Higher Education in Libcom?

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wojtek
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Oct 8 2011 00:35
Higher Education in Libcom?

I don't know whether this should be in the Autonomous Students Network forum or not, but what do you think higher education should be like in a libcom society? The Situationists rightly disliked the student, or at least its apathy, so should universities be abolished, socialised, what? Would 'socialised' be free and democratic/ participatory education for all. If so, should universities be for all with entry standards thrown out the window?

x

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Tojiah
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Oct 8 2011 04:53

I think that educated people will just make it known that they live in certain areas and if other people are interested in learning from them or collaborating with them, they can come over and do so. The whole purpose of the university is to allow people a place where they can "freely" exercise their pursuit of knowledge. This "freedom" is currently mediated through grants, endowments and regimented teaching requirements, as well as private sector funding. In a libcom society none of that will be around or relevant, so a community of learning can finally manifest itself without needing the specific institutions and their bureaucracies, or the destructive and pointless grading mechanism, with its contradictory dual purpose of learning feedback and rating of human resource quality.

piter
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Oct 8 2011 14:37

education also would not as it is today largely disconnected from any practice and "real life" issues.
and also disconnected from the prospect of achieving a career, cease to be the formation of "managers".

Spikymike
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Oct 8 2011 14:27

Picking up on piter's comment it struck me that the concept of 'de-schooling' popularised initially by Ivan Illich and other critics of institutionalised education in Capitalism way back in the 70's (I recall reading Everett Reimer and Keith Paton), which were either impractical at the time or even potentially dangerous as implemented within the framework of capitalist society, were potentially a good starting point for a communist programme of de-institionalisation of the whole of the present educational establishment, though it's a long time since I read any of this stuff from my present critical perspective.

Boris Badenov
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Oct 8 2011 14:42
piter wrote:
education also would not as it is today largely disconnected from practive and "real life" issue.
and also disconnected from the prospect of achieving a career, cease to be the formation of "managers".

Guess what mate, I fucking enjoy things that are "disconnected from real life." In fact, I am willing to bet an entire year's worth of post-revolutionary labor notes that "real life" is always shit, even in communism. This is why I think it's absolutely vital to protect the universities as institutionalized "wanking about" from overzealous workerists "after the revolution."
That said, I agree that the managerial and careerist aspect is obviously pernicious and has to be done away with.

tastybrain
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Oct 8 2011 14:59
Boris Badenov wrote:
piter wrote:
education also would not as it is today largely disconnected from practive and "real life" issue.
and also disconnected from the prospect of achieving a career, cease to be the formation of "managers".

Guess what mate, I fucking enjoy things that are "disconnected from real life." In fact, I am willing to bet an entire year's worth of post-revolutionary labor notes that "real life" is always shit, even in communism. This is why I think it's absolutely vital to protect the universities as institutionalized "wanking about" from overzealous workerists "after the revolution."
That said, I agree that the managerial and careerist aspect is obviously pernicious and has to be done away with.

I am looking forward to a time after the revolution when education can be about knowledge for its own sake and not for careers advancement, which usually means people don't learn shit. If knowledge is regarded as exclusively a means to an end rather than a means and an end in itself it is usually worthless.

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Arbeiten
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Oct 8 2011 15:09

I'm looking forward for the revolution so that Alain Badiou will have to get a real job rather than try and squeeze the 'communist hypothesis' into mathematics....

piter
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Oct 8 2011 15:17
Quote:
Boris Badenov wrote :
Guess what mate, I fucking enjoy things that are "disconnected from real life." In fact, I am willing to bet an entire year's worth of post-revolutionary labor notes that "real life" is always shit, even in communism. This is why I think it's absolutely vital to protect the universities as institutionalized "wanking about" from overzealous workerists "after the revolution."
That said, I agree that the managerial and careerist aspect is obviously pernicious and has to be done away with.

oh come on, I'm not workerist at all, and I'm not sayin' that we'll cease to study highly theoretical mathematics or whatever...but a lot of the courses in uni don't have much more prospects than passing the exams or qualifing for public jobs or things like that...
and institution like the uni's are now are not the best to study mathematics or anything else...
or maybe we have a really different experience with uni.

and "real life" was for lack of a better term.
of course anything we live is connected to our lives, there is no real and false life, only the lives we live (and what we could and/or would live...).

