New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Archive for the ‘Harry Targ’

Educating for War No More

May 23, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Harry Targ, Politics

Resisting Militarism in Our Schools

by Harry Targ

I have been thinking a lot lately about “ideological hegemony” — how and why we think about the political world in the ways we do. I do so not to add another layer of theory to an already complex set of arguments about economics and politics. Nor am I interested in immobilizing political activists. Rather, I think progressives need to think about how to challenge the ideas that most of us are supposed to accept and believe.

Of course, the primary public institutions that transmit ideas and ways of thinking to people, from the start to the end of their educational careers, are schools. Our friends on the Right know how important it is to shape schools at all levels. Early in this century I remember hearing Rush Limbaugh say on one of his radio programs that “the only institutions we do not yet control are the schools.” With this as a goal, just the other day we read stories about Koch brothers’ money financing faculty positions at Florida State University in economics (presumably Marxist or structural economists need not apply). (more…)

Challenging Ideological Hegemony

May 10, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Harry Targ, Politics

Remaking Our Conceptual Maps of the World

by Harry Targ

I read about the dangers of federal deficit, the connection between markets and democracy, capitalist institutions and human well-being, insurance companies and quality health care, and the historic victories for peace and justice resulting from killing Osama bin Laden, and the son and grandchildren of Muammar Gaddafi.

I am reminded of Antonio Gramsci’s perceptive analysis about how people are ruled as much by what they learn to think and believe as by the use of force. Ideological hegemony refers to the idea systems that ruling classes construct to create willing and pliant citizens in political regimes that lack moral legitimacy or economic rationale.

I am also reminded of theorists from the neo-Marxist Frankfurt School, particularly Herbert Marcuse, who wrote about how the fundamental contradictions in peoples’ lives — capitalists versus workers and rule by the few versus the possibility of the rule by all — are transformed into a unanimity of thinking among people whose interests should make them adversaries and not collaborators. (more…)

The Vietnam Women’s Union

April 19, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Harry Targ

An Effective Mass Organization

by Harry Targ

We arrived in time to be ushered into a meeting of a rural Vietnamese women’s club, just outside of Hue. Discussion among the 75 single women was animated, self-assured, and clearly engaged. Members listened to each other, respected what each had to say, and evidenced not one iota of shyness even though their discussion of women’s health, environmental, and other immediate issues was being observed by eight American guests and a Vietnam Women’s Union official from Hanoi.

We had already been to a briefing at the Center for Women and Development’s new building, and the Women’s Museum in Hanoi. We had visited Peace House, a shelter for Vietnamese women victimized by sexual trafficking, part of the CWD project to provide shelter, training, and advocacy for women victimized by domestic violence or sexual trafficking. (more…)