NEW YORK City school officials came face to face with the Occupy protest movement October 25 when 200 teachers, students, parents and community members descended on the first Panel for Education Policy (PEP) meeting of the school year. Within five minutes of the start of the meeting, the panel--largely consisting of billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg's appointees--canceled most of its scheduled agenda.This report on an activist project in New York illustrates a very constructive means of building people power. It is doing this by involving parents, teachers, and students in confronting puppet-administrators of the ruling class who want to turn the educational system into training schools for corporations and starving schools where students are less likely to achieve corporate training standards.
We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up