[Marxism] Class Dismissed

Manuel Barrera mtomas3 at hotmail.com
Wed Jul 27 08:53:11 MDT 2011

John (and similarly, David P A) said: "He's not saying factor out the working class, he's saying factor out the non-class based racial inequality (higher percentage poor working class blacks  and Hispanics than whites) and you see that class is actually the biggest factor and the most pressing one."

Yes, pretty much got that the first time I read it. It's wrong on two counts: 1) "factoring out" racial/ethnic/language (and gender or disability, for that matter) on real results of the education system removes reality from "reality". What, race/ethnicity doesn't count in the context of class disparity? All those disproportionately Black, Latino, etc. children and youth inculcated into the "best of the possible worlds" not simply because of class but because of race/ethnicity/disability, etc. (and fail not by rejecting it but because they are taught to "know" they are unworthy), their identities, the primary way they are "differentiated", don't matter because "class" (nicely sanitized) is the "most pressing one"?  It sounds very much like the kind of sanitation (in other venues, we would call it "ethnic cleansing") that is often conducted in the guise of "empirical research". On this point alone, Marsh's work, in my opinion, is antithetical to a working class perspective on education.

2) You can try to discount the inaccurate formulation "achievement gap", but its underlying concept, the disparity between white and virtually every other demographic group, is an essential component in the inculcation, under-education, and mis-education of working class youth that follows them not just into the workplace, but even as they enter the "academy". Education is THE way that working people "learn" about and integrate into this society; and it is perpetuated into the home and community for even further reinforcement. 

It may be true that there are many "factors" associated with the disparities we see and, further, that there are not many "explanations" for those factors. But the fundamental explanation is quite clear; it is an economically sound component for the capitalist class. Yes, I know Marsh, not to mention others of this ilk, write whole books to make this rather basic point, too bad, it's all there really is in the explanation even if there is, of course, so much more in overcoming it (again, something about which Post-Modernist Pseudo-Marxists often fall remarkably silent, except those who like steer us to writing our congress"men"). But, then, talking about what is to be done would more than likely not get their works published by those bastions of "free academic thought", the publishing companies. It is . . .useful . .  .to "admire a problem" and dismiss solutions as either non-academic or "empiricist".
Saying this does not in any way discount the "more pressing" issue of class, economy and overcoming the capitalist profit system to establish a "better" form of education; something that may very well be primarily the establishment of a different class in power. But a different "class" in power involves the ENTIRE class and their re-education--both in school and the streets--not just the predispositions of White academics who purport to believe they have the franchise on what constitutes a working class or Marxist analysis of education.


> Date: Wed, 27 Jul 2011 16:55:25 +1200
> From: johnedmundson at paradise.net.nz
> Subject: Re: [Marxism] Class Dismissed
> To: mtomas3 at hotmail.com
> ======================================================================
> Rule #1: YOU MUST clip all extraneous text when replying to a message.
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> Sorry, my post on the "Class Dismissed" thread had no subject line.
> Cheers,
> John
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