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BERKELEY'S NEWS • OCTOBER 04, 2023

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‘Find the other way’: Norma J F Harrison runs for Berkeley school district board director

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NORMA HARRISON | COURTESY

Harrison’s primary objective is to create a space where people can share their thoughts regarding their dislike of school and work’s role under capitalism.

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OCTOBER 17, 2022

Norma J F Harrison is running to be a Berkeley Unified School District, or BUSD, school board director.

Harrison’s primary objective is to create a space where people can share their thoughts regarding their dislike of school and work’s role under capitalism. Her idea of school involves integrating children into real-world work instead of sitting in a classroom.

“If we’re going into the sewer to repair it, we should take our 6-year-old. People should be living with us and being part of production,” Harrison said. “They need to be within range of our lives.”

Harrison has been a member of the Peace and Freedom party for 50 years, the Communist Party, and a member of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism.

Among the other candidates, Harrison said she is the most committed to communism, socialism and encouraging “the other” way of life.

Harrison believes people should vote for her “because of the desire they have to be able to live lives other than servitude to this system.”

“This system abuses everybody, not only here in the U.S., but throughout the world,” Harrison said.

As part of the capitalist system, Harrison feels as though young, middle and old people are separated in order to keep them from working together.

She noted that school is part of a “for-profit” system, and treats people badly.

“People get grades in school. What a terrible thing. People are constantly graded. They’re graded at work,” Harrison said. “Being graded is an insult and an attack against us.”

Additionally, she said her opponents have lots of experience, yet seek to maintain the status quo. She casted doubt on the anti-racist platforms of her opponents, saying that eliminating racism from schools was too difficult.

Instead, she hopes to instead turn the focus towards a form of school that extends beyond the walls of the classroom, as she believes everyone is a genius hindered by having to sit in a room and face a teacher.

However, she is unsure how much longer she will be able to run for school board since she has been running every two years and is 87 years old.

She currently has no endorsements.

“Have you ever seen the cartoon Peanuts?” Harrison asked. “Have you seen Charlie Brown walk up to the school and kick the bricks? I want everybody to be doing that, saying, ‘I’m not gonna put up with it anymore — I’m going to find the other way.’”

Contact Chrissa Olson at 

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OCTOBER 17, 2022