"Being a teacher is like being a prison guard"

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martinh
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Jun 12 2010 23:03
'Garco' wrote:
Nevertheless he makes some interesting points about school which the ‘Education Workers’ here might find interesting. (By the way, perhaps the ‘London Education Workers’ Group’ should be renamed the ‘London Teachers For a More Humane Education System Group’, this would be more apt and honest in relation to their apparent thoughts about Education; it would also make it plain that they were teachers and not cleaners. However, I suppose that the term ‘workers’ is not only derived from the desire to be considered a salt-of-the-earth ‘worker’ rather than a professional, but is also lifted from the jargon of the teaching unions).

I don't know the exact break down of the LEWG's membership, but I know that this is an inaccurate characterisation that would be totally dishonest if adopted (of the 6 people I've known involved in the group, only 2 are teachers, the rest being support staff or TAs). Still, never let anything get in the way of a bit of hyperbole, eh? And we find out that you are writing this as a teacher, which I don't think was clear from your OP. And you suggest others are not honest?

On a different matter, I don't actually think the shit jobs need to be worried about that much in a post-revolutionary society. It's the good jobs that will go more than the bad ones - and people will contribute according to their abilities. I don't mind doing any of that list, Rob, so long as I get time to do some of the things I want to do. TBH doing 5 different "undesirable" jobs over a few months would be infintely better than doing one job forever. We are not seeking to reproduce what we have now, who bother? So many pointless things done now will be eliminated, leaving us with more people to do socially necessary work. For some people, digging an allotment is life affirming, rewarding and relaxing. For others, it is a market gardener or farm labourer's job.

I suspect that plenty of people don't want to work down the sewers, or in caring for people who are old or have dementia. But I know that lots of us are, who knows, it would probably be enough,

Regards,

Martin

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Rob Ray
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Jun 13 2010 14:58
Quote:
I don't mind doing any of that list, Rob, so long as I get time to do some of the things I want to do.

Neither would I on that basis, but Armed Sheep seemed to be arguing not that dull or nasty work would be shared out among a greater number of people doing it less often, but that it would all get picked up by people who genuinely enjoyed doing it, thus leaving him free to piss about all day doing exactly what he wanted to do all the time. I found this unlikely.

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Nyarlathotep
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Jun 14 2010 04:01
888 wrote:
So are tour guides and holiday camp motivators also middle class managerial-type because they supervise people for long periods of time?

The obvious difference is that truancy officers are not forcing anyone to go to a holiday camp.

cantdocartwheels wrote:
Unless you think 6 year olds should run their own classrooms

How about abolishing the classroom as an instrument of capitalist exploitation, and allowing children to learn by freely perusing their natural interests within reason?

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Nyarlathotep
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Jun 14 2010 04:02
cantdocartwheels wrote:
children need to be taught right and wrong

And the best way to do that, of course, is to force them to sit on uncomfortable plastic chairs for eight hours a day, under florescent lighting, while being yelled at and compelled to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

satawal
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Jun 14 2010 09:07

Some may find the following links interesting on this subject. Obviously they are not representative of a unified ‘school of thought’… :

Towards the Destruction of Schooling - Jan D. Mathews:
http://anti-politics.net/school/

Schools No Longer - Colin Ward:
http://zinelibrary.info/schools-no-longer

Against Schools & The Tyranny of Compulsory Schooling - John Taylor Gatto :
http://zinelibrary.info/against-schools-tyranny-compulsory-schooling

I would also recommend (with obvious reservations about its soft spot for buddism etc) having a look at the film ‘Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh’ - specifically the section on modern schooling, (the link is to part 5 as this is the section with a bit about schooling – starting at 2:39 ). :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BXfOBogN_M

I would also recommend Paul Avrich’s, ‘The Modern School Movement: Anarchism and Education in the United States’ and the relevant section in his ‘Anarchist Voices: An Oral History of Anarchism in America’.

Also its worth having a look at the websites and publications of the following groups:

Libertarian Education: http://www.libed.org.uk

Education Otherwise: http://www.education-otherwise.org/

Spikymike
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Jun 14 2010 12:34

I read through the whole of this yesterday and this morning and reread a few of the contrasting arguments put forward.

I think at a basic level the points made by Red Hughes in post 94 and Mike Harman in post 99 are entirely valid in concluding that teachers are, by one important definition at least 'working class' and that their experience as 'wage slaves' in an increasingly 'proletarianised' organisation of the capitalist education industry provides them with a material interest in abolishing their status as such and creating the conditions for their development along with the rest of the ex-working class as free human beings in a free communist society.

However, this does not mean that the arguments behind Garco's definition of teachers and indeed other 'managers' as 'middle class' are invalid.

Harman is correct in pointing out that there are a whole range of workers who in many different ways reproduce through their work function ( or some part of their work function) capitalist values and social relations and that we all do this in many aspects of our every day struggle for survival.

But this correct assertion is bland and unhelpful in trying to understand how the differences in the way different sections of the working class through their different employment functions and social roles contribute more or less (and in different ways) to the reproduction of capitalism and in turn are able or not in varying degrees to break free from their alloted roles and potentially contribute to any challenge to the system.

Teachers role and that of other 'professional' workers to my mind (as a 'professional' worker in a different field) undoubtedly requires a far greater degree of identification with the job than say a factory worker or shop assistant. 'Professional' workers to get on and to make life bearable in the long hours on the job generally end up investing much more in their job and to the extent that they are disatisfied with their role are more likely to maintain their own pschological balance by continuing that identification but with a liberal or leftist reform agenda. Thus is born the notion of the 'radical teacher' and 'alternative education' which in practice have only supplied the system with means for it's own modernisation and continuence.

The ability to break from our alloted 'professional' worker roles within the framework of capitalism is very limited. Harman rightly suggest that a small crack can appear whenever teachers go on strike but it rarely does when such strikes are limited to the maintainence of their 'professional status'. But there is increasing potential for such a break to the extent that strikes and other forms of rebellion extend beyond single categories of workers, so that action accross the whole education sector, the whole public sector, or accross many different sectors geographically and for extended periods occurs.

It seems unlikely ( and has not happended to my knowledge) that teachers or other professional workers will be at the forefront of any such movement, but their basic position as working class does mean there is the potential for them to be drawn into such movements, which if they were in a different class alltogether would be less likely.

In contrast of course other workers from the industrial and service sector have been at the forefront of such struggles.

I would add that the other significant group that have spearheaded such struggles have been the youth in colleges and schools which should be contrasted to their teachers ( a minority of whom non-the-less have sometimes then joined in).

