This is from the latest Adbusters:
"NPR reported that in 2010, A US college survey found 49% of Harvard grads went on to work in consulting and the financial sector...The funneling starts in Economics 10, the most popular course in one of the most popular disciplines at Harvard, a pre-requisite for many degrees, not just economics. Gregory Mankiw, a former Bush tactician and current economic advisor to Mitt Romney teaches the course. His text,Principles of Economics, is the top selling economic textbook in the world. The class's alumni disproportionately clutter the halls of the IMF, the World Bank, the White House and Wall Street."
Told they are being taught science, these future leaders are being finished off with an ideological frosting on their exceptional educations. Fortunately, they are not all buying what Mankiw is selling.
Harkening back to an earlier group of students who rejected what they were being spoonfed, Tom Hayden writes in the Nation on the fiftieth anniversary of the Port Huron Statement. He admirably admits that much was poorly theorized and I realise historical context is needed but in the end I am disappointed by his reflections, especially with a new movement blooming that is much in need of solid historical reflection. Tom still falls back on the "ultra-leftist" trope to explain how SDS was "pushed..in a poisonous sectarian direction..and weighted with the ideological language and baggage of Marxism that remained foreign to most Americans." Notice the adjectives. Notice who is ideological and who is pure.
It's not hard to see where Port Huron went wrong."The Statement's economic program was an extension of the New Deal.." Their definition of economic democracy was that the major resources and means of production should be "open to democratic participation and subject to democratic regulation." Instead of ownership, they wanted Keynesian state oversight, social democratic participation through parties and Parliament. With their hope to unite liberals and socialists, they had concluded that moral values and democracy were more important than any ideological renovation of Marxism. They hoped a political realignment could bring about a progressive third party and hoped to tap into the energy around the United Farm workers grape boycott and the March on Washington for Jobs and Justice.
Reasonable people can argue why this new social movement failed as it did, undermined by the AFL-CIO and Democrats, crushed by the Vietnam war and assassinations of progressive leaders, or infiltrated by the CIA and what Hayden calls "the secret pro-cold war element within liberalism." But I argue it was the flawed analysis of the more conservative elements within SDS (such as Hayden) which ultimately doomed them. A good example is a statement such as : "..a third obstacle to the SDS dream..was the system itself, or the powerful 'paradigm' we defied but could not defeat.By system I mean the intersecting (BUT NOT COORDINATED) hierarchies of banks, corporations, the military , media and religion..." Rejecting Marxist materialism, he rejects ideological coordination. He goes on to say: "By paradigm I mean an understanding of power as cultural hegemony or dominance, a thought system in which there seems to be no alternative." Again, he rejects expropriation and alienation at the point of production and concentrates only on culture, in this case, cold war culture.
This faction of the New Left found it's explanatory framework in "deep historical currents of populism, pacifism, religious reform and slave rebellions in American history", in other words, an acceptance of liberal democratic capitalism and belief in the neutral state. This is why Hayden ends with this timid advice to the Occupy movement."Elections produce popular mandates and mandates spur popular activism. It's time to organize a progressive majority..."
Some people just never learn. Occupy needs to debate this history and not repeat the mistakes of the past. Here is how Wendy Brown articulates our task: "apart from state power, both capital and a range of less forthrightly economic normative powers must be reckoned with when considering prospects for redemocratization today."