Peter McLaren mclaren at gseis.ucla.edu
Sun Feb 23 12:06:03 MST 2003

Sure you're right. But in establishing the overall direction for left
intellectual work, you've got to admit that if the book Empire -- however
misguided in so many ways -- has the function of reminding the
pomo/poststructuralist community of the need for political economic
analysis, that's an accomplishment. I don't know about this for sure,
because I work in a university, country and continent where there has been
virtually no penetration of pomo work these past two decades -- but when I
taught at York in Canada a year and a half ago, I got this very distinct
feeling that the merits of Empire were in forcing debates about power and
accumulation back into the academy.

>From the petit-bourgeois intellectual circuits, maybe more useful work will
ultimately emerge because of this return to the material. But maybe I'm
Patrick -- you are right about the need for political/economic analysis in
the  pomo/poststructuralist community, which is why comrades Mike Cole,
Glenn Rikowski,   Dave Hill  and I published Marxism Against Postmodernism
in Educational Theory - but here we are focussing mostly on the way
postmodern theory has taken a suffocating hold on left progressive
theorizing in graduate schools of education in the US and the UK.  I know
that Empire is popular among many progressive educational theorists--but
there is little in the book that, in my opinion, will help them to made any
headway in challenging the theoretical brigandism of the postmodernists.  A
huge challenge facing graduate schools of education -- where you'll be lucky
if anyone has put John Dewey on a syllabus -- is to motivate students to
read anything in the Marxist tradition, let alone Marx's writings
themselves.  By the way, I enjoyed your talk at the Something for Nothing
Conference last year in Pretoria.

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