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(en) France, UCL AL #312 - Special file Paris 1871, Educational aspects: The alliance of hands and brains (ca, de, it, fr, pt)[machine translation]

Date Thu, 25 Mar 2021 09:54:53 +0200

We know that the Commune, ten years before the III e Republic, founded the public, secular and free. Less is known about the educational program that she promised herself to instill in it, which abolished the hierarchy between intellectual work and manual work. ---- The academic work of the Commune is based on an important educational fund built by the labor movement and the various socialisms the XIX thcentury, with evening classes, access to education, professional development, all in claiming a new and universal education. ---- Three elements make, in particular, the originality of the workers' project in education: integral education; the school-workshop; the union method. One idea brings them together: work must take the leading role in educational plans. On these bases, the school action of the Municipality associates the construction of a republican school with a socialist education.

The first republican school
Because it is the Municipality which created the first republican school in France: public and common, democratic (based on the universal right to education and instruction), secular and tending towards free education.

It begins to replace congregational education with secular education, on the basis of the decree of April 2, 1871, separating Church and State. A real political and cultural revolution. But the school of the Commune also aligns itself with the educational principles of the socialist workers' movement.

An English illustration. At the feet of the proletariat, all the attributes of the sciences, arts and letters, made available for emancipation.
cc Walter Crane
Integral education
For Paul Robin (1837-1912), teacher and friend of Bakunin, who wrote a report on education in 1870 for the Paris section of the International Association of Workers (AIT), we must offer the same education to girls and boys, without prioritizing forms of knowledge, without excluding manual work and vocational training from school.

This is the main socialist marker of the school program of the Municipality, in accordance with popular needs and the idea of a society rebuilt around Work, because it has been stripped of Capital. Some vocational schools thus opened briefly in May 1871.

Integral education is also the dissemination by schools of elements hitherto reserved for the rich: for example, the culture of the body and the practice of physical exercises, or the entry of art and artist at school, as proposed in the manifesto of the Federation of artists, led by the revolutionary painter Gustave Courbet.

We must take the opposite view of bourgeois society, which concedes to the proletarians only a fragmentary education the better to chain them to divided work. It is necessary, as a communard newspaper writes, that "education is professional and integral[...], that a handler of tools can write a book, write it with passion, with talent, without for that. feel obliged to abandon the vice or the workbench"[1].

Édouard Vaillant, education delegate, appointed Victoire Tinayre inspector of the schools of Paris 12 th , which she undertook to secularize.
The school-workshop
The concept of "school-workshop" concretizes the articulation between productive work and school instruction. Just as the worker cannot learn without doing, the child can only learn by doing and working. Because it is both the central activity of society and the activity through which the individual is fulfilled, work must be at the heart of pedagogy. In the school-workshop, the divide between intellectual training and professional training disappears, as does the chronological break between two distinct stages: first the school, then the professional.

The Municipality even wants to allow workers to participate in education. The classic model of the teacher defined above all by his "school" instruction must coexist with the direct intervention of workers, artists, gymnasts, etc. The commission for the organization of education, when opening the vocational school for boys, invites "workers who would like to be apprenticeship masters in the school[...]to address their requests to the labor delegation. and exchange"[2].

This workshop-school, in which the children would be introduced to certain trades, was modeled on the "polytechnic school" of which the AIT spoke: bringing together workers' organizations and the school ; pragmatic aim of improving the initial training of workers ; emancipation of workers by controlling educational action ; transmission to the school of a culture and a work ethic in order to root out the discourse of the dominant from childish consciousness.

The union method
The use of the trade union method signifies the will to build the new school in connection with the labor movement, corporate initiatives and union chambers, as well as with the social movement, teachers, republican and socialist associations, and the population. .

As the emancipation of workers can only be the work of the workers themselves, they must seize upon education as they do and they must seize upon production, consumption, credit. and common services. The school reform of the Municipality is thus part of a global project of self-emancipation, at a distance from the State and the Church.

It is the promise of a revolutionary pedagogical exploration, in which education is not only a means of knowing, but becomes a means of living together in equality and in freedom.

Jean-François Dupeyron (Landes)

Double wages, drive out priests
Under the Commune, the reform of education - which for many remained on paper - was mainly the work of Édouard Vaillant (1840-1916), elected to the Commune and delegated to public education on April 20. Blanquist, he was also a member of the AIT, whose ideas he relayed in matters of education, in particular on the abolition of the hierarchy of intellectual work-manual labor. Vaillant surrounded himself with an active team which included feminists like André Léo (1824-1900) and Victoire Tinayre (1831-1895).

In mid-May, the Commune decided on equal pay for teachers, whose salaries were doubled. And, with the majority of Parisian schools in the hands of the Church, priests and nuns began to be driven out - despite resistance from devotees and devotees.

On the other hand, the Municipality did not go so far as to abolish the separate education for girls and boys, which the libertarian pedagogues would engage thirty years later.

After the Commune, Édouard Vaillant will become one of the leaders of Blanquism. In 1905, he co-founded the Unified Socialist Party, of which he was, with Jean Jaurès and Jules Guesde, one of the leading figures.

Illustration: "Citizen Jules Vallès" (member of the education committee), taken from Bertall, Les Communeux. Types, characters, costumes, Plon, 1880.


[1] Henri Bellenger, "Professional and Integral Education", Le Vengeur , May 7, 1871

[2] Journal officiel, May 22, 1871

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