For PDF version, click here.

“I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical…It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.”

Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, Paris, January 30, 1787

As my home state California rages with wildfires, my thoughts this summer have been focused on how this country needs a “prescribed fire” or what Thomas Jefferson might have called a “little rebellion.”  I would argue that the last rebellion we had in the U.S. was the 1960s Freedom Struggle led by young African-Americans. If we accept Thomas Jefferson’s timeline and my argument about the 1960s, we are long overdue for a little rebellion - a socially prescribed fire.

This summer, like many other families, we went on a trip to the national parks.  Our family trip included visits to Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks, both of which are in the majestic Sierra Nevada mountains of California. While on a tour of Yosemite, the National Park Ranger first mentioned the concept of “prescribed fire” and described how for decades the National Park Service misunderstood forest fires and tried to extinguish them.  He then described that the National Park Service now understands that these fires are essential for the health of the forests and must take place periodically.  So, today, the National Park Service and its rangers, so well-known for their mascot Smokey the Bear and his famous phrase "Remember...Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires,” purposely start forest fires on a regular basis.  Imagine that?  This practice of starting fires strategically under the right conditions in the right locations is called setting “prescribed fires.”  I was intrigued and wanted to learn more as I had long viewed nonviolent civil resistance (participatory democracy not merely reliant on the vote) as a social “medicine necessary for the sound health of government” but it was interesting to see its parallel in nature. 

Later, while at Sequoia National Park, the home of the giant sequoia trees and the world’s largest tree by volume, I came across an article in their Visitors Guide: Summer 2015. The title of the article was Fire: A Natural Change.  It states:

“Years ago, we tried to banish fire from the landscape, believing it was destructive.  In sequoia groves, that meant putting out lightning-caused fires that naturally start as often as every 5 to 15 years.  As time passed, we saw unanticipated consequences from this practice.  Fire suppression blocked important natural processes, which led to big problems:  

First, sequoias were not reproducing.  We learned that fires create the conditions that sequoias need to regenerate.  Fires leave behind a seedbed fertilized with ash, and they open the forest canopy, allowing sunlight to reach the seedlings. 

Second, the amount of dead wood and dense growth of small white-fir trees increased tremendously.  In the past, frequent natural fires burned these away.  Now, after fire’s long absence, these serve as fuel, feeding bigger, hotter blazes that are more dangerous for people, plants, and wildlife.  

For over 40 years at these parks, we have studied fire and its effects on the land.  To protect human safety and benefit giant sequoia trees, we now work with fire to restore the benefits it brings.  

We still put out fires that threaten life and property but when and where it’s appropriate, we ignite prescribed fires or allow lightning fires to spread naturally, reducing fuels and improving resource conditions.  Strong evidence shows we are succeeding.

Why is this important?  The national parks exist to conserve resources ‘unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.‘  We once thought that aggressive fire suppression met this goal.  A more complete understanding of fire tells us that excluding this important natural agent of change only hurts what we are trying to protect.”


During the same time period the National Park Service was studying fire (during the last 40 plus years), the country’s health has been deteriorating and our temperature, literally and socially, has been rising dangerously.  California, for example, experienced its hottest year ever in 2014.  On May 16, 2015, Jay Michaelson of The Daily Beast reported that “2015 is the Hottest Year On Record” for the U.S.  However, the social heat of the country is also rising to warn us of coming dangers caused by the accumulation of dead wood and the growth of deadly, combustible energy caused by our failure to learn and strategically respond to natural events.  

Economic inequality, racial disparities, environmental degradation, and militarism are tearing at our delicate social fabric as a society.  No where is this more seen than in the public education, democracy’s live blood.  According to Bob Moses of the 1960s Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, education was always the “subtext” of the last great movement in the country.  Moses says, “We got Jim Crow out of public accommodations; we got it out of the right to vote and the national Democratic Party. We didn’t get it out of education. So, I think of it as unfinished business.”

