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Pedagogy of Insurrection

From Resurrection to Revolution

by Peter McLaren (Author)
Textbook XXIV, 465 Pages
Series: Education and Struggle, Volume 6

Table Of Content

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • PRAISE FOR pedagogy of insurrection
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Acknowledgements
  • Foreword by E. San Juanxv
  • Preface by Michael Petersxxi
  • Out of the Rubble, Staking a Claim: An Introduction
  • Chapter 1. Comrade Jesus
  • Chapter 2. Comrade Freire
  • Chapter 3. Comrade Chávez (With McLaren and Mike Cole)
  • Chapter 4. Comrade Fidel, the French Canadian and a Literacy Campaign
  • Chapter 5. Comrade Che
  • Chapter 6. Revolutionary Critical Pedagogy: A Conversation With Peter McLaren (With Peter McLaren and Sebastjan Leban)
  • Chapter 7. Revolutionary Critical Pedagogy Is Made by Walking in a World Where Many Worlds Coexist (With Peter McLaren and Petar Jandric´)
  • Chapter 8. Seeds of Resistance: Towards a Revolutionary Critical Ecopedagogy
  • Chapter 9. Radical Negativity: Music Education for Social Justice
  • Chapter 10. Deploying Guns to Expendable Communities: Bloodshed in Mexico, U.S. Imperialism and Transnational Capital—A Call for Revolutionary Critical Pedagogy (With Peter McLaren, Lilia D. Monzó and Arturo Rodriguez)
  • Chapter 11. Education as Class Warfare
  • Chapter 12. Critical Rage Pedagogy: From Critical Catharsis to Self and Social Transformation
  • Afterword by Lilia D. Monzó
  • Index
  • Series Index

| IX →

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This book was conceived several years ago, during a dark time in which it was difficult for me to maintain much faith in humanity. What existed around me seemed little more than a vortex of deep-seated repression, envy, political scapegoating and entrapment, self-interest and subterfuge. Solidarity, love, compassion and understanding seemed absent in the world. The survival and well-being of the oppressed seemed everywhere secondary to the petty needs of the non-oppressed. Coming to Chapman has taught me that spaces of solidarity, trust, friendship and a commitment to truth and dignity for every human being can survive within the walls of the academy. My deepest gratitude goes to Suzi Soohoo, Lilia Monzó, Tom Wilson, Don Cardinal and Anaida Colón-Muñiz for revealing a loving and compassionate side of the world of education and displaying such integrity and faith in our collective humanity as educators. And my most heartfelt thanks go to two women in my life. Jenny Jones I met and married in 1975; Wang Yan (Angie) I married in 2012. Without these two miracles in my life I could not continue to do the work to which I have committed my life. I am also indebted to Father Alan Roberts of Holy Cross Seminary in Auckland, New Zealand, who picked me up from the streets of despair and clothed and fed me spiritually until I was on my feet again.

Bernardo Gallegos was a continent away yet proved that real brotherhood knows no distance. Peter O’Connor became a bright light in a very dark ← IX | X → universe. His companionship and blue suede shoes are forever engraved in my memory. Thanks to Sergio Quiroz Miranda, who housed and fed me for months in Mexico until my ill-fated return to Babylon. Thank you Sergio for enabling me to learn once again what it means to be a revolutionary. Trapped once more in the belly of the Anti-Kingdom, words of encouragement from Noam Chomsky and Cornel West were greatly welcomed. I wish to acknowledge especially the support of my six brothers, Carl Boggs, Henry Giroux, Bernardo Gallegos, Richard Kahn, Juha Suoranta and Donaldo Macedo, and of my four Sisters of Mercy, Karen Richardson, Sheila Macrine, Karen Anijar and Antonia Darder. And I would also like to express my gratitude to Sam Fassbinder for his editing assistance. I am grateful for the comradeship and generosity of Erin Currier, a brilliant and iconoclastic artist and fearless warrior for social justice. A warm thanks goes to Bernadette Shade for her perceptiveness and her patience. Bernie and Phyllis Korper went beyond the call of duty to include last minute adjustments to the book, and without their capacity to endure my obsessive email requests, this book would not have seen the light of day. Chris Myers was able to put my eccentricities into perspective and with a deep breath give me the support that I needed to finish the book. For all these reasons, and more, Peter Lang remains my publisher of choice. Of course, the very idea of creating this book would have been impossible without Wang Yan, who left her world in the northeast of China to stand in loving solidarity with me at each moment of every day.