I'm not saying that we don't need any institution to organise education or research.
but I hope that theses institutions will be much better than the universities as they are today.
with radically different goals and organised in radically different ways.
(no hierarchy, no one way teaching, no passivity from those who are teached, more creativity, etc...).
and maybe it will still be institutions but not institutions that separated and in that way from the rest of social life.

wojtek
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Oct 8 2011 15:27
Quote:
Tojiah wrote:

...so a community of learning can finally manifest itself without the destructive and pointless grading mechanism, with its contradictory dual purpose of learning feedback and rating of human resource quality.

I agree with your criticisms of it, but I just don't see how it is feasible. Doesn't everyone need to be tested to make sure they're at least competent at their (desired) occupation?

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jef costello
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Oct 8 2011 15:28
Boris Badenov wrote:
Guess what mate, I fucking enjoy things that are "disconnected from real life." In fact, I am willing to bet an entire year's worth of post-revolutionary labor notes that "real life" is always shit, even in communism. This is why I think it's absolutely vital to protect the universities as institutionalized "wanking about" from overzealous workerists "after the revolution."
That said, I agree that the managerial and careerist aspect is obviously pernicious and has to be done away with.

Yes, my studies were stunningly useless (in a direct sense) but they were good for me as a person and a communist and if it wasn't for the cost I would probably have continued. In a libcom society everyone would be more able to learn stuff from each other. So instead of having to decide whether I wanted to live on the breadline to do a phd or get a real job or try to do both in a libcom society I would have simply carried on contributing to society as I could and would organise studies around that, it would be a schedulin issue more than anything.
I'm very receptive to rethinking our notions of education but I'm suspicious of the lengths to which de-schoolers go. What I would say is that a lot of the model of formal education as we know it would be rethought or ended. I would consider a society based on learning rather than education. Whether education is doing a pointless degree to be able to get a job that took school leavers ten years ago or whether it's 16 year olds with useless qualifications taken solely for league tables which will never lead them to anything.

piter
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Oct 8 2011 15:44

I also enjoyed doing my research for my phd. but it would have been better without the constraints going with it (writing in academic style and all that shit...).
and the uni was really useless for my researches (exept for the library, but you don't need to be student or teacher to use a uni library, also some of my teacher advices, but you don't need a teacher to receive good advice, I would have found better advice here for exemple...).

LBird
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Oct 8 2011 16:03
jef costello wrote:
I'm very receptive to rethinking our notions of education but I'm suspicious of the lengths to which de-schoolers go.

Yeah, I'm suspicious that the lengths they go to aren't far enough! I'd vote for a Pol Pot-like 'Year Zero' campaign, and shoot any teacher 'educated' within the present system, as an objectively counterrevolutionary fifth columnist!

Only jokin', but, by Christ, not by much.

'Teachers' are the last ones I'd leave education to. You've probably guessed my experiences of the 'education system' have been almost entirely negative.

Have you ever seen the face of a 'teacher' stood at the front of the class when you ask them why they aren't learning from you? They pull the same face as a manager does when you point out that only scum rises in the stagnant pond of your firm.

Yeah, neither thanks you for your efforts. Ungrateful hierarchical bastards.

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cantdocartwheels
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Oct 8 2011 16:03

One would imagine more people would go on to highrer education and that higher/further education would be less seperated from everyday life. We could all go to some classes, especially those such as arts and humanities, since our working weeks would be shorter and we're all poets and so on.

That said the idea of 'abolishing universities' is pretty silly and is typical situationist hyperbole, since in reality they fulfill a very practical function n terms of training skilled workers like doctors and engineers who arent going to learn their required skills going to an hours class every tuesday at the community centre..

tastybrain
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Oct 8 2011 16:27
LBird wrote:
jef costello wrote:
I'm very receptive to rethinking our notions of education but I'm suspicious of the lengths to which de-schoolers go.

Yeah, I'm suspicious that the lengths they go to aren't far enough! I'd vote for a Pol Pot-like 'Year Zero' campaign, and shoot any teacher 'educated' within the present system, as an objectively counterrevolutionary fifth columnist!

Only jokin', but, by Christ, not by much.

'Teachers' are the last ones I'd leave education to. You've probably guessed my experiences of the 'education system' have been almost entirely negative.

Have you ever seen the face of a 'teacher' stood at the front of the class when you ask them why they aren't learning from you? They pull the same face as a manager does when you point out that only scum rises in the stagnant pond of your firm.

