“Education may be the hardest civil rights fight of all,” Gates said. “Discrimination is harder to prove and people often don’t know what levers to pull to fix the problem.”
Dear Bill and Melinda,
The minds of Americans are on Martin Luther King, Jr. today. The fact is, your corporate education reforms are all a terrible undoing of all that Martin Luther King, Jr. worked for, sacrificed for, organized for, and ultimately lost his life for in the summer of 1968. So what has happened to Dr. King’s dream?
I wonder, what if corporate reformers re-wrote Dr. King’s, “I Have a Dream” speech to create their own version? Deconstructing Dr. King’s famous speech, here is what we are witnessing across America — as corporate reformers have engaged in the unholy marriage between non-partisan neoliberals and neoconservatives — through the wedded ring of BIG business.
Here I present what corporate reformers might write, Mr. and Mrs. Gates, if we were to strip you of your veneer of propaganda completely:
“I Have Corporate Dream, Now It’s Your Nightmare”
I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest marriage of neo-liberal and neo-conservative corporate hijacking of freedom in the history of our nation.
18 score years ago, our Puritan founders, in whose symbolic shadow we stand, brought with them the first seeds of capitalism. This momentous institution came as a beacon of light and hope to thousands of corporations who would be happy to turn the poor, the different-abled, the Negro, and the unacceptable out into the cold in the dead of winter.
But three hundred seventy nine years later, we must face the tragic fact that most of American’s children still deserve to be turned out into the cold of winter, homeless, hungry, and uneducated. The life of the Negro still deserves to be crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination, for I am thrilled to say we MUST establish even MORE private charter schools to segregate ourselves from them and “the others”. Three hundred seventy nine years later, it must not ONLY be the Negro living on a lonely island of poverty in the midst our vast ocean of material prosperity belonging to the 1%, for the immigrants who come here all deserve to join them on this island of poverty, as does all the “white trash” until we beat them all down to hopelessness. Three hundred seventy nine years later, the Negro, these worthless immigrants, and the white trash still deserve to languish in the corners of American society, finding them exiled in what we’ve convinced them to come to through our open door immigration policy with propaganda about our land of the free, home of the brave. So we have come here today to celebrate this oppression — for WE corporations, we CEO’s, we bankers, we hedge-funders — are rich and free and that is all that matters in America, and these appalling people must be kept in their rightful lowly place.
In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check on your bank accounts. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution they had no idea the lawmakers today would write Citizen’s United into law granting corporations the same rights as a person, making you sign a promissory note to every corporation to hand them back every cent you made from your hard earned labor, plus interest. This note is a promise you make to all corporations and this law gives these corporations guaranteed inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness while at the same time, taking YOURS away. We guarantee to give you one liberty only — the right to work.
It is obvious today that corporate America has defaulted on this promissory note to the people and through the use of corporate power, has granted this sacred obligation to corporations only, giving her people a bad check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we, the corporations of America refuse to believe your bank accounts are empty and we demand twice the interest, for we won’t be proud until we have bankrupted every single one of you. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us even more riches, more freedom, and the security of justice for the few. We have come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce power we have now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of slowing down the process of bankrupting every one of you. Now is the time to push you over the cliff into the dark and desolate valley of segregation, far, far away from the sunlit path of racial or socioeconomic justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all unholy corporations. Now is the time to sink every last one of you into the quick sands of racial and class injustice so that you may never find brotherhood while we divide and conquer the lot of you.
It would be fatal for any of you to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of our corporate power. Our sweltering summers of global warming may heat up your discontent, but believe us, this will not pass in the autumn, nor in a permanent cold winter without the warmth of hope for freedom and equality. 2014 is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope the Negro and the rest of you slum dogs needed to blow off steam in the 1960’s can count on them being too oppressed, and too worn down by the rude awakening of a complete corporate take-over, while many remain apathetic to our actions as our control of the media numbs them into going about their business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility for the lot of you, ever — and none of you will ever be granted the same rights as we have. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to be doused by the riot police we bully into keeping your justice from emerging.
But there is something that we must say to our new slaves who stand on the cold threshold that leads into the dungeon of injustice. In the process of gaining our rightful place, we do not feel the least bit guilty for our wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy your thirst for freedom and justice from corporate chains by taking any responsibility for your bitterness and hatred.
