Teachers and Class

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sublimembject
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Feb 23 2005 16:28
Teachers and Class

Hang on a second :-

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4273155.stm

By Class War's standard rigid criteria for determining class, that makes her almost working class doesn't it? smile

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PaulMarsh
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Feb 17 2005 17:21
sublimeobject wrote:
Hang on a second :-

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4273155.stm

By Class War's standard rigid criteria for determining class, that makes her almost working class doesn't it? :)

No, but it does make you a cunt sublimeobject.

Class War has set out its position on class in some detail, in the book Unfinished Business, and more recently in the pamphlet 21st Century Class War.

Until you do the same (or whatever group you are in does the same) you are in the postion of having even less "criteria" on this subject than Class War.

sublimembject
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Feb 17 2005 18:00

Touchy.

My, autonomist-Marxist, position on class is that it is (objectively) a product of your place within the capital-relationship, broadly speaking whether you need to sell your labour-power to capital in order to subsist. and (subjectively) a product of your consciousness of this objective position. My problem with CW is their majoring on cultural factors - I've seen the use of balsamic vinegar declaimed as an instance of class betrayal, the major problem with Nick Griffin as being that he is 'posh' (never mind fascism, eh?) and accent taken as a major part of 'belonging' to the working class (hence my jokey link). If you demur from these positions you are *clearly* a middle class wanker - which makes it kind of hard to debate. I have problems with this position, firstly, because it divides the class and is therefore politically inept, and secondly, because it misses the basic point that working class culture is a profoundly cantradictory thing - yes, it contains wonderful examples of resistance and celebration, but it is also a product of alienation and exploitation. Parts of it might be maintained in a post-capitalist future. Others won't. And over-all in abolishing capitalism we will abolish our own class, so we shouldn't form an over-sentimental attachment to it!

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PaulMarsh
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Feb 17 2005 22:53
sublimeobject wrote:
My problem with CW is their majoring on cultural factors - I've seen the use of balsamic vinegar declaimed as an instance of class betrayal, the major problem with Nick Griffin as being that he is 'posh' (never mind fascism, eh?) and accent taken as a major part of 'belonging' to the working class (hence my jokey link).

So you ignore a book, a pamphlet and whatever else the group has written or done over the best part of 22 years, and base your position on a quip about vinegar (that Class War may or may not have made). With advocates like you, it may be some time before "autonomist-Marxist" positions catch on.

As for your point on Nick Griffin, there have now been nearly a dozen documentaries on either Nick Griffin, the BNP or the British far-right since Labour came to power. Most of these have focussed on "exposing" the BNP as fascists, nazis or racists. They have often relied on very clear input from Searchlight, the police or security services, and establishment politicians.

The end result of all these programmes is that the BNP vote has continued to go up, its membership has continued to rise, and it has more council seats then ever. I may lack your "autonomist-marxist" credentials, but even I can see that going round exposing Nick Griffin as a fascist is about as much use as a one-legged man in an arse-kicking contest.

Class is so often the achilles heel of fascist groups, who in this country at least have tended to combine a middle class leadership with a working class membership. Griffin swans about in places like Oldham, Burnley and Dewsbury styling himself as the saviour of the white working class, when he is just another boss, the son of a landowning Tory, who has never had a proper job in his life. He would not dream of spending any time with working class people in the north west, but for the fact that he thinks they are his passport to power.

Class War happens to think it is worth pointing this out. Antifa seem to agree (as they have copied the sticker) However, it is hardly that new an idea - its only a few years back that AFA were distributing leaflets aginst the BNP headed "Tories in flight jackets".

No doubt sublimeobject slagged that from his lofty position as well.

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cantdocartwheels
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Feb 17 2005 23:16

well i agree with you to a certain extent on nick griffin, but it doesn't stop CWF's class analysis being shit. I don't think going around claiming that some teacher on £17k a year who lives down the road and you sometimes see in tescos is actually the mortal enemy of the class is going to get anyone to take you seriously.

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Feb 17 2005 23:25
cantdocartwheels wrote:
I don't think going around claiming that some teacher on £17k a year who lives down the road and you sometimes see in tescos is actually the mortal enemy of the class is going to get anyone to take you seriously.