Let us consider California as a case study for the country.  In the 1960s, John F. Kennedy had the following to say about California’s education system when he spoke at what would become San Diego Diego State University on June 6, 1963: 

“One of the most impressive, if not the most impressive, accomplishment of this great Golden State has been the recognition by the citizens of this State of the importance of education as the basis for the maintenance of an effective, free society[…] I do not believe that any State in the Union has given more attention in recent years to educating its citizens to the highest level, doctoral level, in the State colleges, the junior colleges, the high schools, the grade schools. You recognize that a free society places special burdens upon any free citizen. To govern is to choose and the ability to make those choices wise and responsible and prudent requires the best of all of us. No country can possibly move ahead, no free society can possibly be sustained, unless it has an educated citizenry whose qualities of mind and heart permit it to take part in the complicated and increasingly sophisticated decisions that pour not only upon the President and upon the Congress, but upon all the citizens who exercise the ultimate power[… ] In this fortunate State of California the average current expenditure for a boy and girl in the public schools is $515, but in the State of Mississippi it is $230. The average salary for classroom teachers in California is $7,000, while in Mississippi it is $3,600[… ] Such facts, and one could prolong the recital indefinitely, make it clear that American children today do not yet enjoy equal educational opportunities for two primary reasons: one is economic and the other is racial."

Today, California's schools are sadly competing with Mississippi and the other southern states in per-pupil spending and other terrifying statistics on education, inequality and justice.  Take a look at these three chronological maps showing the Southernization of the country and California starting with before the Civil War until today.  Keep you eye on the red states. 
There is absolutely no reason why California should not be ranked in the top five states in per-pupil spending given that California's state constitution requires a free common public education; International human rights law also requires a quality free public education; California is the largest economy in the country and one of the top ten in the world.  According to a February 4, 2015 article from Capital & Main entitled The California Chasm by Manuel Pastor and Dan Braun: 

"California...is the home to more super rich than anywhere else in the country-and it also exhibits the highest poverty rate in the nation, when cost of living is taken into account. Income disparities in the state of California are among the highest in the nation, outpacing such places as Georgia and Mississippi in terms of GINI coefficient, a standard measure of inequality.”

What is the difference from 1963 when JFK gave his speech in San Diego to today?  In 1963, California’s public schools were full of white students.  Today, they are full of Latinos, blacks and other students of color.  Thus, the public schools are now criminally underfunded in accordance with the country’s historical value of “non-constitutional people.”   

Consider that California’s student population is so large that it has one out of 8 students in the country.  We should also be conscious of the fact that California looks like what the rest of America will look like in the near future.  It is what America will become.  Bluntly, if we do not address these critical issues of educational and social inequality in California the whole country is doomed.  There simply cannot be a democratic America without great and equal public schools. 

Luckily, California's diverse young people have naturally shown a proclivity toward action in the last decade (2006 immigrant marches, college student tuition protests, Dreamers fighting for immigrant student rights, the Occupy actions, Black Lives Matter movement) and if they are given the right Ella-Baker-like nurturing, training, and guidance they can help us move forward as a state/nation.  However, thus far, their actions have been mostly reactionary, responding to events, rather than strategically taking the offensive with a planned, long term struggle that would require that the nation’s corporate reactionary forces respond to them.  What we need is a prescribed fire - a strategic, planned nonviolent resistance movement, around making free quality public education truly a right for all - starting in California.  As goes California, so goes the nation.  By changing public education, we can change the deeply rooted culture in the society and move us forward as a nation.  The beauty of organizing around the human right to education is that you cannot address it alone without addressing the other fundamental issues of our day, especially those concerning economic inequality.  In order to transform public education, we must change all the other issues that are inherently connected to it like the unjust tax structure, the criminal justice system, student loan debt, child care, preschool, child poverty, health care, dignified wages, affordable housing, military budget/recruitment, and overall inequality.  

Can we learn from the past 40 plus years like the National Park Service? Can we learn to set a “prescribed fire” among our youth starting in California where the conditions and demographics are ripe?  If not, like James Baldwin in his famous book The Fire Next Time, we will all be forced to ask, ““Do I really want to be integrated into a burning house [society]?”
 


Comments

09/16/2015 5:31am

President understands National Park Service, Public education and how they work together, so they can make recommendations to organizations for the best operations systems to use.

