Today we interrogate the idea of creativity.

My guest, Oli Mould, says 21st Century capitalism has redefined creativity from being a power to create something from nothing to the ability to create new products for markets. Creativity, in other words, feeds capitalism’s own growth.

Students and workers alike are told they must be entrepreneurial and flexible to survive the global economy. We are told businesses and governments seek out these character traits. In effect, the power to create has become an individual characteristic that can be traded and exploited.

Oli Mould is a human geographer based at Royal Holloway, University of London. He argues for a creativity that forges entirely new ways of societal organization. His new book, Against Creativity, published by Verso, goes on sale tomorrow.

Oli Mould works at Royal Holloway, University of London. His new book is Against Creativity.

Citation: Mould, Oli, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 127, podcast audio, September 24, 2018. https://freshedpodcast.com/olimould/

Will Brehm 1:18
Oli Mould, welcome to FreshEd.

Oli Mould 1:22
Thank you for having me.

Will Brehm 1:24
So, you start your new book by detailing a Pepsi commercial from 2017. Can you describe to listeners what that commercial showed?

Oli Mould 1:33
Yes. So, this Pepsi ad came out in 2018. And it shows Kendall Jenner, who is, I guess, the new kind of model of the day, and she is having a photoshoot done. And she spies this protest movement that is walking outside her door. And it’s really riffs off what’s been going on in the UK and the US of late days – protests, marches that have been going against police brutality, and Brexit, and you know all the kind of ills of this contemporary world. And it is a very generic protest. There’s sort of signs saying things like, “Join the conversation”, and “Love”, and all these really words that you never ever see at protests. And she spies this other sort of model looking guy, she, you know, throws off her wig and smudges her lipstick and just joins this march. And it is really quite incredible. She goes over, she grabs a Pepsi can, gives it to a policeman who’s clearly there to supposedly keep the peace, and he nods approvingly, and everyone sort of laughs and everyone is really really happy that this guy is drinking this Pepsi. And all the while, there is a what is clearly supposed to be a Muslim girl who is a photographer who comes in and out of the commercial at various times. And at the beginning, she is frustrated because the photos she has are not very good, and she’s clearly frustrated. You can see her doing that. And then she spies the protest as well, and she sees Kendall Jenner giving this Pepsi can to the policeman, and she takes a photo, she is really happy. And everyone is really really happy about what’s going on. But you watch it, and you know, the timing of it was important, given all that stuff going on in the states in the US, and in the UK. And it was clearly riffing off this. It was clearly sort of taking this aesthetic of protest to, you know, sell Pepsi cans. And it was very very blatant, very very crass. And it was just, you know, very very obviously done in that way. And clearly, when it came out, there was a lot of stuff online that was very critical of it, and it was taken down. Actually, they apologized for it. So that is what the advert does. And, you know, it was very very blatant. And actually, there was a very famous photo from Baton Rouge, where there was a woman who was being kind of approached by police and being handcuffed, and it was clearly, you know, riffed off that, and it was just very very low. And so that is what the commercial does – it really appropriated the protest aesthetic in order to essentially hawk a sugary drink.

Will Brehm 4:16
And what does that tell you about the contemporary form of creativity?

Oli Mould 4:22
Well, it says that, essentially, creative practices – in this case, advertising – but it bleeds into a lot of the corporate practices more generally, that essentially, you know they’re called creative, but what they’re doing is, they’re scouring the world. They are scouring all sorts of different images and experiences and feelings and emotions in order to plant them in ways that make profit for their products. So, you know what people say are creative in terms of advertising, what they’re doing is, they’re not being creative, they’re being appropriative, they’re been co-optive, in that they’re taking things that already exist, things that are sort of actually kind of anti-capitalist or resistive, and using it for corporate processes. So they’re emptying it of any kind of ethic, any kind of anti-capitalist meaning, and just kind of using it to just plaster over ways of flogging their products you know in new and kind of I guess, “innovative, creative ways”, as they say. So, for me, that is not creative at all, because they are actually destroying what that image means. And as they get more and more into the corporate aesthetic, they begin to lose their meaning, and they actually lose their resistive and anti-capitalist ethic. You have seen it with punk and skateboarding, and I guess even things like hip-hop to a certain extent. You know these are things that were once quite subcultural and quite resistive. But now they are very much part of the mainstream, and you watch it now, and you do not get a sense of that countercultural movement. You do to a certain extent, and they still exist in the cracks and everything else. But in the whole, you just don’t get that when you see it. So that is why that Pepsi ad, in particular, I think, was a particularly damaging form of creativity.

Will Brehm 6:21
And is this a new phenomenon? Or has, in a sense, capitalism been appropriating various creative ideas and industries, and riffing off of maybe anti-capitalistic imagery and protest to further capitalism itself? Is this new, or has this been happening for quite some time?

Oli Mould 6:44
I think it is relatively new. There is a lot of work, scholarly work, which has been done around the May 68 Parisian riots. These were almost considered a bit of a watershed moment because post that time, and I guess you can couch that in the wider countercultural revolution of the 60s more broadly, that you know it signaled a kind of shift in how corporations work, from being quite structured and hierarchical and quite kind of pragmatic to being little much more flexible in how they go about using images to further their profit margins and their spread, I guess. And people like Boltanski and Chiapello in their book, ‘The Spirit of New Capitalism’, they argue quite strongly in what is essentially 550 pages of this argument, that post-1968, capitalism has got much better at doing this. So, it is not necessarily new, but the ways in which capitalism has changed its processes have, since around the kind of late 60s, early 70s, and from then you see a lot of this appropriation happening. And it actually happens much quicker now, and I think with the advent of social media, it’s sped up even more. So, I would not say it is necessarily new, but I think that it is quicker, it is a lot quicker now. I always use the example of subcultures. I mean, I did some work around parkour and graffiti and skateboarding, all those I guess urban subcultures. And you look at skateboarding, it took maybe a decade, 15 years, for it to become appropriated if that is how you can measure these things. And then graffiti took a similar kind of time. Parkour took about two or three years. So, you can kind of trace these things. You spot something that is new and innovative and very very creative, because it is subcultural, anti-capitalist, and then within a few years, it is become part of the mainstream; has been Red Bull or Nike splashed all over it. So, I would not say it is new, I would say it is different and quicker.

Will Brehm 8:49
So, in a sense, is the idea of creativity, therefore, changing in itself?

Oli Mould 8:54
Yes, it depends on, I guess, which version of creativity you mean. Yes, I think what it means to be creative, I guess from top-down, to use a blunt phrase, I guess what corporations and businesses and politicians and teachers and everything else tell us to be, yes, it’s about being flexible and innovative in how you work. It is kind of exploring the world, always bringing that back into say, “Look, how can that how can that help us to grow.” It is about growth. Now that is often couched in economic growth, economic development, and sometimes that can be personal growth as well. But it is always about, “What can you find out there that helps you to grow – as a person, as a nation, in terms of monetary wealth, or whatever it might be?” So that is why I argue in the book – that the notion of creativity has now been privatized. It is about, “How can you be creative in order to help yourself?” How to expand yourself in monetary terms, in enlightenment terms, and everything else. So, that is what creativity means in terms of top-down, I guess, and that is how it is changed, yes.

Will Brehm 10:15
And so, what does that actually look like? This privatized notion of creativity, what does that look like today you know for someone in entering the labor force, for instance?

Oli Mould 10:27
Well, it looks very precarious. It looks very problematic for me anyway. You look at all the different job ads out there at the moment, from fast-food workers to corporate CEOs, “creative” is in there. You have to be creative. And it is become so ubiquitous that it is almost meaningless. But what it always means, for me anyways, is that you have to be flexible. You have to sort of embody that mode of competition, I guess. And this is a broader argument that I made in the book; that this version of creativity is very much couched in with what people call the “neoliberal turn”, and this idea that the markets must be as efficient as possible, and they must extend into every realm of life. And so within work, if you go into the job market, that’s what creativity, I think, when you see it, that’s what you should always be very very careful because it is asking you to be flexible. So, it is asking you to maybe work on a zero-hour contract, or it is asking you to work as a sort of outsourced worker where you get very few workers’ rights. You look at all the various gig economy companies that are around. There has been a huge backlash against their working practices. They are great if you have got the flexibility. The students that I teach actually really like these kinds of things because it allows them to earn a little bit of money whenever they want during their studies. But if you are relying on that kind of work to live, it becomes a whole different ballgame. And you know being creative in that way should really not just mean, “Oh, you can be flexible and just work whenever we want you to work, and you bow to the whims of us as employers, and to how the market dictates you should work.” So that is what that version of creativity means in the labor force.

Will Brehm 12:16
What does it look like in education? I mean, I know you have students who may work as Uber drivers as well, for instance, but what about in education itself, either in higher education or even in secondary and primary education? Do we see this sort of definition of creativity, this neoliberal definition of creativity creeping into these spaces as well?

Oli Mould 12:41
It is an interesting question, and funnily enough, I toyed very much with the idea of having a chapter about education in the book. I did not, primarily because I did not think I could make an argument with the examples, but I think that it is, to a certain extent, this neoliberal version. It is interesting, because obviously, I have got two young children now at school. And it is really really fascinating to see how the educational structure is encouraging or not encouraging creativity. There’s a big thing in the UK, at any rate, at the moment about how it’s really important for children to know and university students as well to have STEM subjects like science, technology, engineering, and maths, because those are the things that drive the economy, drive productivity. But actually, a lot of people are saying that “Well, actually, you do need that, but you also need the STEAM, such as an art in there as well. And you actually need to meld the two, you know, having music classes, art classes with engineering to make sure that they have a very well-rounded education. And that is being driven by a lot of people who work in, for example, the computer games industry, or you know, the tech sector. They are saying, “Actually, we need people who understand creative methods and artistic practices as well as the nuts and bolts of maths and engineering.” So, I think that that is important to a certain extent. So that division is happening quite early on in education. For example, my kids don’t do a huge amount of music, and that’s partly because of budget cuts and everything else. When budgets get cuts, the first things to go are the arts. They’re like, “Oh, they’re not important. Let’s just concentrate on English and maths and stuff.” And I think, “Well, maybe not.” The other thing as well is, and in the UK, we have a guy, Sir Ken Robinson, who you may know. He’s been very vocal about this, and one of the things he’s concerned about is that we group students into year groups very very early on. You know, like five-year-olds, six-year-olds, seven-year-olds, and they flourish at very very different times. And you have a particular kind of year group, but you’ll have very very different educational levels within that. And Ken says that maybe we should change the way that we group students together, for example. So, yes – I think that this version of creativity is creeping in, and it’s around the numbers, the targets and the exams, and everything else that has to be done is so huge now that students are just told how to pass exams, they’re not told how to think. And so yes, there is a number of different problems within education in terms of how creativity in that neoliberal form is being applied.

Will Brehm 15:25
And what about higher education? When you were saying about the idea of being flexible and having work that is very precarious. Higher education becomes a great example of the rise of contract teachers. So, in what ways have you seen this idea of creativity, or neoliberal creativity, entering higher education?

Oli Mould 15:50
Do you mean the teachers themselves?

Will Brehm 15:54
The teachers, or even more broadly, where do we see some of these neoliberal forms of creativity in universities?

Oli Mould 16:03
So, I think that within higher education it is really interesting. The workforce themselves, the academics and the teachers within higher education, you’re almost getting a sort of dichotomy or dualism created, where you’ve got a sort of higher, let’s say, “research class” or “professorial class” that are very secure. They have huge amounts of free time to do their research, and it is kind of self-serving in that respect. And you couple that with the massive increase in students that we have seen, which you know has become part of the problem, because that is where that’s where universities get their money from now, our students. So, we need large numbers of students; they need to be taught. And so, we have this sort of underclass of very, very precarious teachers, and universities in the UK, and I think the US as well have nine-month contracts, part-time contracts – very short term things. And being in the sector myself, I hear so many stories about early career staff, and peoples fresh out of PhDs who have had to travel to different countries, live in different parts of the world, move away from their families, their wives, and children, in order to secure a nine-month teaching post or a 12-month part-time lectureship, and it’s just not healthy, and it doesn’t foster that longevity and that kind of connection that students require – higher education. I am in the higher education system because I believe it is a fundamentally crucial part of people’s lives, and having that critical thinking is really really important. Because without it, we are just producing more of these, to use the phrase, these “worker drones” that have no kind of ability to act creatively in the way that I want people to in the book. And that comes from the amount of critical thinking and the input that people get in higher education, in further education, the sort of “latter years”, if you like, of their educational career. And having that binary class, again, kind of just erodes that, because you’re just creating this sort of cadre of precarious workers who just are like, “I’d like to be able to do that, but I can’t because I need to make sure that the students do this, and they pass the exams, and they do this, and I make sure I have my numbers up so I can get employed elsewhere.” So, there is a sort of soft hegemony I guess just moving people towards a sort of far more auditing, and just by-the-numbers kind of educational system, which is very very neoliberal at its heart.

Will Brehm 18:45
And so how has creativity been defined sort of outside of this idea of being appropriated by capitalism? Historically, how else has creativity been thought of?

Oli Mould 18:59
Well I guess it depends how far back you go, I mean. There’s very interesting lineage; I mean, you could go all the way back to kind of ancient societies where creativity was considered something which the gods had. They were the ones that had ability to create something out of nothing. And you know you trace that through history and the way that it’s kind of been developed over time, creativity has been increasingly privatized, and increasingly something which, you know, value has been extracted from it. But I think there is something to be said about having a creative mindset or having a kind of idea of creativity, which is about societal progress. Now, the arguments are that creativity now is just sort of something that we need to grow, we need to make more money. And that is one version of progress, but it is one which doesn’t necessarily inculcate anything new. It just creates more of the same sort of stuff. In a world that is rapidly deteriorating ecologically, growth is just a concept that we are going to need to rapidly get away from very very quickly. And so the idea of being creative that doesn’t just produce more of the same stuff, in this case, well in capitalism’s case, like money and profit, then that’s the kind of creativity which we need to work towards. And there is lots of examples throughout history of societies that work that way. So, you know, I often talk about the Diggers and the Levelers in the UK, sort of in the 15, 16th century. They were very much ones who kind of came up the idea of “the common”,  the “common wealth”, this idea that there is no such thing as private property, and people kind of work together on the land and they work together to create an economy, a social economy, which provided all the need, provided everything that people needed to get by and to live, including culture and artistic enjoyment, but it was done collectively. It was done with a sense that you know, we can negate any potential damages or potential shortfall in provision by acting collaboratively and collectively, and as a common. Capitalism erodes that. Capitalism source says, “Well, look, I’m working this way, it’s really great for me. I want to do it more.” So, it then begins to encroach on other people’s enjoyment, which is why we get huge inequality and everything else. So, a creativity which source says, “No, let’s not to work towards, you know, making more of the same for a very small amount of people, let’s make sure that we create a world which actually, we can all enjoy. Because, you know, if the climate change people are correct, this world is not going to be the same very very soon. So, it is something which we need to reconceptualize creativity very very quickly. Because at the moment, the way it’s currently defined in the mainstream is just not creative at all. It just produces more of the same problems, and that is going to become very very difficult to sustain very very quickly.

