"Being a teacher is like being a prison guard"

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Nyarlathotep
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Jun 16 2010 19:33
Valeriano Orobón Fernández wrote:
Except for the "uncomfortable" thingy, not a single thing above is right for Spain.

I doubt it. Maybe you can't afford florescent lights, but I doubt the majority of teachers abstain from demoralizing the children in some way, (I myself, like all the other teachers, demoralized and verbally abused children when working at a daycare, not because I'm evil, but because a natural human response to exploitation is to exploit those with less political powerful than yourself) I doubt the school curriculum is not influenced by nationalist-jingoist ideology, I doubt the schedule fails to conform to the schedule of a typical wage-laborer....

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you have reasons enough to consider us all, teachers, tools of control of the state

I was a teacher myself at a state-run daycare, so don't think I'm exempting myself....

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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.

Yep, nothing "strengthens your self-esteem" like capitalist exploitation...

I don't know about the Spanish situation, but here in the US the majority of the working-class is unemployed, including those who graduated from highschool, college, and even grad school. I honestly doubt the situation in Spain is that different....regardless it's a moot point because employment is a form of exploitation, saying that school is the route to employment is not an argument....

fort-da game
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Jun 16 2010 19:48

Chin up Valeriano Orobó

Of course it is a pity that you feel so upset about this, it is not my intention... but both myself and Garco have made it clear that this is not about attacking teachers as people trying to make a living, in fact, Garco is a teacher – we have made no proposal either to take children out of school or demand that teachers leave their profession. On the contrary, the struggle against education must take place in the schools – it is just that we think the interest of the teaching profession is such that on a mass scale most teachers will fall into line with their identification with the education system... for example, the negative struggle against 'cuts' will take precedence over the positive struggle for 'free expression'.

If you read what I say carefully, you will see that I talk about the profession not individual teachers. It is certainly true that many teachers despair, and become ill with stress, who could deny that? But it is still the case that the profession itself, as a whole, positively identifies with its role which it has created within the framework established by the state. We are all encouraged to identify with our employers interests of course, but if I say, 'have a nice day' or sing, 'she's always a woman to me' in the interest of feel good capitalism that is not qualitatively the same as educating children into becoming good workers.

In your previous post you mentioned how you were able to communicate a great deal of positive messages to your students... that too is what Garco does (of course, I could not reveal this earlier in the discussion as he had not done so himself). And it is what SImone Weil did, to mention someone I am reading on this matter. But the point is that this positive message can 'run out of steam' or be replaced by other less positive messages – either way, no matter the content of the message, the content of the instituted relation and its function remains and that relation is based on force. We prefer Miss Honey to Miss Trunchbowl but the institution which they realise is exactly the same. If a bus driver tells someone to stop behaving badly on a bus it is really qualitatively different to the way a teacher presents history, science or social values to a class... do you agree with this or not?

You and the previous three posts are demanding substantiation of my/our analysis. This is of course difficult to provide because it is perspective dependent – different registers produce different findings. My sympathies are with (my representation) of the interest of the individual in relation to the institution, whereas my skepticism is directed at the discourse of the institution... if a person is upset, I believe them; if an institution says it regrets the rotten apple activities of its staff, I am skeptical. It could be, and I am sure it is, that you are more likely to disbelieve the individual and more likely to consider positively the objectively progressive role of the institution. In my favour I would point out that we have just left the C20th, the most bloodily horrific hundred years in all human history and what qualitatively distinguished this period of time was the integration of the forces of various state institutions with industry.

My main argument is that teachers are like prison guards, not because either teachers or prison guards (or soldiers or policemen) are more likely to be bad people than anyone else but because the institutional environments in which they operate are integral to the general social relation – like in Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy we can launch hairdressers, shop assistants and their equivalents into space and nobody would notice but remove education from capitalism and it would collapse fairly rapidly. My substantiation for this argument is based on a theoretical understanding of the nature of class domination which although it is based on force is not always directly experienced as a relation of force.

The force which is not experienced as force is the capture of people's consciousness from a young age; this capturing no longer takes the form of brow-beating but is built on a previous history of direct violence – it is called schooling or education. The purpose of schooling (which began in the early C19th) is to shape consciousness by provision of ideological frames in which the young are expected to think out the problems they are presented with – thus the method and the object are provided; this capacity to think within schooled frames and solve problems within those frames is useful to social reproduction because these very frames are 'transferable' to work situations. In other words, the frames in which children are taught to think and behave in the classroom are the frames through which they will be employed in the workplace.

Comrade Foucault's diligence in the archives provides us with a genealogy of the force which appears in the class room as non-force but as 'progress' and 'education'. In the second half of the book Discipline and Punish he demonstrates how the disciplinary archipelago (by which he means schools, factories, prisons, the police, hospitals, asylums) all appeared in the modern age at the same time within the same architecture. Capitalism's social problems all appeared at once and were all addressed militarily in terms of class war by the militarist mindset of the day – the manner in which these problems were presented has not qualitatively altered since. We are still within the same (militarist) paradigm of social problems. Foucault discovered that all of these institutions are based upon a basic barracks format couple with the ideology of the 'pan-optican'. This shift into industrial disciplining on a mass scale was based on the idea of the malleability (the historicisation) of the human body and consciousness... it was thought that the masses could be disciplined into useful and hygenic units. Education and imprisonment were based in military drill and re-education of the body by rote. This method proceeded by breaking the body down into small gestures and rebuilding it again so that it would function as a living embodiment of the institution.

Modern schooling is different to how it was even in my day, children no longer have to put up with the hair-pulling, the nose twisting, the ear tweaking, the head rapping, the drilling, the wall standing, the dark cupboards, the birch, the book slammed in front of the face, the sergent major screaming in your face, 'you're nothing boy, what are you?' which is what I experienced. All that has gone, but that is because it was inefficient and reproduced direct class conflict... the logic of maximisation of capacities has replaced that of out and out repression – but still the basic function of school in its relation to production and the state remains.

I hope this goes some way to substantiating my case. I will just add that a. I think it is naive to think that the teaching profession has not shaped the institution of education, I would be amazed if successive generations of educational policy managers were not qualified teachers who had not also been promoted through the profession; b. as to the question of the asylum/psychiatric institution, this is something which I do not want to go into too much – but the social aspect of much mental illness is beyond doubt (i.e the increased rate of schizophrenia in second generation immigrants) the fact that it is medicalised at all is proof of the dominance of a managerial interest which wishes to preserve that register of knowledge with which it is identified/enmeshed (i.e. a register in which the problem exists in the individual rather than in the society as a whole).