Reply

Right to education. As a student, I do believe that all of us really has the right to education as this serves as our sharpest weapon as we face and deal with life and success. Like me, I go to school, I study hard because I have dreams and I do know that to attain my dreams, I have to exert great effort to strive, to have patience and determination, thus, at the end of the day, I will be a victor, I will be a champion, I will be successful.

Reply
11/03/2015 9:46pm

Useful info. Fortunate me I discovered your website unintentionally, and I am shocked why this accident did not happened in advance! I bookmarked it.

Reply
11/06/2015 12:19am

Great post.

Reply
12/18/2015 6:19am

The world is very large and there are so many countries in it. All the countries can be identified very easily with the help of map of the whole world.

Reply
12/18/2015 6:20am

We can see a lot of things around us which are present in the world for a very long period of time and they will present in the world even after our death.

Reply
03/27/2016 10:44pm

Choosing a great summer vacation can be challenging, particularly if you have a spouse who has hobbies and interests different from you or if you have children. In fact, it is even more difficult choosing a great summer vacation the more children you have and the greater the difference in ages. please visit baligardenbeachresort.com and get more information on traveling.

Reply
04/30/2016 11:19pm

Thanks to you! Finally I got some stuff in your blog post related. I was searching for some material related to matter included in post. Very useful and very informative. Thanks once again and do share some more posts if you have!

Reply
05/10/2016 9:11pm

Does the country really needs a “prescribed fire”?)

Reply
05/24/2016 7:42am

We need to first go into our unconscious mind.

Reply
05/27/2016 3:54am

Awesome dispatch! I am indeed getting apt to over this info, is truly neighborly my buddy. Likewise fantastic blog here among many of the costly info you acquire. Reserve up the beneficial process you are doing here.

Reply
06/21/2016 12:04am

Really i appreciate the effort you made to share the knowledge. The topic here i found was really effective to the topic which i was researching for a long time.

Reply

Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it. Look advanced to more added agreeable from you! By the way, how can we communicate?

Reply

I am very happy from this website i would like your post

Reply

I am very happy from this website i would like your post

Reply
07/11/2016 7:24am

Hello I just wanted to say that I did enjoy visiting your webpage and to wish you the best of luck with it in the future - Mareli Playa

Reply
07/19/2016 10:38am

Hi there, it was actually a truly brilliant journey for me when I visited your webpage. I hope you don't mind if I praise you upon the excellent quality of your work and to send you bon chance with it as you advance as time goes on. It was nice to view this webpage and I shall naturally be stopping by again shortly to discover just how you're developing. Thanks and I shall absolutely see you here soon - Hamish Handyman

Reply

I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest but your sites really nice, keep it up! I'll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back later. Many thanks

Reply
08/03/2016 2:00am

Wow, it's very informative post. Thanks for thi PDF version. I appreciate it.

Reply
08/10/2016 6:53am

I am thankful to this blog for assisting me regarding all essay writing. I added some specified clues which are really important for me to use them in my writing skill. Really helpful stuff made by this blog.

Reply
09/05/2016 5:24am

Hello me and my friend who works in atlantis-bali-diving.com.How would you as an administrator or entrepreneur achieve the hearts and psyches of your kin? Overview your workers to discover what drives them, what dreams they have for their future. At that point work with every individual to help them accomplish the littlest dreams to begin with, and afterward the progressively bigger, all the more difficult dreams later, after they've succeeded in accomplishing their underlying dreams.

Reply
09/19/2016 2:06am

Everybody is hoping to get the best esteem in a mid year get-away. Hello me and my friend who works in www.odysseysurfschool.com, There are various approaches to do as such, while in the meantime keeping away from circumstances that could harsh your excursion. Realize what you have to think about arranging the ideal summer get-away. In the meantime, be sparing cash on inn settlement and flights.

Reply
09/21/2016 3:48am

Hello me and my friend who works in balijetaime.com,Another late spring get-away goal tip is to consider heading off to the Big Apple. Particularly around the fourth of July, New York City offers travelers something year round. Washington DC is likewise an amazing excursion for high schoolers will's identity inquisitive about a hefty portion of the historical centers and landmarks.

Reply

For those who are looking for the perfect vacation in the Cayman Islands, the world class hotels and resorts of these Islands will double your holiday experience. Whenever you stay here you are assured of a warm welcome.