The author wishes to thank the following publications for permission to reprint from the following sources:

Introduction

McLaren, Peter. (2013). A Critical Patriotism for Urban Schooling: A Call for a Pedagogy Against Fear and Denial and For Democracy. Texas Education Review, volume 1, pp. 234–253. As retrieved from: http://txedrev.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/McLaren_A-Critical-Patriotism-for-Urban-Schooling_TxEdRev.pdf

Jose María Barroso Tristán and Peter McLaren. (2013). Critical Pedagogy Against Capitalist Schooling: Towards a Socialist Alternative. An Interview with Peter McLaren. Global Education Magazine. As retrieved from: http://www.globaleducationmagazine.com/--

McLaren, Peter and Farahmandpur, Ramin. (2005). Teaching Against Global Capitalism and the New Imperialism: A Critical Pedagogy. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

McLaren, Peter. (2000). Che Guevara, Paulo Freire, and the Pedagogy of Revolution. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, Inc.

McLaren, Peter. (2010). Afterword: Matters Change: And Why Change Matters. In sj Miller and David E. Kirkland (eds.) Change Matters: Critical Essays on Moving Social Justice Research from Theory to Policy. (pp. 219–240) New York: Peter Lang Publishers. ← X | XI →

Peter McLaren, (2005). Capitalists and Conquerors: A Critical Pedagogy Against Empire. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Ltd.

McLaren, Peter. (2011). Preface: Towards a Decolonizing Epistemology. Erik Malewski and Nathalia Jaramillo, (eds). (2011). Epistemologies of Ignorance in Education. (pp. vii–xxviii) Charlotte, North Carolina: Information Age Publishers.

McLaren, Peter. (2010). Revolutionary Critical Pedagogy. Interactions. UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies, 6(2). As retrieved from: https://escholarship.org/uc/item/7qj2b570#page-2

Chapter 1

Peter McLaren. (2014). Education agonistes: An epistle to the transnational capitalist class. Policy Futures in Education, 12(4), 583–610.

Peter McLaren. (2014). Comrade Jesus: An epistolic manifesto. Knowledge Cultures, 2(6), 55–114.

Peter McLaren. (2015). On dialectics and human decency: Education in the dock. Open Review of Educational Research, 2(1), 1–25. DOI: 10.1080/23265507.2014.986187

Chapter 2

Peter McLaren. (2014). Reflections on love and revolution. International Journal of Critical Pedagogy, 5(1), 1–10.

Peter McLaren. (2015). Reflections on Paulo Freire, critical pedagogy, and the current crisis of capitalism. In Michael Peters and Tina Besley (Eds.), Paulo Freire: The global legacy (pp. 17–38). New York, NY: Peter Lang.

Chapter 3

Peter McLaren. (2013, March 7). The man in the red beret. Truthout. Retrieved from http://truth-out.org/speakout/item/14997-the-man-in-the-red-beret

Peter McLaren. (2013). Farewell to the man in the red beret, enter the man in the white silk mitre: ‘There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.’ Policy Futures in Education, 11(4), 477–480.

Peter McLaren & Mike Cole. (2014, June 11). Austerity/Immiseration capitalism. What can we learn from Venezuelan socialism? Truthout. Retrieved from http://truth-out.org/news/item/24264-austerity-immiseration-capitalism-what-can-we-learn-from-venezuelan-socialism. Also reprinted in Venezuelanalysis, June 14, 2014. Also reprinted in Iberamericano Social, 2014. Retrieved from http://iberoamericasocial.com/austerity-immiseration-capitalism-can-learn-venezuelan-socialism/ ← XI | XII →

Chapter 4

Peter McLaren. (2009). Guided by a red star: The Cuban literacy campaign and the challenge of history. Journal of Critical Education Policy Studies, 7(2), 52–65. Retrieved from http://www.jceps.com/?pageID=article&articleID=161

Peter McLaren. (2009). Foreword: A possible praxis. In Mark Abendroth (Ed.), Rebel literacy: Cuba’s national literacy campaign and critical global scholarship (pp. vii–xix). Duluth, MN: Litwin Books.

