[Marxism] Re: The hijab controversy

Jose G. Perez elgusanorojo at bellsouth.net
Wed Feb 18 09:06:44 MST 2004

My other post wasn't arguing for (or against) the state paying for
children's education regardless of the choice parents make about what
school to send them to and  how those schools are run. It was about the
proposals raised here to *outlaw* private schools by making *public*
(government) school attendance compulsory.

In the case of Georgia, concretely, what it means is *outlawing* the
schools with a more scientific education and forcing children into
schools where science is kept from them to facilitate extracurricular
religious indoctrination. There is no question in my mind that
compulsory government school education is a reactionary idea. And
there's no sense arguing that this is the way the Cubans did it, the
Cubans were quite careful to a) take political power first and b)
expropriate the capitalists. Discussions about the ideal way education
should be run, abstracted from which class holds power, aren't very
useful. Education is also an arena of the class struggle. The concrete
measures to be proposed depends entirely on the struggle between those
classes, and not just on the governmental/political level, but also on
the ideological one. 

In the United States you will find that there has been a fair bit of
support in the Black and Latino community for proposals that at first
blush seem aimed at allowing parents to send children to whatever school
the parents want the kids to attend rather than the public ones the
children would be assigned to under the traditional geographic
assignment system. 


-----Original Message-----
From: marxism-bounces at lists.econ.utah.edu
[mailto:marxism-bounces at lists.econ.utah.edu] On Behalf Of Marvin Gandall
Sent: Tuesday, February 17, 2004 9:07 AM
To: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition
Subject: Re: [Marxism] Re: The hijab controversy

Jose, I agree with your analysis of the evolution of the public system
-- especially your point about the democratic form rather than essence
of modern school boards, and the need to try and reimpose popular
control over them.

But, really, your other post arguing that public support for religious
education is somehow progressive because it gives you the option of
being able to send your kids to a Quaker school in Georgia was a bit
disingenuous, no? If the choice were between the progressive and
essentially secular education served up by the Friends and the public
school system, we wouldn't really be having this discussion, would we?
As you well know, the religious school system overwhelmingly comprises
the network of orthodox Catholic, evangelical, Jewish, and Moslem
institutions which, in varying degrees, promote obscurantist religious
concepts and reactionary social values. So public funds which are
desperately needed by the public system shouldn't be diverted to
religious schools -- which seems to me the central issue.
Jose Perez:

I think we should remember that Marx was writing in 1875.


I don't think that has anything much to do with the situation in
imperialist countries *today* and certain not in the United States.


This doesn't mean, of course, that struggles by working people and
especially the nationally oppressed for locally elected school
authorities, or electoral procedures giving them greater leverage over
the local board, should be shunned.


Marvin Gandall writes:
>>It seems apparent from the quote cited above by Jose that Marx
distinguished between the Prussian and other embryonic European school
systems, which were run from the top down by state bureaucrats, and the
American system, where control over the curriculum and other matters was
vested in publicly-elected school boards. In neither case, however, does
Marx oppose the principle of public control over funding, teaching
qualifications, and the organization of the school system, which, he
notes, is "a very different thing from appointing the state as the
educator of the people".<<

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