If you accept this answer is in good faith, maybe you could answer my question: does Libcom think prison guards/policemen are, or are not, more like prison guards and policement than other people (say shop assistants or bus drivers)?

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Nyarlathotep
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Jun 16 2010 19:34
Peter wrote:
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.

So you think bus drivers are exactly like cops and prison guards, then? Or do you think there is a qualitative difference?

fort-da game
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Jun 16 2010 19:51

Sorry to bury the above Nyarlathotep and spikeymike posts which say more with less than me; and the previous 4 posts in the opposite direction were also well argued.

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madashell
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Jun 16 2010 20:34

fort-da game, I understand (and to an extent sympathise with) the point you are trying to make, but you still have yet to account for the various occaisions on which teachers have taken action in opposition to the needs of capital, whether that's teachers boycotting the SATS exams or the teachers in Oaxaca taking a leading role in an uprising agains the state and capital. These are examples of moments when the interests of teachers come into clear conflict with the education system and if you're going to argue that the two things are identical, you really need account for this. This isn't about defending an institution, it's about the distinction between an institution and the workers it employs.

It is true that teachers are more likely than, say, shop workers or bus drivers to identify with their "profession", but this is something to be opposed and criticised, rather than to be treated (wrongly, IMO) as a result of a convergence between the interests of teachers and the capitalist education system.

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as to the question of the asylum/psychiatric institution, this is something which I do not want to go into too much – but the social aspect of much mental illness is beyond doubt (i.e the increased rate of schizophrenia in second generation immigrants) the fact that it is medicalised at all is proof of the dominance of a managerial interest which wishes to preserve that register of knowledge with which it is identified/enmeshed (i.e. a register in which the problem exists in the individual rather than in the society as a whole).

This is a fair point, though I'd point out that the social care industry covers a much wider area than just psychiatric care. Many people with severe learning disabilities, for instance, clearly suffer from impairments caused by genetic and/or environmental factors which would not disappear in a communist society. The impairments caused by old age would also continue to exist. Just as we need to look at how we'd handle education (in the sense of learning skills) in a communist society if we oppose the way that education is set up under capitalism (which I'd hope we all do), we need to look at how we'd care for those who are unable to care for themselves in the absence of the system of social care we have under capitalism.

Valeriano Orobó...
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Jun 16 2010 20:40
Nyarlathotep wrote:
. Maybe you can't afford florescent lights

Yep, nothing "strengthens your self-esteem" like capitalist exploitation...

Yes, we can afford florescent lights. That's not the point and to me it sounds arrogant.

No, the ability to learn it's not only aimed at sell better your work force. When someone knows that is able to change the sector he works in (or optimize the value of his work force if you prefer), the chances to fight exploitation get better and you care less about the consequences of your opposition than if you think you are unable to find another thing and got to get stuck there. The rest is quite right and i don't have much to object.

FDG

No worries i don't have to chin up. When the objections are well argued, fair enough. I was expecting you to unearth old Foucault. I know and like my foucault. But in my opinion yours and Nyaralthotep are too structuralist positions for my like.

Nevertheless i encounter myself in a position on this discussion that i don't like in the slightest. As much as i like my job i still think that it should be supressed and the institution it implies, abolished. But in the current situation the progressive degradation of state schools that is gonna happen for sure in the future, i don't think will improve things in the slightest but on the contrary.

Anyway i admit i'm fond of my Enlightment thing, i confess and if you don't mind i still prefer to think of myself as a teacher than a prison guard, FDG. laugh out loud

On a more serious note Nyarlathotep and you probably are structurally right.

cobbler
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Jun 16 2010 23:08
fort-da game wrote:
On the contrary, the struggle against education must take place in the schools

I have an agreement and a disagreement with you here. Yes, I do think the struggle against the current incarnation of education needs to take place within schools, both in the present (fighting unwelcome aspects) and in the future (considering what might replace it). No I don't think we should be fighting against education, unless you desire to revert to a completely primitive society. In what ever way it is organised, we are still going to require some way of organising the education of all.

Going back to Garco's original post:

Garco wrote:
As I see it the only people who could justifiably set up a group with such a name as “Education Workers”, would be those who undertake the non-supervisory roles within the education industry: the administrative staff, the cleaners, the teaching assistants, the maintenance workers.

I still disagree. If it's valid for any worker to fight against impositions and exploitation then it is also acceptable for teachers to do so. But also it's important for those with a conscience involved in education to argue against impositions upon pupils, unnecessary constraints, unnecessary pressure, testing rules etc... I agree that many (a majority?) of teachers are unlikely to do this to any great degree because by and large they are people who do concur with the current system by and large, but that does not invalidate those who do. It's also valid for those with an interest who work in education to band together and engage in the question of what education could and should look like in a new society (though they do not have exclusive right to do so)

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– it is just that we think the interest of the teaching profession is such that on a mass scale most teachers will fall into line with their identification with the education system... for example, the negative struggle against 'cuts' will take precedence over the positive struggle for 'free expression'.

Yes, agreed.

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If you read what I say carefully, you will see that I talk about the profession not individual teachers. ... But it is still the case that the profession itself, as a whole, positively identifies with its role which it has created within the framework established by the state.

The difficulty here is still that you identify teachers entirely with the system they work within and leave no room for individual consciousness. You demand that teachers are responsible for shaping the structure of education but even if the system were entirely designed by teachers (which it isn't and hasn't been) by no means can this implicate all teachers. Certain groups of teachers may have been instrumental in shaping education: particularly those who align themselves more closely with the interests of capital and state and are therefore raised to positions of influence, but the general scheme of how education has developed has always been determined by those in power to meet their own ends.

Some people find that they are suited (or it suits them) to pass knowledge on to young people, or help them to develop their own skills. At present their only option for doing this is through the currently existent system. So whilst objecting to many aspects of it they work within it. It is invalid to talk about the profession as a whole identifying in any uniform sense with a certain notion of its role.

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My main argument is that teachers are like prison guards, not because either teachers or prison guards (or soldiers or policemen) are more likely to be bad people than anyone else but because the institutional environments in which they operate are integral to the general social relation.
... My substantiation for this argument is based on a theoretical understanding of the nature of class domination which although it is based on force is not always directly experienced as a relation of force.

I have a question for you: how strongly are you intending to use the word 'like' in this statement: "teachers are like prison guards."? Are we talking simile or synonym? How close the relationship?