Will Brehm 22:07
So how would that happen? How can we reconceptualize creativity away from the idea of “more growth is always good”?

Oli Mould 22:16
That is a very good question. One which if I had the answer, then I would probably be a very rich man – rather ironically, I guess. But to push against that idea of creativity as something which just sort of makes more of the same capitalist growth, there are examples of it out there. And in the book, I try to sort of pinpoint some of the more progressive ones: worker cooperatives, different political systems, disability. There is a huge array of ways that we can conceptualize creativity there at the margins of society. Now, it is not a case of bringing them into the mainstream and just saying, “Okay, let’s make disability the way we define creativity, and let’s just use them as means of growth.” It does not work that way. You have to kind of shift your societal structures to look towards the margins and say, “Well look, what is it that these people are doing? What is it that these communities are actually achieving?” And that is, in the most case, kind of a quite radical sense of equality, and making sure that there is enough of the resources, or at least the resources of which they have goes to the people that need them. And in doing so, you create a far more just, far more progressive, and actually far more sustainable community. So, you know, there is plenty of examples out there. After the book, I came across an example in Mexico: Cherán, which is a city which has completely refused to engage in local elections. Have you seen that example? It is fascinating. It is annoying that I saw it after I finished it, but there was some stuff written about it recently. And I think, yes, around kind of 2011 I think it was – they got rid of all their local politicians because they were not doing enough to stop the crime in the city, which was about logging. There was illegal logging, and it was creating a horrible kind of crime syndicate. And you know they were losing all their trees and everything else. So basically, the people got together, and they kind of complete defenestrated their local politicians and the police. And they said, “We’re going to sort out ourselves”. And reading the stuff, it is actually a lot of the women that organized this. And since 2011, 2012, they’ve not engaged in local elections, they’ve not engaged in any national elections (i.e. the recent presidential elections in Mexico), and crime has dropped significantly, people are healthier, they’re regrowing their trees, it’s a far more environmentally friendly place. And this is all because they had sort of said, “No, we are not going to engage in your version of society”, which is a kind of parliamentary, democratic, kind of this voting system which we have. So, that, to me … I mean, it’s got its problems, obviously … it’s not perfect by any means, but it’s a city-wide example of people that have refused to engage with what people have said. “You should engage in this kind of version of state capitalism”, but they refused to do that, and it is produced very very beneficial results.

Will Brehm 25:39
So how would that community in your mind define the notion of creativity?

Oli Mould 25:46
Because they are refusing to go along with the way in which the powers that be suggest that you need to do in order to progress. They are saying, “No, we are going to create a different version of life, one where we are not ruled by local politicians or indeed national politicians. One where we are not subject to police brutality. One in which we can actually stop crime before it happens in terms of, we don’t have to go to the police process, we can actually cut it down to this source.” So, they are being creative because they are refusing to engage with the version of progress which the world imposes upon them. And that is the kind of version of creativity which I try to explain in the book. I mean, there is nothing wrong with creating a brand-new technology, or a brand-new product to market, or a new computer game, or a new app, or whatever it might be. There is nothing wrong with that; they are creative in and of themselves. It is how they are then plugged into the wider systems, which then just sort of eradicate any kind of chance they have of revolutionary change. That’s the problem for me: that creativity has to be broadened out, you have to think about it globally on a societal kind of level because if we don’t create a new mode of living, then there’s all sorts of problems are going to happen. So, in Mexico, in Cherán, it is a really good example of a city trying to do that. Now, you could try and scale that up. Brilliant. The scale problem is a crucial one – can you scale up these things? Sometimes they do not work. Sometimes power comes crashing down, and you end up having to replicate the same problems. So, scaling them up is a very very important process. And that’s a very different question because you have to sort of start changing political systems, and heaven knows in the US and in the UK, we’re seeing a massive polarization of the political spectrum with socialism coming to the fore and everything else, but also the far right. So that is a different kind of question, but there are examples of this kind of creativity, and they are everywhere. Because they are not feeding capitalism, they are often marginalized. And people see them and go, “Well, that is clearly wrong because you are not making more money, you’re not doing this. Let’s try and stop it. Let’s try and appropriate it somehow. Let’s just try and violently enclose it.” So, for me, those are the kinds of things which make it creative.

Will Brehm 28:29
And it goes back to that Pepsi commercial that we talked about at the beginning, where these protest movements were certainly … in many respects, they had power to sort of create something new, something more just, something for the social good, or the commons. But businesses like Pepsi were appropriating these sort of creative spaces to perpetuate the status quo of capitalism.

Oli Mould 28:56
Absolutely. And you know, these protests and all these marches that we see in the world at the moment, it’s not just because it’s the new thing to do. It is that people are angry. People are really really scared and angry about the things that are happening in the world at the moment. And you know, corporations that use that to sell drinks, I mean look at what Nike recently with the NFL player. They have come under similar kinds of critiques. It’s fine on the one hand to have this and to bring these things into the public consciousness, but at the same time, their bottom line will be about, “How can we do that to make more money?” And if that’s the underlying process that’s going on, there will always be at the end game kind of “the growth of Nike”, or “the growth of Pepsi” and the problems that entails in terms of like working structures and continuing to sort of have child labor in Indonesia, or whatever it is that Nike do, how they make their shoes, and everything else. And that won’t change just because they’ve put Colin Kaepernick all over their adverts; it’s not going to change. So yes, these protests and everything else that Pepsi have appropriated, they mean something, and they are of a time, and they’re actually trying to change the system. They are trying to change how we operate in this world. And if the ethics of that are emptied, as they are being with things like Pepsi, then that is for me incredibly problematic.

Will Brehm 30:31
Well, Oli Mould, thank you so much for joining FreshEd.

Oli Mould 30:34
Thank you very much.

Want to help translate this show? Please contact info@freshedpodcast.com
Have useful resources related to this show? Please send them to info@freshedpodcast.com


The images and stories of migrant families being separated by the United States government set off a global conversation about immigration, borders, and justice. If the political philosophy of liberalism is based on liberty and equality, then the events of the past few months have challenged the very core of liberal democratic states.

My guest today is Bruce Collet. He researches migration and public schooling, with a special interest in migration, religion, and schooling in democratic states. He’s thinking through what we might call liberal multiculturalism as well as issues around security.

Bruce Collet is a Professor in Educational Foundations and Inquiry at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. He is the author of Migration, Religion, and Schooling in Liberal Democratic States (Routledge, 2018), and Editor of the journal Diaspora, Indigenous, and Minority Education.

Citation: Collet, Bruce, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 121, Podcast audio, July 2, 2018. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/brucecollet/

Transcript, translation, and resources:

Read more

Today we look at conditional cash transfers as a global phenomenon of educational development. My guest is Michelle Morais de Sa e Silva.

Michelle has written a new book called Poverty Reduction, Education, and the Global Diffusion of Conditional Cash Transfers, which was published by Palgrave Macmillan. She finds that different political ideologies have been used to justify conditional cash transfers, helping them spread worldwide.

Michelle Morais de Sa e Silva is a Lecturer in International and Area Studies in the Department of International and Area Studies at the University of Oklahoma.


Photo credit: teacherslifeforme.blogspot.com

Today we continue our exploration of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and what it means for education. Last week, we looked at comparative education as a field. Today we look at teachers. What are the prospects and perils of the fourth industrial revolution for teachers?

My guest today is Jelmer Evers. Jelmer is a teacher, blogger, writer, and innovator. He teaches history at UniC in the Netherlands and works with Education International, the global federation of teacher unions. He was nominated for the global teacher prize in 2012 and is known for his book called Flip the System.

Today Jelmer and I discuss his new co-edited volume Teaching in the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Standing at the Precipice, which was published by Routledge earlier this year.

Citation: Evers, Jelmer, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 117, podcast audio, January 4, 2018. www.freshedpodcast.com/jelmerevers

Will Brehm:  1:49
Today, Jelmer and I discussed his new co-edited volume “Teaching in the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Standing at the Precipice” which was published by Routledge earlier this year. Jelmer Evers, welcome to FreshEd.

Jelmer Evers:  2:04
Thank you. Glad to be here.

Will Brehm:  2:06
Why does it seem like every other news article that I read lately mentions something about the fourth industrial revolution?

Jelmer Evers:  2:15
Yeah, I think you are right. That is also I wrote the book. I think there are several reasons for that. I think there is a general fear of disruption, I think people can see that technology is having a major influence on how we live and work and also in education.

But I don’t think that is just it, not just a fear, which is can be right. I think it’s also to do with sort of, the techno-optimism that is sort of like pervasive in the last 10, 15 years are like a dominance of Silicon Valley entrepreneurship start-up culture.

So technology is cool and happening. If you compare to education, education is sort of still an old school. Sort of this is techno utopianism to it.

I also think, at least from an educational point of view, the idea that technology will make these old progressive dream come true, personalize education, I mean, we have we ever been having these discourses for at least 200 years. If you look back at all these, like, older thinking, and books and articles on education, you can still see the similar languages pop up, and now it has the name Fourth Industrial Revolution, or personalized education to it. I think the idea is and there’s grain of truth in it, that it makes it more easier to allow this to happen, although, with lots of caveats.

Fourthly, and that’s something I only learned, like learn later on at least in my teaching career when you start look outside of the classroom, and schools and system etc. has all these policy networks that are out there that have been out there for a long time, and also have been latching on to sort of like this, this whole techno utopist (view) vision of society and also in education.

So this whole 21st Century Skills debate is predating the idea of the fourth industrial revolution. And that’s already been out there for quite some time, at least in the Netherlands, like early 2000s, we’ve been talking about this, and as a means also for politicians, but also for teachers to push for innovation in education. And now we have this sort of like more profound technological change, which I do think is there embedded into it. So that’s why I think it has become stronger, there’s the sense instead of that there is something going on, and it makes it more easy for these narratives to, from whatever viewpoint to take a look at education in that way. But for me, as well, it’s also part of these bigger, bigger, longer neoliberal discourse that has been going on as well and people have been latching on to it, like I would almost feels like GERM 2.0. like the Global Education Reform Movement, as Pasi Sahlberg points out, and now we’re having sort of like these big tech companies pushing into that space as well. And with this teacher ambassadors, and the Google ambassadors and the Apple ambassadors, and it’s a really powerful narratives are both from an optimistic point of view, but also from a fear point of view. So that’s it. That’s what I think, where I think that’s why it’s there.

Will Brehm:  6:03
So the fourth industrial revolution is about what? What is the revolution?

Jelmer Evers:  6:11
Well, I think you have to also look at who coined the term Klaus Schwab from the World Economic Forum in a yearly gathering in Davos, mostly by CEOs, and sort of like academics who buy into that stuff.

And his book has been quite influential. So he coined this term, what’s going on, and it’s his idea is that there was the first Industrial Revolution, of course, steam engine and the second one, early 20 century, late 19th century, with electricity, oil, like mass production, the whole birth of the Ford era and Taylorism, but in the 60s with these reflect the birth of the digital age that the more simple digital revolution, which of course, is a major impact on communications are productivity. And now he’s saying there’s a fourth industrial revolution. And it’s sort of like an exponential technology, where different kinds of strands of technological innovations are now being combined, and accelerated. And you have to think about like AI and robotics, nanotechnology, biotechnology, and like quantum computing, those kind of things. And they’re all like interacting with one another. And there are new industrial sectors, like data scientists, those kind of things to do that, it’s ubiquitous all over the place because everybody needs to be a data scientists nowadays.

So and like gene therapy and DNA. And I mean if you look at it for the whole list that he goes through, it is quite remarkable, I think, what is going on. So you definitely cannot discount the technological change that is going on, I can, I think we can see that all around this. But I think he coins towards that there’s this whole political economy sphere and context to it, but he stays within a certain frame. And I think that’s sort of like the biggest issue that we it’s not a technology that we need to tackle per say, it’s more like, who profits from it? Who owns the technology? Who owns the data? That kind of stuff.

Will Brehm:  8:29
And how are people talking about the ways in which the fourth industrial revolution will impact education?

Jelmer Evers:  8:40
That’s a very interesting question. And that brings me back I think, to the progressive strands and philosophy that we have in education. So for example, if you’re looking for, from a really practical point of view, people are really pushing sort of actors, adaptive platforms, these tutoring platforms that can help students learn at their own pace, maybe you don’t need a teacher anymore, maybe the platform is good enough with all the learning materials, the videos, and the readings, the interactivity, that’s more easy to produce. So there’s already been there. But now sort of like with these algorithms and a promise of activity, I think that’s the main focus right now.

And also that’s where it has the biggest impact. And I think there are some, like, for example if you look at like math skills, basic math skills, I see with my own children, so they’re practicing on the internet for the whole, like drill part of education and teaching, it actually helps. It can ease the formative feedback cycle, that’s great with children work with them on that. So you can outsource a little bit of sort of formative aspect. I think that’s actually a good thing.

But if you look at what kind of articles are you reading, and if teachers will, we will be replaced with AI, and, you know, that kind of stuff. And that’s quite worrying. And it’s completely besides the truth and reality, I think, there are different things going on. But it’s sort of like the basic things. And if you look at the impact of technology in another level, which I think is more progressive is sort of maker education. And so all those technology associated with that as a service with 3D printing, but also like, it’s easy to program, little little computers, etc, those kind of things are having a major impact. And students can be producers, and they can interact with students all over the world, etc. So, I think there is the problem is, there’s this true promise of progressive education, but it’s also sort of like hijacked by more behind the scene by a more standardized form of education. Because if you look at sort of the oldest platforms, they’re trying to sort make these little data points everywhere like the learning goals and then you are run through this maze as a student without the help of any teacher and that sort of like the old standardized dream. So it has this two-face thing to it.

Will Brehm:  11:25
Have you experienced any of these two different faces of the Industrial Revolution 4.0 or whatever it’s called the fourth industrial revolution inside your own classroom?

Jelmer Evers:  11:38
Well, you know, for example, the whole networking, it connects with people all over the world, I can connect with class, with people and other students from all over the world, they are connecting themselves, I mean, I get it, they’re doing it anyway, and I get them anyway.

So that aspect is there, it makes it more easy for me, for example, to create a learning environment where they do have lots of choice, I’m not just fixed to a textbook, for example, while I do also use textbooks, because the students enjoy them, I think working from papers way more efficient than then digital technology that is good or not all these studies that have come out lately that have warned us about sort of like not to go too deep into the digital world, from a learning aspect, but also from an addictive aspect.

So it’s there. And what we’ve also seen is that these types of technologies are being pushed. So we have a major change, we’ve just changed Microsoft, for example, the Microsoft environments, and I don’t think our school which is quite autonomous, and we, as teachers were on board with that you get bombarded with all these actors, policy actors, networks, research people try to sell you stuff. It’s a huge market, also in the Netherlands and more worryingly, I think what we’ve seen, and it was even, I think people from my own school boards were like, part of this, they’re looking into sort of, like, we have a teacher shortage so we can’t pay for it. So we’re going to look at other scenarios. And that means sort of like, and then we’re actually talking about using AI and all these platforms to invest more in that. It will be more cheaper in the long run. So it is definitely affecting us and me still on the ground and lots of different ways, I think.