Reply
09/27/2016 4:29am

Hello me and my friend who works in srilankajetaime.com, Hand on heart, what number of us have been in the midst of some recreation near bare shorelines and have not investigated or if nothing else pondered what the experience of going bare would be? Having stayed in resorts where bareness is permitted and went to naked shorelines for our disconnected travel and get-away.

Reply
09/27/2016 4:57am

Hello me and my friend who works in hanginggardensofbali.com, Another maybe evident pattern is the expansion in getting to the web. Once more, this shifts from scanning for more data on a late spring excursion goal to utilizing online travel and get-away administrations to make real get-away appointments.

Reply
09/28/2016 6:00am

Some of these comprehensive shabby occasion arrangements will even element specials rebates. Previously, these comprehensive bundles were chiefly reserved when making a trip to resorts found on fascinating tropical islands, yet now there has turned into a wide decision of alternatives for Europe explorers. If you are planning a trip to bali, visit us at theapartmentsumalas.com

Reply
09/29/2016 1:34am

Have you eventual camping for your amuse oneself vacation? Camping is an big idea that sure thing celebrates the truth of the abundant outdoors. But it clearly is not for everyone.If you would like to learn diving, visit us at komodoresort.com

Reply
10/04/2016 12:02am

It is the great information you share with us. I love to read this many time. I like it a lot. You are great.

Reply
10/29/2016 8:46am

Hello me and my friend who works in balijetaime.com, When it comes finding guerdon summer heat rentals for you, as a matter of choice thing you no ifs ands or buts about it have to daydream about to what place you would savor to go. You must determine the location earlier you add to payroll your low-cost as you can gain a profitable deal wherever you desire to go.

Reply
10/30/2016 12:59am

If you're grand design a sure thing memorable forget to Thailand, earlier you might prefer to chat some the country's practically impressive areas of outstanding impulsive beauty. With so profuse extraordinary john jane q public parks to grant from, it can regularly be difficult choice what to boost in your Thailand itinerary.If you are planning a trip to Australia, visit us at mooringsoncavill.com.au

Reply
11/03/2016 2:31am

Reply

You are the best blogger. You are the best blogger. I really appreciate this article.

Reply
11/19/2016 3:51am

When replacing a drinking water filter cartridge in your water filter system, always be sure you read the instructions for proper installation. There are those you are required to run a certain amount of water through, or immerse in water for a set time to "prime" them for use. They mainly contain activated carbon, which the water passes through and it collects the deposits and impurities.

Reply
01/08/2017 12:36pm

These advances are offered to you regardless of your present status and different conditions. On the off chance that in the event that you have a landed property like a home, you can get a value advance utilizing your value.

Reply

Attempt to secure some business, regardless of the possibility that it is recently on low maintenance premise. Having no work may diminish your shot of getting an advance for the unemployed.

Reply
01/15/2017 9:21am

Halifax credits likewise offer insurance arranges that will cover advance installments ought to the borrower have an unanticipated issue and not have the capacity to make their advance installments. This can be a genuine lifeline in times of individual or monetary emergency.

Reply

We as a whole comprehend the essential OPM approach for speculation property: Get a few financial specialists together, pool their cash, purchase a property together, and get a slice of the profits for selecting and dealing with the property.

Reply
03/03/2017 1:05pm

Blessed me I found your site accidentally, and I am stunned why this mishap did not occurred ahead of time! I bookmarked it.

Reply

We provide details of adult services of Delhi Independent Escorts Call Girls.

Reply
03/29/2017 1:08am

The perfect blend of great Hawaiian hospitality and all modern amenities, Honolulu offers its visitors an unforgettable vacation experience. The city is home to some of the most popular vacation attractions of Hawaii State including the world famous Waikiki Beach and historical Pearl Harbor.

Reply
04/01/2017 1:35am

Visit Goa Escorts is best agency which are providing best and VIP Escorts in Goa.

Reply


Well, it’s a nice one, I have been looking for. Thanks for sharing such informative stuff.

Reply
09/08/2017 3:39am

WOW! YOU MUST see THIS Goa escort services!! Amazing PArty Girls Available!!

