Monday, February 14, 2011

"We Used To Eat Lunch Together": The Title Alone Grabbed Me

Advance the Struggle reports on some theatre in Jamaica High School, Queens, NY:

It’s a badass play, and as they were getting ready to perform it–and this is NOT a joke–the principals of the students’ schools actually forbade the performance! Translation: these stupid chumps (school-bureaucrat-politicians) got punked by some savvy proletarian high schoolers; they were embarrassed and afraid, and they turned authoritarian, censoring the students’ creative political expression! But after protests from students and allies, the admin backed down and the play went on for an audience of students that were feelin’ it.

Loosely based on Antigone, the play is titled “Declassified: Struggle for Existence (We Used to Eat Lunch Together).” It addresses how bureaucrats implement whack policy agendas in the name of educational accountability (based on their unreformable subjugation to the needs of capital), which disrupt students’ lives and communities, starve their resources, subordinate all concerns to questions of financing and testing, pave the way for privatization, increase authoritarian control and supervision of youth, and generally suck a lot. And of course, these “reforms” (cuts and reorganization) are part of the overall pressures on poor, working families and part of the systematic way in which the state and capital attempt to divide oppressed peoples against each other. These insights are developed within the play, reflecting an organic, political consciousness amongst the writers.

The play also addresses the most pressing question of our day: As our world is rapidly dismantled by the hungry Frankenstein of late capitalism in crisis, how can we respond?! According to the play, we should catalyze our organic social relationships, reinforce and mobilize our egalitarian principles, and organize ourselves to oppose the beast! This involves conversations (in schools, workplaces and families), organization (of outreach and literature), and some ingenuity and fearlessness. It’s called…communism–the living movement to change the course of history!

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