The other point to make about the development of more widespread and deeper struggles is that this cannot happen by assuming some kind of abstract 'unity of the working class'. Recognising the differences within the class ( and particularly that between 'professional', 'managerial' and other workers under discussion here) and the need for these to be aggressively confronted in practice is essential.

The divisive role of 'management' functions attached to various jobs is of course well recognised by the top managers in the state and industry who in the public sector in particular where I work, have tended to drive such functions lower and lower down the expanded heirachy of workplace organisation. My professional status as a 'surveyor' has meant that for much of my working life the 'technical expertise' element of the job was primary and the 'managerial' element minor but as time has gone by there has been increasing pressure to rebalance this comming from the top, alongside heavy promotion throughout the workforce of' 'corporate values'.

The success of the above process ( even against initial resistance) might be seen as making those workers with 'professional' and/or ' managerial' functions even less likely to identify with and join in any widespread class struggle and that might be the case at least temporarily. But there are countervailing tendencies from the effects of the overarching economic crisis.

As a slight aside, one partially opposing tendency to the above process of expanding management functions, in my workplace has been a move to a huge open plan office, with the promotion of 'hot desking' etc introducing ( alongside more generic job descriptions) a general evening out and depersonalising of the workplace experience. I might write up more about that when I get time.

Apart from the significance of the differences between 'professional' and other workers in terms of their role in the reproduction of capitalist values/roles there is the additional important distinction to be made in terms of the abillity of different sectors of workers to undermine the basic economy of the system in terms of the expansion and realisation of exchange value and to contribute to the overarching economic crisis I refer to above - but that is a whole additional discussion.

From all the above it can be seen perhaps that whilst disagreeing with Garco on class definitions I tend to agree with the tenor of his approach in his post 119 in so far as I cannot imagine anything resembling education as it is in capitalism, let alone in any self managed institutional form, continuing in a post revolutionary society.

I don't however think I am alone in that on Libcom and as Harman has said, if the word 'learning' was substituted for 'education' in at least some of the posts which Garco and partner have contested then the differences would be less exagerated.

Attachment to reformed capitalist institutions and processes under a sef-managed regime is a danger in any revolutionary situation. There are remaining libertarian/leftist and traditional anarchosyndicalist voices on Libcom which express that attachment to some degree, mainly in their desire to promote themselves and their politics as a 'practical alternative' to the mainstream left, but I do not perceive these as dominant in the way that Garco and partner seem to.

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Nyarlathotep
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Jun 14 2010 13:14

To me it's less about who is or isn't "middle-class" but rather, which segments of the working-class are given incentives to enforce bourgeois social order on their fellow workers.

Caiman del Barrio
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Jun 14 2010 13:59
Nyarlathotep wrote:
cantdocartwheels wrote:
children need to be taught right and wrong

And the best way to do that, of course, is to force them to sit on uncomfortable plastic chairs for eight hours a day, under florescent lighting, while being yelled at and compelled to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

Jesus...how about you actually engage with the arguments being put forward? How about you step outside of your clunky dichotomy in which School either exists under your weird, batshit mental education system in the US (hey, guess what, American citizens only make up around 300 million of almost 7 billion human beings btw) or doesn't exist at all. Quite clearly Cantdo isn't arguing for anything you're arguing against.

fort-da game
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Jun 14 2010 17:05
jef costello wrote:
fort-da game wrote:
I also wanted to show how I think this discussion is a good example of Libcom's anti-individual/pro-institution bias. I think that through its massive emphasis on reading 'the three volumes of capital' Libcom has tended to represent itself politically in terms of identifying with what it takes to be the objective development of the forces of production, this cashes out as a revolutionary solution in terms of 'self-management' without problematising at all the question of dead labour (meaning the mediation of live relations through established processes). In turn this approach produces a form of instrumentalist logic and identification with the forces of production themselves rather than sticking with, what I take to be the appropriate communist perspective, of identifying with the experience of alienation. This has led to a situation where any attempt to generate a discourse within Libcom based on alienated experiences has been marginalised. Libcom's unconscious identification with institutions and productive processes has produced a situation where it is always the individual who appears transgressive. The proper approach, the means to fit immediate proletarian experience of individual harm, would be to 'dialectically' facilitate the expression of such experiences and fit them into a wider communist theory... in other words, individuals should be encouraged to put their experiences into theoretical terms and not inhibited from doing so, e.g. if someone says they have spent X years on the production line and they have developed an industrial derived disease and they are going to die and they so hate what it is that has done this to them it is not a good idea to call them a 'primitivist'. Hating work and the machinery of production, becoming senstitised to the use of people by processes, really is a good communist beginning. The supposed 'anti-individualism' of Libcom actually manifests itself as an environment that is against individuals and the discourse that is appropriate to expressing alienation.

You might have a point about a pro-institutional bias on libcom, there is sometimes an overreaction to individualism here, but your example is so fundamentally wrong that it's hard to have any sympathy with you. Anarchism is plagued by an overemphasis on the individual. The common mistake that anarchism is about the individual. Anarchism is about society, it is about people choosing to help and support each otherand producing frameworks to do this effectively. Old people's homes are horrible places and I don't think that they should exist but I think that someone suffering from alzheimer's does need to be cared for someone and that burden should not just fall on family, which the person may not even have. A community looks at the individual with alzheimer's and determines a collective response to their situation.

I do not believe that individuals should be ignored but although people need to be listened to I think this is taken too far within the anarchist milieu (and left politics in general) people expect to be endlessly listened to and formulate reasons why their experiences are so special or important. Ultimately when organisations are formed the people forming them will discuss and decide upon them and I don't think that they should be held to ransom by people with extreme views. Just because people need to be listened to does not mean that they should be given control. Communities work because people contribute, because they negotiate and because tey learn that you can't always get everything that you want and you can't always do everything that you want.

Dear Jef,
But this example has already occurred... both in this response to me from earlier in the discussion:

Quote:
Pro-revolutionary critique must begin from the point where the damage is being done – it begins with putting into words that traumatic experience which otherwise passes unspoken (how is it that teachers so often fail to put themselves in the position of the children who are bewildered and exhausted by the environment of school?) All this pain, all this mental illness, all these addictions and sense of failure and emptiness and boredom and worthlessness begins at school – because school is where you are prepared for work...
Quote:
jesus christ, talk about turning communism into some ridiculous liberal cry-in, seriously grow some balls

and, for example, in Libcom’s revisionist account of the Luddites where visceral hatred of alien machinery is abstracted into the defending of jobs. The individual shock and trauma experienced is thus abstracted from the political register. The other point here is that anti-capitalist arguments (where capitalism is identified as the forces of production) come from somewhere, they are grounded in an experience of the world... and therefore, objectively, they are just other people’s opinions, not identical with yours perhaps but not as different as you might think.