I'll suggest a difference which makes them not very 'like'

From the point of view of the person doing the job:
-a prison guard's main role is consciously to ensure that the prisoners remain incarcerated. They may add other aspects, such as hoping to help in rehabilitation, but their primary role is imprisonment.
-a teacher's main conscious role is to educate, teach, pass on knowledge and skills. Now it happens that the demands placed upon education by capitalist society is to meet it's own needs, not the needs of the individuals and this has it's expression in the way education is structured, but it is not the primary conscious role.

It is no contradiction for a teacher to be in opposition to the structure and the ideology behind the structure of education whilst still desiring to teach.

It is a complete contradiction for a prison guard to be opposed to the notion of keeping the prisoners locked up. It would also be possible to function as a prison guard with no other notion in mind (such as rehabilitation).

carterburke
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Jun 16 2010 23:56

I simply do not see the relevance of the line of reasoning presented in this comment and in the original post.

I agree that modern education is a tool for reproducing the norms of bourgeois culture, in this case the cubicle drone. But this alone does not offer any insight as to whether or not it is an industry "we should support the continuance of or not". The entire question seems somewhat absurd, for two reasons:

Firstly, while it may be true that the education industry is a tool for supporting capitalism, the same is true for every other paying profession in the modern world, and so proclaiming any particular industry within the system as being without value seems to be nothing more than hot air. Grocery markets are also tools for the capitalist. Should we refuse to work at them? Should we refuse to shop at them? What about electrical utilities? Is it wrong to work for them? Is it wrong to pay for those services?

Which leads me to my second point: if these questions sound inane, it is because the entire line of reasoning is flawed. What is revolutionary about picking and choosing what industry "we should support the continuance of or not"? Does anyone on Earth care if a handful of unheard-of radicals revoke their "support" of modern education, plumbing, construction management, insurance brokerage, software development, and all the other myriad professions that are involved in the reproduction of modern society? Is that really a relevant way of opposing the system?

I suppose one might say that education isn't necessary. But is software necessary? Is processed food necessary? Is electricity necessary? The entire process of singling-out any aspect of modern civilization and questioning whether or not one ought to "support" it, or whether or not it is "necessary", seems utterly academic and pointless. Obviously each industry fits into the scheme of control and value extraction in its own particular way, and it is both impossible and pointless to theorize upon what they might look like in a post/anticapitalist society.

The fact is that teachers as a group of workers are (at least in the United States) under attack. It seems pretty silly not to support their unions or their efforts to retain their benefits as workers simply because their industry as a whole is not sufficiently revolutionary. Who cares? Show me a single industry that is.

Now, you say that it is not your intention to put down teachers, but it seems like that is the main thrust of your point here, if only because the rest of what you have to say seems empty for the reasons mentioned above.

Boris Badenov
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Jun 16 2010 23:59
cobbler wrote:

Going back to Garco's original post:

Garco wrote:
As I see it the only people who could justifiably set up a group with such a name as “Education Workers”, would be those who undertake the non-supervisory roles within the education industry: the administrative staff, the cleaners, the teaching assistants, the maintenance workers.

I still disagree. If it's valid for any worker to fight against impositions and exploitation then it is also acceptable for teachers to do so.

Not to mention the fact that claiming administrative staff and teaching assistants have no supervisory roles within the education industry is completely false. Which really only leaves you with cleaners and maintenance workers, which, as people have pointed out above is nothing but the old workerist canard writ large.
Basically I think the whole issue with Dupont's analysis is that it is basically correct until the whole individualist hysteria sets in (and FDG can deny charges of individualism but it is obvious to anyone who has read his and Garco's contributions throughout this thread that it is there), which leads straight into a sociological definition of class based on perceived levels of "supervisory powers," rather than relationship to the means of production (and reproduction). No wonder Dupont urged people to get proper factory jobs in an earlier contribution. And yet we are told that it's "Libcom" that's out of touch and that everyone arguing against Dupontism believes "a warden is not really a warden." Who here has claimed that policemen or prison guards are "just workers," FDG? No one, but since you refuse to admit that you are wrong about the structural role of teachers, you'd rather cook something up about how "Libcom" is excusing state repression and muddying the waters with "we're all oppressing each other like" type thinking (which has clearly not been the case on this thread).

Samotnaf
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Jun 17 2010 06:29

carterburke:

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while it may be true that the education industry is a tool for supporting capitalism, the same is true for every other paying profession in the modern world, and so proclaiming any particular industry within the system as being without value seems to be nothing more than hot air. Grocery markets are also tools for the capitalist. Should we refuse to work at them? Should we refuse to shop at them?

I don't see the whole population of almost every country spending at the very least 8 years from the age of 6 to 14 (most other countries considerably more) at a grocery store for 7 hours a day, 5 days a week, 300+ days a year - but maybe you have. Making equivalents such as this is just a way of avoiding what is fundamentally true about fort-da game's thread; and he and Garco say this as people who work/have worked as teachers. A recognition that we have to subvert our own complicity with capital is absent in almost all the "critiques" of these 2 here. As someone many people here take as a positive reference once said, "The educators must be educated". Or as a piece of graffitti in the 70s said, "Teach the teachers a lesson".

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QUIZZ FOR WHIZZ KIDS
What is is that is compulsory for all, but completely free;
Where you have to work but are never paid;
Where you go to get on but can't wait to get out;
And the minimum sentence (with remission for bad conduct) is 10 years...?
(wrap your answers round a brick & throw through your headmaster's window).

- brief leaflet put out in 1969 by the London Street Commune (probably written by Phil Cohen, at that time close to King Mob, a guy who then went on to teach - and one of the the most disgusting types of teacher - in the late 70s he taught the cops at Hendon College all about the youth sub-cultures he'd learnt about at first hand during his own mis-spent youth).

I would qualify the critique of teachers though, and not just as fort-da game does: I think teaching basic literacy and numeracy - as in primary schools or in "under-developed" areas like Oaxaca is different from the other stuff. But there is obviously more that could be developed about this, and i really don't have the time at the moment.

Wellclose Square
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Jun 17 2010 07:06

Yeah, I'd echo Samotnaf's thoughts above (and, sorry, I haven't taken the trouble to acquaint myself with all the arguments and counter-arguments on this thread). The critique of schools and educashun was once meat and drink to the anarchist/libertarian movement, even sustaining a journal called LibEd. I'm aware that the concept of the 'libertarian teacher' (as LibEd was once titled) is contradictory (coming in for criticism from the likes of Samotnaf in the past), but it seems like even that level of critical engagement is absent - perhaps absorbed into the discourse of 'the defence of the professions', as economistic imperatives overshadow the perspective of social hope. There.