Will Brehm:  13:44
Do you literally have people coming into your classroom or your school trying to sell you the latest education technology?

Jelmer Evers:  13:52
Well, they’re trying to and trying to approach you, of course, and through different ways, it’s through school leadership, or the board, etc.

I’m usually approached quite often because I write these books and quite well known in the Netherlands, so that sort of like, also, they want to work with us, and we’ve got this product, etc. So that’s definitely a thing.

Will Brehm:  14:14
How does that work? Like, what’s the economy there? Do they want to give you some sort of monetary kickback? Or, like, how does it work?

Jelmer Evers:  14:23
No, no, that’s never the case. That’s the interesting part. And that’s why I always say, No, I said, I mean, I’m happy to consult in any way, as long as you pay me for it. And then usually the conversation stops.

So it’s also a very interesting now it’s just, we give you your, you can try our product for free, and then with your writing little piece on it, or we want to try it out and give us some feedback. So I sort of like free labor kind of thing. So I would say no to that, whilst I do think there are interesting things out there, that definitely help me in my teaching, but it’s definitely a big thing, you can see the major publishers moving from textbooks towards they’re all trying to create this platform, and sort of like trying to create a monopoly and like the major book distributor. And you can see that there are really changing their course, into a sort of, like, a platform kind of way. And they’re actually so big, that they might have a chance for that in the Netherlands.

Will Brehm:  15:26
What is the platform by the way?

Jelmer Evers:  15:28
It’s sort of like, where content’s almost free, but where you want to be where the interaction is ready, where you can gather data, and sort that data and so that’s, you know, that’s sort of, like, if you look at Uber and Airbnb, etc, so they don’t own anything anymore. They don’t own the books anymore. But he might not even own a company anymore. As long as you have enough people on a platform, and it gathers data so that’s a revenue stream, and huge revenue streams for Facebook and Twitter, etc. So, or also doing. And if you have all these learning interactions, then you’ve got all these data points, you can fill this correlations and then you can sell this as look, we know that this works, they don’t really know what works because just the correlation but that’s the days they’re sending a sort of like this model of learning also still don’t know a lot about learning. So that’s sort of like if you can occupy that space. And a lot of people are trying to do that.

Will Brehm:  16:28
So let me just try and get my head wrapped around this. The idea here is that there are these companies, these education businesses that are creating online platforms that they are trying to get students to use and teachers to use. And then while they’re using these platforms that offer all sorts of content, like you said, maybe that has been developed for free externally, they then are collecting data points on how the students interact, and use that material, and then somehow analyze it, and then sell the analysis back to the school. That is the revenue?

Jelmer Evers:  16:39
Yeah, so those kind of things, and also for other products. So you can build off products on that platform as well. And what I’ve been looking for, for example, so I’ve been using all these different kinds of tools, extra credit, and we’ve got a virtual learning environment and all these other things, but they’re not talking to one another. So for me, it would be really useful to have a single point of view that like people are talking about dashboards, for example, learning dashboards. If you can organize that, and then you become sort of like the Spotify of education because you’re already entry point to everything. So you can ask revenue from the people that are providing apps. So you can you can ask for like, small fee from the schools and the students, you can sell your data to other companies again, so this is sort of like how people learn. So that’s sort of like the whole that’s what a lot of companies are trying to do around the world at the moment even in the developing world.

Will Brehm:  17:01
And these sort of companies are I mean, they’re obviously working inside public schools as well. Is that correct?

Jelmer Evers:  18:08
Yeah. So (we have we haven’t) we have a little bit more of a different system in the Netherlands it’s completely privatized nonprofit but that’s more from a historical point of view so it was that religious education was funded just like public education and you know the whole Neoliberal reforms in the end of the 90s early 2000s every school was privatized but with a really strong accountability system Inspectorate etc. Profit is like a big no go, although we have a lot of scandals here in the Netherlands, increasingly, so.

So it is we still consider it public, but a lot of people don’t know how privatized it actually is. And it also makes it more easy to sell this kind of stuff. So if you look at how the government operates, when they’re talking about ICT and ethic and they’re creating these policies, the only people they’re talking to, are actually like the representatives on our boards, like way high up, and the publishers and the ethic people and technology people. So teachers don’t have any say, or schools themselves don’t have any say in those policy networks. They are huge, are well funded. And they know how to approach the ministry, etc. And so it’s been quite worrying. And I’ve been, as a teacher be quite disgusted by the whole direction that has taken the last like eight years or so.

Will Brehm:  19:24
And what direction has that taken in the last eight years?

Jelmer Evers:  19:28
I think we’ve managed to stop a lot of neoliberal discourse, like the standardized testing and the top down managerial sort of like culture that is sort of completely embedded in our schools. I think we’ve managed to stop that. But the whole privatization aspect of it and the whole more it’s more easy to start schools and then people want to do away with the central exams, it becomes more easy to penetrate sort of like our school system through these networks, where our teachers don’t have any say. So I took the whole public aspect of our system is broken without it being really clear to people. So for me, that’s sort of an example of what you see around going on around the world, not just in the Netherlands, it’s happening in a strong system like the Netherlands where you can imagine and you know what’s going on in the United States, but also in the developing world and in African countries, but also Asian countries. I mean, it’s huge and well organized like I see here in the Netherlands as well. So let’s that’s going against I think, I think we’ve another one a lot of sort of, like discourse battles against sort of like that’s how standardized narrative and now we’re up against a new sort of like narrative. And it’s not on a lot of people’s radars. It’s progressive side to it. And that makes it more difficult to counter I think and even be aware of it.

Will Brehm:  20:58
How would you define that progressive side?

Jelmer Evers:  21:01
What do you mean like?

Will Brehm:  21:04
Well, you were saying that education technology sort of furthers the privatization efforts inside schools, not only in the Netherlands, but around the world, and you’re trying to in a sense mobilize against that movement. But because perhaps education technology has this progressive side to it and makes it a little more difficult to mobilize that resistance, can you talk a little bit about that progressive side?

Jelmer Evers:  21:35
Everybody wants to personalize as you want to bring out the talent of the individual student, that’s a given. That’s sort of like one of the major goals, that’s what we do as teachers. If you want to try to build a good relationship, you want to see what’s in there, what comes out of it and improve on that you want to give him every attention or her every attention that he can. So if somebody says, well, here’s the solution that we can give you a real personalized education. Well, before it was just a standard industrial, Prussian solution which is complete nonsense, of course model well it’s based on a faulty premise, that it’s just sort of like jumping through hoops and running through a small like, standardized maze, that it’s sort of like standardized education in disguise, and in another ways. And it’s also like, at least in the Netherlands, and I think definitely in the West, a formative assessment has really taken off in classrooms, and teachers are really aware of it. And I think more research informed on these kinds of developments. And it also buys into that kind of narrative. And it actually helps I’m not against that, per se. But if people then take it to the next level, and start replacing, and like a narrative replacing teachers, and we don’t need teachers anymore, or they’re even better than teachers then it becomes really, really problematic, because those technologies can do that whatsoever at all. If you look at sort of, like what AI experts are saying, it can do and really specific thing really, really well.

But a job and especially in education is so much more than that. And it also has to do with empathy and ethics and morals and bringing up the child as a society, and I sort of like as a and the school is also a small community where it creates sort of like new communities and prepares him for a wider world, which isn’t just about economics and jobs.

So if you, I mean, artificial intelligence can never do that. At least definitely not for the coming 50 years. If you look at all these what AI experts are saying. But at the same time, if you don’t open up, like the times education supplement, for example, it says, well, we need to be really afraid of AI, because they’re going to replace us in that’s just not true. So where’s this narrative just coming from, and then it becomes more easy to sell this kind of things well. But we’re personalized, and how can you be against personalizing education.

So that’s sort of like the real difficult thing I think people are grappling with. And if you’re also then offered incentives to be part of a global network that you can visit conferences, and it’s being paid for, etc. So like, our teachers are now also sort of like in these corporate networks and big tech networks, and that those are the best-funded teacher networks around the world. And they’re having this corporate there, they’re now having a corporate identity instead of a professional identity. So that’s, you know, those are the dynamics that are going on under the heading of personalized education.

Will Brehm:  24:50
It seems slightly analogous to the way in which medical or pharmaceutical companies sort of engage with the medical profession.

Jelmer Evers:  25:01
Yeah, I think there’s definitely and I hadn’t really thought about that way yet. I will have to pursue that as well, I definitely think that’s, that’s the case, and I’ve got a few of my friends are general practitioners, and they definitely have an issue with it. And I know there’s a whole internal debate, like from a professional point of view, but there are lots of people who are buying into the system that goes, you know, it gives them opportunities, it gives them a platform, and it’s the same kind of dynamics. And the problem is, like, the people who are fighting for public education are always underfunded, less network, we’re not at the vows, so to speak. So yet, so that’s you know, and you want to get your voice out. And actually, a lot of people are doing good work. And some of you know, some of the lesson plans that are that they’re talking about, and, and pushing out and really valuable. But if they’re part of this bigger discourse, and I read a, there was a series of the New York Times about these networks, but this kind of networks how Google and Microsoft and Apple are opening up their schools to sell their products.

I don’t think we, as a profession, we have had a real genuine discussion about this. And it also becomes that we’re because we were quite a weak profession, I think, in another sense that we don’t have standard lots of standards, professional bodies, unions have been focusing on bread and butter issues, and it should be way, way wider than they do now. So there’s so many things that we still need to organize around and do and we need to do it globally, I think. It is a global discussion, because these operators, they all operate on a global level. So you can never do it in on a national level, or just on a national level.

So yeah, that’s sort of like the, there are so many things that you need to be involved in. And if you’re, then as a teacher, for example being educated as just focusing on pedagogy and just focusing on the classroom, and you’re not sort of like, brought into this wider discussion, it makes it really hard for people to resist. And that’s also what happened, I think, in the 90s and the 2000s people were, teachers were really being pushed back into the classroom and just sort of like it, then you’ll be, you have to do it you’re told, so this whole history that we’ve had, at least in the 80s and 70s and 60s and more critical pedagogy, but also, like, a really strong profession that’s also being has been undermined. So it sort of makes it really hard to fight back, I think, on these issues.

Will Brehm:  27:41
And so what can teachers do? I mean, if they had, say, a stronger profession, or more professionalized like you were saying, and these global networks, teachers still need to be very literate in all of this new technology, and have a voice at the table, in a sense on how it can be incorporated. So in a sense, how do teachers in your perspective, sort of resist or engage with this large network of education businesses that are in a sense spearheading this fourth industrial revolution?

Jelmer Evers:  28:22
Well, first thing is, I think there’s the idea of a network teacher is really powerful. So they’re actually tapping into something that is really worthwhile. I think, also, if you look at professional development, and why teachers stay in the classroom, that is networking aspect, and collaborative learning is extremely powerful. It’s probably one of the best ways to retain teachers as well, but also for us to become better as a profession. So I think what we need to do is sort of like, try to find ways to support those networks. But then also when we start talking about pedagogy, and good and what is good pedagogy, educational technology, formative assessment, we also start to sort of like pushing these narratives, what education is for, what are all the actors involved in education, what kind of role are you taking, so the networks are always there. And there’s this really powerful network here in the Netherlands, but globally, and I’m talking to teachers from United States, Australia, Africa, African countries, like Uganda, South Africa. So I mean, we’re already connected. It’s just that it doesn’t have a real organizing bit to it. And that’s what I think we’re old fashioned unions that unionism comes in. And I think they need to take a wider approach from just focusing on salaries, for example, or workloads, it’s about being a profession. And I think a lot of unions have already had that, but they also sort of like, let themselves be pushed into this, no more narrow narrative. But just focusing on grassroots networks is not good enough. If you look at sort of, like the field revolutions in the Middle East, the occupy movement, etc.
So if there’s no powerful, political, organized, well-funded movements, combined with this, sort of, like more grassroots network, social media kind of activism. If you can combine those things, I think you have a really, really good chance of sort of, like changing the narrative and our own sort of like what we’ve learned here, at least in the Netherlands, if you if you have a powerful narrative, and if you’re going to influence the general public, you can turn those things around. So we moved away from standardized testing. And I think there’s, there’s a distant, a new sort of, like, powerful grassroots movement and Facebook group that popped up, and they were sort of like a catalyst for a national strike. And you’ve seen those things pop up in the United States as well. So if they’re even comes from like, the, the core of the resistance, like in the, in the red states, Red for Ed. So I think everything is there already, I think, but we need to be more conscious of this. And I think it also starts with being in teacher education.

I don’t think I was sort of educated enough of being (in English or not being) that I was part of a profession and being proud of being part of the profession, what does it mean to go beyond your classroom, and that’s something that we need to take up as well, start with, you know, the people entering into our profession and taking this more holistic approach. And I think everything so I’m quite optimistic actually, that we can achieve change, like flipping the system, that’s what we call it and putting the teachers at this center of it. And because I’ve already seen so many positive changes within schools themselves in school district, but also even on a national level, like New Zealand started turning back on lots of like, toxic neoliberal reforms just recently, so that’s sort of like gives me a lot of optimism that we can turn this around, but it does need to be a conscious effort. And, and that’s we’re still not at that stage. And that’s what we need to push for.

Will Brehm:  32:21
It seems like you’re also advocating for flipping the narrative of the fourth industrial revolution from either techno pessimism or seeing technology as some utopia to actually saying, Wait a second, humans use technology, and it has to, therefore be a political process as to how we use it to sort of flip the narrative completely.

Jelmer Evers:  32:47
Yeah, exactly. And it’s, you know, I’m not a Luddite. I love work, I actually came into, like, education, innovation. I think, like most teachers, through educational technology, that’s a starting point for new apps and new things that you want to try out and actually see, that’s working. And so their technology in itself is not bad. But if you look at sort also how the fourth industrial revolution is portrayed, and what kind of people are pushing it, and then definitely, we’re on the wrong track, I think. And although they talk about changing institutions, I don’t think I don’t see a lot of that happening at the moment. And you can also see, and that’s where the teacher strikes in the United States are so instructive. If you start to go for like more 20 century 19th century activism, and like, go back to what unions and activists did in the emancipate themselves in the second half of the 19th century. If you combine that with new technology, you have a really, really powerful for us.
So I think most people are not against the web. So we were Skyping at the moment, you’re in Japan, and I am here in Brussels. So it would be foolish to discount it. But people really like that sort of like, if you either in this camp or in that camp. But if you that’ll makes it really easy to discount the criticisms are they just against technology, we’re not, but we want to use it. And so that everybody can profit from it, or maybe profit not the right word, but help us create a better world and help our students create a better world. And that’s what it should be about. And most of the systems that are being created and are being funded and lobbied for at the moment are going in the wrong direction including international organizations and big corporations etc.