And people accuse Class War of making idle generalisations!

sublimembject
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Feb 18 2005 00:23

Paul, I agree with you that leftist anti-fascism has been crap. My guess would be that it has been too detached from the communities it has sought to campaign in rather than because of the content of its campaigns. If a load of ANLers are bused in at election times, and nobody sees them again for the next five years, it's hardly suprising anyone takes them seriously. But I do think that the CW 'posh' stance trivialises fascism - what if the next BNP boss were from a working class background? This comes back to the point about subjective and objective class positions, I suppose.

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Feb 18 2005 02:31
PaulMarsh wrote:
cantdocartwheels wrote:
I don't think going around claiming that some teacher on £17k a year who lives down the road and you sometimes see in tescos is actually the mortal enemy of the class is going to get anyone to take you seriously.

And people accuse Class War of making idle generalisations!

Are you claiming that a lot of class war members don't express that sort of moronic point of view? I mean whether its the class war ''line'' or not seems irrelevant if you are letting people put across those views in the name of your organisation and not expelling or at least making some attempt to correct them for putting forward an incorrect position that obviously does nothing but plays to right wing stereotypes and divides the class.

For example

http://www.urban75.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?p=2665416&posted=1#post2665416

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Feb 18 2005 07:48
cantdocartwheels wrote:

Are you claiming that a lot of class war members don't express that sort of moronic point of view? I mean whether its the class war ''line'' or not seems irrelevant if you are letting people put across those views in the name of your organisation and not expelling or at least making some attempt to correct them for putting forward an incorrect position that obviously does nothing but plays to right wing stereotypes and divides the class.

For example

http://www.urban75.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?p=2665416&posted=1#post2665416

In my experience most teachers are middle class.

Plenty of people (preumeably all morons) seem to agree with me. In the poll on urban75 in the thread you list above, more people voted that yes teachers were the class enemy, or that they were somewhere in between, than voted for your position of "no way".

Hardly a ringing endorsement of your argument, and certainly far from a rejection of mine. There must have been a lot of morons on - line that day. Are you saying they should all be thrown out of organisations they are members of, or does your position only apply to Class War?

The failure of many working class children in the state education system (particularly boys and often black boys) is a major issue for our class, and the fact that it is all too often working class children being taught by middle class teachers is a factor from where I am sitting.

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Rob Ray
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Feb 18 2005 08:54

That does seem to be a generalisation, personally I meet a disproportionately high number of anarchists in the teaching profession round my way and the NUT is one of the most militant unions in East Anglia. Just because they have to teach shit doesn't necessarily make them all dickheads, it's the same as any job there are some who are, some who aren't.

gangster
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Feb 18 2005 13:07
cantdocartwheels wrote:
PaulMarsh wrote:
cantdocartwheels wrote:
I don't think going around claiming that some teacher on £17k a year who lives down the road and you sometimes see in tescos is actually the mortal enemy of the class is going to get anyone to take you seriously.

And people accuse Class War of making idle generalisations!

Are you claiming that a lot of class war members don't express that sort of moronic point of view? I mean whether its the class war ''line'' or not seems irrelevant if you are letting people put across those views in the name of your organisation and not expelling or at least making some attempt to correct them for putting forward an incorrect position that obviously does nothing but plays to right wing stereotypes and divides the class.

For example

http://www.urban75.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?p=2665416&posted=1#post2665416

I for one dispute 'a lot of class war members' hold the position you ascribe, infact I have checked the first page of your link and you have provided no evidence. In fact, I don't think you've even talked to a bonafide member of Class War, rather than somebody who says they're 'Class War'... there have been lots of people through the years who have claimed to be 'Class War' when infact they haven't been... I repeat, on the page of your link there are no class war members...

gangster
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Feb 18 2005 13:09
Alan_is_Fucking_Dead wrote:

That said, when the Queen visited Colchester we did a bit of leafleting and disrupted a walkabout with chanting. But that was different...

Why? What makes your 'stunt' any 'better'?

Pepe
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Feb 18 2005 20:55

We had awesome posters to wave at her and I 'booed'.

