If you have a high school junior or senior in the house, you know the drill.
SAT, ACT, testing, testing, testing.
Test for math, test for English, test for science.
Go to visit colleges.
Apply. Wait for the call. Dish out the cash.
But here’s something that’s missing from the routine – civics education.
Education about our shared civics culture, about the activists who are seeking to make our country a better place to live, about the laws and institutions that keep this country from spinning into the abyss.
Are there any universities that specialize in civics education?
Haven’t found one yet.
Are there any universities that emphasize it?
Haven’t found one yet.
Most are overrun with corporate money, corporate influence, and are what my uncle once called high priced tool factories for the corporate state.
To help fill in the void, I’ve taken a first cut at what I call the CAT – Civics Aptitude Test.
If you watch Democracy Now, read Common Dreams, the Corporate Crime Reporter or CounterPunch, you’ll do okay.
If you don’t, and are a student at any of America’s premiere universities, you probably won’t.
But try it and see how you do.
Answer key is at the end of the test.
If you get 0-25 correct – The corporate state and a corporate dominated media have successfully filtered and censored the information you receive. Look for more alternatives for information and news beyond the nightly news and the same recycled stories coming out of the talking heads.
If you get 26-50 correct – You’ve managed to shake free from the chains of a corporate dominated mass media – but your civics education could still use some work.
If you get 51-75 correct – You’ve already done well with your civic education, but it could still use some work.
If you get 76-100, you are a true civic-minded activist at heart. Now translate that knowledge into action.
Civics Aptitude Test (20 Minutes)
1. Wrote for the Multinational Monitor, host of Democracy Now.
2. Author of The Populist Moment: A Short History of the Agrarian Revolt in America, taught at Duke.
3. Legislation that would limit the size of banks to four percent of GDP. Got 33 votes in the Senate in 2010.
4. Law repealed by Clinton that separated investment banking from commercial banking.
5. Opposed Vietnam war and military industrial complex, had a dream.
6. Labor activist, head of the National Nurses Union.
7. Noble Prize winning economist, taught at Yale, father of the speculation tax.
8. Premier U.S. antitrust think tank.
9. Premier single payer couple, founders of Physicians for a National Health Program.
10. Safe cosmetics campaigner, author of Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry.
11. 97 year old labor activist, AFL reformer
12. Former New York Times foreign correspondent, author of Death of the Liberal Class
13. Princeton Professor, arrested on steps of Supreme Court protesting corporate control.
14. Rolling Stone reporter, described Goldman Sachs as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity,” author of Griftopia.
15. Author of Unsafe at Any Speed, ran for president
16. Climate change affirmer, leader in the fight against Keystone XL Pipeline
17. Lead CounterPuncher, climate change denier, co-author of The Politics of Anti-Semitism
18. Palestinian-American co-founder of Electronic Intifada author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse
19. First African American woman admitted to the Mississippi bar, founded Children’s Defense Fund
20. Columbia University professor, author of Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention
21. Key documentarian of ObamaBush, author of With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful
22. Former Nader for President campaign manager, author of Grand Illusion: The Myth of Voter Choice in a Two-Party Tyranny
23. Camped out in Texas, author of Peace Mom: A Mother’s Journey through Heartache to Activism
24. Vet survived Iraq, head crushed by Oakland police.
25. Co-founder of environmental group Peaceful Uprising, in jail for bidding on public lands
26. Recently drafted legislation to criminalize the corporation and to criminalize fracking, co-author of Fear at Work: Job Blackmail, Labor and the Environment.
27. Founder of Black Agenda Report
28. MIT Professor, author of The Fateful Triangle, pro nuclear power.
29. Canadian author of The Shock Doctrine and author of No Logo.
30. Co-founder of The Indypendent and The Occupied Wall Street Journal
31. Battled chemical pollution in Niagara Falls, New York, founder of Center for Health, Environment and Justice
32. Public Citizen’s anti-GATT, NAFTA, WTO campaigner
33. Creator of The Story of Stuff video, author of The Story of Stuff: How Our Obsession with Stuff Is Trashing the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health