So if we state that technology is neutral, we can use either for good or for bad, then we are on the right track. But it also needs to be embedded in sort of re-evaluation of the public goods. So if you’ve looked at sort of like, I think if you look at, for example, in economics, that narrative is gaining momentum in ways which I haven’t seen, like in the 70s or 60s, I think when change was dominant. So with Piketty and Dani Rodrik and all these people like really advocating for reassessing how we look at society and economics and politics, etc. So that’s already happening as well. And we need to tap into that, I think, in education, and what like what we flip the system here in the Netherlands and also international those kind of narratives and Pasi Sahlberg and Carol Campbell in Canada and there’s so many people doing the right thing. And systems are also start doing the right thing.

So it’s not that hard to find good examples. It’s just to make more people aware of it and actually start fighting for them. And that there is an alternative out there and it is already working. And that’s, I think, what we if we can, if we can put that into people’s minds, then you can create a really powerful counter movement and a new alternative.

Will Brehm:  35:58
Well, Jelmer Evers, thank you so much for joining FreshEd, and it really was a pleasure to talk today.

Jelmer Evers:  36:03
Yeah, I’ve really enjoyed it. So I love to think about it again. Thank you!

Want to help translate this show? Please contact info@freshedpodcast.com 
Have any useful resources related to this show? Please send them to info@freshedpodcast.com
OverviewTranscriptFrançais TranscriptionResources

Today we dive into the nightmare that is the growing tide of fascism worldwide and the prospects and perils this nightmare holds for public education.

My guest today is the renowned scholar, Henry Giroux.  He has a new book entitled American Nightmare: Facing the challenge of Fascism, which will be published in May.

Henry Giroux is the McMaster University Professor for Scholarship in the Public Interest and the Paulo Freire Distinguished Scholar in Critical Pedagogy.  He has written over 60 books and is considered one of the top educational thinkers today.

Citation: Giroux, Henry, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 106, podcast audio, March 5, 2018. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/giroux/

Will Brehm 1:38
Henry Giroux, welcome to FreshEd.

Henry Giroux 1:41
Nice, Will. Wonderful to be on.

Will Brehm 1:43
You’ve written a new book called American Nightmare: Facing the Challenge of Fascism. Before getting into that book and America and what’s going on currently in America vis-a-vis public education, I just want to ask you, what went through your mind in November 2016 when you realized that Donald Trump won the presidency?

Henry Giroux 2:08
Well, I think what went through my mind was that there’s been a long series of assaults on American democracy and the United States, back especially to the 1970s, when the social contract was under siege and was appearing to collapse. And a discourse of demonization, racism, Islamophobia and objectification and commodification and privatization seemed to take over the country. I thought that Trump was the endpoint of this; he’s sort of the Frankenstein monster that was let out of the room. And I thought it was an incredible tragedy for democracy. And I thought that, unlike some other leftists, I thought that the consequences would be drastic once he assumed office. And I think in many ways, that’s proven to be right.

Will Brehm 2:57
In what ways has it proven to be right over the last year?

Henry Giroux 3:00
Well, I think all you have to do is look at the policies that he’s attempted to implement and the language that he’s used to define his mode of governance. I mean, this is a guy who basically has embraced neo-Nazis, ultra-nationalism. He’s a serial liar. He’s obviously done everything he can to promote an anti-immigration logic. He’s threatened to expel the whole range of young people – 800,000 young people – called dreamers from the United States. He’s lowered taxes for the ultra-rich to the point where that will take an enormous toll on public services and public goods. He’s putting into place a series of people who are basically either inept, or utterly anti-democratic, to run institutions such as the EPA – the Environmental Protection Agency – or a whole range of other institutions, in which they are diametrically opposed to the interest that those institutions represent. Because they’re institutions that suggest that government has a responsibility to basically work for the people. They don’t believe that; they believe that government should only basically serve the financial elite and the financial and economic interest, and that freedom is basically about deregulating business and allowing the corporate elite to run wild. So that’s just a series, among other things, of things that he’s done. But I think that he’s put into place a notion of governance that suggests that the United States is no longer a democracy; that we’re on the road to a kind of neofascism dressed up in the American flag, and it’s very frightening.

Will Brehm 4:43
And so, this is this fascism that you talk about in your new book?

Henry Giroux 4:47
This is the fascism that I talk about, whether we’re talking about the ultra-nationalism that he promotes. Whether we’re talking about the racism, the xenophobia. Whether we’re talking about the logic of disposability, the racial cleansing that is behind many of his policies. The embrace of a corporate elite that replaces the political state with a corporate state. All of these things have echoes of this glorification of national greatness. The claim that he’s the only one who can save America. And we’ve heard this language before. And we heard it in the 1930s. And we heard it in the 1940s. And we heard it later in the 1970s in Latin America. This is a language that suggests that the enemy of politics is democracy. And I think that Trump embodies that language and is basically at work again, in promoting it.

Will Brehm 5:39
And do you see some of what Trump embodies being found in other parts of the world? Just recently, Xi Jinping has … it looks like he’s going to be in power indefinitely in China. And Duterte in the Philippines. And I just read an article about a new ultraright party in Italy that is glorifying Mussolini. So, is this fascist tendency, this ultraright, pronational tendency being found worldwide? And if so, what’s causing it? Why do we see this resurgence of right wing, ultranationalist parties emerging worldwide?

Henry Giroux 6:21
I think there are a couple of things at work. I think that, first of all, what we’re seeing is the emergence of what is called illiberal democracy, the term coined, of course, in Hungary. And I think in many ways, Trump is enabling this, because he’s aligned himself, and actually has celebrated many of these fascists, in ways to suggest that this kind of politics in the 21st century is totally acceptable. So I think in some ways, the most powerful country in the world, in sort of, in many ways, reached out and began to legitimate an anti-immigration and Islamophobic, a racist kind of discourse that is linked to questions of racial purity, and racial cleansing, that has opened up the possibility for many of these countries to basically embrace this logic. And I think there are other issues. Each country has its own issue, but I think the inability of these countries to deal with questions of compassion and justice, these are countries that in many ways have been governed by a neoliberal logic that really has no respect whatsoever for notions of community. No respect whatsoever for notions of compassion. No respect whatsoever for what it means to embrace in a kind of loving way, the possibility of the other. This is a logic that elevates self-interest, nationalism, violence, and the spectacle of consumption to the highest level of acceptance. And I think that what flows out of this in the face of particular kinds of crises that serve as a thread running through all of these countries, is a basic fear of what we might call “the other”, “the stranger”. Couple that with the fact that you have a global capitalism at work that in many ways has taken power away from these countries, so that the only thing that they have left is an appeal to cultural sovereignty. Is that appeal to cultural nationalism. Because basically, you have a ruling elite now that is global. It’s not rooted in nation states. It flows. Politics is based in nation states, and power is global. So, you have an enormous paradigm change in the redefinition of politics itself. And I think that one of the things that happens when you see this is that the states, as the social state collapses, as social goods and social provisions dry up, you have the rise of the punishing state. Because the only thing left for the states to really be able to do this is basically to criminalize social problems and do what they can basically become repressive states. Generally, they can exercise power. That way they can survive. So, I think all of these threads are really common for many of these states, many of these countries.

Will Brehm 9:09
So, you call Trump the endpoint, in a way, in this nightmare that is American fascism. And of course, it has these roots in racism and neoliberalism. It would make sense that the roots here also go through the Democratic Party, that this is not simply a Republican issue in the American context. Would you agree with that?

Henry Giroux 9:33
Yes, I do. I think there are two issues to really understand here. I think that both parties are basically wedded to the financial elite, as we well know. I mean, both parties are funded by the financial elite. On one level, you’ve got a Democratic Party that takes on a sort of liberal discourse, but never challenges in any fundamental way, the massive inequality, or the financialization of the economy, or the rule by bankers and hedge fund managers. They don’t challenge that; they’re in bed with that stuff. On the other hand, you have a Republican Party that now is filled with people who also are wedded to the financial elite. But this is a party that’s been taken over by extremists. They’re not just wedded to the financial elite; they’re wedded to something more than that. They’re wedded to an ultra-nationalism, a sort of notion that white Christianity is the official religion of the United States. They’re wedded to the notion of racial cleansing. They basically have accelerated all of the great tragedies and crimes of the past in ways in which they’re no longer coated. They’ve given them a new visibility. So, they’re not apologetic about their racism. They’re not apologetic about Islamophobia. They’re not apologetic about attacking young people. They’re not apologetic about making short term investments rather than long term investments. And they’re not apologetic about it anyway, about destroying the welfare state and the social contract. But what both parties share is they really believe that capitalism and democracy are the same thing, and that capitalism and democracy is basically something run by the financial elite, by the ruling elite, the 1%. Neither party has any trouble with that argument. There are factions within the Democratic Party that will challenge that – Bernie Sanders and so forth and so on – but they’re marginal and they don’t belong in the Democratic Party. The biggest mistake Sanders ever made was not starting a third party.

Will Brehm 11:29
So, in your opinion, how are capitalism and democracy separate?

Henry Giroux 11:33
They’re separate in the sense that you can’t have democracy when you have a system that promotes massive inequalities in wealth and power; it just doesn’t work. It seems to me to have that degree of inequality, and to support it in every way, to allow all the commanding institutions of a country to be controlled by a handful of elites and corporations, is the antithesis of democracy. Democracy means people have power. They have power to shape the conditions under which they live their lives. They have some power over the economy. They have access, they have social provisions, they have political rights, personal rights, social rights. That doesn’t happen under capitalism. Capitalism is a ruinous system that basically is organized around the production of profit at the expense of human need. That’s not a formula for democracy.

Will Brehm 12:25
And so, what would a social contract look like in your opinion, within this?

Henry Giroux 12:29
At the very least, a social contract would guarantee political rights. But it would guarantee political rights and individual rights along with social rights, meaning that you would have economic rights, you would have a social wage. You would massively limit massive degrees of inequality. It would mean that people would have access to higher education, to health care. All the things that become central to how we live out our sense of agency and make it possible would be part of the social contract and the public good. When you don’t have that, you don’t have a democracy. And it seems to be the degree to which you want to call it socialism as a form of social democracy, or you want to call it socialism in ways that simply allow the most important structures, infrastructures, resources, of a society to be a government-controlled phenomena, that’s a mix that we have to figure out. But I think the bottom line is, you have to realize that in a democracy, the first question you have to raise is, “What does it mean to provide the conditions for people to have a sense of agency, and not merely to be able to survive?” So that their capacities can be developed in a way in which they have access to do other things simply than struggle to eat, simply to struggle in the midst of poverty, simply to struggle for meaningful work, simply to struggle to find a way to pay massive loans in order to get a decent education, simply not to struggle to have decent health care. These are central questions that are not just simply about power, they’re about the capacity to live. To live with dignity.

Will Brehm 14:10
And so, let’s shift to education here. In your last book, called ‘The Public in Peril’, you use the term … you said, you wanted to see “the political more pedagogical”. What did you mean by this?

Henry Giroux 14:23
What I mean by that is that one of the things that has disturbed me, and one of the things I’ve written about for many years, and I’m not the first, although I think probably I’ve developed it more repeatedly than most people, is that education is central to politics. I mean, you can’t talk about politics if you can’t talk about consciousness. If you can’t talk about changing the way people think, if you can’t talk about engaging them in a dialogue with a vocabulary in which they can invest themselves, identify with, and be able to recognize the conditions under which they find themselves so that they can either learn how to change those conditions, or to understand what those conditions mean in terms of their own sense of oppression. And I think that all too often, we equate domination with simply institutions, and we say that the only way you can talk about power is to talk about economic structures. But I’m sorry, as important as economics is and economic structures are, you also have to talk about what it means to create the conditions for people to be able to think, to be self-reflective, to be able to identify with certain kinds of narratives, to have information available in which they can become self-reflective individually and collectively. And I think the tool is what I would call pedagogy. The ability to intervene in people’s lives with vocabularies, and social relationships, and values, the moral and political scripts in which people can all of a sudden be moved by the power of persuasion and logic and reason and truth has to be central to any politics.

Will Brehm 15:59
And so, what’s the role of schools, like the institutions run by the government, the public schools, in this pedagogical effort to make politics more pedagogical?

Henry Giroux 16:10
I think that schools are probably one of the few places left we’re not controlled by corporations entirely. Where actually, this kind of teaching can take place, where people can have debates, where people can be exposed to positions that are historical, scientific, that offer up the possibility for engaging in modes, and creating modes of civic literacy and social responsibility. Schools, basically, at their best, should be democratic, public spheres. They should be actively involved in not only teaching young people about the great traditions, whatever they might be, that offer the best in human learning, and what it means to be civilized, from a whole range of traditions, but also what it means to take on a sense of social and political and ethical responsibility. So that one recognizes that one lives in a society with others. And that one has to struggle over democracy, struggle over justice, to learn that no society is ever just enough, and that that’s as central to learning as learning whatever it is that’s of value in terms of the kinds of human resources that are out there and available to be appropriated, engaged and discussed.

Will Brehm 17:26
Is it possible to accomplish some of those things inside, say, charter schools, in America?

Henry Giroux 17:33
Charter schools basically have a long tradition, particularly in the United States, of simply segregating students. And at the same time, sort of displacing with the possibility of unions, ruining unions, undermining unions, and operating off the assumption that schools are basically a private venture rather than a public good. So, I don’t have a lot of faith in charter schools. Is it possible that some charter schools, when they’re pumped up with enormous amounts of money on the part of hedge fund managers simply so they can become a model for destroying public schools can work? Yes, maybe. But all the research seems to suggest that, at best, they’re no better, if not worse, than public schools. I don’t believe that public schools should be privatized. I think that they’re a public good, they’re not a private right. And I think as soon as we start talking about schooling as a private right and we started talking about schools as for-profit institutions, we destroy their possibilities as democratic public spheres.

Will Brehm 18:38
I’m not so hopeful then Betsy DeVos would agree with you there.

Henry Giroux 18:41
Betsy DeVos is probably one of the most hated people in America, because people realize what she’s about. She’s a billionaire who hates public schools and has claimed that her mission in life is to bring God’s kingdom to students. She’s a religious fanatic. She’s an ideological fundamentalist and a religious fanatic. And now she’s the Secretary of Education of the United States. What does that say about education? What does that say about this administration? I mean, Donald Trump has made it clear: he loves the uneducated. He’s said that many times. He’s a guy who doesn’t read books. He basically eats McDonald’s hamburgers and watches Fox News. This is not exactly a guy that’s going to embrace any institution that offers the possibility of educating students or adults to think critically. He finds those institutions enormously dreadful and challenging. And actually, more than that, he’s used them as a pathology. That’s why he invented the notion of fake news. And that’s why he’s a serial liar and continues to believe that he can say anything because he believes that he doesn’t have to be held accountable. In a democracy, people are held accountable. But he’s not a guy who believes you should be held accountable. That’s the mark of any fascist dictator.

Will Brehm 19:55
So, what is to be done here? So, for people who agree with you, like myself, what can we do to protect public education as a democratic social contract or a democratic social good?