Edit: FDG said this, which reiterates my second-to-last statement: "for example, the negative struggle against 'cuts' will take precedence over the positive struggle for 'free expression'."

bastarx
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Jun 17 2010 07:22
Nyarlathotep wrote:
Peter wrote:
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.

So you think bus drivers are exactly like cops and prison guards, then? Or do you think there is a qualitative difference?

No and no. That's not what you originally asked though is it? I answered your question.

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Rob Ray
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Jun 17 2010 11:23
Quote:
The critique of schools and educashun was once meat and drink to the anarchist/libertarian movement

It still is, that's not the argument here. As I understand it, the argument is whether educators are intrinsically part of and identify with their role in the repression of kids through their employment in schools, thus making them "the same as prison guards" or whether they are a) capable of more than that b) could potentially bring aspects of a libertarian critique into the schools system c) be a part of or even a catalyst for radical change superceding the current educational establishment entirely.

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jef costello
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Jun 17 2010 12:38
fort-da game wrote:
Of course it is a pity that you feel so upset about this, it is not my intention... but both myself and Garco have made it clear that this is not about attacking teachers as people trying to make a living, in fact, Garco is a teacher – we have made no proposal either to take children out of school or demand that teachers leave their profession. On the contrary, the struggle against education must take place in the schools – it is just that we think the interest of the teaching profession is such that on a mass scale most teachers will fall into line with their identification with the education system... for example, the negative struggle against 'cuts' will take precedence over the positive struggle for 'free expression'.

As workers teachers will be more likely to act defensively rather than attack? So building workers should be criticised for not striking in favour of mor eenergy efficient housing? Sewage workers for a reform of the Drainage system in England? Of course these are things we should be fighting for but as people can barely raise the spirit to defend themselves then they're hardly going to go on the attack.

Quote:
If you read what I say carefully, you will see that I talk about the profession not individual teachers. It is certainly true that many teachers despair, and become ill with stress, who could deny that? But it is still the case that the profession itself, as a whole, positively identifies with its role which it has created within the framework established by the state. We are all encouraged to identify with our employers interests of course, but if I say, 'have a nice day' or sing, 'she's always a woman to me' in the interest of feel good capitalism that is not qualitatively the same as educating children into becoming good workers.
Quote:
In your previous post you mentioned how you were able to communicate a great deal of positive messages to your students... that too is what Garco does (of course, I could not reveal this earlier in the discussion as he had not done so himself). And it is what SImone Weil did, to mention someone I am reading on this matter. But the point is that this positive message can 'run out of steam' or be replaced by other less positive messages – either way, no matter the content of the message, the content of the instituted relation and its function remains and that relation is based on force. We prefer Miss Honey to Miss Trunchbowl but the institution which they realise is exactly the same. If a bus driver tells someone to stop behaving badly on a bus it is really qualitatively different to the way a teacher presents history, science or social values to a class... do you agree with this or not?

A bus driver requires people to behave on the bus so that it can be driven safely, a teacher requires students to behave so that they can teach history, science or social values. I know that you would argue that the values that they impart are wrong and in many ways they are, but a good teacher does not teach by bullying or scaring students and even official policy recognises this. You could argue that teachers and students are being asked to subscribe to a form of toyotaism (which is to an extent true) but the reason such things are succesful is because they build on human impulses to solidarity and success. The disiplinary aspect of teaching is something that I agree is necessary under a system where students are unwilling or unable to discipline themselves. It's also the part that teachers hate (along with testing that fits a structure but says little about actual students) the most.

I think the post above was good and also the question of what you mean by 'like prison guards' is a very pertinent one. At times teachers will certainly feel that way and students will view them that way, but the difference is whether you believe that they are irredeemably and completely so or not. You seem to argue that they are as a group but individually they might try not to be. This is the paradox, I don't think you can reconcile this unless you accept that education is opposed to the desires of teachers as well as students. You almost seem to concede this point "struggle against education must take place in the schools" and to my mind it almost seems as if the argument here is being obscured on the definition of education. I don't think the exam/test system that is used to discipline teachers and students is a good thing but I do think that assessment is a necessary part of education and I also think that there are social and practical benefits to students from being educated in groups, furthermore I think that there are neessary minimum standards that should be reached. Everyone should know how to read for example. Obviously a child that does not want to learn should not be forced, but I would not expect a teacher to accept simply a decision that could cause the child major problems later in life.

Samotnaf
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Jun 17 2010 14:33

The worst aspect of those who criticise FDG and Garco's arguments from the right (for want of a better word) is their attempts to make all wage labour equivalent: grocery store workers, miners, farmers, bus drivers, etc. But school and teaching and ideological work in general are not like that. Everyone, apart from those schooled at home (and as far as i can see, no-one supports that here) has gone to school at a very vulnerable age and been significanty formed by it, so it's a totally crap argument that uses the fact that all work is formed by capital therefore to make a distinction is

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nonsense, you can sit there and divide up the global working class according to how much 'privilige' they have all day, its pretty pointless. More importantly in case you'd missed it the idea that the working class can be bought off, and that it can be divided up into priviliged sections is a pretty central plank of that ''bourgeois ideology'' you were harking on about.

- from cantdocartwheels, one of the cruder users of this kind of argument.

There never has been an equality of alienation, and less so nowadays than ever - and the struggle for the unity of the working class can no more be achieved by shouting "The workers united will never be defeated!" than by pretending separations don't exist. Teachers, above all, inculcate separation in the name of "unity" (the harmony of the classroom, the team, the school), to the point where everyone is anxious about their own desires and point of view (hence FDG's son having to be inculcated to sit still,face the front, etc.) and have to fit in to a pre-set mouldy mould. As cantdocartwheels said without blinking

Quote:
children need to be taught right and wrong

. So simple, isn't it? (cantdocartwheels for Pope!) And yet I'd guess that most peope here have very different notions of what is right and wrong than most teachers. Anyway, teaching generally teaches might makes right -- nowadays the mighty power less of corporal punishment, which no longer exists, but of psychological punishment, ideological manipulation and 'seduction' and general dominant methods of making people conform, making them accept external authority as "natural" and above all, to doubt themselves, doubt their own desires and power and needs. Now obviously individual teachers don't always have this attitude (FDG and Garco, and others, have already said this - and i know teachers who make genuine contributions to the subversion of this society) but the undermining of all individual creativity and rationality other than that which conforms to the separate commodified categories of this society (art, science etc.) is, regardless of any individual intentions on the part of teachers, what happens in school and which makes such an insecure mess - along with the family - of so many of us. In a free society, the communist world over the rainbow, everyone will have to be a "teacher" - that is, convey their knowledge , skills and abilities to others. And this, fortunately, already happens.