Chapter 5

Peter McLaren. (2007). Foreword: The future of the past. In Michael Löwy, The Marxism of Che Guevara (pp. vii–xxiv). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Peter McLaren. (2008). The Marxism of Che Guevara: Searching for ‘Che’ in capitalism’s nightmare. Indigo. ‘Shared Visions,’ 3, 102–117. Retrieved from http://pages.gseis.ucla.edu/faculty/mclaren/Images/INDIGO_Info.pdf

Chapter 6

Revolutionary critical pedagogy: The struggle against the oppression of neoliberalism—A conversation with Peter McLaren. This was an interview by Sebastjan Leban for the Slovenian journal, Reartikulacija. The interview was reprinted in the following texts: In Peter E. Jones (Ed.). (2011). Marxism and education: Reviewing the dialogue, pedagogy, and culture (pp. 216–234). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan; and in Sheila Macrine, Dave Hill, & Peter McLaren (Eds.). (2010). Revolutionizing pedagogy: Education for social justice within and beyond global neoliberalism (pp. 87–116). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Chapter 7

Petar Jandrić & Peter McLaren. (2014). Revolutionary critical pedagogy is made by walking—In a world where many worlds coexist. Policy Futures in Education, 12(6), 805–831.

Chapter 8

Peter McLaren. (2013). Seeds of resistance: Towards a revolutionary critical ecopedagogy. Socialist Studies/Études socialistes, 9(1), 84–108.

Peter McLaren. (2012). Objection sustained: Revolutionary pedagogical praxis as an occupying force. Policy Futures in Education, 10(4), 487–495. ← XII | XIII →

Chapter 9

Peter McLaren. (2011). Radical negativity: Music education for social justice. Action, Criticism & Theory for Music Education, 10(1), 131–147.

Chapter 10

Lilia D. Monzó, Peter McLaren, & Arturo Rodriguez. (forthcoming). Deploying guns to expendable communities: Bloodshed in Mexico, US imperialism and transnational capital—A call for revolutionary critical pedagogy. Cultural Studies/Critical Methodologies.

Lilia D. Monzó, Peter McLaren, & Arturo Rodriguez. (2014). Distribución de armas a comunidades prescindibles. Baño de sangre en México, imperialismo estadounidense y capital transnacional: Por una pedagogía crítica revolucionaria. In Tiempos violentos: Barbarie y decadencia civilizatoria. Buenos Aires, Argentina: Ediciones Herramientas.

Chapter 11

Peter McLaren. (2011, September 25). Education as class warfare: Interview with scholar/author Peter McLaren. The Socialist.

Chapter 12

Peter McLaren. (2014). Education agonistes: An epistle to the transnational capitalist class. Policy Futures in Education, 12(4), 583–610.

Peter McLaren. (2014). Comrade Jesus: An epistolic manifesto. Knowledge Cultures, 2(6), 55–114.

Peter McLaren. (2015). On dialectics and human decency: Education in the dock. Open Review of Educational Research, 2(1), 1–25. DOI: 10.1080/23265507.2014.986187

| XV →

FOREWORD

E. San Juan, Jr.

Professorial Lecturer, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Manila, Philippines; former Fellow, W. E. B. Du Bois Institute, Harvard University; Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin

For citizens of the informed public sphere everywhere, Peter McLaren needs no introduction. He is one of the world’s most distinguished educators, the key architect of “revolutionary critical pedagogy,” to quote his colleague Paula Allman. His substantial academic record of over 45 books and hundreds of scholarly articles, beginning from his pathbreaking Life in Schools to his epoch-making Che Guevara, Paulo Freire and the Pedagogy of Revolution, is widely known. It unfolds a chronicle of passionate engagement with radical social movements and popular-democratic forces of change spanning over 30 years. It serves as a testimony to an examined life in the service of humanity, in particular “les damnés de la terre.”

“Wretched of the earth,” Frantz Fanon’s rubric for the colonized peoples of the global South, signals what is crucial in McLaren’s new endeavor. It is a point of departure for the finessing of the weapons of critical pedagogy in the age of the wars of terror, planetary surveillance, legal torture, genocidal drone assassinations, in this mystifying regime of disaster capitalism. As a leading public intellectual, McLaren seeks a rearming of the collective spirit to explore possibilities for resistance and transformation of social life.

Here we witness a novel turn in McLaren’s career. But it is a dialectical move, negating but also preserving elements of the old in a new configuration. ← XV | XVI → McLaren began as a school teacher in Canada. After involvement in youth activism and the international anti-Indochina wars protest movement, McLaren earned his doctorate from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. His early, rich experience in frontline teaching (1974–1979) is intimately documented in Life in Schools. It was followed by his scholarly dissertation on Schooling as a Ritual Performance: Towards a Political Economy of Educational Symbols and Gestures (1986).

In his early teaching and research, McLaren’s expertise in critical literacy, ethnography, and curriculum studies reflected his Weberian interest in the politics of consumption and lifestyle identity nuanced with Frankfurt Critical Theory. With the outbreak of global capitalism’s crisis after the end of the Vietnam War, and the attempt of the neoconservative bloc (Reagan and Thatcher’s reactionary attacks on unions and the social-welfare consensus) to roll back revolutions in Central and South America, as well as in Africa and Asia (support of dictatorships in Chile, the Philippines, apartheid rule in South Africa, etc.) until the explosion in 2008, McLaren’s thinking underwent delicate recalibration, if not a subtle retooling of the critical-pedagogy paradigm.

