Link to an excerpt from the book Miseducating for the Global Economy: How Corporate Power Damages Education and Subverts Students’ Futures (2018) by Gerald Coles:
“Education, Jobs and Capitalism”
In Lars Lih‘s excellent biographical study of V.I. Lenin, he noted how Lenin’s parents were involved in education and were frustrated that the tsarist autocracy in Russia prevented education (and widespread literacy) in order to constrain the expectations of citizens, in order to maintain extreme inequality that prevailed under tsarism. When Lenin and the Bolsheviks came to power, reforms were swiftly instituted that resulted in historically unprecedented advances in literacy and education more generally. It was not a matter of pedagogical impediments to expanding literacy, or a lack of the a notion to improve education and literacy, it was that the education system was subordinated to the maintenance of a particular socioeconomic hierarchy. What was needed was a shift in who held power, and the ideologies of those people, and Coles’ book excerpt makes that point abundantly clear. Capitalists simply disavow their real motivations.
Bonus links: “The Tech Education Con” and Pedagogy of the Oppressed and “Red Diaper Babies” and Democracy and Education and The Higher Learning in America and …And the Poor Get Prison and The Scapegoat
Link to an article by John Steppling:
“Communism, Fascism and Green Shaming”
Much of what Steppling discusses with regard to what he calls “green shaming” is explained succinctly here:
“The rise of the affect(s) and the sanctimony around affective intuition are very much related to some signifiers being out of our reach, and this often involves a gross ideological mystification. Valorization of affectivity and feelings appears at the precise point when some problem — injustice, say — would demand a more radical systemic revision as to its causes and perpetuation. This would also involve naming — not only some people but also social and economic inequalities that we long stopped naming and questioning.
“Social valorization of affects basically means that we pay the plaintiff with her own money: oh, but your feelings are so precious, you are so precious! The more you feel, the more precious you are. This is a typical neoliberal maneuver, which transforms even our traumatic experiences into possible social capital. If we can capitalize on our affects, we will limit out protests to declarations of these affects — say, declarations of suffering — rather than becoming active agents of social change. I’m of course not saying that suffering shouldn’t be expressed and talked about, but that this should not ‘freeze’ the subject into the figure of the victim. The revolt should be precisely about refusing to be a victim, rejecting the position of the victim on all possible levels.
“this bind derives precisely from the subjective gain or gratification that this positioning offers. (Moral) outrage is a particularly unproductive affect, yet it is one that offers considerable libidinal satisfaction. By ‘unproductive’ I mean this: it gives us the satisfaction of feeling morally superior, the feeling that we are in the right and others are in the wrong. Now for this to work, things must not really change. We are much less interested in changing things than in proving, again and again, that we are in the right, or on the right side, the side of the good. Hegel invented a great name for this position: the ‘beautiful soul.’ A ‘beautiful soul’ sees evil and baseness all around it but fails to see to what extent it participates in the perpetuation of that same order of things. The point of course is not that the world isn’t really evil, the point is that we are part of this evil world.”
“Too Much of Not Enough: An Interview with Alenka Zupančič”
See also Beautiful Soul Quote
Link to a review of Ron Chernow‘s book Grant (2017) by Matthew Stanley:
“Ulysses S. Grant: American Giant”
Selected quote: “To the extent that it overturns reactionary narratives and underscores the radical potential of the American past, Chernow’s Grant should be commended as a gain for truth. But his stress on the importance of political rights without discussion of how the market renders those political rights vulnerable (or even futile) is the primary shortcoming of liberal accounts of the Reconstruction era — and of liberal politics today.”
Bonus links: Democracy in America? and Golden Rule and Trade, Development and Foreign Debt and Review of Lenin
Link to an article by Paul Street:
“Shameless Hypocrisy: Lessons of the Great Khashoggi Kill Story”
Street (following Herman and Chomsky) is wrong to suggest that this kind of journalism is hypocritical. Rather, Domenico Losurdo has explained how this disavowed politics of exclusion is central to the kind of liberalism that these sorts of journalists adhere to. See Liberalism: A Counter-History (“The political criticism that Losurdo directs towards liberalism is based upon a precise philosophical analysis: he exposes the lack of universalism in this train of thought: its inability to go beyond representing the special interests of the strongest classes.”).