Like Wellclose, apologies if I've missed certain nuances in this thread - I haven't r'ead every post thoroughly, and I'm always rushed at the moment, so I haven't developed enough of what I'd like to, but...

fort-da game
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Jun 17 2010 14:57

Apologies straight away for serial posts and rapid point by point responses.

To jef,

jef costello wrote:
fort-da game wrote:
On the contrary, the struggle against education must take place in the schools – it is just that we think the interest of the teaching profession is such that on a mass scale most teachers will fall into line with their identification with the education system... for example, the negative struggle against 'cuts' will take precedence over the positive struggle for 'free expression'.

As workers teachers will be more likely to act defensively rather than attack? So building workers should be criticised for not striking in favour of mor eenergy efficient housing? Sewage workers for a reform of the Drainage system in England? Of course these are things we should be fighting for but as people can barely raise the spirit to defend themselves then they're hardly going to go on the attack.

I think this is quite a difficult point to get across and depends on our class analysis. We do not have a theory of 'productive' and 'non-productive' labour as such but instead have adopted a theory of the 'essential' proletariat, by this, we mean that sector of labour which by stopping work can severely disrupt society with a matter of days. For these workers, and most others, it is perfectly adequate for them to strike 'negatively' for their own interest because of the immense objective effect their actions have. For profesionals however, it is not enough to 'defend the wage' because the wage isn't really how their function is defined... because their role is ideologically set out, it is necessary for them to intervene at the level of social values if they are to make any contribution to the communist struggle. The fundamental difference here is between a 'job' and a 'role' in the economy. Yes, there are infinite gradations, and even a prison guard is not really a prison guard but even so... it is still possible to make commited analysis even where there is a constant slippage of functions, roles, rules of employment and so on.

jef costello wrote:
Quote:
We prefer Miss Honey to Miss Trunchbowl but the institution which they realise is exactly the same. If a bus driver tells someone to stop behaving badly on a bus it is really qualitatively different to the way a teacher presents history, science or social values to a class... do you agree with this or not?

A bus driver requires people to behave on the bus so that it can be driven safely, a teacher requires students to behave so that they can teach history, science or social values. I know that you would argue that the values that they impart are wrong and in many ways they are, but a good teacher does not teach by bullying or scaring students and even official policy recognises this. You could argue that teachers and students are being asked to subscribe to a form of toyotaism (which is to an extent true) but the reason such things are succesful is because they build on human impulses to solidarity and success. The disiplinary aspect of teaching is something that I agree is necessary under a system where students are unwilling or unable to discipline themselves. It's also the part that teachers hate (along with testing that fits a structure but says little about actual students) the most.

By disciplining, it is not meant punishment... the issue Foucault identifies is pleasurable maximisation of capacities. School should be fun. Work should be fun. Happy chickens lay the best eggs. But despite the person-to-person relationship between teacher and student there is a productive relation based on a ferocious battle to hold on to the means of production. Remember, the men who went over the top at the Somme, were school educated men, and the men who shot them down were also educated.

jef costello wrote:
I think the post above was good and also the question of what you mean by 'like prison guards' is a very pertinent one. At times teachers will certainly feel that way and students will view them that way, but the difference is whether you believe that they are irredeemably and completely so or not. You seem to argue that they are as a group but individually they might try not to be. This is the paradox, I don't think you can reconcile this unless you accept that education is opposed to the desires of teachers as well as students.

Well, it is again you hit on something we have very deeply theorised, the relation between the worker (the embodiment of labour) and the person as a human being... it is not easy for me to go into this without going off on one. All I will say for now, is that it is something I have given a lot of consideration. As to the question of paradox, you get it right... the function of any individual is set recursively at higher order within the productive relation and when that relation is disrupted, everything is to play for. But as I said in the earlier post, 'education' is barely two hundred years old, it was designed at the same time as prisons and police, the modern military, the modern asylum and hospital and it was designed militarily. The fact that sometimes there seems a dissonance between teacher-student relations and institutional purpose is significant in both directions (i.e. it ambiguously describes both the relative autonomy of teachers and their positive input but also it shows how good people doing a good job merely mystifies a harsh and all-devouring reality).

Quote:
You almost seem to concede this point "struggle against education must take place in the schools" and to my mind it almost seems as if the argument here is being obscured on the definition of education.

Ha ha, yes, I made a bed of thorns for myself on that one – although you will note the proviso in the second half of the sentence. But it is true that those who have thought about the communication of ideas under present conditions certainly should have something to say for themselves under liberated conditions. But I meant everyone really should be involved through the prism of the school which as a structure/institution sets us the problem and demands of us, 'well what would your do differently?

Quote:
I don't think the exam/test system that is used to discipline teachers and students is a good thing but I do think that assessment is a necessary part of education and I also think that there are social and practical benefits to students from being educated in groups, furthermore I think that there are neessary minimum standards that should be reached. Everyone should know how to read for example. Obviously a child that does not want to learn should not be forced, but I would not expect a teacher to accept simply a decision that could cause the child major problems later in life.

These are 'early' thoughts and obviously subject to revision... as I said above, education is a recent phenomenon, whereas 'competence' and apprenticeships are centuries older. We are now more deskilled as a population than we have ever been... more of ourselves is invested in machinery as dead labour than it has ever been. We are more dependent on the general economy than we have ever been. When we had a try at countering the dominance of christians in schools by becoming school governors it was extremely difficult to push the competence line (i.e. life skills, gardening, woodwork, keeping livestock etc) but one benefit of the secondary modern model was that these skills were taught.

No time for revisions, I hope I haven't said anything to rash/incomprehensible.

fort-da game
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Jun 17 2010 15:37
Vlad336 wrote:
Not to mention the fact that claiming administrative staff and teaching assistants have no supervisory roles within the education industry is completely false. Which really only leaves you with cleaners and maintenance workers, which, as people have pointed out above is nothing but the old workerist canard writ large.

