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Vol. 82/No. 20      May 21, 2018


Education under capitalism is a class question


Below are excerpts from The Working Class and the Transformation of Learning: The Fraud of Education Reform Under Capitalism by SWP National Secretary Jack Barnes. Copyright © 2000 by Pathfinder Press. Reprinted by permission.

The purpose of education in class society is not to educate. It is to give ”the educated” a stake in thinking they are going to be different than other people who work all their lives. …

If we do not explain education under capitalism as a class question (that is, from the standpoint of the bourgeoisie, two totally separate and unrelated questions for two different classes); if we do not present working-class schooling as the social destruction of human solidarity, as the organization of a society based on class differentiation, where human beings late in their teens become units of production in the minds of personnel managers and social planners; if we do not point out the fundamental issue of truly universal, lifetime education — if we cannot explain education this way, then we cannot explain it at all. …

Explaining the communist approach to education is part of preparing the working class for the greatest of all battles in the years ahead — the battle to throw off the self-image the rulers teach us, and to recognize that we are capable of taking power and organizing society, as we collectively educate ourselves and learn the exploiters in the process.
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