Gerald Coles – Education, Jobs and Capitalism

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

John Steppling – Communism, Fascism and Green Shaming

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

Anton Jäger – Laboring Under an Illusion

Link to an edited transcript of an interview with Anton Jäger conducted by Doug Henwood:

“Laboring Under an Illusion”

It would have been nice to see a further elaboration on the issue of “status” with work and jobs — such as work to gain status or influence others — that is only mentioned in passing but otherwise this interview is informative and rebuts the silly autonomist, UBI, etc. arguments that have been floating around for the last few decades.