“To ignore evil is to become an accomplice to it”- Martin Luther King

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”-  Edmund Burke

Photo:BROOKINGS: The rise of the right

"First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a communist;

Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a socialist;

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a trade unionist;

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out - because I was not a Jew;

Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak out for me."- Martin Niemoller

Fascism is on the March Again: We Need Values-led and Progressive Education to Fight Back.

It is hard to imagine a more urgent moment for making education central to all we do, all we imagine, to build a better world.

‘In the aftermath of the Second World War, we told ourselves: “Never again.” Standing in the rubble of London and in the ashes of Hiroshima, we swore that we would not allow a conflict of this scale to proliferate again. The generation that had seen the rise of fascism and genocide, of dangerous nationalism and xenophobia, vowed that we would not stand by and do nothing in the face of the Hitlers and Mussolinis of the world…

Because the truth of the matter is that fascist, nationalist, and white supremacist power is growing in the West. Fueled by hatred of social progress…

Our defense against fascism now rests upon the edge of a knife, and it could fall into peace or into extremism. And if we are not careful—if we let down our guard and let ourselves think that this sort of rhetoric is normal—history will repeat itself.’-FORDHAM POLITICAL REVIEW, January 31, 2017

Photo: Will we ever learn?

Could we have had a better world, could we have been able to stop this tragic rise, if we had a values-led and principled education system, a fairer and more equitable economics and economy?  These are my pertinent questions. Have I got answers to them? Perhaps. You will be the judge of that.

Education today, at all levels,  mimics a business culture run by a managerial army of bureaucrats, non academics, drunk on market values, guided by cruel machinery of exploitation, racism, austerity and disposability, unleashed by neoliberalism, celebrating extreme individualism, feral competition, worshipping mammon, rat-race to a success that never it can deliver, fooling the foolish to vote against their own self interest, in the circus of elections.

Resisting and destroying fascism requires making education values-led and central to our lives. Enough is enough. We need real education!

N.B. I am prompted to write this piece after reading and reflecting carefully on the excellent article by Sadiq Khan in today’s Observer. I believe Khan is speaking for all of us, the humiliation that we all feel when our country is rolling the red carpet out for Trump, a man khan has likened to a 20th- century fascist.

‘History teaches us of the danger of being afraid to speak truth to power and the risk of failing to defend our values from the rise of the far right. At this challenging time in global politics, it’s more important than ever that we remember that lesson...In years to come, I suspect this state visit will be one we look back on with profound regret and acknowledge that we were on the wrong side of history.’- Sadiq Khan,  mayor of London

It’s un-British to roll out the red carpet for Donald Trump

Sadiq Khan, The Observer, Sunday 2 June 2019

Photo:theguardian.com

‘Praising the “very fine people on both sides” when torch-wielding white supremacists and antisemites marched through the streets clashing with anti-racist campaigners. Threatening to veto a ban on the use of rape as a weapon of war. Setting an immigration policy that forcefully separates young children from their parents at the border. The deliberate use of xenophobia, racism and “otherness” as an electoral tactic. Introducing a travel ban to a number of predominately Muslim countries. Lying deliberately and repeatedly to the public.

No, these are not the actions of European dictators of the 1930s and 40s. Nor the military juntas of the 1970s and 80s. I’m not talking about Vladimir Putin or Kim Jong-un. These are the actions of the leader of our closest ally, the president of the United States of America. This is a man who tried to exploit Londoners’ fears following a horrific terrorist attack on our city, amplified the tweets of a British far-right racist group, denounced as fake news robust scientific evidence warning of the dangers of climate change, and is now trying to interfere shamelessly in the Conservative party leadership race by backing Boris Johnson because he believes it would enable him to gain an ally in Number 10 for his divisive agenda.

Donald Trump is just one of the most egregious examples of a growing global threat. The far right is on the rise around the world, threatening our hard-won rights and freedoms and the values that have defined our liberal, democratic societies for more than seventy years. Viktor Orbán in Hungary, Matteo Salvini in Italy, Marine Le Pen in France and Nigel Farage here in the UK are using the same divisive tropes of the fascists of the 20th century to garner support, but are using new sinister methods to deliver their message. And they are gaining ground and winning power and influence in places that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.

They are intentionally pitting their own citizens against one another, regardless of the horrific impact in our communities. They are picking on minority groups and the marginalised to manufacture an enemy – and encouraging others to do the same. And they are constructing lies to stoke up fear and to attack the fundamental pillars of a healthy democracy – equality under the law, the freedom of the press and an independent justice system. Trump is seen as a figurehead of this global far-right movement. Through his words and actions, he has given comfort to far-right political leaders, and it’s no coincidence that his former campaign manager, Steve Bannon, has been touring the world, spreading hateful views and bolstering the far right wherever he goes.

That’s why it’s so un-British to be rolling out the red carpet this week for a formal state visit for a president whose divisive behaviour flies in the face of the ideals America was founded upon – equality, liberty and religious freedom.

There are some who argue that we should hold our noses and stomach the spectacle of honouring Trump in this fashion – including many Conservative politicians. They say we need to be realists and stroke his ego to maintain our economic and military relationship with the US. But at what point should we stop appeasing – and implicitly condoning – his far-right policies and views? Where do we draw the line?

Rather than bestowing Trump with a grand platform of acceptability to the world, we should be speaking out and saying that this behaviour is unacceptable – and that it poses a grave threat to the values and principles we have fought hard to defend – often together – for decades.

