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Alejandro de Acosta: Against Teaching, Against Pedagogy (and Against Politics as Teaching)

For Jacques

The teacher can be (must be) hated. … It is not only the space of the classroom that bestows upon the teacher authority, it is not only the legislation that concentrates in his person the characteristics of a police officer and a torturer.  A particular substantial asymmetry (of age, education, experience) raises up a “wall” between the teacher and the student, who are forced to communicate.  The teacher is not on the other side of the wall, but on top.  The wall persists outside the classroom.  In a certain sense, the teacher is merely this wall in the form of a “podium”.  Any relation between her/him and the student, any exchange, reproduces the efficacy of the podium: distance (vertical) and difference (of regime).  Difference of knowledge and power, of interest and desire.  Distance in the hierarchy, the level of education, the order, the series.  Difference and distance mixed, confused: distance in the hierarchy is difference of power, the difference of knowledge is distance between degrees.  Distance and difference united by the wall as the material of the podium. … To destroy the wall is to abdicate authority … Only in this way can the educator recuperate innocence …

Pedro García Olivo, El Irresponsable

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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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