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PaulMarsh
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Feb 18 2005 21:49
Jess wrote:
We had awesome posters to wave at her and I 'booed'.

We booed her in Bristol in 2000, when she gave out the Maundy Money, peope were shouting parasite at her from about 5 yards away, and she just carried on smiling and waving. It was very, very surreal, with the crowd equally split between monarchists and republicans, and the cops going apeshit.

Oh happy days! Mr. T

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cantdocartwheels
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Feb 19 2005 01:48
PaulMarsh wrote:
cantdocartwheels wrote:

Are you claiming that a lot of class war members don't express that sort of moronic point of view? I mean whether its the class war ''line'' or not seems irrelevant if you are letting people put across those views in the name of your organisation and not expelling or at least making some attempt to correct them for putting forward an incorrect position that obviously does nothing but plays to right wing stereotypes and divides the class.

For example

http://www.urban75.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?p=2665416&posted=1#post2665416

In my experience most teachers are middle class.

Plenty of people (preumeably all morons) seem to agree with me. In the poll on urban75 in the thread you list above, more people voted that yes teachers were the class enemy, or that they were somewhere in between, than voted for your position of "no way".

Hardly a ringing endorsement of your argument, and certainly far from a rejection of mine. There must have been a lot of morons on - line that day. Are you saying they should all be thrown out of organisations they are members of, or does your position only apply to Class War?

The failure of many working class children in the state education system (particularly boys and often black boys) is a major issue for our class, and the fact that it is all too often working class children being taught by middle class teachers is a factor from where I am sitting.

So you blame individual teachers for the failings of the education system?

How is that any different from the sort of individualist hippy nonsense that blames workers in the armaments industry for wars.

Seriosuly its just a job, you earn £20k a year to teach kids. The fact that their are obviously social and economic factors outside the school system that handicap a lot of kids and that there are failings within the education system itself due to govt policy and the effects of capital, does not mean they are caused by the teacher in the classroom.

Yeah I have no doubt that urban 75 forums are hardly a good indicator of public opinion, seeing as its an internet forum for a start and also seems to be home to a worrying large number of hippies. And come off it, you know that class war panders to simplistic outdated views of class that make most of us look like nutters, whether that is the line or not you can't deny that it is clearly a failing.

For me, as a marxist, teachers can be defined as 'middle class' in that the product they produce is academic and social reproduction and it is produced by non-manual labour. Thus Capital defines them as 'middle class' in order to attempt to coopt their skills as part of the power of capital rather than labour, an attempt which often fails, but we don't just blindly ape simplistic bourgeois sociological definitions of class, we are communists.

So please define what you mean here by ''middle class'' for me in marxist criteria or just simple economic terms. After that, you can explain why exactly you hate a person who teaches 5 year olds how to read and write and why that is such a problem for you.

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Feb 19 2005 08:52
cantdocartwheels wrote:

For me, as a marxist, teachers can be defined as 'middle class' in that the product they produce is academic and social reproduction and it is produced by non-manual labour.

So please define what you mean here by ''middle class'' for me in marxist criteria or just simple economic terms. .

No need - you have had a reasonable stab at doing it for me.

Although you could also add that it is their job to teach society's norms and prejudices to children, and to ensure a workforce that is fit for work - i.e. for capitalism. Teachers must be obedient to this, or lose their jobs.

When I was at school, I can remember being made to make cards on Father's Day, even though my form teacher knew full well I was the only kid in the class who did not have a father to give the card to. Do you think I should blame "the sytem" for this, or the teacher who knew full well what she was doing?

The defence of "only doing your job" did go out of fashion after the Nuremberg trials. In blaming everything on government policy, plus social and economic factors you absolve teachers as a group from their role in capital. That is at best generous. At worst you are giving a group of middle class people, with power over working class children, a blank cheque. Nobody is ever going to have a blank cheque over my kids.

I happen to believe the best people to teach working class children are their working class parents, families, friends, neighbours and role models. These are the people who should be running schools, which should be for the whole community, not children.

But working class parents are discouraged from getting directly involved in most schools, and their children's schooling. Have you seen how parents are treated on parents days? Schooling, for working class children is currently like school dinners - you get what you are given.