(Don't you find it interesting how you collectively forgive the transgressions of your identified side and yet the most trivial observations of an identified enemy is an insult that cannot go unpunished)

The question is whether you identify your politics with the alienation of the individual and whether you register as a priority that alienation and its implications or whether you think that the suffering of abstracted people is a worthwhile cost. I am sure most of the contributors on here do not really get the implications of the progressive ‘forces of production’ argument, they do not understand the attack on ‘primitivism’ and ‘individualism’ because the framing of these attacks sets the question outside the register of individual experience but focuses instead on abstract questions of production. The resultant politics is then presented as a ‘diminished exploitation’ model, in which capitalist processes are taken as historically objective whilst the question and purpose of their application is the only matter open for contestation.

Libcom, and your good self, are not an opposition to capitalism as such but rather exponents of a supercessional politics in which exploitation by the same objective processes is diminished and in which the fetter of the abstraction Value is supplanted by, an as yet unnamed, productivist abstraction in its place. This politics proposes that the process of rationalisation of production which has occurred within capitalism under the sign of Value is furthered under-self management in the name of utility, or production for itself. The position of this abstraction and its dominance over production is identical to Value except that it is severed from the irrationalities which partly underpin the commodity form. The worker as appendage to the machine within capitalism becomes a worker appended to a machine within ‘communism’. At the level of individual experience, nothing will have changed.

Evidently, where the attack on capitalist skewed technology is coupled to a vision of a de-technologised alternative (or if where there are proposals for rules for living that ‘should’ be adhered to) then this becomes an ideology and should be opposed... but the rejection of the machinery of exploitation as it is directly experienced is anything but. Similarly, if we were advocating the teachings of Ivan Ilich on here, then our arguments would pass into ideology. But big surprise, our rejection of education is resultant of direct experiences of it (one of us even is a teacher!) Just as industrial workers are obliged in the name of their sanity to outright reject the idea of their continued exploitation by machines within a communist society so teachers should attack the mechanism of education and their role within it as a pre-condition for its replacement by entirely other relations.

Just to well and truly place myself outside the pale on this. Our critique of alienation should be understood as a return to essentialism, we absolutely reject the ideology of historicisation as a mask of the bourgeois insistence on flexibilisation of labour. Therefore, I think you are quite wrong to continually revise the significance of the individual – the individual is the locus of your life, it is also the site of your struggle for survival, everything else is mystification. If you don't like listening to other people's complaints then you have little knowledge of human beings – consciousness is complaint. Complaint is how we divide ourselves from simple immanence with conditions. If your politics is not based on your complaints about society, what is it based on? The problem is I think you find other people talking about themselves to be bores when you really want to talk about yourself but you feel obliged by the discourse you adhere to, to exteriorise.

The role of the communist is to defend the individual scale within the class struggle and reintegrate the problematic interest of the individual within questions of automatic process and ‘society’. Every politics which sidelines the experience of individuals in favour of abstract solutions evades the problems of these automatic processes... Your problem is how to fit the register of alienation with the register of productivist becoming, can you fit them together Jef?

I was almost going to quote one of your fellow teachers at you, Simone Weil, but I’ll spare you that one.

FDG

Boris Badenov
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Jun 14 2010 17:34
fort-da game wrote:
Every politics which sidelines the experience of individuals in favour of abstract processing solutions evades the problems of these automatic processes...

newsflash mate: the "experience of the individual" is an abstraction unless you are the individual having the experience (but you cannot build a social movement on separate individual experiences).
I'd appreciate it if you would answer the question I asked you above as to whether you believe that individual alienation can ever be 'abolished' or not. Because this seems to be the focus of your analysis and you seem to imply above that communism could in fact do away with all individual alienation, but it is not clear if that's what you believe. If you do believe that however, it'd be interesting to know why. Alienation may take a particularly gruesome and deadly form in capitalist society, but it's not likely to be just a byproduct of the latter. There always is a gap between individual wants and aspirations and the impositions of society, whatever its nature may be, capitalist or communist. This to me means that individual alienation is not in fact inherently capitalist. So why base your entire "communist critique" on this concept?
You scornfully conclude that "Libcom" only want to diminish exploitation as opposed to abolish capital because people here have not been very supportive of your individualist stance. But how about explaining in more detail the substance of this stance? What do you mean by the total liberation of the individual (which is something you propose AFAIS), and why do you think it is possible and or desirable?

As to the model suggested by Garco on the previous page, the essential problem is "making everyone teach" as if that necessarily means a democratic control of the education process. I agree with the localist and transparent approach but the "anti-specialist" stance is simply anti-intellectualism masquerading as radical critique. Sure it is one thing to make "everyone teach" in a kindergarten or even grade school, but it is another to do that at higher levels of education; I agree with the former suggestion, but the latter makes no sense (and you don't make a distinction, Garco, as far as I can tell). You may have nothing but contempt for the people who have devoted their lives to researching and understanding a specific topic/field of human knowledge, but without this "elitist" specialism, social and technological advance would not be possible. I do appreciate your post however; it probably should have come earlier tbh as it would have allowed the posters on this thread to engage with your ideas in more depth, but even so, it's a good contribution. I don't actually find much to argue with in it, except what I find is an exaggerated individualism and anti-specialism, which is something that is apparent in FDG's posts as well, but overall I don't think "Libcom" is antithetical to what you propose in that post (as claimed by FDG in his last post).

Boris Badenov
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Jun 14 2010 18:56

Btw, what do people think of the recent talk in England of making the curriculum more "flexible" and bottom-up (which seems to have stopped since the coalition gov. took power):

Guardian wrote:
What should be in the curriculum? Thanks to a cutting-edge initiative at a Scottish school, SpongeBob SquarePants, Dr Who, The Titanic and Famous People are currently taking top billing in the classroom.

St Mary's primary in Leith, Edinburgh, is taking advantage of wide freedoms under the new Scottish Curriculum for Excellence to allow the children to choose their own topics as a jumping-off point for learning.

The use of topics as Trojan horses for smuggling maths, literature and science into children's heads has been popular since the 60s, but in the recent past much more detailed national curriculums both north and south of the border made it harder for schools to do this and gave them a more limited choice of themes.

Scotland's new freestyle curriculum was devised under Labour, but the SNP government chose to press ahead with it. Wales introduced its skills-focused curriculum in 2008. But a similar curriculum for English primaries, due to start in September next year, now lies dead in the water, harpooned last week by the schools minister, Nick Gibb. The planned curriculum, which moved the emphasis away from what was taught on to producing confident, lifelong learners via six "areas of learning", was devised following a review by Sir Jim Rose.