34. Film producer and editor of Firedoglake
35. Co-founder of Democracy Now, author of News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media
36. Investigative journalist, beaten by Indonesian military in East Timor, author of Nader report – The Reign of ETS.
37. Walked across the country for campaign finance reform, also known as Granny D
38. Campaigner against Presidential Debate Commission, author of No Debate: How the Republican and Democratic Parties Secretly Control the Presidential Debates
39. Author of The Closed Corporation and Blood in the Face, campaigner against solitary confinement
40. Kentucky poet, campaigner against mountaintop removal, author of The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture
41. Historian and author of A People’s History of the United States
42. Major auto company prosecuted for corporate homicide after deaths of three teenagers in defective automobile
43. Documented criminal conspiracy of auto, gas, tire companies to rip out inner city rail transit system, writing a massive history of General Motors
44. Madoff whistleblower author of No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller
45. Charles Manson prosecutor and author of The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder
46. Anti-poverty campaigner, author of Challenging Authority: How Ordinary People Change America
47. The News Dissector and author of Plunder: Investigating Our Economic Calamity and the Subprime Scandal
48. Bearded Eastern European philosopher, told Occupy Wall Street “The problem is not corruption or greed. The problem is the system that pushes you to give up,” pulls on his shirt when he speaks
49. Supersize Me moviemaker
50. Beirut based correspondent for The Independent and author of The Great War for Civilization: The Conquest of the Middle East
51. Former editor of the Multinational Monitor magazine, current President of Public Citizen
52. FDA official credited with blocking Thalidomide sales in the United States
53. Lead Counterpuncher and author of Born Under a Bad Sky: Notes from the Dark Side of the Earth
54. Author of books on the civil rights movement and most recently of The Cartel: Inside the Rise and Imminent Fall of the NCAA
55. In front of its building on Pennsylvania Avenue in DC, has a statue of a muscular guy trying to restrain a horse – symbolic of public trying to restrain corporate power
56. Law that prohibits any U.S. corporation from paying bribes overseas
57. Lead organizer of “No Nukes” movement and author of The Last Energy War: The Battle Over Utility Deregulation
58. GWU law professor and author of recent Los Angeles Times article Obama: A Disaster for Civil Liberties
59. Former editor of Editor and Publisher magazine, blogger of Occupy Wall Street, author of The Campaign of the Century: Upton Sinclair’s Race for Governor of California and the Birth of Media Politics
60. The Greatest Canadian, credited with bringing single payer national health insurance to Canada
61. Chicago-based coordinator for Voices for Creative Non Violence and author of Other Lands Have Dreams: From Baghdad to Pekin Prison
62. Communications director Institute for Public Accuracy in Washington, D.C., also creator of washingtonstakeout.com
63. Code Pink activist, led a group called Jews for Helen Thomas
64. Education activist and author of The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America
65. Wealth inequality expert at Institute for Policy Studies and author of Economic Apartheid In America: A Primer On Economic Inequality & Insecurity
66. The me in Roger and Me
67. Palestine peace activist, denied tenure at DePaul University, author of Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History
68. Canadian magazine credited with the call to Occupy Wall Street
69. Cell phone safety campaigner and author of Disconnect: The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation
70. Corporate campaigner against JP Stevens, Hormel, Campbell Soup and now runs Killer Coke Campaign
71. 30 year old DC public interest group that tracks government contractors who violate the law
72. Institute for Policy Studies Middle East peace activist and author of Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Primer
73. Culture jamming activist duo and network of supporters created by Jacques Servin and Igor Vamos, they impersonate entities that they dislike, a practice that they call “identity correction.”
74. Rock and roll Hall of Famer, People Have the Power singer
75. Wall Street dirt digger, journalist for the New York Times, co-author of Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon
76. Executed by lethal injection in Georgia September 21, 2011, fueled movement against death penalty.
77. Documentary filmmaker, producer of Why We Fight and Move Your Money
78. University of Missouri Kansas City Law Professor and author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One: How Corporate Executives and Politicians Looted the S&L Industry
79. MIT Economist and author of 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown
80. Man Booker Prize winner and author of Walking with Comrades and The God of Small Things
81. Founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, author of Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights
82. Former New York Times tax reporter and author of most recently Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You with the Bill)
83. Public interest group that sponsors opensecrets.org, best web site tracking money in politics
84. Television talk show host, started in Dayton, Ohio, MSNBC show cancelled because he was a “difficult public face for NBC in a time of war”
85. Former Goldman Sachs director now Demos Fellow and author of Black Tuesday
86. Australian physician, public health campaigner and author of Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer
87. Director of the Arms Trade Resource Center at the World Policy Institute and author of Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex
88. Founder and CEO of C-Span
89. This law allows you to sue corporations on behalf of the government to recover defrauded millions. If the government recovers, you get a bounty.
90. Workplace safety campaigner, asbestos expert, author of Asbestos: Medical and Legal Aspects, Fifth Edition
91. Ha’aretz journalist, campaigner for Palestinian rights co-author of Drinking the Sea at Gaza: Days and Nights in a Land Under Siege
92. West Virginia born author of Deer Hunting with Jesus and Rainbow Pie: A Redneck Memoir
93. Founder of TransAfrica and author of The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks
94. Anti sweatshop activist, founder of Press for Change
95. Chicago labor lawyer and author of Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?: How the European Model Can Help You Get a Life
96. Documentary movie about corporate agribusiness narrated by Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser.
97. New York based Yemeni teacher, founder of the Khalil Gibran International Academy, forced out for explaining to reporters the meaning of the word Intifada.
98. Television actress turned activist, author of Roseannearchy: Dispatches from the Nut Farm
99. The people’s Bob Dylan, sang Love Me Love Me Love Me I’m a Liberal
100. Palestine peace activist and author of The Color Purple
For answers, go here.