It is complicated, frustrating, and yet enriching to be an educator in last-stage capitalist societies. Anybody who defines themselves as an anarchist educator, in fact, gets to experience constant pressure and sometimes even threats due to their ideology and worldview.
These come not from what we believe in and think about, but rather from the fact that anarchism stands for values that pose a direct threat to power structures, whose mode of operation is to oppress and control. This oppression has as its main goal to enslave us in order to keep this dreadful system alive. An anarchist educator’s role is to both expose these oppressive structures for what they are, but also to do so while maintaining the full autonomy and freedom of learners. Doing both things brings out some of the key difficulties in moving anarchist education from theory to practice.
Anarchist educators agree on some core pedagogical principles. These principles are freedom, mutual aid, rationality, and a complete rejection of hierarchies and rulers. These principles have a huge practical impact, since they stand in complete opposition to the globalized neoliberal colonizing idea of education that has been dominant throughout the last centuries. Where anarchists stand for freedom, state education chooses authoritarian methods, such as the authority of the teacher and the submissive position of students in the classroom; where anarchists stand for mutual aid, state education insists on an individualistic approach that puts competition and singular achievement on a pedestal, while separating us and rejecting free associations in communities of care.
But we have a problem we must consider.
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