dimanche 20 septembre 2015

School Reforms and Total Capitalism: “Lord, I do not want to go to their school anymore”


Source : http://sayed7asan.blogspot.fr/2015/09/seigneur-je-ne-veux-plus-aller-leur.html

Translated from French by Jenny Bright



On September 17th, 2015, France’s teacher’s unions have almost unanimously called for a strike against the Middle school reforms that aim to further dismantle the last vestiges of public education by intensifying the race to the bottom. The motive is readily found: the proper functioning of our stateless mediocracy – dressed up with the trendy yet tawdy rags of republican meritocracy with House negroes / “beurettes de service” such as the current Moroccan-born Minister of Education, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem – and its perpetuation are at stake, for which intensive sheep farming is vital. Rather than a long dissertation, here is a small selection on this so-called “Republican” [1] educational tradition already denounced by Jean Jaurès, and to which our current government fully ascribes to.

It’s a casus belli / I ain’t get it / Wait, I’m looking it up in the Latin Dictionary

Sayed Hasan




[1] Jaurès spoke of the opportunistic Republicans (the “Jules” Ferry, Favre, Simon, etc.), the true ancestors of the Socialist Party, as “so-called Republicans [for whom] the Republic is only the substitution of the landed oligarchy by the financial oligarchy, of the squire by the grand industrial, of the clerical hierarchy by the capitalist hierarchy, of the priest by the banker, and of dogma by money”, denouncing “the tremendous power of resistance of privileges and social inequities” (La Depeche de Toulouse, January 11th, 1893).




Jean Jaurès on the emancpation of the people as the goal of public education

“In the intellectual order,  our first goal was to found a popular education whose final object is to develop the autonomy of conscience and reason. This is the deeper meaning of the work of secular education, in which our adversaries pretend to see I know not what kind of unleashed parochial attitude, and where we see, us, from the social point of view, the first condition of the emancipation of the people.” (24th May 1889)

“Truly, you are in a strange state of mind. You wanted to make instruction laws for the people; by a free press, by the school, by free meetings, you wanted to increase for him the excitement and all kinds of awakenings. You did not suppose, probably, that within the proletariat, everyone was to be animated to the same degree by this intellectual emancipation movement you wanted to produce. It was inevitable that a few energetic individuals would be stirred by a stronger vibration. And because these individuals, instead of separating from the people, stay with him and within him to fight with him, because instead of begging I know not what miserable favours from the suspicious capital, these men remain in the people to prepare for the general emancipation of the class they belong to, you think  of branding them and tracking them by the artifice of your laws!” (21st November 1893)

“But what will happen, they say, to ‘children’s rights’? Children’s rights are not abstract rights, which we have to preserve in an abstract society. It is a living right, which we have to preserve in today’s living and mixed society. It is as impossible today to isolate the rights of children from the various traditions and conceptions which humanity disagrees on, as it is impossible to isolate the child himself. […]

It is the child’s right to be put in the position, by a rational and free education, of being able to gradually judge all the beliefs and to be the master of all the first impressions received by him.


It is not only impressions that come from the family, but also those that come from the social environment that the child must learn to control and dominate. He must learn to master even the teaching he receives. This teaching must always be given in a spirit of freedom; it must be a constant call to personal reflection, to reason. And while communicating to children the most audited results of human research, it must put above all the ready-made truths the freedom of the mind in motion.

This is what the child is entitled to. It does not depend on us to spare him of the crises, conflicts, contradictions that all humanity deal with and that we ourselves have suffered. But his reason must be exercised to be able at last to be judge of the conflict.” (October 12th, 1901)

“Democracy has a duty to educate childhood; and childhood has the right to be educated according to the very principles that will later ensure the freedom of man. It is the place of no one, no individual, or family, or congregation, to come between that duty of the nation and this right of the child. How can the child be prepared to exercise without fear the rights that secular democracy recognises to the adult, if he himself was not allowed to practice in secular form this essential right by law, the right to education?”  (30th July 1904)

Moral: Ignorance always leads to servitude.

Jean-Claude Michéa, On teaching ignorance and its modern conditions, 1999

“The movement which, for thirty years, transforms schools in an always identical way, can now be grasped in its sad historical truth. Under the double invocation of a ‘democratisation of education’ (here an absolute lie) and the ‘necessary adaptation to the modern world’ (here a half-truth), what is actually being set up, through all these equally bad reforms, is the School of Total Capitalism (...)

On such frank foundations, the main political problem that the capitalist system would face in the coming decades could be formulated in all its rigour: how would it be possible for the world’s elite to maintain the governability of eighty percent of supernumerary humanity, whose uselessness was programmed by liberal logic? 

