September 6, 2009
The Brainwashing BunchBy Ed Lasky
American news outlets (well at least those not in Barack Obama's lap) are filled with criticism on the Department of Education plans to bring Obama's agenda into our nation's classrooms. The ploy to reach and teach our children through a presidential speech and through instruction guides (little red books?) appears to be stalled for now as parents -- if nor educational unions -- resist the idea of brain-swaying our children into writing paeans to Obama and his agenda. However, few have wondered how such an idea ever emerged in the first place. We do have some clues and they are unsettling.
I have previously reported that this idea of inculcating revolutionary goals in our children's minds stems from the philosophy of Bill Ayers, Obama's friend, collaborator, and campaign supporter. But Obama's ideological mentors appear to reach farther back to an influential radical Italian communist, Antonio Gramsci.
Barack Obama ties to Ayers are personal as well as professional. Obama chaired the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, an educational effort that blew through tens of millions of dollars of foundation money with little to show for its efforts. Ayers headed up a key operating body of the Challenge. Stanley Kurtz writes that Obama "clearly aligned himself with Ayers's radical views on education issues".
What might those views be?
Bill Ayers, former Weatherman bomber and now professor of education, sees teachers as the vanguard of the revolutionary proletariat. He propounds that view though his teaching, textbooks, and speeches.
Ayers is not merely a professor of education: he exercises far greater power as president of the American Educational Research Association and as someone who works to publish a line of textbooks to be used in graduate schools of education. His methods and beliefs have been used to "teach the teachers", who will then promote and propagate his views in classrooms across our nation. He is, as Sol Stern, wrote a "radical educator with real influence" -- and that was written before his friend Barack Obama became President.
Ayers looks at teachers as part of a pyramid scheme, whereby he can geometrically increase the ranks of radicals by exposing young children to radical principles (even so far as using math classes to teach about the evils of capitalism). This might go down better than bombing people into obedience.
Michelle Malkin noted that Ayers and Mike Klonsky, a former leader of the militant Students for a Democratic Society (from which the Weathermen split off to form a more extremist group) had partnered up in the so-called "small schools" movement to "steer schoolchildren away from core academics to left-wing politicking on issues of inequity, war and violence". Grants were given to radicals who then reached out to the youngest and most vulnerable.
Ayers had his reasons to praise Hugo Chavez and to encourage Chavez in his efforts. Perhaps Ayers knew that Chavez next step in consolidating his dictatorship would be to seek to control schools in Venezuela-which he is now doing. At the same time, he gives us insight into the views of the aforementioned Antonio Gramsci.
‘Catch them young'
Chavez is taking radical steps to "reshape the Venezuelan education system", declares a recent Economist magazine article. Newly emboldened by his success at gutting the opposition through foul means, he is now targeting children. The revolution has now come to grade school; Chavez, as the Economist describes, "seeks to catch them young". He is using a "hastily passed education law" as "part of the president's plan to control all aspects of Venezuelan society".
The text of the article goes on to describe Chavez's plan to reeducate the young with his own brand of radicalism:
Who was Gramsci? He was a leader of the Communist party of Italy who called upon "intellectuals" to produce hegemony over society through control of education; he viewed schools as an apparatus that radicals can use to radicalize the young and turn them into communists. He had a long-term approach, realizing that it may take years of a "long march through institutions" to train a proper Communist.
Americans versed in Obama Studies may recognize the name of Gramsci. He has inspired not just the tyrant of Caracas but also inspires the man in the Oval Office.
Herbert London, president of the highly regarded think-tank, the Hudson Institute, is among those perceptive thinkers who believe Gramsci has an outsized influence on Barack Obama. Indeed, London has called Gramsci "Obama's Ideological Father" London presciently wrote months ago that the "progeny of Gramsci are alive and well and now reside in the White House" and that "Gramsci's DNA is in their bloodstream".
A man who advocated taking advantage of vulnerable children to bring about communism is Obama's ideological father. Now we may know why not just Chavez, but Barack Obama, is seeking to enroll the young to propel their radical agendas.
Obama may very well envy the caudillo-like powers of Hugo Chavez; not bogged down with pesky constitutional issues or nettlesome parents.
Maybe now we can better appreciate why our President has a rare smile and embrace for Hugo Chavez. They may not be blood brothers, but they may very well be ideological ones.