I am proud of our historic special relationship, which I’m certain will survive long after President Trump leaves office. The US is a country I love and have visited on many occasions. I still greatly admire the culture, the people and the principles articulated by the founding fathers. But America is like a best friend, and with a best friend you have a responsibility to be direct and honest when you believe they are making a mistake.

In years to come, I suspect this state visit will be one we look back on with profound regret and acknowledge that we were on the wrong side of history.

It’s too late to stop the red-carpet treatment, but it’s not too late for the prime minister to do the right thing. Theresa May should issue a powerful rejection – not of the US as a country or the office of the presidency, but of Trump and the far-right agenda he embodies. She should say that the citizens of the UK and the US agree on many things, but that Trump’s views are incompatible with British values.

History teaches us of the danger of being afraid to speak truth to power and the risk of failing to defend our values from the rise of the far right. At this challenging time in global politics, it’s more important than ever that we remember that lesson.’- Sadiq Khan, The Observer, Sunday 2 June 2019

See also:

'Two and a half years after Theresa May rushed to become the first world leader to meet the newly inaugurated President Trump in Washington, she has chosen to make a state visit that should not be taking place the final act of her premiership. While the prime minister’s poor political judgment and obstinacy have been hallmarks of her three years in office, the spectacle of the next three days will make a particularly awful ending. Mr Trump is only the third US president ever to be honoured with a state visit, the others being George W Bush and Barack Obama. Inviting him in the first place was a crass error. Following through in the midst of the UK’s current political crisis is an act of gross irresponsibility...The Guardian view on Trump’s state visit: the president is not welcome

Donald Trump, Brexit, and the Rise of New Fascism

World Refugee Day 20 June

And now reverting to my questions noted above:  

Could we have had a better world, could we have been able to stop this tragic rise, if we had a values-led and principled education system, a fairer and more equitable economics and economy?  These are my pertinent questions. Have I got answers to them? Perhaps. You will be the judge of that.

There are, I suppose, many reasons for this tragedy visiting us again. However, as a long standing academician, concerned with education and economics, I am going to identify two of the main reasons that to my mind have played a crucial role:

1- The values/ moral/ ethical/ spiritual-less education system;

2-  The values/ moral/ ethical/ spiritual-less economics and economy.

To stop the rise of fascism and indeed, to destroy it, We Must Make The World Great Again.

HOW?

Photo: maestrobytumlare.com

To reverse the damage already inflicted, stop and destroy the rise of fascism, we need a new story of what it is to be a human in the 21st century and to reclaim our humanity for the good of all creation.

Lest we forget, it is crucial for educators to remember that we live at a time when the language of democracy has been pillaged, stripped of its promises and hopes. If fascism is to be defeated, there is a need to make education the guiding  principle of what we are, who we are. In part, this can be done with a language that exposes and unravels falsehoods, systems of oppression and corrupt relations of power while making clear that an alternative future is possible. In short, our language, words and actions are a powerful tool in the search for truth and the condemnation of falsehoods and injustices.

'We live in a world with many complex problems, at all levels, local, regional and global. It is said that education is the key that opens the door to a more harmonious world.

The pertinent question is: What kind of education and learning would help us address these challenges and create a sustainable world and a better life for all?

T.S. Eliot posed the question: "Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?"

Reflecting on the questions above, we are going to need an education system that respects planetary boundaries, that recognises the dependence of human well-being on social relations and fairness, and that the ultimate goal is human well-being and ecological sustainability, not merely growth of material consumption.

The new education model recognises that the economy is embedded in a society and culture that are themselves embedded in an ecological life-support system, and that the economy can't grow forever on this finite planet.

In short, we need to listen to our hearts, re-learn what we think we know, and encourage our children to think and behave differently, to live more in synch with Nature.

If we do this successfully we can become wiser as a species, more “eco-logical.” We and the planet that gave birth to us can be happier and healthier, healed and transformed.'...

Brexit, Trump and the failure of our universities to pursue wisdom

The Journey to Sophia: Education for Wisdom

Calling all academic economists: What are you teaching your students?

To build a better world we need to be guided by values, other than money, money and more money.

“Values represent our guiding principles: our broadest motivations, influencing the attitudes we hold and how we act.”

As it has been observed throughout history, in action and thought, people are affected by a wide range of influences. Past experience, cultural and social norms are some of the most important ones. Connected to all of these, to some extent, are our values, which represent a strong guiding force, shaping our attitudes and behaviour over the course of our lives. Our values have been shown to influence our political persuasions; our willingness to participate in political action; our career choices; our ecological footprints; how much money we spend, and on what; and our feelings of personal wellbeing, contentment and happiness; as well as our relationship with others, with nature and Mother Earth, to mention but a few.

The Value of Values: Why Values Matter

Mr Trump, we are not what we earn!

And finally, if we are true to ourselves, if we truly wish to reform this horrible economic system, that has brought us the bitter harvest of fascism, then, there is only one option:

All we do has to be for the common good. Our economy must become just, and all our actions should be taken in the interest of the common good. No ifs or buts, if we are truly serious and honest.

How may we achieve that?

What might an Economy for the Common Good look like?

My Economics and Business Educators’ Oath: My Promise to My Students

So there you have it: fascism, populism now sweeping Europe, the US, and the rest of the world. These are the beasts of our own creation and of  our own failures. Only us, the people, can reverse this trend, before our world is engulfed in global wars again.

The time is now for a radical departure from our recent troubled past. Let us seize this opportunity and stand side by side to build a better, kinder, and a more gentle world for the good of all.  Let make the world great again. Carpe Diem!

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