Yeah, neither thanks you for your efforts. Ungrateful hierarchical bastards.

LBird, I too hate teachers who behave in an authoritarian way or enjoy exercising power over their students. My parents are teachers (bias alert!), however, so I know them and a few other educators as individuals. I can honestly say that for the majority of teachers I know, exercising authority and perpetuating hierarchy is their least favorite aspect of the job. My Dad, for example, absolutely refuses to fail anyone, because as he says he is not aware of what kind of effect this will have on their lives. There may be a difference between public and private school teachers in this regard. My parents both teach at private schools (btw, private school teachers are usually paid significantly less than public school teachers.) The whole reason many teachers decide to teach at private schools is that they don't want to follow a state-mandated (nationalist) curriculum and they don't want to be involved in the more draconian practices of public school teachers.

In a libertarian communist society, there would be no economic incentive to take a class just to get a good grade so you can graduate with honors or whatever. The only people who will be taking a given class will be those who are genuinely interested in the subject matter. This will eliminate the need for teachers to act as authority figures in rooms full of students who don't want to be there. Those that care about the subject will stay and learn, those that don't can go.

Also, there is a significant strand of modern pedagogical thought that emphasizes equality between students and teachers and the teachers learning from students, such as the ideas of Paulo Friere.

That said, fuck my middle school math teacher. That guy was an absolute prick.

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Tojiah
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Oct 8 2011 16:34
wojtek wrote:
Quote:
Tojiah wrote:

...so a community of learning can finally manifest itself without the destructive and pointless grading mechanism, with its contradictory dual purpose of learning feedback and rating of human resource quality.

I agree with your criticisms of it, but I just don't see how it is feasible. Doesn't everyone need to be tested to make sure they're at least competent at their (desired) occupation?

Why do feedback and evaluation have to be the same thing? In many courses I've seen, if you do poorly early on, even if you end up understanding later, you are not going to get as good a grade as someone who has understood everything to begin with, or, say, hasn't understood as well as you but was consistent throughout the semester. So even though you understand the material better, they will get a higher evaluation, simply because you required more feedback - you, in fact, learned more.

I think alternatives would start at, for example, completely abolishing the notion of fixed-length courses and terms of study. Some people may take a year to understand basic calculus, some may take two months, some may take four years to become doctors, some may take seven. None of that should be held against them. And that is without going into other problems in the ways doctors and engineers are currently trained.

piter
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Oct 8 2011 16:36
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That said the idea of 'abolishing universities' is pretty silly and is typical situationist hyperbole, since in reality they fulfill a very practical function n terms of training skilled workers like doctors and engineers who arent going to learn their required skills going to an hours class every tuesday at the community centre..

it's not either keep the universities or hae learning only done in community centre one hour a week...

universities are organised to produce an elite of managers or producers of the dominant ideological power.
they produce engineers and doctors (and of course we'll need high quality engeneering and medical skills), but do it in a way they will be managers and keepers of boureois society...

tastybrain
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Oct 8 2011 16:48
piter wrote:
Quote:
That said the idea of 'abolishing universities' is pretty silly and is typical situationist hyperbole, since in reality they fulfill a very practical function n terms of training skilled workers like doctors and engineers who arent going to learn their required skills going to an hours class every tuesday at the community centre..

it's not either keep the universities or hae learning only done in community centre one hour a week...

universities are organised to produce an elite of managers or producers of the dominant ideological power.
they produce engineers and doctors (and of course we'll need high quality engeneering and medical skills), but do it in a way they will be managers and keepers of boureois society...

What is it about "The University" that has this effect, exactly? If you say it's the hierarchical administration, the funding from capitalists, an elitist culture, etc than I agree with you. In my view, however, you can get rid of all of this stuff and still have a university, albeit a university that is drastically different from the ones we have now. We should still have universities with their own buildings and campuses, labs and research facilities, libraries, etc. We should still have professors, tutors, lecturers, etc who are part of the "university" and run it collectively along with the students (they will have to partake of the shit work, but that's not necessarily a huge obstacle.) Anyway, like cantdo said, "Abolish the university" just seems like over-the-top rhetoric, we will still have universities, but they will be communized and organized in a non-hierarchical way.

EDIT: In fact, I think we should greatly increase the number of universities post-revolution, as more and more people will want to educate themselves and education will obviously be totally free.

