A poem for the SU students' organizing NO
to the bank CEO scheduled to speak at commencement.
See and sign their petition at
Whose voice comes through me now?
For years I just repeated the words.
Well, that’s how you learn as a child,
the palaver problem. After a while
as I moved my mouth I heard what
I was saying. Some of my students
are saying they don’t want to listen
to a CEO at their graduation, they
reject a banking concept of education,
they aren’t blank accounts to deposit
ideas or money into, they want to hear
someone they don’t owe money to,
not JPMorgan Chase rich, richer, richest
on interest they’ll pay for fifteen years,
the $27,455 loans on average, the rage
they are commencing with, and what
jobs? Where will they live? Their cars?
The street? They say predator and thief,
their work stolen before they pass Go,
monopoly capital in control of the board.
This is the future we’ve been told, hoard,
and crush the other. But there is the sudden
sitting at our desks when we see our hands
digitally click like a marionette’s sticks,
raising the questions: And whose work done?
What do we want from our opposable thumbs?
Not games, and not to build thick bank vault
walls, set inside our work’s locked-up worth.
Now these young hands up, demanding halt.
See Paolo Freire on the “banking” approach to teaching
in "Pedagogy of the Oppressed" (1968)
Minnie Bruce Pratt
Creative Commons 2010