Two last points - It was you who cited urban75, not me. If your sources don't fit your argument, that is your fault, not mine.

Finally it shows the quality of your argument that you create a straw man implying I am opposed to children learning to read. Why would anyone be opposed to that?

prefuse77
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Feb 19 2005 12:34
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Why would anyone be opposed to that?

Zerzan wink

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Feb 19 2005 13:25
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I happen to believe the best people to teach working class children are their working class parents, families, friends, neighbours and role models.

Can't disagree with that, but the problem would still be the framework they have to work in rather than the people doing it. I repeat, it's not the teachers who are necessarily the problem they're often good people, it's the system that they can't afford to buck or as you say, they lose their jobs.

The guidelines on what can and cannot be taught are strict, and enforced strictly by the heads. There are numerous examples of teachers trying to buck that system and simply getting hounded out by their superiors. I don't think that would disappear if you simply introduced more working class teachers, just as it doesn't when you have working class screws in prisons.

edit:: So basically I reckon I'd counsel the targeting of existing sympathetic teachers to try and further radicalise them, induce them to buck the system etc, the setting up of educational groups which operate outside the government's framework, preferably with the help and support of existing teachers so we know how to sort out something which doesn't make kids unemployable at the end of it, and continual attacks on how the system works at the moment to bring about public pressure against the system as it stands, rather than just saying all teachers need to be replaced cos they're middle class.

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cantdocartwheels
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Feb 19 2005 13:29
PaulMarsh wrote:
cantdocartwheels wrote:

For me, as a marxist, teachers can be defined as 'middle class' in that the product they produce is academic and social reproduction and it is produced by non-manual labour.

So please define what you mean here by ''middle class'' for me in marxist criteria or just simple economic terms. .

No need - you have had a reasonable stab at doing it for me.

Although you could also add that it is their job to teach society's norms and prejudices to children, and to ensure a workforce that is fit for work - i.e. for capitalism. Teachers must be obedient to this, or lose their jobs.

When I was at school, I can remember being made to make cards on Father's Day, even though my form teacher knew full well I was the only kid in the class who did not have a father to give the card to. Do you think I should blame "the sytem" for this, or the teacher who knew full well what she was doing?

Unfortunately i this world some people are just wankers.

Quote:
The defence of "only doing your job" did go out of fashion after the Nuremberg trials.

so teachers are comparable to SS guards now? what the fuck? If you think that then seriously you can just fuck off right now you worthless piece of shit.*

Quote:
In blaming everything on government policy, plus social and economic factors you absolve teachers as a group from their role in capital. That is at best generous. At worst you are giving a group of middle class people, with power over working class children, a blank cheque. Nobody is ever going to have a blank cheque over my kids.

How did i absolve them, some teachers are shit at their job, how does this affect their class status?

Quote:
I happen to believe the best people to teach working class children are their working class parents, families, friends, neighbours and role models. These are the people who should be running schools, which should be for the whole community, not children.

So in a communist society you'd liek too see kids all taugfht at home?! Surely you cannot be serious? How are you going to teach adanced mathematics at home for fiucks sake, i mean its completely impractical before we even get to the problems caused by re-enforcing rigid family values.

However, If your just talking about community involvement in schools then yeah its obviously true that that could be massively improved, but yet again this has no effect on the class status of teachers or teachers as individuals and as such is a pointless arguement. I mean of course i'd like to improve services materiallly, thats the whole point of communism when push comes to shove, but that goes across the board and has no effect on teachers class status any more than it effects the class staus of doctors and bricklayers.

Quote:
But working class parents are discouraged from getting directly involved in most schools, and their children's schooling. Have you seen how parents are treated on parents days? Schooling, for working class children is currently like school dinners - you get what you are given.

Yet again I could say the same thing about clinics or builders ripping off pensioners who can barely afford to pay for heating. We know full well that capitalism leads to alienation so i utterly fail to see what your subjective judgements have to do with class analysis.

Quote:
wo last points - It was you who cited urban75, not me. If your sources don't fit your argument, that is your fault, not mine.