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Oct 8 2011 16:44
cantdocartwheels wrote:
One would imagine more people would go on to highrer education and that higher/further education would be less seperated from everyday life. We could all go to some classes, especially those such as arts and humanities, since our working weeks would be shorter and we're all poets and so on.

That said the idea of 'abolishing universities' is pretty silly and is typical situationist hyperbole, since in reality they fulfill a very practical function n terms of training skilled workers like doctors and engineers who arent going to learn their required skills going to an hours class every tuesday at the community centre..

Just because I think universities should become real parts of the community, doesn't mean learning will be some hap-hazard thing. I think that if you have a concentration of engineers somewhere, it would be better for them to constantly apply their studies to the world around them without having to go through formalized community services or specifically paid projects and internships, for example. I think their training will be better if they are repeatedly confronted with the real world, saving society the trouble of dealing with recent grads` lengthy period of growing pains.
A medical school could stop having doctors being so aloof from nurses, and in fact force them to do nursing on the way, or perhaps break-up the separation between nurse and doctor entirely. I am not sure how practical that would be, but the current way doctors are trained is horrible, including a lot of competitiveness which is harmful for patients.

piter
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Oct 8 2011 16:53
Quote:
If you say it's the hierarchical administration, the funding from capitalists, an elitist culture, etc than I agree with you. In my view, however, you can get rid of all of this stuff and still have a university, albeit a university that is drastically different from the ones we have now

it's a bit goinfg into semantics maybe...

a bit like wanting a university without what characterize a university...

but if you mean that we'll still have some institutions dedicated to learning, then I guess so...but I think it would be less separated from the rest of life, and a lot of the learning will be spread into many different institutions and activities, and it will be all life long and not restricted to a unique moment in life, etc...

and what is learning would be very different from what it is now...

so I would say it makes sense to talk about abolishing universities...

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jef costello
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Oct 9 2011 07:54
LBird wrote:
Have you ever seen the face of a 'teacher' stood at the front of the class when you ask them why they aren't learning from you?

Yes, and the reaction from the teacher depends very much on the student and a whole host of other issues. If you said this in the way you talk to people on here I'm hardly surprised that teachers weren't impressed.
If the role of a teacher was simply to educate and they weren't constantly attacked by a system that places contradictory constraints on them, underpaid and given constant shit about how little they work while being expected to do days of unpaid overtime (our 'hours' at my school doesn't even cover the amount of time I am expected to be in school and available.)
A lot of teachers are dicks and the ones that aren't accept that dealing with young people is, at least in part, helping them to grow up and not be dicks themselves, which most of them achieve.

tastybrain wrote:
LBird, I too hate teachers who behave in an authoritarian way or enjoy exercising power over their students. My parents are teachers (bias alert!), however, so I know them and a few other educators as individuals. I can honestly say that for the majority of teachers I know, exercising authority and perpetuating hierarchy is their least favorite aspect of the job. My Dad, for example, absolutely refuses to fail anyone, because as he says he is not aware of what kind of effect this will have on their lives. There may be a difference between public and private school teachers in this regard. My parents both teach at private schools (btw, private school teachers are usually paid significantly less than public school teachers.) The whole reason many teachers decide to teach at private schools is that they don't want to follow a state-mandated (nationalist) curriculum and they don't want to be involved in the more draconian practices of public school teachers.

It is one of the worst parts of the job (being completely powerless to help children with awful home lives is the worst part.)
It sounds like private schools are different where you are. In the UK they are mostly for rich kids and the teachers are better paid and have easier lives because the kids are being crammed for entrance exams for the top schools and unis. Of course you will have to write the coursework for the lazy ones because you live or die for their results and a lot of their parents will not back you up (or have any real authority to do so, they dump the kid in boarding school 40 weeks a year, they don't know them)

Tojiah wrote:
Why do feedback and evaluation have to be the same thing?...
I think alternatives would start at, for example, completely abolishing the notion of fixed-length courses and terms of study. Some people may take a year to understand basic calculus, some may take two months, some may take four years to become doctors, some may take seven. None of that should be held against them. And that is without going into other problems in the ways doctors and engineers are currently trained.