Now schools must wait and see how the new coalition will fulfil its twin promises: on the one hand to create a slimmed-down curriculum that gives teachers more freedom, and on the other, to restore traditional content such as kings and queens and classic texts.

At St Mary's, my own nine-year-old has, since this initiative was introduced, developed a proprietary interest that his older siblings never showed in his current class topic. This term it is "the sixties". He has tie-dyed his own T-shirt, and tells me about the moon landings and John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

The headteacher, Stephen Gilhooley, says: "Under the old curriculum, we would know more or less what a child would be doing all the way through primary. Teachers planned everything; it was very much teacher-led. Some of the topics that came up year after year … even the teachers were bored by them, and it is hard to enthuse a class about something you are bored by. There was one called: 'A Scottish Island' and, beautiful as they are, there is only so much you can do with that."

He explains that a major criterion of the new Scottish curriculum is about giving children "ownership of what they want to learn".

"There are many ideas coming from the children. The teacher can manipulate where they are going and they can run with their enthusiasm. They can talk to the children about getting a balance across the year.

"In the past, the teacher would just have said, 'Now we are going to do the Victorians'."

Is SpongeBob really a suitable topic? Gilhooley admits that some themes work better than others. "It is a starting point," he says. "It is really all about letting the children have their say, and they are using SpongeBob as a way of developing reading and writing and to think about under the sea and other things.

"Some of the children don't have very wide frames of reference and they really like being able to select something they are familiar with.

"I think teachers need to be allowed to take risks in the classroom and not always play it safe."

The school is full of artwork that the children have produced to illustrate their themes. Pop art and Beatles pictures dominate the 60s display. The Titanic classroom is decorated with a huge wall-hanging model of the ship and papier-mache lifejackets. Along the hall are cardboard Tardises and a record of a trip to the Glasgow Science Centre.

Some classes have made more conventional choices – The Egyptians still made the grade for year 3 and year 2 chose Minibeasts.

John Davis, senior lecturer in education at Edinburgh University, says the approach will be hard work for teachers. "And schools will also have to work at allaying parents' fears." He also says: "To mean anything, it needs to be a real choice, not one of those 'do you want a blue book or a yellow book' choices that these things sometimes turn into.

"But, if you consider that in the UK we are supposed to have taken on the rights of the child under the UN convention to have a say in decision-making, then I think this is our obligation. We do need to involve children in planning their own learning."

Last week in England, Gibb announced that the coalition government would make changes to the national curriculum both "to ensure a relentless focus on the basics and to give teachers more flexibility".

Many in the profession south of the border have voiced "disappointment" at the news. "We were so close to getting the new curriculum," says Mari Jones, head of Ombersley first school in Worcestershire. "Now it feels as if there is going to be a hiatus where we don't quite know what's happening.

"It is so frustrating. I know all the work that has gone into the new curriculum at this school and centrally. It was based on two independent reviews. It was not political. This is the way things are going in other countries, too.

"It was about giving the children the research skills they need, not filling them full of the facts which, for some children, can be a real turn-off in education. It was very much about developing the whole child."

Rose says: "It is disappointing but it is not entirely dispiriting." He says the new government is indicating that it supports the concept of more flexibility. "Elbow room for teachers is crucial and that is what the Rose review was all about. I would have liked to go even further with that but it is not easy - as people will discover - to get subject specialists to agree on that."

Richard Kieran, headteacher at Grimley and Holt CE primary school, says he feels like the supporter of a football club that was about to get a new playing surface, "and then you get another chairman coming in who says, 'Actually guys, we are just going to bumble along as we are for a couple of years without setting the world on fire'." He queries claims that the move will save money. "A lot of money has already been spent on this and now that is wasted." He is also sceptical about the government's plan to ask well-known experts to write areas of the curriculum. "How much is it going cost to bring Professor Niall Ferguson over from the US to tell us how to teach history?"

But Mick Brookes, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, says although his first reaction to last week's news had been "disappointment", he now feels "there are opportunities here". The new education secretary's repeated emphasis on greater freedom for teachers was to be welcomed. "I would take that as an invitation to schools and heads to use their professionalism and to get on with innovative work, which is possible under the current national curriculum, and not to wait around for two years waiting to be told what they should be doing."
http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/jun/14/national-curriculum-scotland-spongebob

RedHughs
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Jun 14 2010 22:28
Quote:
I'd appreciate it if you would answer the question I asked you above as to whether you believe that individual alienation can ever be 'abolished' or not. Because this seems to be the focus of your analysis and you seem to imply above that communism could in fact do away with all individual alienation, but it is not clear if that's what you believe. If you do believe that however, it'd be interesting to know why. Alienation may take a particularly gruesome and deadly form in capitalist society, but it's not likely to be just a byproduct of the latter. There always is a gap between individual wants and aspirations and the impositions of society, whatever its nature may be, capitalist or communist. This to me means that individual alienation is not in fact inherently capitalist. So why base your entire "communist critique" on this concept?

Hmm,

I'm not a Dupont-ist but I think the question of individual alienation is important.

I think it should be fairly obvious that capitalist society increases personal alienation. Robert Putnam's "Bowling Alone" was a study which attempted quantify individual atomization in modern America. But if you shouldn't need a frickin' study to notice the isolation and hence alienation that prevails in modern capitalist society. Indeed, most counter-critiques of critiques of alienation combine "things have always been just as miserable" with "primitive people living in harmony with nature, that's hippy bullshit" and "you can't prove anything about alienation" - it's a position that reference "realism" without having much connection to reality. The misery, isolation, artificiality, atomization, competition and so-forth of modern society permeates life today. [sarcasm]Tell me the problem is we all don't get our share of Ipads[/sarcasm].

But still, I don't believe that a communist society would abolish alienation in an existential sense. The main thing, though, is that capitalism is systematically increases a particular kind of alienation and that particular sort of alienation would be "very much" lessened.

Human beings are social creatures and rational creatures. You could call capitalism something of an experiment in seeing how much of human existence can be encompassed by the rationality of various quantifying systems, from wage labor to video games. This experiment could be seen as a "success" if society and production could free itself from the need for any specifically human qualities (society then still cease to be capitalist). However, I think we can roughly say that the need for a modicum specifically human labor power in both production and in the reproduction of human beings is both what keep society capitalist what guarantees capitalist crisis, which of course a crisis for humanity.

As capitalist relations develop then, I think the broad communist perspective is that some form of human community must arise to deal with the tendencies with which capitalist relations cannot deal. The rediscovery of a human community would naturally have to be on a world scale rather than on the local scales which previous "primitive communisms" have existed but I'd say that rediscovery of the human community would, among other things, not systematically cultivate the particular forms of alienation characteristic of capitalist society.

