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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 6. Connecting “Economic Bondage” to “Personified Capital”: Another Step toward a Critical Pedagogy of Becoming

The Capitalist and the Laborer




This chapter continues the development of a critical pedagogy by examining the economic bondage to capital via the capitalist. This project began with an engagement with Marx’s Philosophic Manuscripts and with Peter McLaren’s (2005) Marxist-Humanist revolutionary pedagogy. Specifically, Peter McLaren’s (2005) emphasis on the process of labor transcending the labor-capital relationship and in remaking the self as non alienated labor, collectively remaking society (i.e., becoming), was the foundation from which this Marxist pedagogy of becoming has been built. Central to that project has been Marx’s (1844/1988) correction of Hegel’s dialectic and his conclusion that “the outstanding thing in Hegel…is…the dialectic of negativity as the moving and generating principle” (p. 149). This negation of the negation views all entities, including capitalism, as contradictory because they embody their own negation. Capitalism, that is, possesses the potential to become its opposite. If capital’s true spirit and intent is to work laborers to death to maximize surplus labor-time—and therefore to dehumanize, fragment, and mangle the human being—then the opposite of this is a system that encourages the flourishing of human potential by abolishing surplus labor-time and educationally fostering the unification of mental labor and manual labor. ← 137 | 138 →

This chapter’s contribution to a Marxist pedagogy of becoming starts with the ways in which labor’s “economic bondage” under capitalist production relations developed not only out of feudalistic circuits of commodity...

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