Exactly, I actually am a teacher and one of the most frustrating things is that we learn all this theory that tells us we need to use assessment as feedback for learning but once we're in the classroom that same feedback is used for evaluation (of them and us) and we are judged (not quite as brutally as the students) on statistics. So one of the several girls at my school to have mothers with terminal cancer will be pulled up as failing to meet their targets and so will their teachers, as will students with any number of the massive number of external problems or difficulties or the students who simply have trouble with a particular topic or concept.
For practical purposes classes are useful but rigid time structures with fixed outcomes and no flexibility are no fun. Ask any teacher whose students have picked up a topic and really run with it and you'e supposed to stop teaching them because a bell has rung and next lesson you need to move on to the next part of the syllabus.

LBird
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Oct 9 2011 08:21
jef costello wrote:
Yes, and the reaction from the teacher depends very much on the student and a whole host of other issues. If you said this in the way you talk to people on here I'm hardly surprised that teachers weren't impressed.

Well, jef, I think I 'talk to people on here' with great respect, and always say that I might be wrong, I'm trying to learn, and try to ask searching questions which I think deserve a respectful answer, but...

...when I'm met with accusations of 'bad faith', 'egotism', 'leninoid authoritarianism', 'inability to read', etc, etc. how am I supposed to react? If 'people on here' return my initial respect, there's no problem. However, if 'people on here' think that they can be insulting, I can look after myself. I respectfully suggest that you take a look at the progress of any of the threads that I've been involved in (eg, 'dialectics', which has your name on it), and you'll soon discern this process taking place. And I'm always the one to let bygones be bygones, which is more than I can say for some of my more vendetta-inspired opponents.

What's more, this reaction by teachers to being corrected or taught (in front of other pupils!) in endemic within the education system. I think you know that I recently started a PGCE PCET, and had the same problem with the 'trainers' trying to 'train' me how to teach. They don't like being asked questions, do they! Like 'what is teaching?' You'd think that that issue at least would be up for discussion, eh? But no, they know best, 'your here to learn', etc.

jef costello wrote:
If the role of a teacher was simply to educate and they weren't constantly attacked by a system that places contradictory constraints on them, underpaid and given constant shit about how little they work while being expected to do days of unpaid overtime (our 'hours' at my school doesn't even cover the amount of time I am expected to be in school and available.)

I entirely sympathise, jef. I know teachers have a terrible weight placed upon them. I've got friends and relations that are teachers, and I've had a little taste of it myself, and can't stress enough my understanding of the problem. But, many teachers shouldn't be in teaching, and many are in it for the power and authority it gives them, not the desire to see delicate blossoms (like me!) flower under their guidance.

jef costello wrote:
A lot of teachers are dicks...

And teachers of teachers, jef! It's a systemic problem, not just a few individuals.

Anyway, have a look at the 'dialectics' thread, and tell me what you think so far. About 'dialectics', not my behaviour.

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Oct 9 2011 08:28
LBird wrote:
And I'm always the one to let bygones be bygones, which is more than I can say for some of my more vendetta-inspired opponents.

Is that why you go into every single thread Alexander Roxwell comments on to tell people to stop bothering talking to him because he cannot be reasoned with? I may bug him persistently as well, but at least I refer to him and argue with him, on the off chance that he might get off of his high horse and actually understand what's off about his reasoning. Same thing as I do with you, despite your complete lack of self-awareness. The behavior you are describing may be what you think you are doing in your head, but what is coming out is precisely what people are repeatedly telling you. So how about you do everyone a favor and try seeing what you are doing wrong? Maybe with some reflection you'll actually become an addition to this forum rather than derailing every single thread in "theory".

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Oct 9 2011 08:36

I think there has been a failure of imagination when people speak about preserving universities. I recognise that universities at their best embody a space of free creative thought and discovery but the point is that this space should be generalised and not limited to a few years in people's lives or a privileged few. A communist society would be very very different from our own, as different as Ancient Greek society or maybe more so. Once our time is freed from producing commodities, once we have abolished the distinction between manual and mental labour, then there is really no telling what social organisations would develop in communities. I imagine that learning would be a lot more continuous, involve travelling more, people would develop lots of manual, agricultural but also artistic skills. They would learn from other members in the community. I am an academic and there is nothing I would like more than to teach just for the pleasure of it. I'd be happy for the university and academia to be abolished and for the terms doctor and professor to disappear, precisely because the things people love about being at or associated with a uni would be realised.

