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Re: [wccusdtalk] Death by innuendo! Comments on Char ley Cowen’s musings.

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  • Charley Cowens
    Hey, Charles- You left off the s at the end of my last name. I don t want to be confused with my distant cousin, the notorious Jim Cowen. Your quote from the
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 7, 2009
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      Hey, Charles-

      You left off the "s" at the end of my last name. I don't want to be
      confused with my distant cousin, the notorious Jim Cowen.

      Your quote from the CCTimes column is exactly the sort of thing I had
      in mind. Thanks for digging it up.

      "More apocalyptic" was perhaps not the best choice of words. How about
      "uncompromising and single-mindedly committed to a broad global
      anti-capitalist philosophy." Or even deleting "more apocalyptic"
      entirely.

      Anyway, the main point I thought I was making to Francie was that
      everyone has some sort of agenda and that's not a bar to getting
      involved in a public matter.

      Charley Cowens
      http://www.twitter.com/ccowens



      On Sun, Apr 5, 2009 at 10:23 PM, Charles Rachlis <crachlis@...> wrote:
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      > Death by innuendo!
      > Comments on Charley Cowen’s musings.
      >
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      > One has to admire the analysis of how the school closure
      > process in our district has been “framed…. for media consumption”, as presented
      > by Mr. Charley Cowen.
      >
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      > “Mr. Rachlis and his associates were simply more effective in promoting their
      > more apocalyptic position as the official opposition. This allowed the closures
      > issue to be framed as a reasonable beleaguered school district versus a bunch
      > of unreasonable crazed leftists – a classic story line for media
      > consumption.”  Cowen post on WCCUSD
      > TALK yahoo group April 3, 2009
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      >
      >
      > Mr. Cowen sets up his critique of the WCCCQE  in a manner which couches an  ad hominem  attack on  my person, the other outspoken
      > activists and the hundreds who approved of our ideas, in an explanation of how
      > the media framed the story.  This
      > attack is so well constructed that when fielding objection to having
      > categorized  our committee and supporters
      > as “unreasonable crazed leftists”, Mr. Cowen can stand back and rightfully
      > claim, “ I didn’t cast  any dispersions on you it was the ‘media framing’ that I was pointing to.”  Well done and touché Mr. Cowen.  You have employed  the classic Fox network style of
      > innuendo which goes something like this: “Mr. Rachlis, some people say you’re a
      > flaming blankity-blank (fill in the blank), do you have a comment.”.  Once the dispersion is cast the job is
      > done.
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      > Maybe there was
      > some  “media framing” which I
      > missed during the heat of the school closure process; when the district had
      > meetings every few days.  But I
      > think I would have noticed the headline: “Crazed Leftists Pelt Beleaguered
      > School Board with Apocalyptic Admonitions”.   There was one article by Daniel Borenstein in the
      > Contra Costa Times, which may have caught Mr. Cowen’s attention, in which it
      > was  stated,
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      > “…opposition groups have dug in their heels, demanding no
      > school closures, no teacher layoffs, restoration of program cuts, class-size
      > reductions and no changes to teacher wage and benefit packages…Talk about being
      > in denial.”   Daniel
      > Borenstein Contra Costa TIMES 1/25/09
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      > Mr. Borenstein
      > found it unreasonable that parents today would want educational opportunities
      > for their children equivalent  or
      > superior to that which we received back in the 60’s and 70’s.   During preparation to write that
      > article I spoke with Mr. Borenstein, he asked me what is it you want.  I answered, “we want our kids to have
      > similar or  a better quality
      > education than we had back in the days before proposition 13”.  The problem for the likes
      > of Mr. Borenstein is they have no historical understanding of how public
      > education or other social and economic gains were won.
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      > Those who have no
      > sense of how social gains like public education were won, will have no sense of
      > how to defend them. Public education was won in long fought battles lead by
      > labor activists who demanded an end to child labor and its replacement with
      > compulsory free public education. That battle began in 1836 and resulted in
      > legal change in 1938 with the passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act which  finally
      > abolishing legal child labor.  Today those gains are under attack and the cuts
      > we’re facing in schools across the state and the nation are the latest in the
      > push for privatization of education through vouchers, charter schools and fiscal
      > neglect from the highest levels.
      >
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      >
      > To be fair to Mr.
      > Cowen he may have been totally ignorant of the innuendo he cast upon the
      > community of activists who stood up against all school closures. However  we do need to address Mr. Cowen’s view
      > of  our protestations as having
      > been apocalyptic.
      >
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      >
      > Although bees,
      > frogs, rainforests, and the Artic icecap are all disappearing and  we face an
      > even more devestating crisis when
      > the expected release of methane trapped for millennium in the sea bed
      > under the Artic sea ice bubbles up
      > to the atmosphere; I do not
      > recall the WCCCQE raising these truly apocalyptic circumstances.  Rather  we limited  our
      > arguments to the structural crisis of California’s revenue generation methods
      > the nations priorities and  the
      > consequences of the proposed budget cuts, hardley issues limited to the lexicon
      > of “crazed leftists”.
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      > The WCCCQE
      > consistently pointed to the bail out of the speculators, the wasted funding on
      > two unwanted wars, the revenue crisis induced by proposition thirteen’s
      > corporate exemption and the breakdown of democracy in the statehouse due to the
      > 2/3s supermajority needed to pass a budget in this state.   Far from apocalyptic the case we
      > presented is sound and is agreed upon by many who would never be described as “crazed
      > leftists.” If pointing out such facts to the public results in community
      > activists being painted as “unreasonable crazed leftists” one is going to need
      > a lot of paint.
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      > What
      > distinguishes the WCCCQE from others with a similar analysis of the education crisis is
      > that we add an action component to our analysis.  Since the beginning of the school closure process we clearly
      > stated in print, at the speakers podium and in our picket signs that the
      > institutions of governance are incapable of resolving the crisis  unless forced by  massive pressure from below.  The form that such pressure would need
      > to take, to be successful, could not be limited to letters, calls to representatives,
      > or the “save my school-cut their school instead” attitude adopted most
      > flagrantly by the Portola
      > PSTA.  We postulated that
      > strikes, school occupations and
      > solidarity across the district; as well as joint actions across the
      > state and nation would be necessary to stop the closure process, the budget
      > cuts and assure quality education for all.
      >
      >
      >
      > The Richmond and
      > San Pablo school bail-outs defused the communities organizing momentum. While
      > we welcome funding to keep our schools going the bail-outs were limited and therefore did
      > not stop all the school closures, the cuts in music programs and libraries, or
      > prevent layoffs,  and attacks on
      > the staff and teachers pay packages. Despite the  downturn in the communities level of activism our
      > analysis and action agenda  remains
      > valid.  Will the community take up
      > our action proposals when the cut backs are implemented or when the bail out
      > funding runs out?  That we don’t
      > know.
      >
      > What we do know is that the
      > teachers and staff will need active
      > solidarity of the parents and students to prevent the  school board from slashing their  benefit packages.  And if the parents and students
      > don’t  make themselves heard and
      > take direct action immediatly the cuts in music, libraries and increased class
      > size will be implemented.
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      > The first step is
      > to show up Monday at the De Jean middle school at 7pm to oppose the school
      > board’s plans.
      >
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      >
      > Charles
      > Rachlis  4/5/09
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      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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      >
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