In the trajectory of McLaren’s development, 1994 is marked as the pivotal year of change. His encounter with the ideas and example of Paulo Freire, the great Brazilian thinker, functioned as a heuristic and catalyzing influence. Freire negated the neoliberal hubris of possessive individualism and replaced it with the secular ideal of a community of learners-teachers. Freire’s vision of education as freedom for action was simultaneously realistic, utopian, and self-critical. Meanwhile, McLaren was fully engaged in teaching at Miami University, Ohio (circa 1985) and the University of California, Los Angeles (from 1993). But his focus was less on classroom methodology than on the critique of political economy, cultural contacts, and racialized identity. In my view, this period signaled the more self-reflective process of actualizing the principle of Marxist-humanist praxis, the combination of theory and practice, in and outside the schoolroom. It is a project of inscribing the work of teaching and learning in the concrete totality of the prevailing social relations of production, in the complex dynamics of everyday life. In Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, the cardinal lesson is that genuine education is not possible without the self-reflective change in the learner in the process of a transformative, emancipatory praxis. The production of ethical-critical consciousness, a historical commitment by the community of the oppressed to their own liberation, is called by Freire “conscientization.” ← XVI | XVII →

McLaren’s “conscientization” has its roots in his early involvement with youth and communitarian movements in which he acquired a mode of resistance-postmodernist outlook. This rebellious stance metamorphosed with his involvement in the struggles for social justice around the world, particularly in Latin America. He participated in the landless workers’ movement in Brazil, with the Zapatistas in Mexico, with the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela, and the insurgent partisans in Colombia and South Africa. Grasping what he deemed “the differentiated totalities of contemporary society,” McLaren sharpened his critique of the epistemological and axiological dimensions of democracy with his knowledge of actual struggles of peasants, workers, women, youth, and other marginalized peoples in the “peripheries” once dominated by the colonial and imperial metropolis. In the critique of “the coloniality of power,” he encountered the work of José Porfirio Miranda and other theologians of liberation who argue that “option for the poor” is not preferential but an obligation for all conscientized humans.

McLaren’s “conscientization” has its roots in his early involvement with youth and communitarian movements in which he acquired a mode of resistance-postmodernist outlook. This rebellious stance metamorphosed with his involvement in the struggles for social justice around the world, particularly in Latin America. He participated in the landless workers’ movement in Brazil, with the Zapatistas in Mexico, with the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela, and the insurgent partisans in Colombia and South Africa. Grasping what he deemed “the differentiated totalities of contemporary society,” McLaren sharpened his critique of the epistemological and axiological dimensions of democracy with his knowledge of actual struggles of peasants, workers, women, youth, and other marginalized peoples in the “peripheries” once dominated by the colonial and imperial metropolis. In the critique of “the coloniality of power,” he encountered the work of Jose Porfirio Miranda and other theologians of liberation who argue that “option for the poor” is not preferential but an obligation for all conscienticized humans.

This encounter harbored germinal insights for McLaren’s future work. The re-discovery of Jesus of the Gospels as a foundational communist, the origin of the narrative of Christian communism, has given his Marxist humanism a new line of approach in the “war of position” against predatory capitalism. McLaren now wrestles with questions prompted by his synthesis of critical pedagogy as a praxis of class struggle and a neo-Gramscian approach to constructing the counter-hegemony of the “wretched of the earth.” He asks: “How can we reclaim Jesus as a fellow communist? … After all, it was not ← XVII | XVIII → Marx who established the final criterion for judging the authenticity of one’s life as a concern for all peoples in need. It was comrade Jesus. How do we move beyond a new left narrative of redistribution and defence of public services? How do we get up and run an antagonistic social and political paradigm to neoliberalism? How can forms of popular power from below be transferred into a new historical bloc?” These are urgent questions not to be postponed for a future agenda of organic intellectuals.

The application of historical-materialist methodology leads us to “Comrade Jesus.” As Enrique Dussel (in The Ethics of Liberation) has pointed out, we find the ethical criteria of those subjugated by the Empire in the primacy of “corporeal carnality,” the community and its carnal needs, summed up in Matthew 25:35–36: “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me” (for a feminist angle, see Elisabeth Fiorenza, Bread Not Stone, 1995). In this context, McLaren affirms that Jesus’s “intransigent condemnation of the rich” and the vision/prophecy of a classless society that emerges from the abolition of private property and alienated labor, is a message “grounded in the establishment of justice and life now, at this very moment.”

