marxism-digest V1 #1532

Carlos Eduardo Rebello crebello at
Tue Nov 23 13:34:51 MST 1999

José G. Perez wrote:

>     Take, for example, bilingual education. Who could be against it?
>     Well I am. Or let me be more precise. I have been appalled and am
> against every public school bilingual education program I've had the chance
> to be in close contact with in the United States. They are in fact a form of
> segregation and if one sat down to design a plan on how to foster illiteracy
> in two languages, one would have probably come up with this plan.

I agree absolutely, and would only like to add that that's precisely the
reason why Lenin opposed "cultural autonomy" schemes favoured by the
Austro_Marxists (Otto Bauer et alli) that would have, as practical
result, to hamper access of minority children schooled in minority
languges to langages - like German in Austria-Hungary - already with a
fully develped scientific terminology, a fully develped range of
scientific concepts, etc. , and therefore to hamper thier integration in
industrial society in a role other as cheap labour-power. Lenin favoured
*political autonomy* - control over the material foundations of life -as
the only real sort of multiculturalism. That can be proved by the fact
that, in a lot of African-Asian countries, the former colonial languages
have been adopted as government and administration languages in order
exactly to facilitate common participation in political affairs, instead
of laboriously trying to find translators for a number of local

Being a citzen of a country already labelled "a monument to social
negelect" by Eric Hobsbawn, I would like to say that the extreme forms
of class oppresion found in that society would not, IMHO, have been made
softer had not the XVIIth century enlightened despot The Marquis of
Pombal, after the expulsion of the Jesuits, made Portuguese the
mandatory language of education, justice, government and administration
in the colony of Brazil, instead of the creole artificial language, the
*lingua geral* (*Lingua Franca*-A blend of Portuguese and various
Tupy-Guarany languages)employed by the Jesuits in their missionary
schools. That would only have created a greater rift in modern Brazil
between a Portuguse-speaking oligarchy able to ascertain itself in all
government matters, and huge masses of Lingua Geral-speakers cut from
all forms of political activities except hunger riots and messianic
sedition - put into a nutshell, the situation that to a certain maesure
still prevails, in various degrees, in the Andean countries, Guatemala
and Paraguay, only to quote the more 1st. examples that come to my head.

Carlos Rebello

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