Henry Giroux 20:13
I think some questions have to be raised that all of a sudden bring to the forefront what education really is about and why it’s so vitally important. And I think that one of the questions has to be is “What role does education play in a democracy?” And the second question has to be, “How does democracy function, and continue to function, in ways that make certain demands upon education?” I think that what we have to recognize is that education is probably one of the most powerful educational forces in the world, certainly in terms of formal schooling, that offers the possibility for creating a formative culture that allows people to think critically and be informed. I mean, Dewey, Arendt, a whole range of philosophers, Castoriadis, have been telling us for years – and they’re right – you can’t have a democracy without informed citizens. And I think that when we realize how crucial higher education, public education is to the creating the formative culture that makes a democracy possible, then we’ll stop talking about it in terms of simply training workers. Education is not training; they’re different things. And we’ve lost sight of that in the United States. The script has been flipped. And all of a sudden education now is simply an adjunct of corporate life, of corporate demands, of corporate needs. And I think that in many ways, what we see in Parkland, and what we see among young people all over the country, whether we’re talking about, you know, a whole range of movement, of BlackLivesMatter movement, a whole range of movements, people are saying, “Hey, look. There’s a certain violence that’s going on in this country that in part is linked to education, both within and outside of the schools, that makes people vulnerable to systemic terror, to systemic violence, and it’s got to stop.” And it’s got to stop because we have to restructure and rethink the relationship between democracy and capitalism, and probably begin to say capitalism and democracy are not the same thing. The second thing is we’ve got to invert and fight some of the most pernicious and poisonous elements of neoliberalism. And the most poisonous in my mind, is the one that suggests that the only responsibility that matters is individual responsibility. That’s it. That you’re responsible for everything that goes on in the world, and you have no right to believe that there are social problems out there over which you individually have no control. And that you do not have to assume that burden. And by assuming that burden, you completely dismantle the link or the ability to translate private issues into larger social considerations. That’s depoliticizing. That means you become depoliticized. That means you become cynical. That means you blame yourself for all the problems in which you find yourself. And it means that basically, you’re out of the loop politically. That there’s nothing that can be done except to basically become part of the opioid crisis, collapse into cynicism, or just retreat into the worst kinds of despair.

Will Brehm 23:17
So, would it be correct to say that you think the sort of civic courage that is needed is to repoliticize a lot of the spaces that have been depoliticized?

Henry Giroux 23:29
Absolutely. Absolutely. I think that what we need to do is we need to talk about public spheres that engage and raise the possibility of civic literacy and civic courage and social responsibility to the point where we can reclaim the language of democracy. We can once again talk about compassion. We can once again talk about social relationships that are not simply based on exchange relations, commodified relations. We can talk about the notion of community and what it means. We can assume that dependency is not a pathology, that community is not something that you hate, and that shared responsibilities are a lot more important than shared fears.

Will Brehm 24:11
Are there any examples of such systems or even just schools where this happens, where this politicization happens?

Henry Giroux 24:22
There are schools all over the country in the United States that basically err on the side of these kinds of progressive ideas. And there are countries that are on the side of these progress. The social democratic countries, whether you’re talking about Finland, or Sweden, or Germany. I mean, some places where higher education is free. Public education is free. Even in Canada, not the most pronounced social democracy in the world. But look, I get sick, I don’t pay anything. I just walk into a hospital, I make appointments with doctors, I get free medical care. In the United States, half the debts that people have, bankruptcies, are due to health care expenses. So, I mean, there are there examples all over the world of countries that have basically put into place social provisions and social safety nets that allow people to live with a certain degree of dignity. And I think we need to learn from them. And I think we need to look very carefully at what that means, in terms of what it means to invest in the future of young people rather than disinvest in young people and operate off the assumption that making money is far more important than, for instance, the lives of young people. For instance, the gun manufacturers, many of the gun rights people, they truly believe that we live in a country where killing children is less important, actually, than basically making money off the selling of guns.

Will Brehm 25:54
Are you hopeful that America will get out of this nightmare, will return to a social democratic society where the public good of education exists?

Henry Giroux 26:06
Intellectually, I’m pessimistic. In terms of the future, I’m hopeful. I think that these are very dark times. All over the world, I think the rise of fascism is emerging once again. I think there are signs that people are mobilizing. I think that the contradictions are becoming so great that people all of a sudden who wouldn’t be political are becoming more political and getting actively involved. I think that young people represent a paradigm shift for the most part, from what we’ve seen in the past, in that they’re more tolerant, they’re more savvy technologically, they’re more politically astute. And I want to hope that young people all of a sudden will recognize that being written out of the future, and being written out of the script of democracy is enough of a challenge to be faced that they will not only create moments and demonstrations, but actually create movements that will be broad-based enough to be able to really challenge the power structures that are in place in many of these countries today, including the United States.

Will Brehm 27:09
Well, Henry Giroux, thank you so much for joining FreshEd, and thank you so much for all the writing you’ve done over the years. I’m a huge fan.

Henry Giroux 27:17
Well, I’m delighted to be on, and thank you so much for having me.

Will Brehm 1:38
Henry Giroux, bienvenue à FreshEd.

Henry Giroux 1:41
C’est bien, Will. Merveilleux d’être sur.

Will Brehm 1:43
Vous avez écrit un nouveau livre nommé American Nightmare : Faire face au défi du fascisme. Avant d’aborder ce livre et l’Amérique et ce qui se passe actuellement en Amérique en matière d’éducation publique, je voudrais vous demander ce qui vous est passé par la tête en novembre 2016 quand vous avez réalisé que Donald Trump avait gagné la présidence ?

Henry Giroux 2:08
Eh bien, je crois que ce qui m’a traversé l’esprit, c’est qu’il y a eu une longue série d’attaques contre la démocratie américaine et les États-Unis, surtout dans les années 1970, quand le contrat social était assiégé et qu’il semblait s’effondrer. Et un discours de diabolisation, de racisme, d’islamophobie et d’objectivation, de marchandisation et de privatisation semblait prendre le dessus sur le pays. Je croyais que Trump était le point final de tout cela ; il est en quelque sorte le monstre Frankenstein qu’on a laissé sortir de la pièce. Et j’ai cru que c’était une incroyable tragédie pour la démocratie. Et j’ai pensé que, contrairement à certains autres gauchistes, je pensais que les conséquences seraient dramatiques une fois qu’il aurait pris ses fonctions. Et je crois qu’à bien des égards, cela s’est avéré être vrai.

Will Brehm 2:57
De quelle façon a-t-il prouvé qu’il avait raison au cours de l’année dernière ?

Henry Giroux 3:00
Eh bien, je crois qu’il suffit de regarder les politiques qu’il a tenté de mettre en œuvre et le langage qu’il a employé pour définir son mode de gouvernance. Je veux dire, c’est un type qui a essentiellement embrassé les néo-nazis, l’ultra-nationalisme. C’est un menteur en série. Il a manifestement fait tout ce qu’il pouvait pour promouvoir une logique anti-immigration. Il a menacé d’expulser des États-Unis toute une série de jeunes – 800 000 jeunes – appelés “rêveurs”. Il a baissé les impôts pour les ultra-riches au point que cela aura un effet énorme sur les services publics et les biens publics. Il met en place une série de personnes qui sont soit inaptes, soit totalement antidémocratiques, pour diriger des institutions telles que l’EPA – l’Agence de protection de l’environnement – ou toute une série d’autres institutions, dans lesquelles elles sont diamétralement opposées à l’intérêt que ces institutions représentent. Parce que ce sont des institutions qui suggèrent que le gouvernement a la responsabilité de travailler essentiellement pour le peuple. Elles ne croient pas cela ; elles croient que le gouvernement ne doit servir que l’élite financière et les intérêts financiers et économiques, et que la liberté consiste essentiellement à déréglementer les affaires et à permettre à l’élite des entreprises de faire des folies. Ce n’est donc qu’une série, entre autres, de choses qu’il a faites. Mais je pense qu’il a mis en place une notion de gouvernance qui suggère que les États-Unis ne sont plus une démocratie ; que nous sommes sur la voie d’une sorte de néofascisme déguisé en drapeau américain, et c’est très effrayant.

Will Brehm 4:43
Et donc, c’est de ce fascisme dont vous parlez dans votre nouveau livre ?

Henry Giroux 4:47
C’est de ce fascisme que je parle, qu’il s’agisse de l’ultra-nationalisme qu’il prône. Qu’on parle du racisme, de la xénophobie. Qu’il s’agisse de la logique de la disposition, du nettoyage racial qui est derrière beaucoup de ses politiques. L’adhésion d’une élite d’entreprises qui substitue à l’État politique un État d’entreprises. Toutes ces choses ont des échos de cette glorification de la grandeur nationale. L’affirmation qu’il est le seul à pouvoir délivrer l’Amérique. Et nous avons déjà entendu ce langage. Et nous l’avons entendu dans les années 1930. Et nous l’avons entendue dans les années 40. Et nous l’avons entendue plus tard dans les années 1970 en Amérique latine. C’est une langue qui suggère que l’ennemi de la politique est la démocratie. Et je crois que Trump représente cette langue et qu’il est à nouveau à l’œuvre pour la promouvoir.

Will Brehm 5:39
Et voyez-vous ce que Trump incarne dans d’autres parties du monde ? Tout récemment, Xi Jinping a … il paraît qu’il va être au pouvoir indéfiniment en Chine. Et Duterte aux Philippines. Et je viens de lire un article sur un nouveau parti d’extrême-droite en Italie qui glorifie Mussolini. Alors, cette tendance fasciste, cette tendance ultralégislative et pronationnelle se retrouve-t-elle dans le monde entier ? Et si oui, quelle en est la cause ? Pourquoi voyons-nous cette résurgence des partis de droite, ultranationalistes, émerger dans le monde entier ?

Henry Giroux 6:21
Je crois qu’il y a plusieurs choses à l’œuvre. Je pense que, tout d’abord, ce que nous voyons est la naissance de ce que l’on appelle la démocratie illibérale, le terme inventé, bien sûr, en Hongrie. Et je pense qu’à bien des égards, Trump permet cela, parce qu’il s’est aligné, et qu’il a en fait célébré nombre de ces fascistes, de manière à suggérer que ce genre de politique au 21e siècle est tout à fait acceptable. Je pense donc qu’à certains égards, le pays le plus puissant du monde a, en quelque sorte, à bien des égards, tendu la main et commencé à légitimer un discours anti-immigration et islamophobe, un discours de type raciste lié aux questions de pureté raciale et de nettoyage racial, qui a ouvert la possibilité pour beaucoup de ces pays d’embrasser fondamentalement cette logique. Et je crois qu’il y a d’autres problèmes. Chaque pays a son propre problème, mais je crois que l’incapacité de ces pays à traiter des questions de compassion et de justice, ce sont des pays qui, à bien des égards, ont été régis par une logique néolibérale qui n’a vraiment aucun respect pour les notions de communauté. Aucun respect pour les notions de compassion. Aucun respect pour ce que cela signifie d’embrasser avec amour la possibilité de l’autre. C’est une logique qui élève l’intérêt personnel, le nationalisme, la violence et le spectacle de la consommation au plus haut niveau d’acceptation. Et je crois que ce qui en résulte, face à des types particuliers de crises qui servent de fil conducteur à tous ces pays, c’est une peur élémentaire de ce que nous pourrions appeler “l’autre”, “l’étranger”. Ajoutez à cela le fait que vous avez un capitalisme mondial à l’œuvre qui, à bien des égards, a enlevé le pouvoir à ces pays, de sorte que la seule chose qui leur reste est un appel à la souveraineté culturelle. C’est un appel au nationalisme culturel. Parce qu’au fond, vous avez maintenant une élite dirigeante qui est mondiale. Elle n’est pas enracinée dans les États-nations. Elle coule. La politique est fondée sur les États-nations, et le pouvoir est mondial. Il y a donc un énorme changement de paradigme dans la redéfinition de la politique elle-même. Et je crois que l’une des choses qui se passe quand vous voyez cela, c’est que les États, à mesure que l’État social s’effondre, que les biens sociaux et les dispositions sociales se tarissent, vous avez la montée de l’État qui punit. Parce que la seule chose qui reste aux États pour pouvoir vraiment faire cela, c’est essentiellement de pénaliser les problèmes sociaux et de faire ce qu’ils peuvent faire pour devenir des États répressifs. En général, ils peuvent exercer le pouvoir. De cette façon, ils peuvent survivre. Donc, je pense que tous ces fils sont vraiment communs à beaucoup de ces États, beaucoup de ces pays.

Will Brehm 9:09
Donc, vous appelez Trump le point final, d’une certaine façon, dans ce cauchemar qu’est le fascisme américain. Et bien sûr, il a ces racines dans le racisme et le néolibéralisme. Il serait sensé que les racines ici passent aussi par le parti démocrate, que ce n’est pas simplement une question républicaine dans le contexte américain. Êtes-vous d’accord avec cela ?

Henry Giroux 9:33
Oui, je suis d’accord. Je crois qu’il y a deux questions à comprendre ici. Je pense que les deux partis sont fondamentalement mariés à l’élite financière, comme nous le savons bien. Je veux dire que les deux parties sont financées par l’élite financière. D’un côté, vous avez un parti démocrate qui tient une sorte de discours libéral, mais qui ne remet jamais en cause de manière fondamentale l’inégalité massive, ou la financiarisation de l’économie, ou la domination des banquiers et des gestionnaires de fonds spéculatifs. Ils ne remettent pas cela en question ; ils sont au lit avec ces choses. D’un autre côté, vous avez un parti républicain qui est maintenant composé de personnes qui sont également mariées à l’élite financière. Mais c’est un parti qui a été repris par les extrémistes. Ils ne sont pas seulement mariés à l’élite financière, ils sont mariés à quelque chose de plus que cela. Ils sont mariés à un ultra-nationalisme, une sorte de notion selon laquelle le christianisme blanc est la religion officielle des États-Unis. Ils sont mariés à la notion de nettoyage racial. Ils ont en fait accéléré toutes les grandes tragédies et tous les crimes du passé de telle sorte qu’ils n’en sont plus recouverts. Ils leur ont donné une nouvelle visibilité. Donc, ils ne s’excusent pas de leur racisme. Ils ne s’excusent pas de leur islamophobie. Ils ne s’excusent pas d’avoir attaqué des jeunes. Ils ne s’excusent pas d’avoir fait des investissements à court terme plutôt qu’à long terme. Et ils ne s’excusent pas non plus d’avoir détruit l’État-providence et le contrat social. Mais ce que les deux parties partagent, c’est qu’elles croient vraiment que le capitalisme et la démocratie sont la même chose, et que le capitalisme et la démocratie sont fondamentalement quelque chose de dirigé par l’élite financière, par l’élite au pouvoir, le 1%. Aucun des deux partis n’a de problème avec cet argument. Il y a des factions au sein du Parti démocrate qui contesteront cela – Bernie Sanders et ainsi de suite – mais elles sont marginales et n’ont pas leur place au sein du Parti démocrate. La plus grosse erreur que Sanders n’ait jamais faite a été de ne pas créer un troisième parti.