The solution that, after the debate, imposed itself as the most reasonable, was that proposed by Zbigniew Brzezinski under the name of tittytainment. This portmanteau word was simply a definition of acocktail of mind-numbing entertainment and sufficient food to maintain the frustrated population of the planet in a good mood.” This analysis, cynical and contemptuous, of course has the advantage of defining, with all desirable clarity, the specifications that global elites assign to schools of the 21st century. Therefore it is possible, based on it, to deduce, with limited risk of error, the a priori forms of any reform which would be intended to reconfigure the educational apparatus according only to the political and financial interests of Capital. Let us break this down for a moment.

First, it is obvious that such a system will have to maintain a sector of excellence, designed to train, at the highest level, the various scientific, technician and managerial elites that will be increasingly needed as the global economic war becomes harder and more ruthless. 

These centres of excellence – necessarily with very selective access conditions – will have to continue to transmit in a serious way (that is to say, probably, for the most part, on the model of the classical school) not only sophisticated and creative knowledge, but also (despite, here or there, the positivist reluctance of a particular advocate of the system) the minimum of culture and critical thinking without which the acquisition and effective control of that knowledge are meaningless or, above all, of no real utility.

For medium technical skills (...) the problem is quite different. It is, in short, a question of disposable knowledge – as disposable as the humans who are its temporary support – to the extent that, being based on more routine skills, and adapted to a specific technological context, it ceases to be operational as soon as this context is itself exceeded. (...) By generalising, for intermediate skills, the practice of multimedia distance learning, the ruling class will therefore achieve two things at once. (…)

Finally we are left with, of course, the most numerous; those bound by the system to remain unemployed (or to be employed in a precarious and flexible manner, for example in various McDonald jobs) in part because, according to the chosen terms of the OECD,they will never constitute a profitable market” and theirexclusion from society will grow as others continue to progress.” This is where the tittytainment will have to find its election grounds. It is clear, indeed, that the costly transmission of real knowledge – and, a fortiori, critical knowledge – as well as learning basic civil behaviour or even simply encouragement to uprightness and honesty, do not offer any interest for the system, and may even represent, under certain political circumstances, a threat to its security. It is obviously for this school of the great many that ignorance will have to be be taught in all conceivable ways. Now this is an activity that does not happen by itself, and for which traditional teachers have so far, despite some progress, been poorly trained in. The teaching of ignorance therefore necessarily implies that we re-educate the latter, that is to say, that we require them towork differently”, under the enlightened despotism of a powerful and well-organised army of experts in ‘Educational Sciences’. The fundamental task of these experts will be, of course, to define and impose (by all means available to a hierarchical institution to ensure the submission of those who depend of it) the educational and material conditions of what Debord called the ‘dissolution of logic’: in other words ‘The loss of the ability to instantly recognize what is important and what is minor or out of the question; which is incompatible, or, conversely, could well be complementary; all the implications of such consequence and that which, at the same time, it prohibits'. A student tamed in this manner, says Debord, will find himself put “from the outset, in service to the established order, whereas his intention could have been completely contrary to this result. He will know essentially the language of entertainment, because it is the only one that is familiar to him, the one in which he was taught to speak. He may wish to oppose its rhetoric, but he will use its syntax".

As for the elimination of all common decency, that is to say, the need to transform the student into an uncivil and, if necessary, violent, consumer, is a task that poses much less of a problem. It suffices to prohibit any effective civic instruction and replace it by some form of citizen’s education, conceptual porridge all the easier to spread as it will, in fact, only strengthen the dominant discourse of the media and showbiz; in this way we can mass produce law consumers, intolerant, litigious and politically correct, who will, thus, be easily manipulated while presenting the significant advantage of being able on occasion to enrich, following to the American example, major law firms.

Naturally, the objectives thus assigned to what will remain of the public school assume, in the more or less long term, a decisive double transformation. On the one hand that of teachers, who will have to abandon their current status as supposedly knowledgeable subjects to become merely youth coordinators livening up different  awarenessor cross-sectional activities, educational outings or discussion forums (designed, of course, on the model of TV talk shows); coordinators who will be employed, moreover, in order to increase profitability, in various practical tasks and counselling. On the other hand, that of the School into a place of life, democratic and joyful, at once a citizen’s nursery – whose celebration of holidays (anniversary of the abolition of slavery, birth of Victor Hugo, Halloween...) could profitably be entrusted to the most eager parents’ associations – and a space liberally open to all representatives of the city (community activists, retired military, business leaders, jugglers and fire-eaters, etc.) as well as all technological or cultural merchandises that the large firms, having now became explicit partners of the “educational act”, judge it an excellent idea to sell to all the participants. I think that at the entrance of this large school themepark, it will be decided to install some very simple electronic devices, responsible for detecting the possible presence of metallic objects.”  