What is the point of a revolution if communism is just commodity production without the expropriation of surplus value? Surely it has to be the total abolition of our current way of life, otherwise we might as well call ourselves reformists and have done.

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Oct 9 2011 12:57
LBird wrote:
Anyway, have a look at the 'dialectics' thread, and tell me what you think so far. About 'dialectics', not my behaviour.

There are 60 new posts and I have to spend the rest of my sunday marking books and planning lessons. I will have time to eat and hopefully shower too

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Oct 9 2011 16:03
Malva wrote:
I think there has been a failure of imagination when people speak about preserving universities. I recognise that universities at their best embody a space of free creative thought and discovery but the point is that this space should be generalised and not limited to a few years in people's lives or a privileged few. A communist society would be very very different from our own, as different as Ancient Greek society or maybe more so. Once our time is freed from producing commodities, once we have abolished the distinction between manual and mental labour, then there is really no telling what social organisations would develop in communities. I imagine that learning would be a lot more continuous, involve travelling more, people would develop lots of manual, agricultural but also artistic skills. They would learn from other members in the community. I am an academic and there is nothing I would like more than to teach just for the pleasure of it. I'd be happy for the university and academia to be abolished and for the terms doctor and professor to disappear, precisely because the things people love about being at or associated with a uni would be realised.

What is the point of a revolution if communism is just commodity production without the expropriation of surplus value? Surely it has to be the total abolition of our current way of life, otherwise we might as well call ourselves reformists and have done.

I would love for things to change in that direction. but I think the point that is being raised is that while the title "doctor" isn't all that important, medical training, for example, is. How would you know if someone should be allowed to do surgery? Right now we have the (broken) system of training doctors, how would it look after the revolution? Same for structural engineers. I do not think it's insurmountable - it seems that many participatory models were developed in the '60s and '70s only to run into the inevitable logic of capitalism, we may be able to implement them better once we're freed of the fetters of profit and commodity. I have not seen something that covers medicine, though, and people's health is a serious thing.

piter
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Oct 9 2011 16:08
Quote:
Tojiah wrote :
but I think the point that is being raised is that while the title "doctor" isn't all that important, medical training, for example, is

problem is not the title, but what is it an expression of, that is hierarchical relations, class, etc...
we'll sure need people highly educated and trained in exercising medicine.
right. but their "role"and the way they would relate to the rest of society would be different.

tastybrain
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Oct 9 2011 16:35
jef costello wrote:
It sounds like private schools are different where you are. In the UK they are mostly for rich kids and the teachers are better paid and have easier lives because the kids are being crammed for entrance exams for the top schools and unis.

Yeah they are mostly for rich kids over here too. But at least in my experience the teachers at private schools are paid worse than the public school teachers. It might even be some weird system where the more deprived the school, the more you are paid because the perception is that its harder to teach in those kinds of schools. But I the private school teachers in my experience are usually there because of the greater autonomy and less authoritarian style of teaching.

Malva wrote:
I think there has been a failure of imagination when people speak about preserving universities. I recognise that universities at their best embody a space of free creative thought and discovery but the point is that this space should be generalised and not limited to a few years in people's lives or a privileged few.

I absolutely agree it should not be limited to a privileged few or confined to a few years. But in any decent libertarian communist society it would not be limited to a few, it would be free to all. One can abolish the privileged aspect of universities without abolishing the university as a distinctive institution focused on learning.

Malva wrote:
A communist society would be very very different from our own, as different as Ancient Greek society or maybe more so. Once our time is freed from producing commodities, once we have abolished the distinction between manual and mental labour, then there is really no telling what social organisations would develop in communities. I imagine that learning would be a lot more continuous, involve travelling more, people would develop lots of manual, agricultural but also artistic skills. They would learn from other members in the community. I am an academic and there is nothing I would like more than to teach just for the pleasure of it. I'd be happy for the university and academia to be abolished and for the terms doctor and professor to disappear, precisely because the things people love about being at or associated with a uni would be realised.

I also think it would be a good idea to abolish the idea of a "professor" because it is associated with hierarchy, but at the same time I think there are some people I would like to learn from more than others. I think a certain amount of formality and geographic concentration would allow people to learn more effectively. There can also be learning on the job, etc. But what if someone wants to learn philosophy?

Malva wrote:
What is the point of a revolution if communism is just commodity production without the expropriation of surplus value? Surely it has to be the total abolition of our current way of life, otherwise we might as well call ourselves reformists and have done.

