Academic journal article Journal of Teacher Education

Teaching against Globalization and the New Imperialism: Toward a Revolutionary Pedagogy

Academic journal article Journal of Teacher Education

Teaching against Globalization and the New Imperialism: Toward a Revolutionary Pedagogy

Article excerpt

   No teacher giving instruction in any school, or on any property belonging
   to any agencies included in the public school system, shall advocate or
   teach communism with the intent to indoctrinate or to inculcate in the mind
   of any pupil a preference for communism.

   In prohibiting the advocacy or teaching of communism with the intent of
   indoctrinating or inculcating a preference in the mind of any pupil for
   such doctrine, the Legislature does not intend to prevent the teaching of
   the facts about communism. Rather, the Legislature intends to prevent the
   advocacy of, or inculcation and indoctrination into, communism as is
   hereinafter defined, for the purpose of undermining patriotism for, and the
   belief in, the government of the United States and of this state.

   For the purposes of this section, communism is a political theory that the
   presently existing form of government of the United States or of this state
   should be changed, by force, violence, or other unconstitutional means, to
   a totalitarian dictatorship which is based on the principles of communism
   as expounded by Marx, Lenin, and Stalin.

   --California Education Code, Sec. 51530

The purpose of this article is to discuss teacher education reform in the United States from the context of critical pedagogy in general and the globalization of capitalism in particular. Many of the current discussions of globalization and, for that matter, critical pedagogy have themselves become conceptually impoverished and politically domesticated (McLaren, 1998b, 2000; McLaren & Farahmandpur, 2000). Hence, we have taken pains to offer for public consumption some counter-propaganda to the pronouncements of the corporate Mullahs, aggravating the debate over critical pedagogy before it can accommodate to their demand. We have secured our analysis within a Marxist problematic that takes seriously the imperative of steering critical pedagogy firmly toward anticapitalist struggle (see McLaren, 2000; McLaren & Farahmandpur, 2000). We contend that within critical pedagogy, the issue of class has too often been overlooked. Critical pedagogy has, of late, drifted dangerously toward the cultural terrain of identity politics in which class is reduced to an effect rather than understood as a cause and in which a hierarchy of oppression is (usually unwittingly) constituted as a controlling paradigm that frequently leaves the exploitative power of capitalist social relations largely unaddressed. Understanding exploitation as embodied in forms of racist and patriarchal social practices should constitute a central focus of critical pedagogy. On this point we have no quarrel. However, this objective should not be achieved at the grievous expense of understanding how political economy and class struggle operate as the motor force of history and society (Parenti, 1997). With this assertion, we identify the political architecture necessary to contest the enfeeblement and domestication of critical pedagogy and to develop what we call a revolutionary workingclass pedagogy.


As we anticipate the ongoing challenges of the new millennium, we bear witness to the unabated mercilessness of global capitalism and the impassable fissure between capital and labor. Today, millions of workers are being exploited by a relatively small yet cunningly powerful global ruling class driven by an unslakable desire for accumulation of profit. Little opposition exists as capitalism runs amok, unhampered and undisturbed by the tectonic upheaval that is occurring in the geopolitical landscape--one that has recently witnessed the collapse of the Soviet Union and the regimes of the Eastern Bloc.

Due to the fast-paced and frenetic changes taking place around us in the wired realms of global technologies and free-trade initiatives, we are hard-pressed to chart out our daily struggles against oppression and exploitation instituted by a growing cabal of techno-crazed global robber barons. …

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