Unlike the countless victims of Capital, Bruce Wayne is able to take it upon himself, by virtue of his inherited wealth — and through that access to near infinite resources — to get his own perverse form of justice. At the same time, one can reasonably assume he carries on his family's legacy of exploitation and extraction during the day. Is Wayne enterprises directly complicit in the suffering of Gotham's majorities, through the dumping of toxic wastes in poor communities, busting unions to prevent workers from achieving a reasonable standard of living, or divesting people of their homes through predatory lending and aggressive development?
In our “free” society, schooling became a replacement for the development of material and social skills young people once learned in community, through apprenticeship, through experience with the natural world. In order to maintain schooling as an institution, these young people’s needs are provided for by parents, by the state, other external agents, and further mediated by the mechanisms of production (i.e. the supply chain). This allows young people, especially the racially and/or economically privileged young people overrepresented in SDE spaces, to exist in a bubble wherein they can choose — or “self-direct” into — activities far removed from what’s essential to their survival.
All the things that North Philly Peace Park is, and will become, are part of a continuum of collective dreaming, striving, and will toward self-determination: the heart of all Black struggle. The life of Black people in this country has always been defined by the tension between our demand for sovereignty, and the violent refusal by the State at every juncture to entertain the mere idea. From the murder of Octavius Catto, situated at the center of a relentless campaign of anti-Black violence against our attempts to vote, to the institutionalized violence of the police, carceral system and the courts, any whiff of Black mobility or agency is met with full-throttled resistance by the State and its proxies.
Hunter's Mind — or ADHD if you must — allows me to glimpse both the underlying systems that reinforce domination, and the ley lines along which alternative lifeways might be built. The utter soup that is my mind under capitalism requires serious organizational structure in order to even function. And so my thoughts naturally gravitate toward and coalesce around any possibilities for breaking down silos, traversing boundaries of animus and distrust, fostering communication, and synthesizing many different kinds of work into a more cohesive vision.
Even as Bill Gates writes books laying out the "solutions we have and the breakthroughs we need", his cynicism prevents him from actually believing any of it. Not only does he have no faith in people to muster the collective will to prevent climate catastrophe, he has neither faith in corporations to abandon their centuries-long commitment to extraction and exploitation, nor in his own ability to "innovate" a way out. In light of this, he would seem to be preparing for inevitable disaster, and in his arrogance, would situate himself as an arbiter of life and death.
Whatever technologies, models, and organizational structures we develop, to orient ourselves toward social and economic justice, we must also make space for the unwilling and the unable to be independent, self-determined, and safe. This means insulating them against the violent death throes of our system of capitalism, white supremacy, and imperialism, as we replace it with something better.
The moment demands a mass mobilization of people and collective will. Which means bridging gaps: in knowledge, resources, understanding, and empathy. In our conversations, and in our work around sustainability, we have to integrate those things which support and affirm our rights to healthy, dignified lives, so we even have the capacity to take on something so grandiose as “saving the planet”.
At the end of last year, I published an article in the journal Transcontinental Human Trajectories, my first “official” publication. It is mostly a personal narrative — and I do mean personal — but it also lays out much of my educational philosophy, and sketches my initial trajectory from a school teacher to more of an activist. Although I didn’t use the term “school abolitionist” at the time, you can see the first inklings of that identity starting to crystallize.
The constraining of ideas to the "median" seems to be rooted in white USAmerican norms of white upper/middle class "decorum", specifically the pressure to avoid conflict, or rather, to avoid any public appearance of conflict. Those who benefit from the status quo (and those who aspire to) — by virtue of social, economic, or political power and privilege — would really quite like it, if the rest of you wouldn't much mind, if we could just keep things "civil". A premium is placed on preserving the appearance, not just of civility, but of the fundamental "goodness" of those in power.
That whole time, there were other voices, on the margins of academia and the political sphere - pushed there by the relentless power of the status quo and those who uphold it - who were already making the case Nick and Diane only just came to understand. There were teachers who understood it, even if they didn't have the vocabulary or the platform to make the case, or of they did, were quickly buried by the neoliberal demands of the system and punished for noncompliance.