Untangling the lies
Review by Alpesh Maisuria
In Teaching Against Global Capitalism and the New Imperialism: A Critical Pedagogy, Peter McLaren and co-author Ramin Farahmandpur flag the key issues regarding the desperate state of the world and role that capital plays.
The book persuasively argues that educators are central to the formation of resistance and dissent. It is imperative that educators collectively face, and teach, the harsh reality that is so easy to ignore. Through their education, students must be empowered to resist oppression and contest the status quo, privatisation and imperialism.
And teachers must critique capitalism in their pedagogy to give birth to critical consciousness. The lie that capitalism brings prosperity and happiness needs to be untangled from its complex matrix. The book clearly shows that there is no better time than now to do that.
This is an exhilarating book throughout, but one of the flashpoints is the marriage and divorce of Marxism to postmodernism. Despite the limitations of postmodernism (mostly the move away from class based analysis), it is argued that it has played a part in understanding the workings of historical and contemporary discourses. The authors conjure up a provocative argument for a contraband pedagogy that is difficult to disagree with.
Another well articulated argument presented in the book is the relationship between globalisation with race, class, gender, and sexuality. This is just one in a number of rousing arguments about multiculturalism. The message is that any sustainable counter to capitalism and globalisation first needs the identification of the sites of struggle, and then understanding the identity of that struggle.
The collections of essays in this book are a great example of how critical revolutionary pedagogy can be used as an effective force against capitalism and new imperialism. Teachers and students will find it an illuminating reference time and again