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(en) Ireland, Workers Solidarity #83 - Free Education! Aidan Regan Reviews A Primer of Libertarian Education by Joel Spring. Black Rose Books, 1998, $10 from WSM Books, p.o. box 1528, Dublin 8

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sun, 26 Dec 2004 09:11:53 +0100 (CET)

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The overall aim of the primer is to introduce ideas from different libertarian
thinkers that are concerned with producing a radical theory and practice of
teaching that will encourage non-authoritarian and revolutionary character
structures in both the individual and society.
The earlier chapters concentrate on the works of William Godwin, Max
Stirner, Leo Tolstoy, Ivan Illich and Franceso Ferrer. The common bond
between these early thinkers is their radical critique of schooling. Each
believed that the school is nothing more than an agent of the state and the
school's role was to produce loyal and obedient citizens who will accept the
authority of the ruling political and economic elite. The school alienates
the learner from what is being taught, the school becomes the socialisation
process of the individual rather than the community. Essentially the
government wanted schools to produce loyal citizens and industry needed
obedient and trained workers.

Spring then introduces some modern thinkers on the issue of schooling,
child rearing and the family such as Paulo Freire and Wilhelm Reich.
Friere is a Brazilian educationalist that is internationally renowned for his
alternative education methods. He argued that the current education
system is based on a form of banking. That is, the student is but an object
which the school deposits uncritical information. A good student is
therefore classified as to how well and how easily they receive this deposit.
They are rewarded by their level of obedience. Freire argued for an
education system based upon praxis, that is the organic intermingling of
theory and action directed at social structures to be reformed. The most
important step for a self-governing society is the removal of authority from
the character structures of its individuals. Reich argued that for this to
occur the patriarchal family and compulsory marriage must be removed.

A radical pedagogy is central to a radical social movement. Strategies must
be developed to confront the political realities of the existing educational

It is without doubt that the education system is set up to serve the existing
social order, all one has to do is walk on to a university campus to see how
much the university curriculum is designed to maintain a knowledge based
economy or the free market. Public schooling offers a way out for many
working class youths but to use the school to solve problems of poverty is
to seek a conservative solution without directly changing the social
structure that creates poverty in the first place.

The school indoctrinates its students with the dominant ideology of the
time. This, however, creates a dilemma for libertarian educationalists as to
whether the child should be indoctrinated with revolutionary beliefs. How
does one avoid placing their beliefs into a child? Despite this, a true
education system is one that encourages people's full participation in the
world, a social awareness and an eagerness to act.

This page is from the print version of the Irish
Anarchist paper 'Workers Solidarity'.
We also provide PDF files of all our publications
http://www.struggle.ws/wsm/pdf.html for you
to print out and distribute locally
Print out the PDF file of this issue

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