Pedagogy of the Oppressor

Published on ZNet (first on The Dawn) by Andrés Lund, July 23, 2016.

In education, in life, in the public sphere, dialogue is an essential factor for civilization. It is also a way to become subjects, to become who we are, and thus, to overcome oppression. The best dialogue is the kind that is egalitarian and seeks after the common good: this is the sort of dialogue that should exist within the community of the oppressed to shape a feasible Utopia that we need to change lives and transform the world. That community is always spoken about in future tense, but now it’s urgent to debate what is happening right now to public education in Mexico.

The dynamics of Capital, of “valuing value”, of maximizing its benefits and minimizing its costs, determine, in one way or the other, the superstructural spheres of capitalism, among them, the educative sphere … //

… This Pedagogy of the Oppressor* wants to eliminate the subjectivity from teachers, their educational projects (they have many and of great quality), their status as transformative intellectuals, their capacity of being critical subjects that defend a democratic, axiological and environmental rationality together with the country’s community. The oppressors seek to make them objects of an instrumental rationality at the service of capital. They seek to commodify the teachers and students’ subjectivities, eliminating the ethical and political articulation that true education supposes. They try to accomplish the neoliberal dream of eliminating educative subjects with ICTs and broaden the industrial reserve workforce.

The educative sphere is fundamental for society as a whole because it’s one of the key structures that nurtures and allows socialization of human beings, as well as basic skills such as putting thoughts and feelings into words, guiding the world to the new generations who seek to renew the world with new ethical and political utopias. Education can, indeed, transform the society and create new subjects, teachers and students, but in capitalism education is a tool to maintain the privileges of some people and to mutilate the potentialities of most human beings.

In fact, Mexican teachers defend the full development of the human faculties, while the Capital seeks, through its incarnations, to go back to an education conceived as a mere training of workforce, that reproduces social inequalities and exclusion.

But, since Mexican teachers have a rebel consciousness that is affirmed when their dignity is attacked, the State —at the service of the Capital—, has once again resorted to the oldest “education” method: ‘to spare the rod is to spoil the child’, so they use violence to reinforce the Pedagogy of the Oppressor. The bureaucrats of education, personificated in Aurelio Nuño, as all personifications of the Capital, naturalize violence and seek to spread the message that human lives are not worth crying for.

This distinct possibility that the bureaucrats in power will continue resorting to State terrorism (as in Ayotzinapa, or Nochixtlán) can only be stopped if we, the denied and the oppressed, speak as equals with each other and if we unite. We must discuss how to conform a Coordination of Coordinators, an Assembly of Assemblies, a Council of Councils, to be our political power, collective and democratising, to finally end with the alienation promoted by the Capital and the State, and to accomplish our utopia of a freer, more egalitarian, and fairer society where education is for all, to constitutes ourselves as subjects, to bloom in humanity.

(full text).

* (Pedagogy of the Oppressor: Wordplay in reference to the Pedagogy of the Oppressed, (pdf 1970, 181 pages), famous educational model of left-wing Brazilian educator Paulo Freire).


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