RedHughs
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Jun 14 2010 22:44

Well, I think my previous was pretty much the "classic" Lukasian Marxist/Situationist approach. Nothing terribly new.

My impression is the Dupont-ist appraoch kind of starts here but then objects to any position that claims to understand history and any position that make apologies of people's adaptation to capitalism. So it conflates the relative alienation of capitalist society with philosophical alienation, it conflates activities that are normal under capitalism with bad moral choices in one or another confused fashions.

If you read Garco's original post, he waffles continuously between savagely denouncing teachers and describing them as just normal middle class people (who he might or might not also savagely denounce).

I think this approach had it's origins in the post-modernism of the 1980's. The "against totalizing narratives" rhetoric has mesmerizing quality for some.

Of course, by the same "against totalizing narratives" logic, Garco and company aren't going describe the sort-of game they're playing in their "interventions", they are simply going to keep playing it.

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Red Marriott
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Jun 14 2010 22:50

To put the class status of teachers in some historical perspective;

Quote:
The Church of England schools which served our area (built in 1839) housed about 450 scholars and had a staff of eight, for the most part highly unqualified.(1) When I was twelve one lady assistant, teaching English, gave me a tap on the skull, scornfully crossed out the word `masticated' from my composition and substituted `massicated'. `Chewing food to a mass,' she said, `not a mast!' The sycophants about us sniggered. Back home with a dictionary I found myself gleefully right, though of course dared not mention it; but my respect for her scholarship plummeted. From our mentors we expected and got `omniscience'. Soon afterwards, as it happened, she took another dive, socially this time, and with us all, by leaving to become the wife of a 'Sweeney Todd'. Teachers, we knew, might not be perfect ladies, but they didn't marry penny-a-shave barbers!(2) Barbers generally had little `class'.

Still hardly accepted as members of a profession, teachers in Church and State schools fought respectfully for social recognition. Sons and daughters very often from top working-class families, they felt the need to conform as closely as possible to what they knew of middle-class standards.(3) Disseminators among the poor of bourgeois morals, culture and learning, they remained economically tied to the lower orders, living in genteel poverty with an income little higher than that of the skilled manual worker. In 1905, after increases in that year, our headmaster received £120 per annum and his assistants £110. As the century grew older both the economic and the social gap between teachers and the skilled manual workers widened : teaching became a `profession' and its members establishment figures in the lower middle class.

[...]
Discipline in schools inevitably reflected the class pattern of society beyond the walls. Teachers were only too well aware from the physique, clothing and cleanliness of their charges just how far each one stood from the social datum line. In spite of their compassion for the neglected and deprived (not always in evidence), some teachers publicly scolded the condition of their dirty and ill-dressed pupils, too often forgetting the poverty from which they came. It was difficult for a child to keep himself clean in a house where soap came low on the list of necessaries. Children of the quality they might reprimand but seldom punished; the rest were caned (it seldom amounted to much) with fair indiscrimination.

Parents saw their children's teacher passing through the streets with a proper awe - a tribute which doubtless gave pleasure to the recipient and all his working-class relations. The school staff patronizing their flock were condescended to in turn by the rector, visiting clergy and His Majesty's inspectors. Our headmaster, ever conscious of his standing, spoke politely to the mothers of his pupils whenever they called, timid and deferential, at the school. He cared about them and their children, `but', complained the women in the shop, `he speaks to you like you was half-witted!' In this the headmaster merely followed common practice. Many in the working class talking to their betters used their normal speech but aspirated most words beginning with a vowel in an effort to `talk proper'. This habit Punch found extremely funny. As a whole, the middle and upper classes, self-confident to arrogance, kept two modes of address for use among the poor: the first was a kindly, de haut en bas form in which each word, of usually one syllable, was clearly enunciated; the second had a loud, self-assured, hectoring note. Both seemed devised to ensure that though the hearer might be stupid he would know enough in general to defer at once to breeding and superiority. Hospital staff, doctors, judges, magistrates, officials and the clergy were experts at this kind of social intimidation; the trade unionist in his apron facing a well-dressed employer knew it only too well. It was a tactic, conscious or not, that confused and 'overfaced' the simple and drove intelligent men and women in the working class to fury. Some middle-class women, impudent magistrates, prison governors, military and small public school types still exploit it.

Notes
1. In 1902 55 per cent of all teachers had not attended a training college of any kind.
2. Although an efficient safety razor had been invented well before tgoo, most males rejected it as effeminate and stayed loyal to the old `cut-throat'. Before 1914, however, lower-working-class men did not generally shave themselves, but patronized a barber twice a week, which occasioned a large demand for lather lads. These boys were often grossly exploited, working till all hours for a weekly five shillings. Our local barber, a wit and a drunkard with a palsied hand, generously gave regular customers two, 'cut-price', shaves for threehalfpence, but squalid premises and the danger there of catching `devil in the beard', a skin disease, kept his connection small.
3. Six of my cousins, all children of aunts married into the `middle'classes, became schoolteachers. We had plenty of occasions for observing their values.
(Robert Roberts - The Classic Slum - Salford Life in the First Quarter of the Century)

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Nyarlathotep
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Jun 15 2010 18:18
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
Nyarlathotep wrote:
cantdocartwheels wrote:
children need to be taught right and wrong

And the best way to do that, of course, is to force them to sit on uncomfortable plastic chairs for eight hours a day, under florescent lighting, while being yelled at and compelled to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

Jesus...how about you actually engage with the arguments being put forward? How about you step outside of your clunky dichotomy in which School either exists under your weird, batshit mental education system in the US (hey, guess what, American citizens only make up around 300 million of almost 7 billion human beings btw) or doesn't exist at all. Quite clearly Cantdo isn't arguing for anything you're arguing against.

lol americans can't make arguments because we all eat donuts and watch football and drink lite bear....

I guess the capitalist school-systems in Kenya and Sweden and Papua New Guinea are run according to the suggestions of Pedagogy of the Oppressed

btw: http://web.archive.org/web/20080415153706/http://www.gebladerte.nl/30048v01.htm

Valeriano Orobó...
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Jun 15 2010 18:59
Nyarlathotep wrote:

And the best way to do that, of course, is to force them to sit on uncomfortable plastic chairs for eight hours a day, under florescent lighting, while being yelled at and compelled to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

Except for the "uncomfortable" thingy, not a single thing above is right for Spain.

Beyond the caricature, you have reasons enough to consider us all, teachers, tools of control of the state but imho you should reconsider your points thinking about other parts of the world.

