- Capitalism and Alternatives -

The War of Position Continued

Posted by: Samuel Day Fassbinder ( Citizens for Mustard Greens, USA ) on February 27, 19100 at 18:52:15:

In Reply to: Some Good Points, Some Great Points, But an unfortunate slight at me. posted by Lark on February 26, 19100 at 12:53:09:

Basically Lark it appeared to me that all of Stoller's projection of Marx at you has unfortunately convinced you that reading Marx ISN'T essential to an understanding of capitalism, that Stoller is wrong about everything. Thus my comments about you. My own dyspepsia about Stoller is that he has married a truth (historical materialism) to an untruth (the religion about Marx).

Whereas if you look at the sections on capitalism in the Anarchist FAQ, for instance, you can see that most of what they've got up there is taken out of Marx's CAPITAL, even though they never quote Marx directly (though Paul Mattick is a Marxist).

But you'd have to read Marx first to know this.

My overarching point throughout this thread (and many others like it) was about the "tactic" of educating people through the experience of "failure". The Trot method of "education," like the system of public education in the United States and other countries, serves the purposes of CAPITALISM, not of the "revolutionary combination of workers" over-advertised in the Manifesto. If you want to create a class of people whose will to revolt is basically smothered in the "folkoric" consciousness cited by Gramsci's Prison Notebooks (as repeatedly cited in educational ethnographies of the working class, cf. Paul Willis' Learning to Labour, Robert Everhart's Reading, Writing, and Resistance, Peter McLaren's Schooling as a Ritual Performance), teach the essential facts of life, but in such a punitive way that students grasp mainly the subjective datum that they don't like being "taught". Thus Deep Dad Nine's observation about illiteracy in this post.

Since I work in the lower-class public schools, I can offer this generalization: the childhood hatred of reading in almost every school I visit is near-total by the time students reach their ninth birthdays.

To make a further point: lower-class schools, as such, serve therefore as an insurance that the "combination of workers" is NOT revolutionary -- if there is ANY setting in capitalist society where the working class is "combined" in a revolutionary way, it is the lower-class public schools, which are basically POORLY-GUARDED PRISONS. Sure enough, revolts occur -- two weeks ago, one of the local high schools around here had all of its locks glued shut, and the students had to be warehoused somewhere while locksmiths opened the classrooms. But this revolutionary combination of schoolchildren is combined with an anti-intellectual "intellectualism" guaranteed to make Marx (or any other thinker for that matter) irrelevant to the working class. Thus my comments above about "revolutionary mobilization" not being predicated on doctrinaire positions on Russian history.

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