23 July 2009

Learning is Communism

If socialism is the future, but we can build it now, then if communism is also the future can we also build communism now?

Yes, we can!

Language is communistic. It grows and changes by the action of all the language-speakers, requiring no other authority or “state”. If South Africans were working harder on the development of their 11 official languages they would know the communistic nature of language better. Language is actually-existing communism.

The Internet is communistic. This Communist University, for example, has no imposed form, but only has the form it takes as a consequence of the free action of those involved. In the six years of its existence, all attempts to institutionalise it in any other terms than its objective existence in cyberspace and in its participants, have failed. In the Communist University, whether we want it that way nor not, “the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all” (that is a quote from the Communist Manifesto).

In the dialogical method of Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, otherwise called Critical Pedagogy, there is no elementary, junior, senior, matriculation, undergraduate, post-graduate, doctorate or professor level.

As much as there may be a room (or a garden in the case of the ancient Peripatetics), and a gathering of individuals each known by name, and a “codification” which is the text or other object for the occasion, yet the dialogue admits no limits. The Freirean gathering is not sheltered. It is one of the essentials of Freirean Pedagogy that we refuse the fiction of the sheltered classroom, and instead recognise that the oppressor is around us and even within us, while we strive to liberate ourselves through our mutual pedagogical dialogue.

We have finished our “course” on Karl Marx’s “Capital”, Volume 1. The “intros” will be gathered together with the divided text of the book, and published so that other groups and future groups can follow this path if they wish.

So we now come back, as promised, to the question of “Basics”. In Freirean practice, there is no such thing as a basic level, or an advanced level, as we have said, above. But what we can do is to choose our texts so that they will provide a comfort to those who feel the need of basic building blocks. Some of them are here, in an old “Basic Communism” course of the CU. The first of the building blocks will be second chapter from Freire’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”. This is an opportunity to reflect upon what you are trying to do by learning. What is political education for?

For the late Freire (pictured above), and for his followers the Freireans of today, education is a political act and a social act. The CU recommends that you read Chapter 2, because it is easier. Chapter 1 is also full of great stuff. Remember Tony Buzan’s advice: don’t get stuck. Skip over the difficult bits.

Click on these links:

‘Pedagogy of the Oppressed’, Paulo Freire, 1970, Chapter 2 (5218 words)

‘Pedagogy of the Oppressed’, Paulo Freire, 1970, Chapter 1 (9382 words)


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