizing party or politician, and neither will he. I won't be going to lunch armed with all kinds of talking points that parrot the party line, and neither will he.

It's amazing how well things go when we leave political propaganda and party and personality defending out of the mix. It seems so much healthier and productive, at least to me.

I don't expect my politicians

to have the facade of gods and goddesses.

I expect them to work FOR me; win or lose, I expect them to stand up and fight for the issues I elected them to advance, tooth and nail, without reservation. I expect them to keep the end goals on the table at all times, whether or not they are achieved with this attempt, or the next, or the next.

That's what I expect. Those who do that are winning my support and my appreciation. Those that don't, aren't.

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