We corporations must forever conduct our struggle below the plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow your creative protest by twisting this peaceful dissent into physical violence wielded mercilessly through our riot police. Again and again our profits must rise to majestic heights, using these profits against you with such physical and immoral force that it kills your soul. The marvelous new militancy which we have unleashed on the Negro and poor communities must lead us further into all white communities, for our many white middle and lower class must be even further separated from us by class and will remain that way. As evidenced by their presence here today, they have come to realize their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their loss of freedom is inextricably bound to our power. We must stand with the wealthy few. We cannot walk alone.
And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall create an army against you that will march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking our devotees of a corporate take-over, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied until your bodies are not heavy with the fatigue of indentured servitude and slavery to us. We cannot be satisfied as long as the people we are enslaving have anything more than a ghetto. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro or poor white trash servant can still vote or attend a public school. We can never be satisfied until the prisons and internment camps are filled with the disposable. We can never be satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until the end of justice rolls down like waters crushing righteousness, crashing over you like a mighty tsunami.
We are not unmindful that some of you feel suffering from great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow prison cells, but not enough of you yet. Some of you have come from protests where your quest for freedom left you batted by the storms of persecution we ordered and by the winds of riot police brutality. You are all veterans of creative suffering. We simply don’t care. In fact, we demand that you continue to work without faith through this unearned suffering, for their will be no redemption for any of you.
Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos in America knowing that somehow these unionless ghettos will be all there is soon. If not, these corporations will make certain of it and watch as you wallow in the valley of despair.
I say to you today, my new slaves, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a corporate dream. It is a corporate dream deeply rooted in the corporate American dream that none of you will reach and only those very high up on the corporate ladder have any chance of reaching.
I have a corporate dream that one day even the state of Washington, and the state of Massachusetts, states of Eden, formerly bursting with the fruit of justice and equality, will be transformed into a desert eroded of any speck of unions, freedom, and justice.
I have a corporate dream that my three children will one day live in a nation where they alone are in charge of judging every person by the color of their skin and content of their wallets.
I have a corporate dream for you and your children today. And for my children and the children of the filthy rich alone, I have a corporate dream today.
I have a corporate dream that one day in every state the corporate state created by neoliberals and neoconservatives will control every governor’s lips who are not yet dripping with words of interposition and nullification, and will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will join hands once again in the fields of slavery with little white boys and white girls and work, enslaved together as sisters and brothers.
I have a corporate dream today that we will bring this nightmare to your every waking moment.
I have a corporate dream that one day every valley shall be deepened into a crevasse you can’t climb out of, every hill and mountain top shall be made unattainable through our oppression, the rough places will be made intolerable, and the crooked places shall be made common, and the glory of the Lord shall be extinguished, and all flesh shall see our corporate power together.
This is our not only our hope. This is a corporate dream that is almost complete. We have complete control over all three branches of our government. We have taken control over your public schools. We have armed the police and set up internment camps. We have invested in private prisons. We have sent your Black and Latino children through the school to prison pipeline of injustice. We are destroying any faith you may be able to hew by creating a mountain of despair, sinking with a heavy stone, any hope. Without this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of this nation into a funeral dirge ending all brotherhood. Without this faith, you will be forced to work, prevented from praying together, forced to struggle, to go to jail, and to relinquish freedom altogether, knowing that you will never again be free one day.
This will be the day when ONLY unholy corporations will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ‘tis of thee, lost land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where your fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s demise, from every mountainside, let NeoSlavery ring.
~ Written by Susan DuFresne *Important NOTE: I wrote this looking at each paragraph of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, using some of his language, but as if I was in the role of corporate education reformers if we stripped them of their veneer of propaganda. As teachers, we never want to see this nightmare realized and hope for the realization of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Dream instead. We here at Teachers’ Letters to Bill Gates abhor the racism and neoslavery methods of the corporate and faux philanthropists.
Mr. and Mrs. Gates, we shall overcome neoslavery, your corporate reforms, as well as the neoliberal and neoconservative attacks on civil rights.
Now, tell us again, how corporate education reform is the civil rights movement of our time? Now tell us again how closing schools and institutionalizing “rigor” through Common Core that has been proven to fail 70% of ALL children tested will abolish poverty? Now tell us again, how this nightmare you are instituting will help achieve Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s DREAM?
Susan DuFresne, Integrated Kindergarten Teacher and Co-author, Teachers’ Letters to Bill Gates.