My arguement was that a fair number of hippies and people claiming to be CWF members don';t have a sane class analysis, i think my source goes towards proving that quite nicely.

Quote:
Finally it shows the quality of your argument that you create a straw man implying I am opposed to children learning to read. Why would anyone be opposed to that?

Its not a straw man arguement. You basically are attacking workers whose job it is to teach kids to read, and villainising hundrteds of thousands of workers as '''middle class'' based on bourgeois sociological ideas and sujective judgements, to be honest i think your position is absolute bollocks that does nothing but divide the working class.

*apologies for that

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Feb 19 2005 13:33
cantdocartwheels wrote:
so teachers are comparable to SS guards now? what the fuck? If you think that then seriously you can just fuck off right now you worthless piece of shit.

Cartwheels - he obviously wasn't doing that. And I agree with your class analysis here but you're acting like a nob! Paul Marsh is a sound guy, and you wouldn't talk like this in person so please calm it.

Re: the urban75 vote, it seemed obvious to me that most people voted as a joke confused

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Feb 19 2005 13:37

sorry your right, i apologise, i still think its a silly thing for paul to say in the middle of an arguement tho, but your right i was being a knob there

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Feb 19 2005 13:41
cantdocartwheels wrote:
sorry your right, i apologise, i still think its a silly thing for paul to say in the middle of an arguement tho, but your right i was being a knob there

Nob you posh bastard angry

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cantdocartwheels
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Feb 19 2005 15:10
John. wrote:
cantdocartwheels wrote:
sorry your right, i apologise, i still think its a silly thing for paul to say in the middle of an arguement tho, but your right i was being a knob there

Nob you posh bastard angry

ah maybe thats my 54.3% unconciously showing through

Caiman del Barrio
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Feb 19 2005 17:47
PaulMarsh wrote:
Although you could also add that it is their job to teach society's norms and prejudices to children, and to ensure a workforce that is fit for work - i.e. for capitalism. Teachers must be obedient to this, or lose their jobs.

Obviously it is. But any member of the working class must help in propping up capitalism, that's why they work. You are completely jaded if you think that teachers are any different.

Quote:
When I was at school, I can remember being made to make cards on Father's Day, even though my form teacher knew full well I was the only kid in the class who did not have a father to give the card to. Do you think I should blame "the sytem" for this, or the teacher who knew full well what she was doing?

Yeah well that sucks and I'm sorry, but how is this relevant to the teacher's class.

Quote:
The defence of "only doing your job" did go out of fashion after the Nuremberg trials.

Oh you must be kidding. Am I guilty for having a job that involves forcing people to pay for that which they need to survive?? You're starting to sound more like Crimethinc than CWF mate.

Quote:
In blaming everything on government policy, plus social and economic factors you absolve teachers as a group from their role in capital. That is at best generous. At worst you are giving a group of middle class people, with power over working class children, a blank cheque. Nobody is ever going to have a blank cheque over my kids.

No Cantdo never did that. He merely tried to rein your hysterical anti-teacher stance.

Jason Cortez
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Feb 25 2005 11:36

Just a little question to stir it up.

Quote:
Obviously it is. But any member of the working class must help in propping up capitalism, that's why they work. You are completely jaded if you think that teachers are any different.
Quote:
but the problem would still be the framework they have to work in rather than the people doing it. I repeat, it's not the teachers who are necessarily the problem they're often good people, it's the system that they can't afford to buck or as you say, they lose their jobs.

Does this also apply to prison officers and the police?

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Feb 25 2005 12:49

Absolutely, I've several good people in the army as well. I'm not saying there isn't a high proportion of wankers, but to lump everyone into the one category is simplistic and counterproductive, artificially restricting the pool of people we try and get support from.

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Feb 26 2005 13:23

It would be different if the majority of teachers were marxist, but seeing most of them aren't it's unrealistic to expect them to do anything other than teach what the system wants them to. Most teachers are only concerned with taking home a fat wage at the end of the week, rather than teaching radical political idea's. You can't just hate them for this, as most of the working class also dream of earning more money for themselves and their children. It is our job to try and change this, but until it is changed you can't just hate on teachers for what they do, because doing that would be hating on the majority of the population, who also wish to be in better jobs and earning more money, just like teachers.

red

Steve Booth
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Feb 26 2005 14:27

Saii wrote: "The guidelines on what can and cannot be taught are strict, and enforced strictly by the heads. There are numerous examples of teachers trying to buck that system and simply getting hounded out by their superiors.

