Occupy worked very hard to get people out for May 1, trying to establish connections with immigrant groups and community advocacy organizations.
What is not often mentioned is the effort that they have been making to reach into high schools to influence students.
A major person behind this effort in NYC is Justin Wedes, a former high school teacher. Wedes abruptly quit his job as a city public school teacher after getting caught red-handed falsifying time sheets, according to the New York Post. Former South Brooklyn Community HS science teacher Justin Wedes, who often rails against corporate greed and corruption, “cut and pasted’’ the signature of a supervisor onto his time sheets while applying for a national education grant, Special Schools Commissioner of Investigation Richard Condon found.
In this first video, you see the results of months of Wedes and others cultivating students at Paul Robeson High School in NYC. Occupy members have had meetings at the school to talk with the kids and influence them. It’s also a bit ironic that it is “Paul Robeson High School”. Robeson, a remarkably multi-faceted man, was an amazing singer, incredibly bright, lawyer and civil rights activist. He was also an infamous supporter of Soviet Communism.
Notice the effort to demonize “privatization”. Why would the kids have an issue with it? Because the union has a problem with it. Charter schools in NY have been largely successful and provide a viable option for children from poorer communities. Kids and parents line up to get into those schools. It’s called competition and it improves education. That’s just a bit frightening to the unions, who want to have a monopoly to be continue to provide that sterling education they have been providing-not. Think of it this way, kids, if you were forced to only eat in the cafeteria, and chose from the lousy food provided, wouldn’t you want to have the option of food outside those restrictions?
Beyond the very specific approach to reach out to certain schools in NYC, was the general effort to gets kids out for May 1 by making it “cool”. Organizer Marisa “I’m not for reform, I’m for revolution” Holmes actually made a video, noting that you could leave school, and “do whatever you want to do”.
Who wouldn’t want to go to what appears to be a holiday party? In this second video, the kids have heard the pitch, but have no idea even why they are there, apart from the fact it seems fun. The girl with the anarchy symbol on her face could as well been at a St Patrick’s Day Parade and it have been a shamrock. Notice the requisite event tee shirt-souvenir-looks like capitalism to me.
See video here
If you wonder how we get the Justin Wedes and Marisa Holmes types, the effort to recruit has been going on for a very long time.