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Philosophy and Critical Pedagogy

Insurrection and Commonwealth


Charles Reitz

Critical pedagogy, political economics, and aesthetic theory combine with dialectical and materialist understandings of science, society, and revolutionary politics to develop the most radical goals of society and education. In Philosophy and Critical Pedagogy: Insurrection and Commonwealth, Marcuse’s hitherto misunderstood and neglected philosophy of labor is reconsidered, resulting in a labor theory of ethics. This develops commonwealth criteria of judgment regarding the real and enduring economic and political possibilities that concretely encompass all of our engagement and action. Marcuse’s newly discovered 1974 Paris Lectures are examined and the theories of Georg Lukács and Ernest Manheim contextualize the analysis to permit a critical assessment of the nature of dialectical methodology today. Revolutionary strategy and a common-ground political program against intensifying inequalities of class, race, and gender comprise the book’s commonwealth counter-offensive.


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Appendix No. 1: Engaging a Radical Past: Socialist Germans in N.Y.C., 1853


a p p e n d i x n o . 1 engaging a radical past Socialist Germans in N.Y.C., 1853 The Socialist Turners of New York City, 1853 A vivid political episode in the history of the German-American Turner Movement has come to my attention since the acquisition of the archive of the Sozialistischer Turnerbund of New York City by the Max Kade German- American Studies Center of the University of Kansas in October 2009. This matter offers a clear indication of the German-American solidarity dis- played by the New York City Turners toward the multidimensional European socialist/communist movement in a significant 1853 event. Greater famil- iarity with the strategies and challenges of this matter will also illumine the dialectics of radical German-American leadership in U.S. labor history and further topics for research. Political liberalism and radicalism have long been recognized as import- ant elements in the history of the German-American Turner movement, though much of this radical heritage tends to be played down in our con- temporary historical understanding of the Turners.1 According to the classic treatment of Carl Wittke, however, the Turners became a significant political influence in this country only after émigrés from the armed struggles for dem- ocratic freedoms in 1848 came to the U.S. from Germany and across Europe.2 Liberal and radical activists and fighters there had been intensely persecuted by forces of reaction after they were defeated by the Prussian military. Waves of German political refugees thus fled to England, and also to...

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