From the other side of the Mediterranean


Guy Tirolien, Prayer of a little negro child (1943)

Lord, I am very tired.
I was born tired.
And I have long walked since the rooster's call
And that hill taking me to their school is very high.

Lord, I don't want to go to their school anymore,
I beg of you, don't let me go there anymore.

I want to follow my father deep into the cool ravines
When the night still looms over the mystery of the woods
Where the spirits come a-gliding, chased by the dawn.
I want to go barefoot through the red-hot trails
Burned by the midday blazes,
I want to sleep my nap at the foot of the laden mango trees,
I want to wake up
When, over there the white people’s siren horn wails
And the factory
Berthed in an ocean of sugar canes
Voids its negro crew into the countryside…

Lord, I don't want to go to their school anymore.
I beg of you, don't let me go there anymore.

They say that a little negro boy should go there
To grow up like the city gentlemen
The well-respected gentlemen.
But I, I don't want to
Become, as they say
A city gentleman,
A well-respected gentleman.

I prefer to wander by the sugar factories
Where the full bags are
Gorged with their brown sugar as brown as my skin.
I prefer that time when the amorous moon 
Whispers in the ear to the leaning coconut trees,
To listen in the night
To the broken voice of an old man
Telling as he smokes
The tales of Zamba and the mischievous Hare,
And so many other things
That are not in the books.

Negroes have, as you know, worked way too much.
Why then, should we also learn in books
That tell us of things that are not from here?
And then, their school is just too sad,
Sad like
Those city gentlemen,
Those well-respected gentlemen 
Who no longer know how to dance in the evening under the moonlight,
Who no longer know how to walk on the flesh of their feet.
Who no longer know how to tell stories at evening’s gatherings.

Lord, I don't want to go to their school anymore..







The French Secular Mafia’s Carpetbaggers



Account of the Case Sayed Hasan /
French Secular Mission (Misr Language Schools) & Services of the French Embassy in Cairo

 
I am a 28-year-old Middle / High School French teacher, tenured by the French Ministry of National Education. During the 2012-2013 school year, I was recruited in Paris for a position in a school of the Mission laïque française (French Secular / Lay Mission) network in Egypt, the French section of the MISR Language Schools. Located in Cairo, this school is contracted by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and accredited by the French Ministry of National Education. My employer was the French Secular Mission, as is specified in its statutes, its Charter and the employment contract[1]. The French section was headed by Mr. Frédéric T., and the General Manager of this school consisting in five sections was Mrs. Nermine N. – both are still holding their position to this day.


As soon as I took office, I found that serious breaches of the management were endangering the security of personnel and the well-being of all, resulting in various incidents. Indeed, as evidenced by numerous documents, reports and testimonies from the teaching staff, parents, pupils and even from the Management[2], this school had serious issues with discipline and even with the safety of pupils and staff. The atmosphere was noticeably characterized by disrespect and rejection of the authority of the teachers on the behalf of the pupils and Egyptian education staff, rampant chaos preventing classes from being taught[3], refusal of the pupils to attend classes[4], cancellation by the French Director of the punishments given to pupils by teachers[5], etc. Furthermore, the French and Egyptian teaching staff were submitted to a full-on lynching by the administration and parents who held them solely responsible for these dysfunctions, while these were incumbent upon the Management, and while teachers were counted among the main victims of this situation[6]. The French and Egyptian teachers were held at bay, with formidable efficiency, by various pressures (accusations of incompetence, denial, threats of exclusion…[7]), despite verbal abuse and physical intimidation by pupils against the staff[8]. All this even went as far as a physical aggression from High School students against a fellow tenured teacher close to retirement (Mr. François. E.*, Professor of Physics), which in particular led him to exercise his right to withdraw for a full week as his safety could not be guaranteed. These actions went completely unpunished and were even concealed, smoothed over, and, indeed, encouraged by the laxity of the Management. For them, “the customer is king”, while the teaching staff, insignificant, disposable and easily replaced, are only here to be thrown at the mercy[9] of pupils who pay huge fees, so they can behave as the effective owners of the school[10]. The teachers who were trying to act were threatened, discredited, and, in my case, expelled, slandered and assaulted. The pupils’ very lives were endangered by faulty electrical installations in the laboratories. These facilities have been the object of public complaints from Mr. François. E.* and from Mr. Farid Y.*, tenured Professor of Mathematics and Physics[11].




Across the Atlantic, Pete Seeger and Tom Paxton, What did you learn in school today? (1964) 




See also:  


The West Spreads Intellectual Idiocy

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