Reply
09/09/2017 2:10pm

Beauti Queen amazing kolkata escorts agency alwyas ready for you at your doorstep. Beauti Queen provide you high profile independent girl in kolkata, escorts service in kolkata, kolkata escorts. If you are looking for the ultimate encounter in Kolkata then I am your sophisticated young Kolkata escorts that provides upscale companionship for making your night becomes true.

Reply
09/10/2017 3:11pm

Gurgaonfemales.in offers highly educated model from Gurgaon and best Escorts service in Gurgaon through some of its sizzling Independent escorts in Gurgaon Call Girls who are available to customers 24*7.

Reply

Jiya Roy is a high class luxury and premium independent escorts agency in Gurgaon offering sexy independent escort Girls, models and cheap rate call girls for incalls and outcalls and travel arrangements. Female companions available 24/7 for business events, tour guide and much more.

Reply
09/16/2017 11:57am

We are providing Best Escort Service in Gurgaon with affordable rates, just call us for Hi profile Call Girls in Gurgaon . Contact us for Call Girl in Gurgaon. http://www.gurgaondivas.com/

Reply

Hi I am Arpita kaur an high class independent escort girl in Lajpat Nagar ! We are provide high class escorts service inLajpat Nagar, Arpita Kaur Provide only for 18+ age, impressing and discreet gentlemen for utmost pleasure to get delight contact 24X7 any time any where in Lajpat Nagar. http://www.arpitakaur.com/lajpat-nagar-escorts.html

Reply
09/27/2017 3:09pm

Renu Das Kolkata Escorts Services has gorgeous females provides Independent Escorts Service in Kolkata call girls at 100% satisfaction with VIP models. Provided Kolkata escorts at our agency are professional in nature and are eager to serve you at your place.

Reply
10/10/2017 4:17am

We are leading Gurgaon based Escort Agency where you can expect to explore only the most beautiful, hot & sexy young females across the city who are 24 hours ready to serve their erotic services for you! We currently operate most of areas around the city so you can hire our independent escorts anytime whatever its early morning or mid night. http://gurgaondivas.co.in/

Reply
10/13/2017 11:30am

Hi i am Jenisha Pandey high profile independent collage girl in Gurgaon. we are provide escorts service in gurgaon, gurgaon escorts, escorts in Gurgaon if you are captivating for an independent escorts Call Girls visit www.jenishapandey.com for your naughty desire I am always available 24x7 for your all sexual desire.

Reply
10/25/2017 1:57am

There are two fundamental sorts of brilliant warmed floors. The first is electric, which gives warm through electrically warmed curls. The second is hydronic, which gives warm through water-filled tubes.

Reply
11/07/2017 6:39am

All the cold problem because of this opportunity is normally you will get to use various ships lacking repaying any kind of increased range. The root con can be of the fact that yacht you need to breeze perhaps may not be accessible. To make sure you breeze the software maybe you have to talk about all the breeze by means of visitors that happen to be difficult for your needs.

Reply
11/18/2017 4:02am

Delhi-Divas amazing Delhi escorts who is always ready for you at your doorstep. Hurry up to avail the most seductive independent escorts in Delhi. Delhi-Divas escorts agency is providing you with High Quality and Verified girl in Delhi, escorts service in delhi, delhi escorts.

Reply
11/19/2017 2:42am

Beauti Queen provides you a high quality Escort Girl in Delhi, Delhi Escorts.

Reply
11/28/2017 6:20am

Reply

Reply



Leave a Reply

    Erik Olson Fernández

    LIVES: San Diego, CA

    EDUCATION: B.A. in Urban and Regional Planning, Miami University; J.D., Northeastern University School of Law

    BACKGROUND: Erik Olson Fernández has many years of experience organizing for nonviolent social change as a community organizer and in the labor movement as with public education and health care unions. Motivated by the experiences of growing up with a single mother from Mexico, he has a long commitment to economic and social justice.  Like Gandhi, Erik holds a law degree but has instead focused and devoted his life to organizing workers and community residents for justice. He is currently working on a project to create Nuevo SNCC, the modern equivalent of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), an organization that seeks to revive SNCC's legacy of nonviolent resistance to challenge today's human rights violations around the right to education.

    Archives

    August 2015
    May 2015
    December 2014

    Categories

    All