Will Brehm 11:29
Alors, à votre avis, comment le capitalisme et la démocratie sont-ils séparés?

Henry Giroux 11:33
Ils sont distincts dans le sens où vous ne pouvez pas avoir de démocratie quand vous avez un système qui promeut des inégalités massives de richesse et de pouvoir ; cela ne marche tout simplement pas. Il me paraît qu’avoir ce degré d’inégalité, et le soutenir de toutes les manières, permettre que toutes les institutions dirigeantes d’un pays soient contrôlées par une poignée d’élites et de sociétés, est l’antithèse de la démocratie. La démocratie implique que les gens ont le pouvoir. Ils ont le pouvoir de façonner les conditions dans lesquelles ils vivent leur vie. Ils ont un certain pouvoir sur l’économie. Ils y ont accès, ils ont des dispositions sociales, ils ont des droits politiques, des droits personnels, des droits sociaux. Cela n’arrive pas sous le capitalisme. Le capitalisme est un système ruineux qui s’organise essentiellement autour de la production de profits au détriment des besoins humains. Ce n’est pas une formule pour la démocratie.

Will Brehm 12:25
Et donc, à quoi ressemblerait un contrat social à votre avis, dans ce cadre ?

Henry Giroux 12:29
Au minimum, un contrat social garantirait les droits politiques. Mais il garantirait les droits politiques et les droits personnels en même temps que les droits sociaux, c’est-à-dire que vous auriez des droits économiques, vous auriez un salaire social. Vous restreindriez massivement les degrés d’inégalité. Cela impliquerait que les gens auraient accès à l’enseignement supérieur, aux soins de santé. Toutes les choses qui deviennent centrales dans la façon dont nous vivons notre sens de l’action et la rendent possible feraient partie du contrat social et du bien public. Sans cela, il n’y a pas de démocratie. Et il me semble que c’est la mesure dans laquelle vous voulez l’appeler socialisme en tant que forme de social-démocratie, ou vous voulez l’appeler socialisme d’une manière qui permet simplement aux structures, infrastructures, ressources les plus importantes d’une société d’être un phénomène contrôlé par le gouvernement, c’est un mélange qu’il nous faut trouver. Mais je pense qu’en fin de compte, vous devez réaliser que dans une démocratie, la première question que vous devez vous poser est la suivante : “Qu’est-ce que cela signifie de fournir les conditions permettant aux gens d’avoir un sens de l’action, et pas seulement de pouvoir survivre ? Pour que leurs capacités puissent être développées de manière à ce qu’ils aient accès à d’autres choses que de lutter pour manger, de lutter au milieu de la pauvreté, de lutter pour un travail digne de ce nom, de lutter pour trouver un moyen de payer des emprunts massifs afin d’obtenir une éducation décente, de ne pas lutter pour avoir des soins de santé décents. Ce sont des questions centrales qui ne concernent pas seulement le pouvoir, mais aussi la capacité à vivre. De vivre dans la dignité.

Will Brehm 14:10
Et donc, passons à l’éducation ici. Dans votre dernier livre, intitulé “Le public en péril”, vous employez le terme … vous avez dit que vous vouliez voir “le politique plus pédagogique”. Que vouliez-vous dire par là?

Henry Giroux 14:23
Ce que je veux dire par là, c’est que l’une des choses qui me perturbe, et l’une des choses sur lesquelles j’ai écrit pendant de nombreuses années, et je ne suis pas le premier, bien que je pense l’avoir probablement élaborée plus souvent que la plupart des gens, c’est que l’éducation est au cœur de la politique. On ne peut pas parler de politique si on ne peut pas parler de conscience. Si vous ne pouvez pas parler de changer la façon dont les gens croient, si vous ne pouvez pas parler de les engager dans un dialogue avec un vocabulaire dans lequel ils peuvent s’investir, s’identifier et être capables de reconnaître les conditions dans lesquelles ils se trouvent, de sorte qu’ils puissent soit apprendre à modifier ces conditions, soit comprendre ce que ces conditions signifient en termes de leur propre sentiment d’oppression. Et je crois que trop souvent, nous assimilons la domination à de simples institutions, et nous disons que la seule façon de parler de pouvoir est de parler de structures économiques. Mais je suis navré, aussi importantes que soient l’économie et les structures économiques, vous devez aussi parler de ce que signifie créer les conditions pour que les gens puissent penser, réfléchir sur eux-mêmes, s’identifier à certains types de récits, disposer d’informations leur permettant de réfléchir sur eux-mêmes individuellement et collectivement. Et je pense que l’outil est ce que j’appellerais de la pédagogie. La capacité d’intervenir dans la vie des gens avec des vocabulaires, des relations sociales, des valeurs, des scénarios moraux et politiques dans lesquels les gens peuvent tout à coup être mus par le pouvoir de la persuasion et de la logique, de la raison et de la vérité, doit être au centre de toute politique.

Will Brehm 15:59
Et donc, quel est le rôle des écoles, comme les institutions gérées par le gouvernement, les écoles publiques, dans cet effort pédagogique pour rendre la politique plus pédagogique ?

Henry Giroux 16:10
Je crois que les écoles sont probablement l’un des rares endroits où nous ne sommes pas entièrement contrôlés par les entreprises. Où, en fait, ce genre d’enseignement peut avoir lieu, où les gens peuvent avoir des débats, où les gens peuvent être confrontés à des positions qui sont historiques, scientifiques, qui offrent la possibilité de s’engager dans des modes, et de créer des modes d’alphabétisation civique et de responsabilité sociale. Les écoles, au fond, dans le meilleur des cas, devraient être des sphères démocratiques et publiques. Elles devraient participer activement non seulement à l’enseignement aux jeunes des grandes traditions, quelles qu’elles soient, qui proposent le meilleur de l’apprentissage humain, et de ce que signifie être civilisé, à partir de toute une série de traditions, mais aussi de ce que signifie assumer un sens de la responsabilité sociale, politique et éthique. Pour que l’on reconnaisse que l’on vit dans une société avec d’autres. Et que l’on doit se battre pour la démocratie, se battre pour la justice, pour apprendre qu’aucune société n’est jamais juste assez, et que c’est aussi essentiel pour apprendre que d’apprendre tout ce qui a de la valeur en termes de types de ressources humaines qui sont disponibles et qui peuvent être appropriées, engagées et discutées.

Will Brehm 17:26
Est-il envisageable d’accomplir certaines de ces choses dans des écoles à charte, par exemple, en Amérique ?

Henry Giroux 17:33
Les Charter Schools ont une longue tradition, surtout aux États-Unis, de ségrégation des élèves. Et en même temps, elles se déplacent avec la possibilité de constituer des syndicats, de les ruiner, de les saper et de fonctionner en partant du principe que les écoles sont essentiellement une entreprise privée plutôt qu’un bien public. Je n’ai donc pas beaucoup de foi dans les écoles à charte. Est-il possible que certaines écoles à charte, quand elles sont gonflées par d’énormes sommes d’argent de la part des gestionnaires de fonds spéculatifs simplement pour qu’elles deviennent un modèle de destruction des écoles publiques, puissent marcher ? Oui, c’est possible. Mais toutes les recherches semblent indiquer que, au mieux, elles ne sont pas meilleures, sinon pires, que les écoles publiques. Je ne crois pas que les écoles publiques devraient être privatisées. Je pense qu’elles sont un bien public, elles ne sont pas un droit privé. Et je pense que dès que nous commençons à parler de l’école comme d’un droit privé et que nous commençons à parler des écoles comme d’institutions à but lucratif, nous détruisons leurs possibilités en tant que sphères publiques démocratiques.

Will Brehm 18:38
J’ai moins d’espoir que Betsy DeVos soit d’accord avec vous sur ce point.

Henry Giroux 18:41
Betsy DeVos est probablement l’une des personnes les plus haïes en Amérique, parce que les gens se rendent compte de ce qu’elle est. C’est une milliardaire qui déteste les écoles publiques et qui prétend que sa mission dans la vie est d’apporter le royaume de Dieu aux étudiants. C’est une fanatique religieuse. C’est une fondamentaliste idéologique et une fanatique religieuse. Et à présent, elle est la secrétaire à l’éducation des États-Unis. Qu’est-ce que cela signifie pour l’éducation ? Qu’est-ce que cela dit de cette administration ? Je veux dire que Donald Trump a été clair : il aime les personnes sans éducation. Il l’a dit à plusieurs reprises. C’est un type qui ne lit pas de livres. Il mange essentiellement des hamburgers McDonald’s et regarde Fox News. Ce n’est pas exactement un type qui va embrasser n’importe quelle institution qui offre la possibilité d’éduquer les étudiants ou les adultes à la réflexion critique. Il trouve ces institutions énormément horribles et difficiles. Et en fait, plus que cela, il les utilise comme une pathologie. C’est pourquoi il a inventé la notion de fausses nouvelles. Et c’est pourquoi il est un menteur en série et continue à croire qu’il peut dire n’importe quoi parce qu’il croit qu’il n’a pas à être tenu responsable. Dans une démocratie, les gens sont tenus responsables. Mais ce n’est pas un type qui croit qu’on doit être tenu responsable. C’est la marque de tout dictateur fasciste.

Will Brehm 19:55
Alors, qu’est-ce qu’il faut faire ici ? Alors, pour les gens qui sont d’accord avec vous, comme moi, que pouvons-nous faire pour préserver l’éducation publique comme un contrat social démocratique ou un bien social démocratique?

Henry Giroux 20:13
Je crois qu’il faut se poser certaines questions qui placent soudain au premier plan ce qu’est vraiment l’éducation et pourquoi elle est si essentielle. Et je crois que l’une de ces questions doit être : “Quel rôle l’éducation joue-t-elle dans une démocratie ? Et la deuxième question doit être : “Comment la démocratie fonctionne-t-elle, et continue-t-elle de fonctionner, d’une manière qui impose certaines exigences à l’éducation ? Je pense que nous devons reconnaître que l’éducation est probablement l’une des forces éducatives les plus influentes au monde, certainement en termes de scolarisation formelle, qui offre la possibilité de générer une culture formatrice qui permet aux gens de penser de manière critique et d’être informés. Je veux dire, Dewey, Arendt, toute une série de philosophes, Castoriadis, nous disent depuis des années – et ils ont raison – qu’on ne peut pas avoir de démocratie sans citoyens informés. Et je crois que quand nous réaliserons à quel point l’enseignement supérieur, l’éducation publique est cruciale pour la création de la culture formatrice qui rend une démocratie possible, alors nous cesserons d’en parler en termes de simple formation des travailleurs. L’éducation n’est pas une formation, ce sont des choses différentes. Et nous avons perdu cela de vue aux États-Unis. Le scénario a été inversé. Et tout d’un coup, l’éducation n’est plus qu’un complément de la vie des entreprises, de leurs exigences, de leurs besoins. Et je pense qu’à bien des égards, ce que nous voyons dans Parkland, et ce que nous voyons chez les jeunes de tout le pays, que nous parlions, vous savez, de toute une série de mouvements, du mouvement BlackLivesMatter, de toute une série de mouvements, les gens disent : “Hé, regardez. Il y a une certaine violence dans ce pays qui est en partie liée à l’éducation, tant à l’intérieur qu’à l’extérieur des écoles, qui rend les gens vulnérables à la terreur systémique, à la violence systémique, et il faut que cela cesse”. Et cela doit arrêter parce que nous devons restructurer et repenser la relation entre la démocratie et le capitalisme, et probablement commencer à dire que le capitalisme et la démocratie ne sont pas la même chose. La deuxième chose est que nous devons renverser et combattre certains des éléments les plus pernicieux et les plus toxiques du néolibéralisme. Et le plus toxique à mon avis, est celui qui suggère que la seule responsabilité qui compte est la responsabilité individuelle. C’est cela. Que vous êtes responsable de tout ce qui se passe dans le monde, et que vous n’avez pas le droit de croire qu’il existe des problèmes sociaux sur lesquels vous n’avez aucun contrôle individuel. Et que vous n’avez pas à supporter ce fardeau. Et qu’en assumant ce fardeau, vous démantelez complètement le lien ou la capacité de traduire des problèmes privés en considérations sociales plus larges. C’est dépolitiser. Cela signifie que vous devenez dépolitisé. Cela signifie que vous devenez cynique. Cela signifie que vous vous blâmez pour tous les problèmes dans lesquels vous vous trouvez. Et cela implique qu’au fond, vous êtes politiquement hors du coup. Qu’il n’y a rien à faire, si ce n’est participer à la crise des opiacés, sombrer dans le cynisme, ou simplement se replier sur les pires formes de désespoir.

Will Brehm 23:17
Donc, serait-il correct de dire que vous croyez que le type de courage civique requis est de repolitiser beaucoup d’espaces qui ont été dépolitisés ?

Henry Giroux 23:29
Absolument. Absolument. Je pense que ce que nous devons faire, c’est parler de sphères publiques qui engagent et soulèvent la possibilité d’une alphabétisation civique, d’un courage civique et d’une responsabilité sociale au point de pouvoir reconquérir le langage de la démocratie. Nous pouvons à nouveau parler de compassion. Nous pouvons à nouveau parler de relations sociales qui ne sont pas simplement basées sur des relations d’échange, des relations marchandes. Nous pouvons discuter de la notion de communauté et de ce qu’elle signifie. Nous pouvons supposer que la dépendance n’est pas une pathologie, que la communauté n’est pas quelque chose que l’on déteste et que les responsabilités partagées sont beaucoup plus essentielles que les craintes partagées.

Will Brehm 24:11
Y a-t-il des exemples de tels systèmes ou même seulement des écoles où cela se produit, où cette politisation se produit ?

Henry Giroux 24:22
Il y a des écoles dans tout le pays aux États-Unis qui se trompent fondamentalement du côté de ce genre d’idées progressistes. Et il y a des pays qui sont du côté de ces progrès. Les pays sociaux-démocrates, qu’il s’agisse de la Finlande, de la Suède ou de l’Allemagne. Je veux dire, certains endroits où l’enseignement supérieur est gratuit. L’enseignement public est gratuit. Même au Canada, ce n’est pas la social-démocratie la plus prononcée au monde. Mais écoutez, je tombe malade, je ne paie rien. J’entre à l’hôpital, je prends des rendez-vous avec des médecins, je reçois des soins médicaux gratuits. Aux États-Unis, la moitié des dettes des gens, les faillites, sont dues aux dépenses de santé. Il existe donc dans le monde entier des exemples de pays qui ont essentiellement mis en place des dispositions sociales et des filets de sûreté sociale qui permettent aux gens de vivre avec un certain degré de dignité. Et je pense que nous devons en tirer les leçons. Et je crois que nous devons examiner très attentivement ce que cela signifie, en termes de ce que cela signifie d’investir dans l’avenir des jeunes plutôt que de désinvestir dans les jeunes et de partir du principe que gagner de l’argent est bien plus essentiel que, par exemple, la vie des jeunes. Par exemple, les fabricants d’armes, de nombreux défenseurs des droits des armes, pensent vraiment que nous vivons dans un pays où tuer des enfants est moins essentiel, en fait, que de gagner de l’argent en vendant des armes.

