This is an archive of the former website of the Maoist Internationalist Movement, which was run by the now defunct Maoist Internationalist Party - Amerika. The MIM now consists of many independent cells, many of which have their own indendendent organs both online and off. MIM(Prisons) serves these documents as a service to and reference for the anti-imperialist movement worldwide.

Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools
By Jonathan Kozol
Crown Publishers, Inc.

Savage Inequalities provides strong evidence of the national oppression that is endemic in the Amerikan system. Focusing on the discrepancy in resources between schools that are predominantly Black or Latino (usually inner city) and schools that are predominantly white (usually suburban), Kozol provides case studies and statistics to show some kids are given every opportunity to succeed while others (oppressed nations) are set up to fail.

Conditions faced by children is a topic that should be an easy win for Communists looking to explain to people the need for equality for all. It's hard to imagine someone thinking that a kid, born into circumstances out of his or her control, deserves to suffer poor housing, inadequate healthcare, and substandard education. While there are many who would argue adults "bring it on themselves," kids clearly have no control over where they are born.

But Kozol reports, with great surprise, that he found many white adults making overtly racist arguments about the potential of Black and Latino kids to justify the better funding of the schools in the white neighborhoods. Kozol recalls how these people would have been vilified during the social movements of the 60s, but when he was writing this book, in the early 1990s, these attitudes seemed common place. Even the youth in the wealthier schools had lots of excuses to explain why they deserved better schools than kids sometimes living within a few miles.

Kozol describes conditions the clearly violate the landmark court decision in Brown vs. Board of Education which supposedly mandated the desegregation of schools in Amerika. Towns close enough to easily integrate face almost total segregation with abysmal conditions in the Black and/or Latino schools and tremendously good resources in the white schools.

Although the statistics are more than 10 years out of date, the reality of Amerika school segregation has not changed. The barely functional buildings, lack of up to date text books (or in many cases any text books), overcrowded classes, non-existent lab and computer equipment, and low paid teachers create a situation of despair that leads to a drop out rate of more than 50% in many districts. And even those who graduate are often barely literate. Kozol draws the clear link between these schools and the imprisonment of the oppressed nations who, after dropping out of a dead end education, end up locked behind bars.

The overt racism of this system is exposed when districts with little money run out of space for their kids and try to rent empty space from wealthier districts. Those that agree require the kids to stay entirely segregated from the white student body, as if contact between them might lower the value of the wealthy education.

The education system in Amerika is set up to perpetuate inequality. Funded primarily from property taxes, it's clear that the wealthier areas will have more expensive houses and so higher property tax revenues to put into the schools. The areas of poverty will have less money for schools and so the education and opportunities for the poor kids will be far less than those offered to kids from wealthy families. The federal government has done nothing to help these conditions. Kozol describes how federal funding has actually increased this inequity in many areas.

Ironically, while many people argue that money won't solve the problems of the inner city schools, these same people cry out in fear at the thought of taking money away from the wealthy suburban schools. Kozol points out the clear contradiction in this argument that money won't help the poor but taking it away from the rich would cause irreparable damage. He notes that this is little more than veiled racism, suggesting that the problem with inner city schools is basically genetic.

Attending inferior segregated schools, receiving inadequate medical care, living near toxic waste, and seeing dead ends and desperation among the adults around them gives oppressed nation kids growing up in the inner cities of Amerika little hope for success. Those who want to see equality for all people need to take the lessons of Savage Inequalities to their logical conclusion and see that the system of capitalism is built to reinforce inequality. National oppression is fundamental to Amerika, and it will not be eliminated until we get rid of the imperialist system behind it.

MIM recommends Savage Inequalities as a tool for those fighting oppression in Amerika. It is up to communists to link this information to the system of imperialism, and use it to fight national oppression without forgetting the source of the tremendous wealth in this country. Built on the exploitation of the world's people, Amerika's wealth should not just be distributed equally among Amerikan citizens, we have to also remember the poor or non- existent education available to Third World children because of the poverty enforced by Amerikan imperialism.