The voice of capital declares war against "information

Carrol Cox cbcox at
Thu Jun 1 14:28:03 MDT 2000

Very entertaining post, Chris, and nothing in it that I disagree with.
I would add that marxists working with teachers or inside teachers'
unions need to work hard to disabuse as many as possible of the
"Progressive Education Fallacy" -- the belief that teachers by the way
they teach or by what they teach can "change the world." (I would
say the bulk of public school teachers are pretty disabused already
of the myth that they are "professionals" as opposed to "workers.")

Still, whenever radicalization takes hold within members of any occupation
which involves direct relations with other workers or their families
medical personnel, social workers, retail clerks, postal workers, etc.)
possibilities for struggle do open up.


Chris Brady wrote:

> About Carrol’s comment:
> “A cultural product the value of which I would like to see made
> vanishingly small is the textbook. This would not, I would assume,
> be possible on an individualist basis -- but given some radicalization
> of large sectors of the educational work force  interesting
> possibilities open up.”
> In the context of capitalist economy/bourgeois society, “formal”
> education for social change must be viewed –at best—
> as a form of re-form-ism.
> This does not mean that we must give up hope for the radicalization
> of educational workers, or of their material.  This is an important
> part of the whole project of developing a revolutionary hegemony.
> But I am reminded of the efforts to change society perpetrated by
> Progressive educationists and more importantly by social
> reconstructionists in the 1930s USA.  Some fairly sophisticated
> Marxists were counted among the latter grouping, including those
> who initiated Science & Society in 1936 directly because the
> Progressives tried to shut them up and out.  In a fateful act of poetic
> justice, if not comedie noire, even the Deweyan Progressives were
> ultimately crushed by reaction by the mid-1940s.  (Capitalists don’t
> give a shit who is trying to take their stuff or how, whether by
> well-mannered, well-heeled social democrats with tax proposals
>  or jungle Maoists with machine-guns, successful capitalists will do
> all in their power to keep what they have, and get even more).
> Having spent a little time in an education union, you would be
> amazed and/or amused to understand just what my fellow teachers
> thought was radical and what was “just too extreme.”  I suspect that’s
> because there is an inherent progressivist tendency among pedagogues,
> as opposed to revolutionary, ameliorative rather than confrontational.
> Now, as I have said, there is a time and a place for everything, but
> you can also have too much of a good thing whether it’s ice cream
> or striving to find a happy medium.  What makes the wolf happy,
> makes the sheep dinner… (i.e., on the menu for the smiling wolves).
> Learning,
> Chris Brady

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