......

... so we know how to sort out something which doesn't make kids unemployable at the end of it, and continual attacks on how the system works at the moment to bring about public pressure against the system as it stands, rather than just saying all teachers need to be replaced cos they're middle class."

It is clear that the school system is based on the gradations of class. The children learn the class system within this, and then it goes on to be replicated in the wider society. Its a chicken and the egg. We cannot change society without looking at education, and we cannot change education without addressing the shape and form of society.

In Lancaster for example there are both a Boys and a Girls Grammar School, with entrance examinations. Then there is Ripley, a Church of England Secondary school, which admits about 145 pupils each year and has about 250 or more applications and so competition to get in is very very very tough.

At the other end of the scale there is Skerton, the school all the parents want to avoid sending their children to, which has been in Ofsted special measures and is widely understood as a 'sump' school. If you think about this, these schools are like the opposite poles of a car battery. The system needs them both. Or you might think of it like the stick and the carrot.

This brings me to the second point: It's really difficult if you want to address this problem and bring about a positive social change which really addresses the class based nature of society. It is so embedded in society. Parents have aspirations about their children and often have bought into the middle class thing. (The negative and positive pole - the stick and the carrot). They want their children to go to the Grammar School or Ripley, and on to university, get a highly paid job at the end of it etc etc. Or they want to avoid the Skerton type school. I don't think it is helpful to criticise them for this. People have to make choices based on what is, not what they would like to be.

Any attempt to change that is going to be met with opposition, from vested interests within the education system, and from the parents themselves. It isn't going to be changed in one fell swoop, but only gradually, through some sort of reform process which sees the whole class based character of it and has a proper programme which people can buy into, step by step.

The very radical and obvious way of addressing it would be to build up separate anarchist schools outside the system, but I doubt whether the movement is capable of taking such a courageous and ground breaking step. How would this be possible? Saii hits the nail on the head regarding this in the comment about employability. So people are basically lumbered with buying into what there is at the present time. But if people are disatisfied with it, there are ways in which comments can be offered, enter into debate with educationalists, political pressure be put on the Dept of Education etc etc, lobbying. It would have some effect if done in a consistent way.

This brings me round to the obvious point about the relationship of education to the economic system itself. But that's probably another thread?

ftony
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Feb 26 2005 14:27
Quote:
It would be different if the majority of teachers were marxist

how about if they were Maoist teachers? would they have to throw themselves out of the window? grin

sublimembject
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Feb 26 2005 18:10
PaulMarsh wrote:

The failure of many working class children in the state education system (particularly boys and often black boys) is a major issue for our class, and the fact that it is all too often working class children being taught by middle class teachers is a factor from where I am sitting.

That failure is clearly an issue. But I don't think we can conclude anything about the class-status of teachers from it. The education system is geared towards reproducing labour for the needs of the capitalist class. This forces teachers into mediating between capital and pupils. Because of this pupils' struggles will often be directed against teachers, as the immediate agents of capital and the State. It doesn't follow from this that teachers are not working class. On other occasions, pay disputes for example, teachers take on capital and the State.

Teachers are members of the working class. They are sometimes set against other members of the working class (pupils). Capitalism sets members of the class against one another, and makes them mediate its domination, 'domestic' workers and migrant workers, men and women, etc. We should respect the automony of the struggles of particular sections of the class, but seek to build a unity out of them, and not assume that people are 'middle class' (whatever that means) just because they are the current focus of some struggle.

sublimembject
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Feb 26 2005 18:58

Absolutely.

As for the 'Marxist' definition of the middle class, offered earlier - I don't have much time for it : the difference between manual and non-manual labour strikes me as far less clear cut or useful than is being claimed. Teachers produce a commodity - in fact, the most precious commodity for capital, human labour - and receive less than the full value of that commodity in return for their efforts. Just like the rest of the working class.