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Marx, Capital, and Education

Towards a Critical Pedagogy of Becoming


Curry Stephenson Malott and Derek R. Ford

With the contradictions of capitalism heightening and intensifying, and with new social movements spreading across the globe, revolutionary transformation is once again on the agenda. For radicals, the most pressing question is: How can we transform ourselves and our world into something else, something just? In Marx, Capital, and Education, Curry Stephenson Malott and Derek R. Ford develop a «critical pedagogy of becoming» that is concerned with precisely this question. The authors boldly investigate the movement toward communism and the essential role that critical pedagogy can play in this transition. Performing a novel and educational reading of Karl Marx and radical theorists and activists, Malott and Ford present a critical understanding of the past and present, of the underlying logics and (often opaque) forces that determine the world-historical moment. Yet Malott and Ford are equally concerned with examining the specific ways in which we can teach, learn, study, and struggle ourselves beyond capitalism; how we can ultimately overthrow the existing order and institute a new mode of production and set of social relations. This incisive and timely book, penned by two militant teachers, organizers, and academics, reconfigures pedagogy and politics. Educators and organizers alike will find that it provides new ammunition in the struggle for the world that we deserve.
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Chapter 2. From Revolution to Counterrevolution and Back Again? The Global Class War and Becoming Communist





Critical pedagogy is an intervention in the present order of things, a force of contestation that not only insists that there are alternatives to present social formations but, more importantly, also develops a vision of what those alternatives might look like, or at least some elements of what they entail. And, as we will continue to stress, the process of becoming other cannot but begin with the present. As such, critical pedagogy must have an adequate understanding of the current moment, of the determinations of our time. Such an understanding of the determinations of our time first demands that we grasp the historical forces that have placed us here, those “circumstances directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past” (Marx, 1852/1972, p. 15). This chapter works to construct a narrative of the determinants of contemporary critical pedagogy, asserting the primacy of the international situation.

While there is no shortage of talk about neoliberalism today—in critical education and elsewhere—we here define our contemporary moment as one that is dominated by counterrevolution. Such an appraisal might at first seem dramatic or even pessimistic; for there are, to be sure, promising sparks of uprisings routinely occurring, flickers of protest and social movements, and ← 39 | 40 → sustained flames of resistance across the globe. In some parts of the world, resistance movements even hold political, military, social, and economic power. But compared...

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