[Marxism] America No. 1?

Mark Lause MLause at cinci.rr.com
Sun Mar 6 13:55:22 MST 2005

Rrubinelli wrote, "I think Yoshie hit the nail squarely on its flat head
when she likened this hysteria over ignorant US and failing education to
the attack on the social security system.  It's an excuse, a cover, for
the bourgeoisie to take away the money and run."

I'm entirely agreed...but that doesn't mean what they're using as an
excuse in either case is simply a fiction.  The real issue isn't whether
or not there are serious problems in education but the fact that the
people and institutions who are talking about them and proposing
resolutions are the very same that created and shaped the problems in
the first place. 

I think, in hindsight, that this was one of my biggest reservations
about much of the rhetoric of the early 1970s about orientation to the
universities and colleges.  It's probably fair to say that, from the
days of the Enlightenment--certainly since Robert Owen among the
English-speaking peoples--remaking education and educational
institutions have siphoned off a good deal of the creative reformatory
impulses generated by the inequities of capitalism.  The effort pits
people coming into the system with very little and recent experience
against institutions that have been adopting to the ever-shifting needs
of the power structure since the days of medieval humanism.

The biggest impact radicals have had on these institutions in our
lifetimes has probably been the establishment of black and ethnic and
gender studies programs and institutes, coupled to the impact of radical
critiques of language.  Allowing for some exceptions, most of what the
former has done is to allow for an increase of diversity within
faculties without having the commensurate impact on the wider university
community and the redefinition and reduction of "activism" to
grantsmanship and institution-building.  And postmodernism made a joke
of the entire enterprise of learning, knowing and teaching any
applicable understanding of the social universe. 

Academe has its most obvious roots in the Church and it grew into a
comparably structured hierarchy.  This has allowed for flexible adoption
to and accommodation of about anything--feudalism, capitalism,
Communism, fascism.  In our lifetimes, universities have functioned
comfortably under Jim Crow, Cold War McCarthyism, civil rights and
integration, the War on Poverty, the craze for government regulation,
the craze for abolishing government regulations, the craze for
abolishing government regulations in a carefully regulated way, the War
on Drugs, the War on Terror, etc.  

They are quite adept that this and really need no help from radicals
doing any of this.

Mark L.

More information about the Marxism mailing list