Will Brehm 25:54
Avez-vous l’espoir que l’Amérique sortira de ce cauchemar, qu’elle reviendra à une société sociale-démocrate où le bien public de l’éducation existe?

Henry Giroux 26:06
Intellectuellement, je suis sceptique. En ce qui concerne l’avenir, je suis plein d’espoir. Je crois que nous vivons des temps très sombres. Partout dans le monde, je pense que la montée du fascisme émerge à nouveau. Je pense qu’il y a des signes que les gens se mobilisent. Je pense que les contradictions deviennent si grandes que des gens qui ne seraient pas politiques deviennent soudainement plus politiques et s’impliquent activement. Je pense que les jeunes représentent un changement de paradigme pour la plupart, par rapport à ce que nous avons vu dans le passé, en ce sens qu’ils sont plus tangibles, ils sont plus avertis sur le plan technologique, ils sont plus astucieux sur le plan politique. Et je veux souhaiter que les jeunes reconnaissent tout d’un coup que le fait d’être écrit du futur, et d’être écrit du scénario de la démocratie est un défi suffisant à relever pour qu’ils ne se contentent pas de créer des moments et des manifestations, mais qu’ils créent en fait des mouvements qui seront suffisamment larges pour pouvoir réellement contester les structures de pouvoir qui sont en place dans beaucoup de ces pays aujourd’hui, y inclus les États-Unis.

Will Brehm 27:09
Eh bien, Henry Giroux, merci beaucoup d’avoir rejoint FreshEd, et merci beaucoup pour tous les écrits que vous avez faits au fil des ans. Je suis un grand fan.

Henry Giroux 27:17
Je suis ravi d’être à l’antenne, et merci beaucoup de m’avoir.

Translation sponsored by NORRAG.

Coming soon!

Are we heading towards another economic crisis? The stock market plunged last week; private debt is at an all-time high; speculative markets are on the rise; wealth remains concentrated at the top; and workers are stuck in precarious low-wage jobs.

My guest today, William I. Robinson, says that the Transnational Capitalist Class is facing a crisis of over-accumulation.

But what is to be done? Professor Robinson details the social movements that will be necessary to escape the rise of a global fascism. He sees the role of intellectuals as an important part of these broad social movements.

William I. Robinson is a professor of sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has written extensively on globalization, capitalism, and the transnational capitalist class. His latest opinion piece is entitled “The Next Economic Crisis? Digital Capitalism and Global Police State,” which was published on teleSUR, an alternative representation for world news.

What a year! 2017 was a year of massive growth for FreshEd. We put out 44 shows that received over 25,000 listens. We covered a range of topics, including – but certainly not limited to –educational privatization, student unions, intercultural competencies, the militarization of childhood in Japan, and, of course, PISA. We spoke to professors, students, politicians, and development practitioners from around the world.

All of this is huge for a show that is basically a hobby for a group of education enthusiasts.

There are some changes in the works for next year, but I’ll announce those details once everything is finalized.

For now, let’s take stock of the year.

What were the big ideas in educational research in 2017? What was missing? And where are we going in 2018?

For the final show of the year, I’ve invited Susan Robertson and Roger Dale to reflect on the year in research and point to future directions.

They are co-editors of the journal Globalisation, Societies, and Education, which — like FreshEd — has a relatively broad remit.

In our conversation, we look back at the diverse range of topics covered in educational research this year. We also ponder why certain topics, like austerity and meritocracy, remain unexamined and why many scholars don’t fully engage theory.

Susan Robertson is a Professor of Sociology of Education at the University of Cambridge  and Roger Dale is a Professor of Education at the University of Bristol.

OverviewTranscript中文翻译Tradução para portuguêsFrançais TranscriptionResources

To celebrate the 100th episode of FreshEd, I’ve saved an interview with a very special guest.

Back in October, I had the privilege of sitting down with Professor David Harvey during his visit to Tokyo. For those who don’t know him, David Harvey is considered “one of the most influential geographers of the later twentieth century.” He is one of the most cited academics in the humanities and social sciences and is perhaps the most prominent Marxist scholars in the past half century. He has taught a course on Marx’s Capital for nearly 40 years. It is freely available online, and I highly recommend it.

You can go online and find all sorts of interviews with David Harvey where he explains his work and understanding of Marx in depth.

For our conversation today, I thought it would be best to talk about higher education, a system David Harvey has experienced for over 50 years. Who better to give a Marxist critique of higher education than David Harvey himself?

David Harvey is a Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the City University of New York. His newest book is entitled Marx, Capital and the Madness of Economic Reason, which was published last month.

Citation: Harvey, David, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 100, podcast audio, December 18, 2017. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/davidharvey/

Will Brehm 4:44
David Harvey, welcome to Fresh Ed.

David Harvey 4:47
Thank you.

Will Brehm 4:49
So here we are sitting in Musashi University in Tokyo. It’s on the eve of the the Japan Society of Political Economy Conference, where you will be giving a keynote. You’ve been sitting in university settings like these for over 50 years now. How has your understanding of the value of higher education changed over time and in place?

David Harvey 5:14
Well, my evaluation of it has not changed that much; it’s remained pretty constant. The conditions of higher education have really been radically transformed. And so it’s been very difficult to keep my values alive in the face of what I would call corporatization and the neoliberalization of the university. And so the nature of the struggle to keep spaces open, where dissident views can be freely developed and expressed, that struggle is much harder now than it was say 20 or 30 years ago. But 40 or 50 years ago, it was hard as well. So it’s like there’s been a big cycle of: Once upon a time, it was very hard, and then it got easier because battles were won, and then we got complacent. And then the reaction set in and now it’s become harder.

Will Brehm 6:18
So what was it like in the beginning, in 1960s? I mean when you said it was it was hard back then, what made it hard? What was hard?

David Harvey 6:26
Well, it was very hierarchical. The professors were gods who you couldn’t challenge. There was a certain orthodoxy which was pretty uniform, I would say, in the world I was in, in terms of what kind of social theory was admissible and which was not. I never encountered much Marx thinking, for example, until I was 35 years old. And then I sort of I encountered it by accident, and got into it by accident. And there was a considerable struggle. As I published more and more things where I cited Marx as being interesting, where people immediately called me a Marxist, I didn’t call myself a Marxist, I got called a Marxist. And after about 10 years of being called a Marxist, I gave up and said, “Okay, I must be a Marxist then if you all say I’m a Marxist.” But all I was doing was reading Marx and saying, “Actually, some stuff in here is very interesting and very significant.” And, of course, it does have a political tinge to it that I found very attractive. And it helped at a very difficult moment in the sense that in the United States, where I just moved at the end of the 1960s, there were urban uprisings all over the place of marginalized populations. And the city I moved to, Baltimore, the year before I went there, a lot of it had burned down in a racial uprising.

And of course, the Vietnam War was going on, the anti-war movement, the Free Speech movement was beginning to make inroads into the university and the student movement was very strong, very powerful. And at the same time, there’s a lot of resistance to it. So there was a period of very active struggle from the late 1960s, through to say, the mid to late 1970s.

Will Brehm 8:27
And in the beginning, did you see the influence of say, you know, capital, in the university when you first started?

David Harvey 8:37
Well it was always obvious that universities were class bound. My education at Cambridge, for example, I immediately encountered class and Cambridge in a way I’d never done at home when the people from the public schools who are very rich were there, and they seem to be, you know, kind of having a good time and I was sweating away trying to be a good student. And in the end, you know, I was the one who sort of got the academic honors, but they didn’t care because they just went off and worked in daddy’s firm in London and were ultra rich within … And there I was eventually with a sort of an Assistant Professor kind of salary, which was peanuts at the time, struggling to survive. So class was always around in education, but I don’t think big money was controlling the university in the way it now does. My education, for example, was funded by the state all the way through from school to PhD. So I had a free education and clearly under those conditions, you feel able to explore whatever it is you want to explore.

Will Brehm 10:00
Were you political in any way, politically active, when you were in Cambridge?

David Harvey 10:05
I was, I would say, I came from a background where there was some sympathy with the Labour Party and socialism and I suppose the extent of my political beliefs were roughly Fabian socialist. But towards the end of the 60s, I was getting disillusioned with that over things like the Vietnam War. And the fact that British Labour Prime Ministers promised great things, but in the end succumb to the power of big money. And – as Harold Wilson put it – the gnomes of Zürich had to be satisfied.

So I started to think there was, maybe something wrong with where we are at politically at the same time as I found that a lot of the theoretical apparatus that I understood from economics and sociology and political science were not really adequate to understand the problems that I was studying on the ground. Particularly in the city of Baltimore, where, as I said, there was an urban uprising year the before I got there and I became involved in a lot of studies of “Why did this happen?”, “What were the problems in the housing market?” and I started to work on housing market kind of problems. And finding that economic theory didn’t help me at some point or other, I decided to go off and read Marx and see if there was anything in there. And of course, I found it was great for getting at practical issues.

Will Brehm 11:44
So Marx, as I’ve learned, actually, through some of your teachings that are online, defines capital as “value in motion”. And I wanted to ask: Does that concept apply to education? Maybe specifically higher education today, because you said big money has now kind of come to dominate the universities. So how do we think about capital in the universities? And how do we think about value being in motion in universities?

David Harvey 12:13
Yes, the mass of capital of course is in motion, and is speeding up all the time, But capital needs certain infrastructures. It needs physical infrastructures, which are long lasting – highways, roads, ports, things of that kind, which take long-term capital investment. By the same token, it also needs long term capital investment in education, because the qualities of the labor force become an increasingly significant problem for capital over time, far more so than in Marx’s time. You want a well-trained, educated labor force. And also you need it from the standpoint of the renewal of bourgeois society, that there be a great deal of innovation and research universities became centers of innovation. Of course one of the crazy things I think of now is that there’s a lot of cutting back funding of higher education, when actually tremendous investment in higher education in the 1960s created an environment which to this day, provides a good deal of background to why the United States still remain so strong in the global economy because you’re having a very educated entrepreneurial minded workforce, but you’re now cutting all of that, and the workforce is less and less likely to be innovative, because it’s increasingly indebted. So you’ve actually got a structure of education, which is undermining what capital really needs. But nevertheless, some capital has to flow through the universities in such a way as to create that labor force. And it is a long term project costs, because as a sort of thing, where the benefits and come out 10, maybe even 15, years later.

Will Brehm 14:14
And I guess one of the things that fascinates me now, in like, in the present moment in America and probably in other countries, as well, the amount of debt students are in to participate in the future labor market run. And I think of it sometimes in terms of this idea of the wants, needs and desires of capital, right, like this idea that there is such a desire to be educated, that people are going into thousands of dollars in debt, which is really limiting their future prospects. So what’s your opinion on this massive debt that students face these days?

David Harvey 14:51
Well I think the general problem of circulation capital is that the circulation of debt has become more and more the crux of what’s going on within the capitalist economy. And so, the indebtedness is taking many different forms, because of the indebtedness that people get into on the consumer side. And, of course, to the degree that education became seen as a commodity which had to be purchased. So people need an effective demand and if they didn’t have the money they had to borrow it. And so you now got the indebtedness of a student population. And this forecloses on the future. And in a way, it’s a form of social control in the same way about housing debt that it was said in the 1930s that debt encumbered homeowners don’t go on strike. So debt encumbered students don’t rock the boat. They want to keep their job site, they don’t want to be fired, because they’ve got all that debt they’ve got to pay off. So there’s a lot of evidence, it seems to me, that the graduating student population is far less likely to take risks than in the situation that I was in, for example, coming out with a PhD from Cambridge with no debt.

And then you can go do what you like, and you don’t have that hanging over you. But now people have this hanging over them. And so it’s both the social control mechanism, it’s also about keeping capital into the future, because debt is a claim on future labor, and it’s a claim on the future. So, in fact, we foreclosed on people’s futures by increasing levels of debt. And then that means that it’s hard to imagine a transformation of capitalism, because you’ve got so much debt. I got personally nervous because my pension fund is invested in debt. So if we abolish the debt, you abolish my pension funds. So my pension fund becomes crucially part of the problem. So I have this ambivalence; I see the stock market crashing and I think, “Yay, this is the end of capitalism.” And then I think, “Oh, my God, what’s happening to my pension fund?” But this is a sort of contradictory situation that all of us get in and it’s one of the things that actually gives a certain social and political stability to capitalism that when capital gets into trouble, and I said, “We’ve got to save the banks.” We say, “No, don’t do that.” And then somebody turns to us and says, “If you don’t save the banks, sorry, all your savings are gone.” So then you turn around and say, “Okay, go save the banks.”

Will Brehm 17:37
Yes, I mean, what’s interesting to me is that education, in some respects, people believe as being transformative, and maybe a location to really go against kind of systemic norms. So, you know, like capitalism, but at the same time, the system we have created, like you said, is basically foreclosing the future, and making people less able to take risks, and maybe challenge that system. And it makes me think about the scholar [Maurizio Lazzarato, who says, the debt in education, higher education, what we start realizing is that the value, the purpose, of higher education is to teach debt. Students learn debt through the system to prepare them to be good kind of capitalist workers in the future.

David Harvey 18:23
Right. But the other side of that is that actually students less and less learn how to be critical. So their critical faculties are being eroded and basically we get situations where students say, “Oh, don’t bother me with all of that, just tell me what I have to know to get my qualification. And I get it, and then I can go off and use that qualification. So it’s about the qualification rather than developing a particular mode of thinking, which is critical. And on the one hand, capital doesn’t like critical thinking, because at some point or other, as happened to the end of the 1960s, a lot of people started to be highly critical of capital. So capital doesn’t like that. On the other hand, if you don’t have critical thinking, there’s no innovation. And so capital sits around and says, “Why isn’t there more kind of innovative things going on?” And that’s because people don’t know how to think for themselves. And actually, there are now complaints emerging – I don’t know if you’ve encountered this – of the labor force coming out of universities that is unable to solve problems, because they don’t know how to think for themselves. They just want to find some solution into which they plug. So they want information, but they don’t have the critical capacity to be actually problem solvers. And there’s a lot of complaints now, among corporate capital of the inability of this younger generation to respond to the needs of the labor place.

Will Brehm 20:02
So I mean, given this environment in higher education – and you you work in higher education. I think you still teach as well?

David Harvey 20:09
I do teach some, yes.

Will Brehm 20:11
So , Marx was very interested in everyday practice, and in your everyday practice as a professor, but maybe more broadly, as a citizen: How do you navigate the system, these contradictions, as you say? On the one hand you’re cheering the fall in the stock market but on the other hand, you’re lamenting the collapse of your pension fund. How do you navigate these contradictions and continue to be politically active?

