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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 5. Teaching Ferguson, Teaching Capital: Slavery and the “Terrorist Energy” of Capital

Higher Education and Racialization




A critical pedagogy of becoming harnesses the present moment, looks to history to grasp the forces determining the present, and links it with social struggles in an effort to push the configuration of the present beyond its breaking point. In this chapter, we give an example of such a process by turning to the recent nonindictments of killer cops Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo. As a result of these developments—and the generalized state violence against people of color—critical educators across the U.S. and the globe are bringing the pressing topics of police brutality, state violence, and people’s resistance movements into the classroom. In this chapter, we contribute to these efforts by arguing that the deadly and unpunished police violence against African Americans requires not only an awareness of slavery but an analysis of the relationship between capitalism and slavery and the subsequent subsumption of racism and white supremacy within capitalism. We use the name Ferguson in the chapter as a symbol of the daily occurrence of police violence that dates back to at least the end of the Civil War and the terrorist policing of newly “freed” slaves.

In this chapter, we more explicitly connect our critical pedagogy of becoming to street-based movements. The purpose of this analysis is to contribute to the anticapitalist undertones that exist within the current movement against ← 117 | 118 → police brutality. These new street movements...

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