Again (and I'm pretty relaxed and prepared to rebutt this misrepresentation over and over), it is not about supervision; it is not about bus drivers, dinner ladies or lollipop ladies. There are always grey areas but in the end there is a fundamental distinction between a role and a job. The question still stands, is a prison guard like a prison guard? My answer is that on an individual level, obviously not but on a structural-functional level, obviously yes (and more so now than before, where the prison population was once romantically portrayed, they are now viewed as scum, a series like Porridge would never get made now – this is an indicator of the recent rapid advance of the disciplinary discourse, as is the constant problematisation of children's behaviour into various disorders and medical complaints). The dispearance of the 'them' in the us and them divide since the '70's has been one of the great triumphs of capitalism. Also, again, patiently... the issue is this, if a school is like a prison (and I say it is because it was designed at the same time as prisons within the same totalising discourse as part of an integrated policy of 'correction' and disicipline) then teachers must play an equivalent role to prison guards.

Quote:
Basically I think the whole issue with Dupont's analysis is that it is basically correct until the whole individualist hysteria sets in (and FDG can deny charges of individualism but it is obvious to anyone who has read his and Garco's contributions throughout this thread that it is there), which leads straight into a sociological definition of class based on perceived levels of "supervisory powers," rather than relationship to the means of production (and reproduction).

I like the basically correct part. Because I focus on individual experience and oppose the role of institutions I am an individualist? That is a possible inference, but it is not necessarily so. The question is not about supervisory powers, as has been repeated many times, it is about ideologically defined functions within the reproductive apparatus of the capitalist social relation. There has been no condemnation of teachers only a staring in the mirror and asking, 'what am I doing and what is it doing to me?' From there, there has been an extrapolation, a running up the flag pole etc etc. If it doesn't work for you, fine. But it seems to me, you are still at the level of shop assistants and dinner ladies, you are not setting out a proper critique of why school is not like a prison (maybe you could do a list, on the one side 'for's' and on the other 'against's' (e.g. both are compulsory, both are brutal and human at the same time, both are state functions))

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No wonder Dupont urged people to get proper factory jobs in an earlier contribution.

We stand by that... if you want to have an effect as a militant, get a job in a factory. But even so, we have a critique of militantism and we do not say people should sacrifice themselves in that manner if they have other options (but even so they will learn a lot if they do – it is the route we both took).

Quote:
Who here has claimed that policemen or prison guards are "just workers," FDG?

Nobody, but that is my (I think interesting) question. Isn't arguing that they are not just workers, an analysis which 'leads straight into a sociological definition of class based on perceived levels of "supervisory powers," rather than relationship to the means of production'? Our analysis is that these roles are fundamentally different from other jobs... that they cannot be compared to otherson the level of the wage and their alienation from the means of production. We are sure there are many well-meaning policemen and prison guards and the more policing is distributed to PCOS (if that is the right anacronym) then the more 'human' policing will become at the point of delivery. But that doesn't change the function of the police, or the role of individual policemen.

Quote:
you refuse to admit that you are wrong about the structural role of teachers,

Ok, I admit, I admit, I admit that I am wrong (Eppur si muove).

Quote:
you'd rather cook something up about how "Libcom" is excusing state repression and muddying the waters with "we're all oppressing each other like" type thinking (which has clearly not been the case on this thread).

And you think I am hysterical? The thing here is that truth or values and theory must (as Weil said) become a complete environment with many people participating (correcting each other) in order to properly work itself out... when there is only one or two people making a set of arguments (as there is in this case) then this remains a very unsocial form and therefore is bound to have flaws in it. As communists, we think truth is always social, always mediated, and must be circulated by as many individuals as possible over as long a time as possible – where a truth is instituted into the mouth of one individual in front of a class of 30 other individuals, there is bound to be a structural mystification. As the pantomime villain 'Dupont' we have developed a theoretical framework which has made an object appear to us which we think is worthy of discussion... but it is just a theory, it is not real life... if others think it is worthwhile, if they find it challenging, they will spend time of their own free will and will modify it or refute it. If they don't like it, they will ignore it. As Foghorn Leghorn said, 'If you keep a-pitchin them, I'll keep a-hittin them.'

Mike Harman
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Jun 17 2010 15:44
Quote:
where the prison population was once romantically portrayed, they are now viewed as scum, a series like Porridge would never get made now

While not exactly Porridge, you haven't seen Prison Break or Oz?

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fingers malone
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Jun 17 2010 15:46

People are saying that the teachers are defending their roles, well if someone had originally called this thread something like "Education plays a fundamental role in the reproduction of capitalism" then I wouldn´t have reacted in the same way, but they didn´t. They called it "Being a teacher is like being a prison guard" which meant that the first thing a lot of people wanted to do was say that they are not like a prison guard.

The majority of teachers do not, most of the time, fight back against the repressive aspects of the education system. For lots of reasons. Some people like the power. Some people believe in the system. A lot of people just want to make it through till the bell goes. In general, when people feel on the back foot, on the defensive, they don´t want to fight back except over bottom line things like mass redundancies. But this is something affecting the class as a whole.

Education is a massive "big business" (I´m looking for a summer job right now, and it´s amazing how big an industry it is) and the job of teacher is very, very broad. There are countless subdivisions which all change the amount of power the teacher has, the extent to which they might or might not identify with the system and the likelihood of defying it. Some big differences:

permanent/temporary contract
compulsory/non-compulsory education
kids/teens/adults
public/private sector/self employed

I think making sweeping statements is not very helpful. Instead we could look more at the specifics. For example in England I never wanted to teach courses that are for unemployed people as the government are making more and more of these courses compulsory and also shit, part of a strategy for disciplining the unemployed, they are a kind of punishment timewasting, a bit like writing lines. Now in Spain as far as I can tell it´s not like that, I don´t think the government tries to discipline the unemployed in that way. They don´t need to, it´s very difficult to get the dole and you can´t stay on it long term so poverty disciplines the unemployed more directly.
So the meaning of this job varies from place to place and we could usefully look at that. Now I would also like to know more about various struggles around the world involving education, and why they happened.

fort-da game
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Jun 17 2010 16:07

madashell, I've got tired. I do not think I can adequately reply to you or cobbler

madashell wrote:
fort-da game, I understand (and to an extent sympathise with) the point you are trying to make, but you still have yet to account for the various occaisions on which teachers have taken action in opposition to the needs of capital, whether that's teachers boycotting the SATS exams or the teachers in Oaxaca taking a leading role in an uprising agains the state and capital. These are examples of moments when the interests of teachers come into clear conflict with the education system and if you're going to argue that the two things are identical, you really need account for this. This isn't about defending an institution, it's about the distinction between an institution and the workers it employs.