As Debord said ignorance is produced everywhere to be exploited and more in spain where culture has always been suspicious. I live in a country where jobs have always been scarce. Today most of them are 3rd sector jobs (catering, hotel, building sector): bad paid, no unions, no security, no respect, season jobs. The kind of jobs everybody that was unable to learn a trade ends up with no possibility to change sector. Perfect workforce: no skills, dependant, increasingly scared when it gets older. I'm not making it up, i see it every day. In spain one of each 3 students doesn't finish compulsory education and from past year on there ain't even one of those shite jobs waiting for them. Void, staying at home with the parents, with luck getting other friends to rent an appartment or squat one.
To know you can learn things strenghtens your selfesteem, it's not only what the state expects from you. Besides, you don't have to use it the way the state expects from you. Loads of kids i taught had a shite selfsteem cos their parents or other teachers thought he was useless, a moron. Well this year i was able to convince two of them that they were worth being something else than going to the military or the police.

I hope this doesn't sound patronizing. It's not my intention in the slightest.

fort-da game
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Jun 15 2010 18:53
Vlad336 wrote:
fort-da game wrote:
Every politics which sidelines the experience of individuals in favour of abstract processing solutions evades the problems of these automatic processes...

newsflash mate: the "experience of the individual" is an abstraction unless you are the individual having the experience (but you cannot build a social movement on separate individual experiences).
I'd appreciate it if you would answer the question I asked you above as to whether you believe that individual alienation can ever be 'abolished' or not. Because this seems to be the focus of your analysis and you seem to imply above that communism could in fact do away with all individual alienation, but it is not clear if that's what you believe. If you do believe that however, it'd be interesting to know why.

I read your 'mate' as a sarcastic or contemptuous appellation... although I may be wrong about that. I did not see your earlier question as to the nature of individuals – as you have communicated hostility before, there did not seem point in continuing the matter.

I am not at all an individualist... on the contrary, I think the individual is an over-determined interpellated effect. Nonetheless, like fortune telling fish in xmas cracker, or a canary down a coalmine, the nature of individual response is a fair indication of what is going on. I am not an advocate of immanence. I think states of alienation are necessary to consciousness, the question is the nature of that alienation. The other question is what is continuous within that which changes. In an earlier thread I put my opinions on the matter of the subject thus (it may work to substitute individual for subject, I am not sure – either way, it places relations and the mediated nature of relations centre stage), I hope it answers your question:

Quote:
The situation as I see it is this:

1.Human ‘subjectivity’ is constructed from:
a. absolute autonomic processes (internal biological and environmental pressures)
b. arbitrarily autonomic processes (the unavoidable inheritance of accidental historical and economic developments).
b. ongoing processes of that which is becoming autonomic, (i.e. the processes by which dead labour is actualised in the world around us and which we take to be our second nature).
c. subjectivity, or inter-subjectivity itself (i.e. the forms of conscious awarenessa and activities which feed into each other, conflicting, destroying, combining etc).
d. Human subjectivity is always set recursively in various environments, however within marxism it is framed specifically thus:

2. There is a conjectured objective trajectory within history in which social development is identified by communist discourse as the progressive realisation of the human species; this trajectory becomes more apparent in subjective consciousness the closer it is to realisation (which is conceived as the clear-eyed control by humanity of its own fate). It is supposed that at the point of this realisation there will appear a subject capable of controlling the forces which reproduce it as an expression of the entirety of human society constructed for itself.

3. However, it has become apparent that the exponential increase in proportion of the domination of dead labour in ratio to the capacity for subjectivity has led to a qualitative transformation in the potential viability of a subject that is capable of controlling the forces which do not so much sustain as subsume it.

4. Therefore, if communism is the expropriative increase of consciousness (i.e. effective decisionmaking capacity) in ratio to productive forces then communist revolution cannot be seen as simply the ‘communisation’ of existing productive processes but must involve a deliberate deconstruction of technologies up to the point where consciousness (i.e. decision making) is actually, really, and objectively in advance of the processes that sustain it. That is to say, arbitrary and value driven forms such as nuclear power and gm technology which have been developed precisely to foreclose on decisions about their viability, cannot simply be decided against – in other words, distinct capitalised forms will continue to exist and will continue to dictate to society no matter what form of governance is developed subjectively unless somehow there is a means to put them back in the box.

5. Obviously, there are feedback issues here... that is to say: a. consciousness is always a delayed reflection upon the material forces which produce it; b. we do not want to ‘double back’ to the point where we have to reinvent the wheel every morning. Even so, I think, within an anti-political communist discourse (i.e. a framework which rejects the religious ideology of an objective benign ‘real movement’ in capitalism), there is an optimal relation between decisionmaking and automation which historically was probably located in what can be described as the ‘mechanical’ or bourgeois age, that is where decision making was still a fundamental factor of production.

fort-da game
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Jun 15 2010 19:25
RedHughs wrote:
My impression is the Dupont-ist appraoch kind of starts here but then objects to any position that claims to understand history and any position that make apologies of people's adaptation to capitalism. So it conflates the relative alienation of capitalist society with philosophical alienation, it conflates activities that are normal under capitalism with bad moral choices in one or another confused fashions.

The opposite of this in fact. It would be interesting to hear examples of this 'bad moral choices' position as we have always defined ourselves against morality or lifestylism, including the moralism/lifestylism of the workerist left. I have never mixed with anarchists because of this moralism, and I have always led a fairly ordinary life, I am not against lifestyle choices (why would I be?) but I do not see them as having any relevance beyond personal existence. It is difficult to know if that answers you as your point is so obscure.

RedHughs wrote:
I think this approach had it's origins in the post-modernism of the 1980's. The "against totalizing narratives" rhetoric has mesmerizing quality for some.

To be against 'post-modernism' is of course a populist maneuver, but in fact our ideas have been derived from our own reflections on certain communist texts and the extension of the critiques we found in them. But that is beside the point – the real question is, which pro-revolutionary or social critic is not against totalising narratives? As a proponent of dialectics, surely you also are also against totalisation? Equally, the collapse of narratives is something that has occurred objectively, you cannot pin the non-belief of the masses in communism on us. Your allegation is thus double-mesmerised right back at you.

Quote:
Of course, by the same "against totalizing narratives" logic, Garco and company aren't going describe the sort-of game they're playing in their "interventions", they are simply going to keep playing it.

I do not quite get the accusation here. Yes, it is true that we have a heightened sense that all this is not real, that real life and the class struggle is elsewhere. It is true that for us our participation here is to some extent a (serious) game and we are not totally immersed in it, the cage rattling is something we discuss with others elsewhere and reflect light heartedly upon it (I guess something like libcommunity although we are Hinge and Bracket to your Jerry Sadowitz). But if we were not playing a game, we'd be stuck in a tribal war with each other and that would be stupid.

