Friday, December 17, 2004

Revolutionary Education

Google may be able to put millions of books online, but what's the use of libraries if you can't read? Here's a report from Venezuela, where the left-wing reforms won from the Chavez government have seen a dramatic extension of the school system, including a nationwide drive to eradicate adult illiteracy, and where some schools have been placed under the direct control of working class and peasant communities:

The Alberdi School became a real educational centre, where there is a consciousness of the political role in the formation of new values striving to obtain a more just and dignified world...Today, this school has become the centre of organized development of the community, with not only its traditional function of giving classes, but it is also the nucleus where different missions converge: Robinson (literacy and primary education for adults), Mission Rivas (secondary studies for adults excluded from the system), Mission Sucre (University education), the urban land committees, the desks for water, sporting committees, development of the Cultural House, development of different community workshops, amongst them the incipient foundation of a school of documentary cinema, with the support of the community channel Catia TVe, plus so many other activities.

The community is well aware now that the school belongs to them and that the success reached will not be annulled by any legal sentence, nor by any other measure that may be applied. Now, in this sector of La Pastora, boys and girls go to school wearing a smile of happiness, and that smile and that happiness are the result of the revolution, revolution which will be made by the people, more than the government.

Read the whole thing here.

Meanwhile, in the good ol' US of A, a Left Alliance of radical scholars and teachers announces its existence:

We seek to build a better society, free of the bigotries and inequalities mentioned above, in which the passion for knowledge will flourish. We believe that activism--as well as teaching, research and writing--has an important role to play in bringing about a just and humane society. We want to establish institutional and societal conditions that will encourage analytic and critical thought as well as foster the full development of human potential and creativity. To these ends we seek to build and be part of a re-born left.

One of the organisations affiliating to the Left Alliance is Historians Against War, which has published a pamphlet in which several generations of historians discuss their experiences of war and of Home Front America. Read it here.

All these militant boffins might be able to cheer up poor old Terry Eagleton, who uses a review of the latest tome from Fank Ferudi (Britain's answer to Lindsay Perigo, if you must know) to lament the supposed passing of the 'classical intellectual':

One mark of the classical intellectual (more recently dubbed a "theorist") was that he or she refused to be pinned to a single discipline... Once society is considered too complex to be known as a whole, however, the idea of truth yields to both specialism and relativism. Because you can now know only your own neck of the woods, the general critique as launched by the conventional intellectual collapses. There is no longer any big picture, a fact for which our rulers are profoundly grateful.

I'm an admirer of Eagleton, who has written some powerful denunciations of the intellectual and political excesses of postmodernism, but I think he's wrong to be boosting a one-trick pony like Ferudi, a man who:

[D]oes not see market forces or the growth of professionalism as the chief villains in this sorry story. For him, the main factor is the politics of inclusion [!!]

Your enemy's enemy is not always your friend, Terry. Get thee to that Left Alliance website!


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home