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Anarchy in School: Escuela Libre #Paideia

Education is the Art and Practice of making people free.

Pepita Martrín Luengo

Plato´s early reflections upon education were grounded in the conviction that the ethical nature of the individual and society depended in equal measure on it.  Justice was impossible in either case without education.  If today, Plato´s Republic is less than seductive, it is not because of his conception of education as such, but rather because of his belief that human potential is naturally dictated and distinguishable between social classes and not individuals, thus serving to simultaneously constitute and justify an authoritarian social hierarchy.

A democratic society therefore calls for a radically different kind of education, one which above all educates for the self-conscious social reproduction of society, as John Dewey would so eloquently defend.  Democracy for Dewey in this instance was not a formal or legal organization of political power, but a way of being in the world, or again, like Plato, an ethics, an ethics of an internal plurality of shared interests within a group and plural relations with others outside the group.

There is very likely no more radical expression of this democratic ideal than anarchism, and thus no more radical democratic education than the ideal and practice of anarchist pedagogy.

Instead of here elaborating a theoretical evaluation of anarchist schooling, it is rather a specific example of such a school that we share, the example of the Escuela Libre Paideia, founded in Mérida, spain, in 1978.

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