Is it really? You may be right if the context is a generalised conscious struggle against capitalism... but isn't it really more like an attempt by an institution to return to a 'social partnership' model as it views the uncorrected excesses of other parts of itself to be heading to conflict and disaster? There has been no explicit opposition to the role of education within capitalism and no opposition to capitalism as such. You infer it, and you have every right to do so... we all interpret events but we must also accept that there are other interpretations. I really do think the examples you give are about defending the ideal of the institution against its tawdry reality but the ideal is not less capitalistic (the Oaxaca example is different, but I have already talked about the role of education in imperialism... that the model is still essentially western and normative and preserving of a role in society. I do not know if these teachers had a critique of the state or not).

Quote:
It is true that teachers are more likely than, say, shop workers or bus drivers to identify with their "profession", but this is something to be opposed and criticised, rather than to be treated (wrongly, IMO) as a result of a convergence between the interests of teachers and the capitalist education system.

But the profession was founded by the capitalist state as it gave birth to itself... the teaching profession is of the body of the state. The question of identification of individual teacher's is a relative proportions issue (the greater the number of individuals assessed, the more normative 'macro' (class) factors will come into play) such identifications have many unconscious elements. Most individuals, on a large scale, will tend to fall into line with the representation of the role which has been provided to them – many who speak out publicly will later also fall into line privately. Generally speaking, on a mass scale, teachers will defend state education and thus capitalism because it is in the interest of their role, even if it is not in their interest as individuals... we can see this through their union's ideology. Other workers, as Glaberman pointed out, may express patriotism but will still defend their interest which is counter to that of capital... again, a divergence between job and role.

Capitalism constructs situations where there is no other game in town, it is difficult for teachers to think against their established role. It is difficult (as has proved in this discussion) for even radicals and opponents of what is currently instituted to think in other frames than what is established. It is difficult to leave the question open, it is difficult to say, I know what I am against but I can't quite see how things will be organised in the future. It is difficult to say, teachers are like prison officers... in fact my heart sank when I saw that thread title but since then, I have enjoyed it – it has reaquainted me with my inner dupont and with all the old arguments which I had thought were not worth pursuing (I now see that they are, even if they are costly).

Quote:
Quote:
as to the question of the asylum/psychiatric institution, this is something which I do not want to go into too much – but the social aspect of much mental illness is beyond doubt (i.e the increased rate of schizophrenia in second generation immigrants) the fact that it is medicalised at all is proof of the dominance of a managerial interest which wishes to preserve that register of knowledge with which it is identified/enmeshed (i.e. a register in which the problem exists in the individual rather than in the society as a whole).

This is a fair point, though I'd point out that the social care industry covers a much wider area than just psychiatric care. Many people with severe learning disabilities, for instance, clearly suffer from impairments caused by genetic and/or environmental factors which would not disappear in a communist society. The impairments caused by old age would also continue to exist. Just as we need to look at how we'd handle education (in the sense of learning skills) in a communist society if we oppose the way that education is set up under capitalism (which I'd hope we all do), we need to look at how we'd care for those who are unable to care for themselves in the absence of the system of social care we have under capitalism.

Sorry, this was not a response to you so much as 'Mike Harman/catch' who asked about psychiatry. As an NHS employee I have huge problems with the institution of social care and with the identifications of many carers (who also seem extremely damaged by what they must put up with – many carers are consumed with anger and resentment)... but care is a mere cost to capitalism it is not a fundamental element in its own reproduction like education is – therefore the issue of caring roles is not so vital or contestable. Apologies for not responding with more consideration to your challenges.

Wellclose Square
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Jun 17 2010 19:23

While looking for something entirely unrelated, I came across this quotation from William Blake:

"Thank God I never was sent to school, to be flogd into following the style of a fool"

Now I quote that not to extol 'home education', but as a reminder that a significant dimension of 'education work' has long been recognised as a form of ideological conditioning - following the style of a fool, as Blake puts it. In this respect, what some posters euphemise as 'education work' has a quality not shared with working as a greengrocer or busdriver, which is why you will tend not to find rhymes like these:

"Thank God I never went to the greengrocery, those brussels sprouts don't do anything for me"

"Thank God I never hopped on the bus, wage slavery is going nowhere for us"

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Nyarlathotep
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Jun 17 2010 20:10
Valeriano Orobón Fernández wrote:
No, the ability to learn it's not only aimed at sell better your work force.

Well yes there's also ideological indoctrination, which goes hand and hand...

I love how you're so brainwashed by capitalism that you think that capitalist schools have anything to do with "learning", or that they might even have some sort of monopoly on "learning"

Centralized education emerged, in the US, in Iberia, in Greenland, in South Africa, Australia, France, Polynesia, Uganda, and so forth, throughout the global capitalist world, to meet the needs of capital, not humanity. Children who skip or walk out on school, vandalize school property, etc. are committing humble acts of proletarian resistance, in order for a mass-uprising to occur, students will have to abandon their posts as students en masse. To demand a general strike among productive workers but also encourage students to remain in school is vile hypocrisy.

Quote:
When someone knows that is able to change the sector he works in (or optimize the value of his work force if you prefer) the chances to fight exploitation get better

With all due respect, what the hell are you talking about?

Assuming school actually accomplishes such a thing, (which, in the modern economy, it really doesn't) your claims are still patently false. The most privileged and professional sectors of the working class are, historically, the ones least likely to rebel...

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Nyarlathotep
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Jun 17 2010 20:13
jef costello wrote:
A bus driver requires people to behave on the bus so that it can be driven safely

Buses are unsafe because of capitalism, not commuting workers...however, the point is that teachers, prison guards, police, and so forth, are part of the labor aristocracy due to their wages, relationships to fellow workers, etc., whereas bus drivers are not.

Quote:
but a good teacher does not teach by bullying or scaring students

You could just as easily say that "a good law enforcement officer does not protect the safety of the community by bullying or scarring citizens", it would be no less of a bald-faced apology for capitalist conditions.

Quote:
and even official policy recognises this.

Yep, just as the official policy of virtually every capitalist state condemns tortue. I guess capitalist states never commit torture...

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Jun 17 2010 20:18
cobbler wrote:
-a prison guard's main role is consciously to ensure that the prisoners remain incarcerated. They may add other aspects, such as hoping to help in rehabilitation, but their primary role is imprisonment.
-a teacher's main conscious role is to educate, teach, pass on knowledge and skills.