This detour to the Gospels actually brings us back to the real world of contradictions, to the historicity of lived experience. We rediscover the world of sensuous practice which resolves the classic duality of immanence and transcendence, idealism and materialism, and the historic disjunction of manual and mental labor. Social agency reveals itself in the metabolism of human needs and nature, of cognition and material conditions. We grasp anew the “community of life” where bodies with their potential and actual powers interact with the natural life-world—Marx’s fundamental insights expressed in the 1844 Manuscripts and Grundrisse. A similar experience occurred in the Philippines during the nightmarish U.S.-Marcos dictatorship (1972–1986), when partisans of the movement against U.S. imperialism invented a theology of struggle and organized the Christians for National Liberation. Both lay persons and church workers joined hands with national-democratic movement guerillas in the fight for social justice and genuine sovereignty. “People’s war” waged by the Communist Party of the Philippines since the 1960s articulated a program of structural transformation partly inspired by the Latin American theology of liberation initiated by Gustavo Gutierrez, Leonardo Boff, and others.

In the essay on “Comrade Jesus,” McLaren revitalizes the principles of materialist dialectics with his account of his visit to San Juan Chamula where ← XVIII | XIX → the indigenous farmers of Mayan lineage now struggle with the Zapatistas. He also celebrates the people’s mobilizations in Detroit and in Cochabamba, Bolivia, for basic rights to water and other vital resources, against corporate greed and cynical bourgeois reforms. They serve as examples of self-management and decolonizing collective praxis. These enduring struggles for food, health care, housing, education, and other basic human rights on an international scale (including the phenomenal Occupy Wall Street insurrection) have now expanded and enriched the revolutionary critical pedagogy that McLaren initiated in the last decades of the last century.

Operating on the terrain of ideological struggle, McLaren’s militant cultural politics evolves in resonance with the times. It continues to confront state apparatuses of reification, media commodity-fetishism, and networks of power that construct identity/performative subjects. It strives to expose the limits of nihilistic deconstruction, anarchist pragmatism, and the biopolitics of the multitude. His interventions into the embattled sites of popular culture, of common-sensical habitus in the urban life-world colonized by racist-sexist politics of white supremacy, seek to analyze institutional relations of power and their reproduction. McLaren’s vocation has always been to discover opportunities in classroom and community life susceptible to mediation, resistance, and transformation. His commitment to advance the project of producing subjects or agencies of liberation empowered with sensuous rationality and reflexive structures of feeling is vibrantly demonstrated in this new work.

As Paulo Freire noted in his preface to McLaren’s Critical Pedagogy and Predatory Culture, we are fortunate to become “intellectual cousins” of McLaren by sharing (through his discourse and his example) the knowledge and skills needed for conscientized participation in changing our world by sharing with, and cooperating in, the struggle of the “wretched of the earth” for our all-encompassing liberation from the barbarism of global capitalism and for the survival of the planet.

| XXI →

PREFACE

Peter McLaren’s Emancipatory Humanism

Michael A. Peters

Critical pedagogy locates the production of critical knowledges leading to praxis in its social, spatial and geopolitical contexts, and reveals the workings of the production process and how it operates intertextually alongside and upon other discourses, but it does so with a particular political project in mind—an anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, anti-racist, anti-sexist and pro-democratic and emancipatory struggle.

Details

Pages
XXIV, 465
ISBN (PDF)
9781453915677
ISBN (ePUB)
9781454192039
ISBN (MOBI)
9781454192022
ISBN (Book)
9781433128974
Language
English
Publication date
2016 (February)
Published
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2015. XXIV, 465 pp.

Biographical notes

Peter McLaren (Author)

Peter McLaren is Distinguished Professor in Critical Studies, International Ambassador of Global Ethics and Social Justice and Co-Director of the Paulo Freire Democratic Project, College of Educational Studies, Chapman University in Orange, California. He is also Chair Professor at Northeast Normal University in Changchun China where he serves as Honorary Director of the Center for Critical Pedagogy Research. Professor McLaren served as Professor of Education, Director of the Center for Education and Cultural Studies and Renowned Scholar-in-Residence for 8 years at Miami University of Ohio and 20 years as Professor of Education at The University of California, Los Angeles. Professor McLaren is the author and editor of 45 books and several hundred scholarly articles. His writings and political activism have received major national and international awards. His work has been translated into thirty languages. Professor McLaren is considered one of the architects and leading exponents of critical pedagogy worldwide.

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