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Working for Social Justice Inside and Outside the Classroom

A Community of Students, Teachers, Researchers, and Activists


Edited By Nancye E. McCrary and E. Wayne Ross

What were once distinct professions for serving others and building knowledge are now communities of workers struggling against a tide of increasingly unregulated capitalism that is being fed by human greed. Teachers have become education workers, joining a working class that is rapidly falling behind and that is increasingly being silenced by the power elite who control nearly all the wealth that once supported a thriving middle class. Working for Social Justice Inside and Outside the Classroom delivers critical counter-narratives aimed at resisting the insatiable greed of a few and supporting a common good for most. The book is dedicated to hopeful communities working against perpetual war, the destruction of our natural environment, increasing poverty, and social inequalities as they fight to preserve democratic ideals in a just and sustainable world. Written by some of the most influential thinkers of our time, this collection is a tapestry of social justice issues woven in and out of formal and informal education.
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Chapter Two: What Is to Be done?


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What Is to Be Done?

Staughton Lynd

Greetings, fellow teachers.

What I plan to do in the next little while is to tell you about my experience in the Mississippi Freedom Schools in summer 1964 and to offer my thoughts about how that experience might relate to the question, What is to be done?

In my remarks, I shall try to convince you of three things:

First, everything we know about learning instructs that people do not learn by reading Left wing newspapers, or by attending lectures like this one at which some learned person offers correct theory. People learn by experience. And that is especially true if the learning we have in mind is glimpsing the hope that another world is possible. People must touch and taste an alternative way of doing things; they must however briefly live inside that hope, in order to come to believe that an alternative might really come true.

Second, capitalist society in the United States offers very few opportunities to experience another world, another way of doing things. During the transition from feudalism to capitalism in Europe it was possible to create the institutions of a new society in the interstices of feudal society: thus there came into existence free cities, guilds, Protestant congregations, banks and corporations, new styles of painting and making music. By the time an emerging bourgeoisie created parliaments,...

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