In both cases, the role is to keep individuals trapped within an institution against their will....what if a student randomly decided to walk out of a class with no explanation, without a hall pass or leave of absence, because she wanted to go home and paint, play music, read Das Kapital, bond with friends, meditate, lift weights, garden, make love, play basketball, check her e-mail, or go hiking? What role would the teacher perform in that situation?

cobbler
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Jun 17 2010 20:32
fort-da game wrote:
I think this is quite a difficult point to get across and depends on our class analysis. We do not have a theory of 'productive' and 'non-productive' labour as such but instead have adopted a theory of the 'essential' proletariat, by this, we mean that sector of labour which by stopping work can severely disrupt society with a matter of days. For these workers, and most others, it is perfectly adequate for them to strike 'negatively' for their own interest because of the immense objective effect their actions have. For profesionals however, it is not enough to 'defend the wage' because the wage isn't really how their function is defined... because their role is ideologically set out, it is necessary for them to intervene at the level of social values if they are to make any contribution to the communist struggle. The fundamental difference here is between a 'job' and a 'role' in the economy.

This is a valid point and is something I've thought about often: the role of teachers in the struggle is different due to the position they occupy. The teacher's battle is not directly with a capitalist owner exploiting their labour directly and extracting value as it is with a factory worker, say. By striking they cannot bring the economy to a standstill in any meaningful way (unless they manage to close the schools for a decade or so!) What they may or may not be able at present to do is disrupt the extent to which education demands compliance to a norm and the extent to which it directly serves the interests of capital, fight for control of the curriculum, but this borders on reformism.

Quote:
But as I said in the earlier post, 'education' is barely two hundred years old, it was designed at the same time as prisons and police, the modern military, the modern asylum and hospital and it was designed militarily.

I think part of our problem lies in the background to this statement. Education is not 200 years old, you can trace it back through ecclesiastical schools which have a long heritage and Henry VII was responsible for the creation of some schools. There were various movements in the UK which set up schools, including working class communities creating their own, prior to governmental intervention.

In which case, you will be speaking specifically about the history of education in a particular country, and aspects of that may or may not ring true elsewhere. Many assumptions about society and people's places within it differ significantly between cultures, and just because we are conversing in English we should not assume we are talking from the same paradigm. I wonder if the discussion would not make more sense if it were explicitly stated as a discussion of the situation in one country? (Even if there will be strong parallels in some aspects to others)

Quote:
Quote:
You almost seem to concede this point "struggle against education must take place in the schools" and to my mind it almost seems as if the argument here is being obscured on the definition of education.

Ha ha, yes, I made a bed of thorns for myself on that one .... But I meant everyone really should be involved through the prism of the school which as a structure/institution sets us the problem and demands of us, 'well what would your do differently?

Agreed.

Switching messages:

Quote:
Capitalism constructs situations where there is no other game in town, it is difficult for teachers to think against their established role. It is difficult (as has proved in this discussion) for even radicals and opponents of what is currently instituted to think in other frames than what is established. It is difficult to leave the question open, it is difficult to say, I know what I am against but I can't quite see how things will be organised in the future.

I can't really answer for others on what they think but I've spent a lot of my working life thinking about how things should happen if only I had the option to change them. Despite the fact that my posts have mostly been in opposition to points you've made the discussion has been (is) interesting and it never hurts to have your conceptions prodded.

Post revolution I would expect that the role of school teacher would cease to exist in its current form, and I think it's important to be thinking about that now.

Quote:
... I do not think I can adequately reply to ... cobbler

And there was me thinking you were just ignoring me wink

If you have a moment, I'm still curious for you and/or Garco to tie down the meaning of the work 'like' in the statement "Teachers are like prison guards."

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Choccy
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Jun 17 2010 20:57
Nyarlathotep wrote:
jef costello wrote:
A bus driver requires people to behave on the bus so that it can be driven safely

Buses are unsafe because of capitalism, not commuting workers...however, the point is that teachers, prison guards, police, and so forth, are part of the labor aristocracy due to their wages, relationships to fellow workers, etc., whereas bus drivers are not.

What are you on about? Wages, relationships to fellow workers?
Not that communists should actually use simplistic shit like wages as a definition of class interests, but anyway, the starting wage for a teacher in the UK is below the national average and median UK wage for fulltime workers. In fact in London, I'm told most bus and tube drivers earn more than classroom teachers.

'relationships to fellow workers'? I'd like you to expand this also.
A classroom teacher (forget middle managers, I'm taking about rank and file teachers) have no workers under their control so I don't know what 'relationship' you're talking about. If you're on about kids then it's a moot point for the reasons Cantdo outlined earlie in this thread.

I for one am extremely keen for Education Worker discussion to move beyond pure economic sphere and incorporate libertarian ideas about what education should actually look like. And as RobRay said, most education workers that post on here very much give a shit about the 'bread and butter' of how fucked education is under capitalism, and that it cannot be reformed, because capitalism cannot be reformed.

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fingers malone
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Jun 17 2010 21:35

I get between 800 and 1000 E a month and I don´t get paid in the holidays. In England I got a little bit more and at least I could sign on in the summer, here I can´t. Labour aristocracy ain´t what it used to be.

martinh
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Jun 17 2010 22:23

Both fort-da game and Garco make some valid points, but are teachers really like prison guards?

Given that Garco is/was a teacher, and appears to have held these beliefs before becoming one, it seems to me there are two possible answers:
1. Yes, they are, and he'd have no problem being a prison guard either.
2. No, they're not, but it's a good rhetorical device to wind a lot of people up.

Regards,

Martin

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Jun 17 2010 23:15
cantdocartwheels wrote:
Unless you think 6 year olds should run their own classrooms
Quote:
How about abolishing the classroom as an instrument of capitalist exploitation, and allowing children to learn by freely perusing their natural interests within reason?

No I don;t want to hear about your mad hippy plan for your family about holing them up in the woods in some rural commune and givin them some full mental homeschooling before sending them foraging for mushrooms.

On the hypothetical off chance we have an anarcho-communist society, i would assume i'd be ''working'' 25 hours or so a week, or more if some weeks less others. My kids would be going to a place where trained and knowledgable staff could facilitate their learning (otherwise known as a school) this would involve one member of staff being assigned to X numbers of children (we'll call this unit a class), who would be taught in classrooms.

RedHughs
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Jun 17 2010 23:33
martinh wrote:
Both fort-da game and Garco make some valid points, but are teachers really like prison guards?

Given that Garco is/was a teacher, and appears to have held these beliefs before becoming one, it seems to me there are two possible answers:
1. Yes, they are, and he'd have no problem being a prison guard either.
2. No, they're not, but it's a good rhetorical device to wind a lot of people up.

Regards,

Martin

I pronounce Martin teh winner of teh thread...