Huh? How is having a collectively run university where everyone is welcome to come and learn and the distinction between professor and student is blurred "commodity production without surplus value"? To me "total abolition of our current way of life" does not mean getting rid of every single institution, practice, etc that we experience under capitalism, it means changing the logic by which these institutions and practices operate. I mean surely you would not be calling for us to "abolish hospitals" or "abolish sports"?

piter
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Joined: 30-06-08
Oct 9 2011 17:53
Quote:
to "abolish hospitals" or "abolish sports"?

eh why not!

it would not means abolishing medical activities (well of course it needs some equipments, some teams etc, so having some places dedicated to it seems quite sensible that's right.)

maybe abolishing sport would be more worth considering, I mean "sports" is heavily linked with leisure as something separated in time and space from the rest of life, and linked with competition and hierarchy, etc...

Spikymike
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Oct 9 2011 17:30

Without getting back into the 'transition' debate I accept that things will not change overnight and that the physical facillity of the University and the schools may well continue to be used and transformed over a period of time as part of the wider revolutionary transformation of society (if that ever happens), but Malva and piter are right to question the imagination of most of the posts here, since these ideas it seems to me, amount to little more than the cutting edge radical reformism that capitalism itself seeks to encourage, not far removed from commonly debated themes such as 'life-long learning', 'on the job training' 'open universities', 'community schools resource sharing', 'democratic learning', 'student participation' etc etc.

My qualification earlier to my interest in 'de-schooling' theories was precisely that these too in their time were used by their more practical adherants simply as means of modernising education in line with the evolving needs of a more mobile, technically advanced capitalism.

Universities as capitalist institutions are no more 'neutral' than every other institution in this society and are, as every day goes by, ever more fundamentally reflective of and integrated into the functioning and reproduction of capitalist social relationships in their very being. They form part of the separation and compartmentalisation of life under this system - a separation and compartmentalisation which must be broken down alltogether as part of any revolution worth it's name. In moving towards a breakdown of the current division of labour (not of skills, knowledge and abilities as such) 'teaching' as a distinct specialised role separate from 'doing' must surely be one of the first to be attacked.

I worry, as did others on a similarly themed discussion thread here a while back, that for some 'pro-revolutionaries', particularly those actually embeded in the present educational institutions, that their concept of a communist society is little removed from the radical democratisation of, and continuation of, most of the current institutions of capitalism.

Please prove me wrong.

Tojiah's picture
Tojiah
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Joined: 2-10-06
Oct 9 2011 17:59
Spikymike wrote:
Without getting back into the 'transition' debate I accept that things will not change overnight and that the physical facillity of the University and the schools may well continue to be used and transformed over a period of time as part of the wider revolutionary transformation of society (if that ever happens), but Malva and piter are right to question the imagination of most of the posts here, since these ideas it seems to me, amount to little more than the cutting edge radical reformism that capitalism itself seeks to encourage, not far removed from commonly debated themes such as 'life-long learning', 'on the job training' 'open universities', 'community schools resource sharing', 'democratic learning', 'student participation' etc etc.

(my bold)
I haven't been getting this impression at all. Perhaps it is because I am, myself, a culprit, and therefore do not know that I am saying this. Could you please be more specific?

duskflesh
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Joined: 27-07-11
Oct 10 2011 06:53

My thought of the subject(since there is too many posts for me to read and respond to)

I actually remember reading somewhere that in the Spanish civil war that a new university based on popular donations of books and supplies was created.

I think it is very vital for the economical/material success of a libcom society in maintaining universities to some degree. We should have it be so that technical information in maintaining industries and machineries is not bottle necked in the hands of a few that were fortunate enough to get the proper education in the field before the revolution. I might also add that the scientific community should still exist after the revolution, it is in the universities that they should still reside and have opportunities to continue their studies. Many people are naturally drawn to these subjects(but can not peruse them because of economical restraints). Naturally it should be the role of the communities to supply the universities with the research to maintain the further development of technology. Things like philosophy and literature should be things that all should study inside and outside of the universities. Humans need to develop their higher capacities....

I might also add that the universities as we know them, places where we make ourselves into better commodities (for better use of the capitalist), should be abolished.....

I belive paul goodman wrote on this subject, i'am haveing trouble finding the essay