March 16, 2015

The Schools, Agriculture, and Economic Liquidation


The idea that system schooling is to indoctrinate children into obedience to “authority” and prepare them to become corporate cogs (or, for the growing percentage who have no economic future, to acquiesce in the system and in their own economic liquidation) isn’t speculation. In the 19th century the original advocates of free, universal schooling weren’t progressive pedagogues, but banks, railroads, and factory owners. Faced with the need to rapidly escalate the industrial work force but having to deal with an influx to the cities of uneducated, independent-minded people raised on farms, they wanted the government to take on the responsibility of giving putative workers a basic education and docility training which would prepare them for factory work. This basic purpose of system schooling never changed.
Today standardized testing and the Common Core are meant to intensify and “streamline” (to use one of the austerians’ favorite terms) this indoctrination/pacification agenda. This piece compares testing to the “duck and cover” drills of the 1950s. It’s a good comparison, although he forgets to mention that such an exercise wasn’t just a part of Cold War indoctrination, but that in the most direct psychological sense such exercises in abrupt terror and disorientation are an essential part of any kind of cult indoctrination. The literal ordeal of standardized testing, and the stress leading up to it, is a similar exercise.
Of course standardized testing is also designed to fail large numbers of children in order to demonize their schools and provide a formal pretext for stripping these schools of funding, thus setting them up for privatization.
In all this we see how the system views the vast majority of people as utterly worthless and expendable from even an exploitation point of view. Corporations need only a relatively small number of cadres, so the schools in general can be viewed as nothing but fodder for privatization and profit. If they cease to educate, or if they cease to exist at all, and however many millions of children are sacrificed out of hand, is no ultimate concern of the corporate system. In the same way the system wants to send the vast majority of the people of the global South on one-way trips to the shantytowns, so it’s feeling its way toward doing the same in the West itself.
It was those same 19th century banks and railroads who originally lobbied for government establishment of the land grant college system, germplasm procurement programs, public crop breeding, and free seed distribution to farmers. Back then there was no Big Ag sector to lobby for its own corporate welfare, but other industrial and finance sectors wanted the government to undertake the project of rendering agriculture far more productive while requiring far fewer workers, since those workers would be needed in the factories and it would be necessary to provide cheap calories to feed them. That was the economic origin of industrial agriculture, which only in the 20th century became a sector in its own right, seeking its own aggrandizement.
Today agriculture itself wants to shed the great majority of its Southern workers, while the corporate sweatshops are already at saturation. There’s nowhere on Earth where a primary corporate goal isn’t to drive the people somewhere, anywhere, just OUT. Let me stress that this has nothing to do with any alleged absolute “overpopulation”. On the contrary, there’s no chance of humanity reaching any absolute overpopulation level relative to the Earth’s resources. Overpopulation can exist only relative to per capita ecological and resource consumption and destruction, as is the case with Western lifestyles, or relative to politically chosen policy, as is the case with supply-driven corporate globalization. 100% of the social pathology, economic waste, and human misery involved in people being driven off their land is purely artificial and voluntarily chosen by Western governments and corporations (and compliant Southern governments) and forced upon the people.
This is the same framework as the fact that the world already produces far more than enough food for all the people who exist now or ever will exist, and yet hunger, malnutrition, and other diet-related diseases continue to increase. This is 100% because of the artificially, politically chosen and imposed corporate food distribution system. It’s impossible to meaningfully discuss hunger except by asking the question: How do we overthrow corporate control of agriculture and food?
Of course education could help with this question, which is why the schools must be completely corporate-regimented or else dismantled completely. As I started out saying, this is in line with the historical purpose of system schooling.
What humanity really needs are its own democratic participation schools.



  1. I’m saddened and amazed by how much s**t people will let their children endure in the system schools. I understand that families have financial pressures and system-educated parents tend to panic at the prospect of guiding their children’s education-these are considerations not to be taken lightly. But at the end of the day, we parents bear responsibility for our kids’ learning anyway. Mom and Dad are expected to help Junior with his/her homework and play enforcer to keep recalcitrant youngsters in school. They’re going to feel pressured to spend lots of money in attempts to keep Junior in designer clothes, extra tutoring to jump through the hoops (tests), well-rounded via extra-curricular activities, therapy for the psychological and emotional problems s/he will most likely develop, rehab for addictions picked up during the school years, and of course, COLLEGE, the pursuit of which every family is expected to center their entire life around. I’m not even going to touch on the emotional damage done to families through early separation, the constant struggles between parent/enforcer and child, peer orientation and other non-financial costs. And the system schools are completely unaccountable for their “failures” (not truly failures, of course-merely system education working as it’s designed), so you the parent will be held responsible for your adult child’s lack of perceived “success”, or perhaps even lack of employment. Really, when you examine it in this light, is homeschooling really that impossible, Mom and Dad? I know countless homeschooling families who are not at all wealthy, some of which are 2 income families. Yes, it can be done, if people really want to do it! If parents aren’t willing to make the effort, then it’s rather a waste of time to fight bills trying to mandate vaccines in schools, or battle destructive testing, or eliminate bullying. Sorry, Russ-I didn’t intend to take over your blog when I began writing this comment 🙂

    Comment by DualPersonality — March 20, 2015 @ 3:17 am

    • Lots of this goes to the indoctrination in obedience and the atomization process, both of which are core goals of system schooling. As you say, in many ways the attempted conformity enforcement is extended to the parents and the family as such, not just to the child in school. As you also say, there’s plenty of profit-seeking parasites on the general structure. And then the school itself is the target of “privatization”, which is the system’s terminal gutting not just of the public structure, but even of its own civic scam which sought to “educate” for conformity. So, perhaps, we see in the end one of the ways the system self-cannibalizes its own means of propagation, because it just can’t help itself wherever one powerful sector sees an opportunity for profit. Perhaps it’s an example of what I called the limits to racketeering.


      Here’s some other ways the system self-cannibalizes its own base.


      Comment by Russ — March 20, 2015 @ 4:46 am

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