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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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Chapter 8. Global Capitalism and Radical Opposition: Herbert Marcuse’s Paris Lectures at Vincennes University, 1974


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Herbert Marcuse’s Paris Lectures at VincennesUniversity, 19741

Herbert Marcuse’s recently discovered Paris Lectures ([1974] 2015) possess an uncanny relevance today. Now more than ever, given the current crisis of global finance capital, higher education must encourage students and faculty alike to examine the conditions that serve to perpetuate the increasingly stressed and volatile realities of political, economic, and cultural life in the U.S. and the militarized processes of U.S.-led global polarization.2 Marcuse’s analysis discloses the fatal vulnerabilities of corporate capitalism—how its very development “invalidates its own production relations,…invalidates its own way of life, its own existence” (48). Most important, he shows that there are attainable and realistic economic alternatives—including those that have political dimensions once derided as utopian. His in-depth examination of the social dynamics of wasted abundance, economic disintegration, political violence, workforce alienation—and radical praxis—is a vital part of critical pedagogy.

← 149 | 150 →On U.S. Political Economy

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