Revolutionary pedagogy – ideas for building cadre.

So what follows are some very rough ideas. It’s looking at how effective the ideas of revolutionary pedagogy are for understanding how revolutionaries can and should operate. There is a rich heritage of Marxists and social theorists who have expanded the idea of education out to understand revolutionary practice, from Vygotsky to Gramsci and Freire. At the same time it also conjures up nauseating images of Narodniks and Fabians; going out amongst the proles to inform them of their duty.

What thinkers like Vygotsky, Freire and Gramsci were so successful at showing was the nature of the education we experience. What they showed was that the relationship of education to schools, adult learning colleges evoked the contradictory nature of those institutions. On one level, greater knowledge is part of emancipatoin. On the other, probably heavier hand, schools are part of maintaining an oppressive and exploitative system.

Hence it makes sense that we view the idea of revolutionary practice as education with skepticism. Yet in reality that is what we are trying to achieve.

If we deconstruct the material basis for education we come down to something simple; the development of knowledge; something which is distinctly social.

The sharing of knowledge and our collective humanisation is what education could be. It is alienated because of capitalism, and the need to reproduce its social relations through a means of stratifying workers into positions useful for production.

Lenin talks about the party being a university of the class and a culmination of the best experiences of struggle. In this sense a critical analysis (an ofsted check lol) into that university is fundamental. What methods are we using. Are they enough? Could we do better?


– What is the point of talking about pedagogy – doesn’t just relate to primary schools. Comes down to the way we relate to the world and how we develop knowledge, wisdom and practice socially. The means of pedagogy can therefore determine the access to knowledge, and the alienation from power.

– The party should be therefore be a means of pedagogy. Lenin understood it as such. Something that critically engaged with society. How does this compare with Freire?

– Can Freire’s and Vygotsky’s ideas be achieved in schools? There are problems with Freire’s conceptions of revolution. I will critique the radical/activist opposition as well as look at the powerful aspects of their analysis. On the other hand there are aspects that clearly build on Gramsci’s concept of organic intellectuals.

– We appear to widely accept the thirst for ideas in this period. Occupy etc. What this would suggest is an acceleration in critical transitivity – in spite of the rise in consumerism – what could be seen as the sharpened contradictions leading to a dialectical shift. How would you prove these kind of things? Compare them to the movements of the 68/74 period? They were also highly ideological. What could be argued is that ideology has spread through the class in a more disticnt way. Education was certainly expanded as a result. Comes back to the unemployed graduates argument.

– Is the question of how we operate pedagogy as a revolutionary party useful? I would argue that it is. We need to critically assess the usefulness and the adequacy not only of the ways that we relate to our knowledge and praxis as a party, but the way we engage with a consciousness-raising dialogue with the class.

– As revolutionaries we already engage in pedagogy. At some points this may reflect more historic and didactic means of education. On one hand it would be wrong to characterise these simply as ‘the same as the worst kinds of education’. Certainly we have meetings which are lectures with subsequent discussion that reflect university education.

+1 on 1 meetings, often informal, ‘going for a coffee’.
+Slogans – in contrast to Freire, slogans can often be the heart of a pedagogic dialogue, they take place in a social situation, that is somewhat contrived, but still – the picket, the demonstration, the lobby. An attempt to elicit a response. We actively think about what we are going to use as slogans. A greater musicality and breadth of slogans often characterises a strong and organic movement.
+paper sales and the paper and the publications, leaflets.
+ reading groups.
+Also need a critique of undisciplined groups, anarchist bookfair, that may not account for the confidence that arises from wealth, race, sexuality etc.

-the united front through the prism of revolutionary pedagogy. Effectively we want wider groups than us to move towards a critical, and subsequently revolutionary,

– This is not to argue that the party should make a sharp turn towards ‘educational’ work. On the contrary, I would argue that we are already engaged in a rich pedagogy. However, acknowledging that, and the strength of the enemy’s pedagogy, then a critical assessment is vital. It is also the case that trade unions and the labour party use forms of education

reading groups

critical circles

our tradition hasn’t appeared to have produced much on radical pedagogy

education through dialogue and empathy.

means that there is less of a division of labour between those who are intellectual cadre and those who aren’t.

means to undermine the writing/speaking division of labour.

are we a dyslexia-accessible org?

(read dyslexia and disability and marxism – isj)

what is education and what is struggle.

what would be the point of an article on pedagogy and the revoluitonary party?

Should we be trying to engage ‘reproductive’ workers on an ideological level as well as on an ‘economic-political’ level that appeals to the empathetic and progressive aspects of their labour that are frustrated by neoliberalism and austerity?


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