Pedagogy for Radical Change (and other topics)

An audio interview on how Brazil’s Landless Movement retook control over land and education, inspired not only by Freire but also early Sovjet thinkers.

Against the Grain: Pedagogy for Radical Change

“By illegally occupying huge estates, Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement, or MST, has won title to millions of acres of land. The MST has also worked to transform Brazil’s schools, in ways that support the movement’s socialist goals. Activists there have drawn inspiration from the ideas of Paulo Freire and several Soviet educational theorists. UC Berkeley doctoral student Rebecca Tarlau explains.”

And as you’re enjoying summer, cycling the mountains, walking the beaches, partying in salou, chilling in your hometown or working to pay your future student debt: put an mp3 player in your pocket and listen to some more education related interviews of Against the Grain, possibly the best radio program in history:

Education and Inequality (click to download/listen)

It seems logical: if you don’t have enough education your economic prospects will be diminished, while those who have a lot are able to succeed in our purportedly knowledge-based economy.  But what if that’s only partially accurate? John Marsh posits that economic inequality and poverty are not causally connected to differing levels of education. He argues that we need to reject the appealing notion of education as a cure-all and look deeper at class power and structural inequality.

More Equal Than Others (click to download/listen)

Inequality in our society seems somehow natural and permanent. Hence thinking about the inverse — equality — may be a bit of a challenge, especially if one lives in the United States. Geographer Danny Dorling discusses the myriad benefits of equality, from housing to education, physical wellbeing to the environment. He explores how societies have been made more equal in the past and explains why he supports the idea of a basic income.

Public Workers in Higher Education (click to download/listen)

Academic workers — from exploited staff to tenured faculty to poorly paid adjuncts and grad students — are on the chopping block, as states target public education from coast to coast. Union leader and political scientist Steve London talks about how the Professional Staff Congress, which represents workers at CUNY, is fighting back against austerity meted out by Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo. He also revisits the New York City fiscal crisis of 1975 and its parallels with today.

Anatomy of a Riot (click to download/listen)

Last August, riots erupted in the UK following the police killing of a black man in North London. Four days of looting and battles with the authorities ensued. Many conclusions were hastily drawn by the media, politicians, and the left about who rioted, who was targeted, and the nature of the riots. The Bristol Radical History Group did a postmortem of the unrest based on empirical data, which as Roger Wilson explains, sheds light on more than just the events of last year. He discusses the underlying politics of riots and rioting. (note: Wilson says research shows the rioters were generally more educated, and better off economically and attending community colleges and under threat of losing access to their schools and were active in the massive UK student protests months before the riots).