Why school? (Petit Rorqual)

By: Anonymous
Originally published on October 2 2015
Original French text here: https://petitrorqual.wordpress.com/2015/10/02/pourquoi-lecole/#_ftn1

In her book Communal Luxury: The Political Imaginary of the Paris Commune [1] , Kristin Ross lays out the discourses and images of a revolutionary project that she describes as a lived experience of “equality in action”. If the issue was then the dismantling of the state’s bureaucratic apparatus, the first step was to address one of its central elements: school. Ross dedicates a whole chapter to what the Commune planned on doing and undoing within it: to open up its enclosures to the subject of shared (communal) luxury. In other words that echo the strong imagery associated with that impassioned moment: to plant apricot trees amidst the ruins of the great column [2] .

To open the school onto the street, the neighbourhood, the workshop, the workplace, not in order to synchronize children’s actions and knowledge to the market’s expectations, but to incite girls and boys to discover other spaces, for them to learn of their own hands how to grasp and shape the stuff of this world. This living learning arises at any point during an encounter or a gesture, such is the spirit of Jacotot’s approach to teaching: “Thought, for Jacotot, is not divided into specific competences and domains for specialists–-it is similar in all of its exercises and can be shared by all. The something that one learns and to which one relates everything else can very well be a literal thing” (Ross, 76-77), or deeply abstract as well. At any rate, be it from a piece of wood, a section of equation or a leap, learning is possible from the moment one draws it out to bridge the space between matter and mind.

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The War Waged Against Us – Manifesto by teachers against all that comes with austerity

Originally posted on March 3 2015 (circulating on social media for a few days prior)
Original French text: http://www.pressegauche.org/spip.php?article21078

Dear friends, known and unknown,

Our text does not seek to collect the signatures of either a great number of people nor of those whose certain notoriety would lend importance to this collective address. In these days when protest is marginalized by wall-to-wall security, we are betting our anonymity as a wager capable of an eventual impact. Your involvement remains essential to the dissemination of this text and its ideas. Offer it visibility and this visibility will be a new collective effort that will demonstrate that we are many behind it. If its analysis seems true to you, if you succeed in skipping over the clumsiness, metaphors or register shifts that you yourself would have avoided, then do step in where you’re needed, not simply by relaying this little text, but by being the counter-hegemonic energy we need to amass, one step at a time, against that which wages its war against us. And let’s not wait to be organized: let’s do it ourselves where we can, with our own means to be claimed or invented! This manifesto is a contribution to that idea.

Contact: manifestedeprofs@riseup.net

We refuse the human, social, political and intellectual impoverishment that the antisocial offensive called austerity is putting the world through, making it look sinister, cynical, slavish, sorry, mediocre and a touch sadistic.

Waged to satisfy the interests of the economic elite, this offensive aims to submit all people and things, sector by sector, to the oppressive domination of commodification and almighty profit.

Having long since been set in motion, this conservative revolution is first and foremost a war waged against the collective mechanisms of wealth redistribution, of the pooling of resources in order to weather life’s vagaries. However imperfect, however incomplete they may be, public services represent the most basic agreement of solidarity stemming from our collective concern for an equitable life. And in order to defend such assets, we are ready to fight.
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