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fingers malone
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Jun 15 2010 19:41

Look, first of all, no-one on libcom thinks that school under capitalism is great and that the system is fair.

To know you can learn things strenghtens your selfesteem, it's not only what the state expects from you. Besides, you don't have to use it the way the state expects from you.

This is the heart of the matter for me. I never expected to be a teacher. I failed my exams at 18 and left school and got a job in Quicksnack making sandwiches. I used to say that I never learned anything at school- until I started teaching and was teaching people who had never been to school and couldn´t read, couldn´t tell the time, couldn´t read a map... so I tried to teach them those things. Some of which I learned at school. One woman found it easier to visit her husband in prison because she could read some road signs. I really really don´t think she was better off when she couldn´t do it or that she thinks I´m a fascist. Yes, sure, the government paid me to teach her because they want to improve "employability", not to help people visit their loved ones in prison, but that´s what she learned to do.

As Debord said [i]ignorance is produced everywhere to be exploited

Education can be processing you for work. And so can not- education. Secondary modern used to stop at 14, which was considered enough education for "factory fodder". People who can´t get any formal education often want it, because they think there is something there that is useful for them. Under slavery, it was a crime to teach a slave to read and write.

The job I had where I felt most like a prison guard wasn´t as a teacher. It was as a care assistant in a place where everybody was treated like shit, the workers, the residents... (it was run by the Catholic Church, if that helps everyone get the idea.) As we were treated like shit, sometimes the workers mistreated the residents too. I certainly never hit anybody or put the brakes on anybody´s wheelchair and left them alone (things I know happened, I saw them) but I think I was a bit of an arsehole sometimes, because I hated the place so much and I was so unhappy there. And believe me, unskilled, unqualified care assistants aren´t considered middle class or managers by anybody. Someone else, can´t remember who, said a similar thing about their experience of working in mental health.

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madashell
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Jun 15 2010 22:24
fingers malone wrote:
The job I had where I felt most like a prison guard wasn´t as a teacher. It was as a care assistant in a place where everybody was treated like shit, the workers, the residents... (it was run by the Catholic Church, if that helps everyone get the idea.) As we were treated like shit, sometimes the workers mistreated the residents too. I certainly never hit anybody or put the brakes on anybody´s wheelchair and left them alone (things I know happened, I saw them) but I think I was a bit of an arsehole sometimes, because I hated the place so much and I was so unhappy there. And believe me, unskilled, unqualified care assistants aren´t considered middle class or managers by anybody. Someone else, can´t remember who, said a similar thing about their experience of working in mental health.

Mmm, I wonder whether the anti-schools folk on here would apply the same analysis to social care workers (by which I mean people working in social care, not social workers, before anybody starts on that) as they do to education workers. There are certainly clear parallels.

Valeriano Orobó...
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Jun 15 2010 22:30
fingers malone wrote:
Look, first of all, no-one on libcom thinks that school under capitalism is great and that the system is fair.

To know you can learn things strenghtens your selfesteem, it's not only what the state expects from you. Besides, you don't have to use it the way the state expects from you.

This is the heart of the matter for me. I never expected to be a teacher. I failed my exams at 18 and left school and got a job in Quicksnack making sandwiches. I used to say that I never learned anything at school- until I started teaching and was teaching people who had never been to school and couldn´t read, couldn´t tell the time, couldn´t read a map... so I tried to teach them those things. Some of which I learned at school. One woman found it easier to visit her husband in prison because she could read some road signs. I really really don´t think she was better off when she couldn´t do it or that she thinks I´m a fascist. Yes, sure, the government paid me to teach her because they want to improve "employability", not to help people visit their loved ones in prison, but that´s what she learned to do.

As Debord said [i]ignorance is produced everywhere to be exploited

Education can be processing you for work. And so can not- education. Secondary modern used to stop at 14, which was considered enough education for "factory fodder". People who can´t get any formal education often want it, because they think there is something there that is useful for them. Under slavery, it was a crime to teach a slave to read and write.

The job I had where I felt most like a prison guard wasn´t as a teacher. It was as a care assistant in a place where everybody was treated like shit, the workers, the residents... (it was run by the Catholic Church, if that helps everyone get the idea.) As we were treated like shit, sometimes the workers mistreated the residents too. I certainly never hit anybody or put the brakes on anybody´s wheelchair and left them alone (things I know happened, I saw them) but I think I was a bit of an arsehole sometimes, because I hated the place so much and I was so unhappy there. And believe me, unskilled, unqualified care assistants aren´t considered middle class or managers by anybody. Someone else, can´t remember who, said a similar thing about their experience of working in mental health.

That's to raise some points...I'll deal with it when i'm sober.

Valeriano Orobó...
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Jun 15 2010 22:45
fort-da game wrote:

To be against 'post-modernism' is of course a populist maneuver, but in fact our ideas have been derived from our own reflections on certain communist texts and the extension of the critiques we found in them. But that is beside the point – the real question is, which pro-revolutionary or social critic is not against totalising narratives? As a proponent of dialectics, surely you also are also against totalisation? Equally, the collapse of narratives is something that has occurred objectively, you cannot pin the non-belief of the masses in communism on us. Your allegation is thus double-mesmerised right back at you.

Marx never pretended to talk from a neutral, objectivist, point of view.

Totalising narratives?

bastarx
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Jun 16 2010 03:54
Nyarlathotep wrote:
To me it's less about who is or isn't "middle-class" but rather, which segments of the working-class are given incentives to enforce bourgeois social order on their fellow workers.

Almost all of them.

I'm a bus driver so I have to enforce bourgeois social order by collecting fares. If anyone tells me they have no money I let them on for free but if I let everyone on for free it would be noted that I took no money. I also sometimes tell schoolkids not to stand on the seats/fight/poke their hands through the back doors etc because it's dangerous.

