Cleaver: concluding thoughts

Cleaver leaves with a final bit about education in his conclusion that also seems sensible (if still US-o-centric) :


‘We have many potential allies among our schoolmates or among our colleagues. Yes, administrators – at the behest of business – impose rigidities that cripple our learning. But the possibilities of resistance among students has been amply demonstrated by both local and widespread student movements, among teachers… by recent successful mobilizations and strikes in a growing number of states and at the university level by TAs and adjuncts forming unions. In courses, students can minimize doing what they are told to do and divert their energy into following their own individual and collective intellectual and political noses, while teachers can undermine rigid curricula by introducing more interesting materials and giving students as much time as possible to contemplate and think about them. They can subvert the whole edu-factory system by bringing its character to students’ attention, by suggesting that they find ways to use available resources for their own purposes and by opening discussions about alternatives to incarcerated learning’ (Cleaver 2019: 483).

Overall I have liked this book as much as I expected, with just the occasional quibble that I’ll attribute to his location, and to some sort of residual anarcho-communist anti-Leninism he can’t seem to get over. He curiously minimised the important schmatic conclusion of volume one where Marx talks of the ‘expropriation of the expropriators’. I’ve written on this end, chapter 32 – it is very schmatic and badly translated in English – but Cleaver eschews any discussion of why Marx includes it in favour of offering his opinion on the USSR – reduced to ‘state capitalism’ (Cleaver 2019: 90) and directly moving to a discussion of two Hegel phrases at teh end of the chapter as occasion for Harry to tell us about dialectics and the Science of Logic. Not in itself uniniteresting, but the rush paast that important section – die Hülle wird gesrpringt – seems whlly unusual in an otherwise pretty through book, that is absolutely recommended.

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