English for Self-Defense and Self-Determination: The English classes started in 2004, shortly after the establishment of the Eastside Cafe Echospace. The approach to the community based English class is a form of pedagogy for self-defense and self-determination; a pedagogy for autonomy. The English class goal is to increase and support the community’s ability to be critical of a system that increasingly uses Orwellian language to attempt to fool people, particularly through mass news media outlets. The English class aims to sharpen our community’s skills to defend itself from predatory finance companies, increasingly racist and anti-immigrant laws, la migra, unscrupulous car salesmen, door to door salespeople, police brutality and terror, fast talking sold out politician and insensitive and racist teachers and administrators. More importantly, the English class aims to increase the community’s ability to determine its own destiny and to support the development of its abilities and desires to set up independent governance structures and independent mutual support projects. The English class brings community members together as a general process of knowing each other to work collectively as a community for a better world.
The English class teacher was originally sponsored by Wilson/Lincoln Adult Education Complex. In 2005 Trade Tech sponsored the teacher for one year and from 2006 through 2009 the teacher was sponsored by Jefferson High School. From 2010 to the present, the English class has been sponsored by Garfield Roosevelt complex.
During these 8 years, there have been periods when the English class has been taught totally by volunteers. The Los Angeles Unified School District School Board has recently voted to completely cut Adult Education from its budget because of the on-going budget “crisis.” The School District points out that the amount of money given to them from Sacramento does not cover all the essential programs and that Adult Education will have to go. While this may be true, it’s not the whole truth. The ESC English class believes that corrupt government has no money because it gave it to the wealthy. Over the last 20 years tax laws and finance capital laws have figured out ways to siphon public monies and corporate controlled legislators have willingly collaborated. Today, because of this, the wealthy are wealthier and the poor have less of everything including social services that the poor already pay for. If we don’t make the rich pay, this will be a financial watershed for private English as a Second Language schools who are salivating at the prospects of millions of immigrants that desire to learn English. Because of the desperate situation that our community is in, there will be many who will be forced to pay. We, as an English class, will be part of the people’s struggle for free public education that we pay for through taxes and against the privatization of everything. Because of this precarious situation, we always welcome volunteers.
If you have any questions regarding the English classes, please feel free to email us using the form below.