Mike Harman
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Jun 16 2010 11:40

In London they do spot checks on buses - several conductors plus the police, to check for people with invalid or no tickets. I'm don't know for sure, but I'd not be at all surprised if that's a check on the driver as much as the passengers. This is apart from bendy buses where the drivers no longer take any money.

fort-da game
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Jun 16 2010 11:45

The question has never been about telling people what to do. All communications contain a corrective directed at what are perceived to be the errors in other communications. When a baby cries as it becomes hungry it is telling the mother what to do. We all tell people what to do, all of the time... but it is not an issue most of the time because the relations between those telling each other what to do, are spontaneous and not so heavily mediated/processed through an institution which is specifically designed to reproduce the same productive relation, and represent that relation in the same ideological terms. Most correctives exist at the level of 'mind your head', they are not integrated into the demands of industry as formal education is. Therefore, the role of bus drivers and social care workers is not relevant here... what would be relevant if we were comparing social management is the management/implementation of social care and the management/implementation of transport. What separates teachers from 'education workers' is that the interest of the teaching profession is constituted as being indistinguishable from that of the education system which it has designed on the command of the state, and therefore should be considered as a vital component of the management of social reproduction. I am waiting to for someone to argue that being a prison guard is not like being a prison guard because we are all each others' prison guards, and being a policeman is not like being a policeman because we all police each other.

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madashell
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Jun 16 2010 12:02
fort-da game wrote:
The question has never been about telling people what to do. All communications contain a corrective directed at what are perceived to be the errors in other communications. When a baby cries as it becomes hungry it is telling the mother what to do. We all tell people what to do, all of the time... but it is not an issue most of the time because the relations between those telling each other what to do, are spontaneous and not so heavily mediated/processed through an institution which is specifically designed to reproduce the same productive relation, and represent that relation in the same ideological terms. Most correctives exist at the level of 'mind your head', they are not integrated into the demands of industry as formal education is. Therefore, the role of bus drivers and social care workers is not relevant here... what would be relevant if we were comparing social management is the management/implementation of social care and the management/implementation of transport. What separates teachers from 'education workers' is that the interest of the teaching profession is constituted as being indistinguishable from that of the education system which it has designed on the command of the state, and therefore should be considered as a vital component of the management of social reproduction.

But the fact is that teachers do not "manage" the education system to any greater extent than care workers "manage" social care.

It's also untrue to say that the interests of teachers are indistinguishable from those of the education system, which is why you get teachers taking a leading role in taking collective direct action against exams imposed by the education system. You've yet to explain how this fits into your model of teachers being social managers whose interests are ultimately identical to that of the education system, despite it being mentioned several times.

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Rob Ray
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Jun 16 2010 13:14

This is a serious problem with tying the interests of employees in with the institutions they work for so heavily in general.

I mean I personally know of at least two prison officers with pretty strong left-wing politics (POA national secretary Colin Moses and former general secretary Brian Caton) whose members of course are amongst the hardest edge of state control as practiced against the mass but whose personal campaigning has tended towards trying to reform prisons into safe spaces to help dangerous people find ways to cope in society which don't involve hurting other people.

Now undoubtedly the intention of the state is to do no such thing, and guards are often, perhaps mostly, thugs hired specifically to fuck up people who are often highly vulnerable (something like one in three prisoners are classified as mentally ill, drug dependency is rife in prisons etc etc). BUT this doesn't mean that everyone working in the prison system is a one-track minded bully boy with no understanding of the situation they're working in or any interest in changing or improving it.

This is even more the case in schools I think, where huge numbers of people go in specifically because they want to help kids to learn and grow into decent adults. Fundamentally the job is not one and the same as the person, and writing off entire professions because of a (quite accurate) assessment of what the state wants from the people involved in them is tempting but not useful.

Mike Harman
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Jun 16 2010 15:17

@fort-da game - if not social care workers, then what about psychiatric nurses? Detention, forced medication etc.

fort-da game wrote:
The question has never been about telling people what to do. [...] I am waiting to for someone to argue that being a prison guard is not like being a prison guard because we are all each others' prison guards, and being a policeman is not like being a policeman because we all police each other.

This just reads like bait and switch - so teachers really are like prison guards then?

Valeriano Orobó...
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Jun 16 2010 16:54
fort-da game wrote:
What separates teachers from 'education workers' is that the interest of the teaching profession is constituted as being indistinguishable from that of the education system which it has designed on the command of the state, and therefore should be considered as a vital component of the management of social reproduction.

That is absolutely false. Where are the facts that prove it? On a formal level can be suposed that many public servants would experience a stark identification with the state, which statistics make visible when they show how most teachers implement every instruction the government gives without evaluating it. Again this doesn't prove what you have said. All the last decades managerial technics are aimed at push the worker to identify themselves with the company they are serving. To feel the bond rather than being aware of it: team work, company dinners, etc. Does it demonstrates that every clerk is there for the company's wishes? The resistances are there to see. Remember all the recent suicides in France Telecom and elsewhere? Discontent and despise for the current curriculum are the prevailing feelings among my fellow workers, even among the ones more servile. No way is the government willing to listen to teachers, at least in my country, in the design of curricula as it is proved by the fact that the current social-democratic shite that rule us, answered with a categorical denial to the teachers that raise his voice wanting to be listened for the design of the umpteenth education reform they want us to swallow.

One thing is that the state wants us to be kids cops and a very different one that all of us want to fulfill his desires.

Maybe at his eyes we are a "vital component of the management of social reproduction". Well, many of us are a complete faliure at this task and are more than willing to take a detour with the kids.

As much as i use to like your posts that sounds as this job was stained with some sort of original sin. Wrong notion.

Spikymike
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Jun 16 2010 19:20

I wonder if FTG hasn't made it more difficult for others to comprehend his and Garco's arguments on the nature of 'education' and the role of teachers by then later insisting on the importance of people recounting and reflecting in their counter arguments on individual experience, since despite claims to the contrary, FTG/Garco's views on the key issue seem to me to operate at a very general theoretical level and have only been obscured by the endless individual and personal examples (mainly from teachers it seems) of how some good or other has come from their practice ( in contrast to FDG's recounting of personal bad experiences), which is surely besides the point? You can do some 'good things' as a teacher with some students but that isn't going to change the fundamental nature of the education system or the role of teachers within it.

Teachers and similar professionals posting here seem to me to display exactly the identification with education and their role which FTG/Garco (and me in my earlier post on this thread) have been describing, with their examples of how professional teachers interests 'are distinguishable' from the education system being little more than liberal reformism. Of course it is possible to demonstrate that at some basic level teachers (as workers rather than professionals) do have an interest in overthrowing the whole education system along with the rest of capitalism ( see my earlier post) but this is not currently demonstrated collectively by teachers in an conscious way and probably will not be until there is a more widespread struggle of the whole working class.

I non-the-less think FDG has a point in reflecting on the limited (but not entirely absent) content in Libcom which relates our individual and personal experience of alienation in capitalism (and our responses to that) to our more general theories, which isn't to suggest that we can build theory from scratch on the basis of the limited individual experiences of our handful of pro-revoluionaries.

Not sure if that puts me at odds with FDG/Garco and everyone else or not? This is just my view at this stage in the discussion expressed as best I can.