David Harvey 20:37
Well, for instance, I can start with that story and that contradiction in my own life. And then we’ll ask students, “Can you see similar contradictions?” And, for instance, all this indebtedness, and talk about the things that we’ve been talking about. And if you do that, then people get it straight away. And therefore start to maybe you think the system is a problem, and that we’ve got to do something about it, and then need to learn a lot more about how the system works. And that point you can get into things. The other thing I would want to do, however, is- I’ve always, of course, been interested in urbanization. And if you’re in a major city, and if you’re in a major university in a major city, it seems to me you’ve got a huge educational world out there that you just go out on the streets and start to get people involved to some degree about what’s going on in the streets. One of the great things about teaching at the City University of New York is that we tend to get students who are very streetwise and have been out maybe doing the social movements and so I don’t have to tell them go out and look at what’s going on on the street because they know far more about it than I do. And what they come to me to, is to say, “How do I understand all of this?” “What’s the framework in which I can understand all of this?” and that’s why I kind of try to then sort of say, “Well, okay, let’s study Marx and see how what you’re experiencing relates to this mode of thinking”, and try in that way to get to sort of a critical theoretical perspective.

Will Brehm 22:32
It’s incredible to think that Marx’s writing from 150 years ago is still relevant to help make sense of students’ lives today.

David Harvey 22:44
Right. Well actually, even more so. I mean, the point here is, if you said back in the 1850s, “Where was the capitalist mode of production dominant?” and it was only dominant in Britain, Western Europe and the eastern part of the United States and everywhere else there were merchants around and so on and right now of course, it dominates everywhere. So there’s a sense in which the theory which Marx constructed to deal with that world of capitalist industrial production has now become global. And it’s more relevant than I think it ever was before.

And so I want to emphasize that to people, because quite a lot of people like to write about Marx and say, “Well, you know, that that was about what was going on back then.” And I say, “Well, no, actually back then, there was all kinds of other things going on in the world apart from your capital accumulation.” Now, you can’t find hardly anywhere in the world where capital accumulation is not dominant.

Will Brehm 23:50
I know and it’s amazing to think how it is, it’s so pervasive, it’s so worldwide, it is seeping into parts of life, like the university that didn’t normally, or didn’t historically have those sort of logics to it. And then I guess I get a little pessimistic and kind of think, “Well, where do we even begin to resist? And how do we resist when it’s such a massive system that is so hard to be located outside of?”

David Harvey 24:21
But I think there’s a lot of resistance internally within it. I emphasize a lot Marx’s concept of alienation, which, you know, has not been really very strongly articulated, I think, within the Marxist tradition, in part because somebody like [Louis] Althusser said, that that’s an unscientific concept. Whereas I think it’s a very profoundly important concept. And if you said, “How many people are alienated by conditions of labor as they currently exist?” And the conditions of labor are not simply about the physical aspect of laboring and how much money you get. They’re also about the notion of having a meaningful job and a meaningful life and meaningful jobs are increasingly hard to come by.

I have a daughter who’s 27 and her generation looks at the labor market and says there’s not much there that’s meaningful so I’d rather go and be a bartender than actually take one of those meaningless jobs out there. So you find a sort of alienation from the job situation, because the meaning in work has disappeared. There’s a lot of alienation about daily urban life, in the levels of pollution, the messes that are in transport systems and traffic jams, and the hassles of actually dealing with daily life in the city. So there’s an alienation in the living space, then alienation from politics, because of the political decisions seem to be made somewhere in the stratosphere and you’re not really able to influence them except at a very local neighborhood level. And there’s a sense of alienation from nature and alienation from some sort of concept of human nature. And you look at a personality like Trump and say, “Is that the kind of person I would like to be?” and “Is that the kind of human being that that we want to encourage to populate the earth? Is that what the world’s going to be like?” And so I think there’s a lot of discontent within the system.

Discontented people of course can vote in all sorts of crazy ways and what we’re seeing in Europe and elsewhere is some pretty crazy political things going on. And I think here the left has a certain problem that we have not addressed all of those political feelings and not proposed some active kind of politics of finding better solutions. So that we’ve let the game disappear and I think that to some degree this has a lot to do with what actually I would call the conservativism of the left.

Marxists, for example, are incredibly conservative and you know I’ve lost count of the number of times in a discussion I’ve been driven back to having to discus s Lenin. Well, okay I admire Lenin and I think it was important to read about him, but I don’t think the issue is right now. Those which Lenin was faced with, and I don’t want to get endlessly lost in all those arguments about whether it was Lenin or Luxembourg, or, you know, “Who is Trotsky?” or whoever was right. I want to talk about now. I want to talk about the Marxist critique now, what it’s telling us and then talk and say to ourselves, “How do we actually then construct an alternative to this very wide sense of disillusionment that exists in society?”

Will Brehm 28:18
Do you think education broadly, or maybe higher education specifically, can be part of constructing that alternative based on your Marxist critique?

David Harvey 28:28
It can be, and it should be. The problem right now is that higher education is more and more dominated by private money and its become privatized; the funding has become privatized. And when it was state funded, there was always constraints, but not as fierce as they are now. And basically, big capital and corporations will fund/give massive amounts of money to universities to build research centers. But the research centers are about finding technical solutions; they very rarely have anything other than a nominal kind of concern about social issues. They’re not about – I mean, for instance, the environmental field, these institutes for looking at environmental questions. And it’s all about technologies. And it’s all about taxation arrangements, or something of that kind. It’s not about consulting with the people. It’s not about discussions of those kinds.

When we were doing research on those questions back in the 1960s, there was always a lot of public participation and public discussion. Now sort of technocratic imposed from the top solution to the environmental problem, which is being designed. And if you are interested in the environmental problem from a social perspective, you’re likely to be in the humanities somewhere or other and you can have a little symposium in the humanities about how, when you start to be very political about it, but the engineers and the technocrats well funded in these research institutes are not going to be terribly excited about listening to you.

Will Brehm 30:10
In a similar way, I’m amazed sometimes at how, in academics, the labor that professors do in terms of writing papers and doing work much longer than regular work week, and that there’s very few unions fighting for their rights. And more importantly, I think, is that, you know, there’s such a perverse or crazy system in a way where academics spend all of this labor writing articles that then get published in these for profit companies that then sell journals and articles out and very little money goes back to the professor who did the actual labor. And meanwhile, the CEO of Wiley, which is a big publishing company is making something like $4 million a year. I mean, it seems so skewed. And what’s interesting in my mind, is that some of these same professors who are in this environment, they use Marxist critiques in their work but then there’s almost like a disconnect with their own labor. And I don’t know how to make sense of that sometimes.

David Harvey 31:21
Well, I think that if you want to get published, then you’ve got to find a publisher and the publisher is a capitalistic institution. Now, the interesting thing about publishing is that publishers tend to publish anything that sells. So it’s possible, if you have a critical perspective to get published if it sells. And so there are obviously, some books which sell widely and have quite an impact. And historically, of course, Harrington’s The Other America back in the 60s suddenly exploded the whole question of poverty in the United States. A book like Piketty’s book for all of it, while I’ve been critical of it nevertheless opened up and very much supported what the Occupy movement was doing, and talking about the problems of the 1%. And Piketty documented a lot of that, so this is extremely useful. So yes, you have to use capitalist means to anti-capitalist ends. But that is, in fact, one of the contradictions that is central to our own social situation. There are of course alternatives to do it through social media and use of a sort of Copyleft situation of a certain kind, but then that becomes a bit problematic if somebody needs the money from whatever they publish. So yes, there’s the labor process but the good thing at least I would say about the labor process for academics is that nobody is your boss – that you do it for yourself. And Marx has a very interesting question: “Did Milton in writing Paradise Lost, did he create value?” And the answer is, “No, he just wrote wonderful phrases.”

He says Milton wrote Paradise Lost in the same way that the silkworm produces silk; he did it out of his own nature. It only became a commodity, when he sold the rights to it for five pounds to somebody. And then it became a commodity, but it’s not part of capital – it only became capital when the bookseller started to use it as kind of a way of circulating capital. And so I like to think of my labor as kind of being silkworm labor – that I do it out of my own nature, and not out of some sort of instruction from some publisher. So I do it because I want to do it, I want to communicate something, and I have something to say, and I want to lay it out there.

Will Brehm 34:37
And you can’t not do it.

David Harvey 34:38
Right, and a lot of that labor is free as now on the website, for example, people can do that and then there’s the written person, the companions to Marx’s Capital, which go with the lectures. Some people like the lecture format, and some people find it difficult, so they can go to the written format. So the written format is in the publishing world.

Will Brehm 35:07
Yes, and I guess we just hope that there’s more people in academia like you that are doing this out of their own nature, and not too worried about how it becomes a commodity.

David Harvey 35:20
Less and less. And this is one of the problem, I think. Less and less, and a whole generation of academics has been raised within this disciplinary apparatus, that you’ve got to produce so much of this, and so many articles of this sort within a certain period of time in order to maintain your position. So there’s less and less doing that because when you’re under those sorts of conditions, you can’t take 10 years to write a book.

I took 10 years to write Limits to Capital, and during that time, I didn’t publish that much and under contemporary conditions, I would have been under real stress about the fact that I wasn’t productive enough, and all the rest of it and they would be having me and saying, “You’ve got to produce more”. And there are a lot of things that happened as a result; the quality of academic publication has diminished very significantly as the quantity has increased. And the other thing is that instead of undertaking sort of real deep research, which takes you a long time, it’s far better to write a piece where you criticize somebody else. Say you just engage in critical kind of stuff and you can write an article like mad in six months. And so the turnover time of academia has become much shorter and long-term projects are much harder to undertake.

Will Brehm 36:54
It reminds me of the the recent scandal in The Third World Quarterly, the journal article that was published by – I think an American, I’m not 100% sure. But he basically set out the case for why we need to see colonialism as good, and he puts this whole article article together. No research, just this kind of diabolical sort of argument that really gets people upset. And, of course, it becomes instantly the highest read article in The Third World Quarterly, which has been around for 60 years. And then, of course, the editorial board kind of resigned in protest, but it just encapsulates this moment.

David Harvey 37:39
Yes. And, of course, it also gets a lot of citations and suddenly he goes to his Head of Department and says, “I’m way up there in citations. Give me more money.”

Will Brehm 37:52
That’s right, and his university didn’t come out and criticize him. You know, it’s about diversity of opinion. It’s something you can see how you can game the system that way academics. Instead of doing this deep thinking, like you’re talking about, with the 10 years to write a book. Do you think Marx would have been a good academic?

David Harvey 38:13
No he would have been terrible! He would never have gotten tenure anywhere. First off, nobody would know what discipline to put him in. I have a bit of that problem. I mean, I come from geography but a lot of people think I’m a sociologist or something else. But he doesn’t fit easily into any discipline. And then secondly, he didn’t complete much of his work. And I always used to have this little thing on my desk: He had a letter from his publisher, that said, “Dear Herr Professor Marx it’s come to our attention that we have not yet received your manuscript of Das Kapital. Would you please furnish it to us within six months, or we’ll have to commission somebody else to write this work?”

Will Brehm 39:05
Do you know if he met the deadline?

David Harvey 39:07
No, of course not.

Will Brehm 39:10
How long did it take him to write Capital? Number One.

David Harvey 39:15
I guess it was basically 15 years, I think.

Will Brehm 39:22
And there’s three volumes in his name for Capital, but the third one was co-written or was compiled.

David Harvey 39:29
Well both volumes two volumes and volumes three were compiled by Engles. And there has been a lot of discussion about how much Engles manufactured, and he certainly made it seem like these notes which Marx had were closer to publication that they actually were. So there’s a lot of critical discussion because the manuscripts are now freely available and people are reading the manuscripts very carefully, out of which Engles constructed the actual text that comes down to us, and they’re finding all kinds of things that Engles added or missed. So there’s an interesting scholarly exercise going on on that.

Will Brehm 40:14
Was there supposed to be more than three volumes?

David Harvey 40:16

Will Brehm 40:17
How many?

David Harvey 40:19
It depends how you count them. In the Grundrisse he gave several proposals – the three volumes he’s got of the Capital already, then one on the State, one on the World Market and World Trade, and another on Crises. So there were at least three others, and it’s possible to find other places where he mentioned other things he needs to look at. In fact, the question of wage labor, it is covered of course to some degree in Volume One of Capital, but Marx, never really wrote out a very sophisticated explanation and discussion of wage determination. And he had in mind to do that, but the evidence is that he had some preliminary thoughts about that, but those preliminary thoughts did end up in Volume One of Capital, but he did, I think, want to have a whole volume on wage labor in itself. But like I said, bits and pieces of that idea ended up in Volume One of capital, but not the whole thing.

Will Brehm 41:41
Unfinished work, I guess.

David Harvey 41:43
And one of the things I think we should be doing – those of us who are familiar with the text – is to try to find ways to complete what he was talking about, and actually to represent what he’s talking about in the three volumes of Capital, which is I tried to do in the last book.

Will Brehm 42:03
So it actually raises a good point: Who else in the next generation of Marxist thinkers – I mean, you have spent 50 years doing this. Who do you see today as kind of taking up the mantle in the next generation?

David Harvey 42:21
The answer to that is, “I’m not quite sure.” Because there’s a big gap between people of my generation or close to my generation, sort of 60s and above, and the younger generation in their late 20s, early 30s.

Will Brehm 42:39
So me.

David Harvey 42:40
Yes, there are a lot of people in that generation who are actually very interested in exploring Marx in much greater detail. In between, there’s hardly anybody. And the people who were there have largely abandoned what they were doing and become kind of neoliberalized and all the rest of it. So there are some people in the middle, obviously. So it’s not completely blank, but I have a great deal of faith in your generation, actually, because I think your generation is taking it much more seriously. I think it feels more of a compelling need that they need some sort of analysis of this kind. And I think what my generation is obliged to do, which is what I’ve been trying to do, I think over the last decade really, by way of what I call The Marx Project is to produce a reading of Marx which is more open and fluid and more related to daily life and it’s not too scholastic. So I’ve tried to produce these interpretations of Marx that are simple, but not simplistic. It’s very difficult to negotiate that distinction, but that’s been my aim. And one of the things that I think has been encouraging is what I see as a very positive reaction to that mission.

Will Brehm 44:13
So Marx was known for being very well read. And he was a beautiful writer and Capital – Volume One is just an absolutely beautiful read. And he really draws on such a wide range of other writers. And I just wonder: Are you reading anyone that’s a contemporary scholar, or maybe an artist, or a filmmaker that is capable of bringing in such a wide variety of thinking into the creation of some artwork or some scholarly work in a beautiful way like Marx did back 150 years ago?

David Harvey 44:57
I think there are people who are who have a broader perspective on Marx. I think of somebody like Terry Eagleton, who I think can bring in a lot of the cultural things and in his little book on why Marx was right, I think did a very nice job of taking up the spirit of Marx as an emancipatory thinker and pushing it home. So there are people, I think, who are capable of doing that, but somebody who knows Greek philosophy, or Hegel inside out, Milton, Shakespeare, you know – it just boggles the mind that somebody could sit there with all of that in his head and produce work which is fascinating, I think in terms of how how to interpret it.

Will Brehm 46:02
David Harvey thank you so much for joining Fresh Ed. It really wasn’t pleasure to talk; it was an honor to really speak today.

David Harvey 46:08
It was my pleasure to chat with you, and remember, it’s your generation that has to do it. So get busy now.

Will Brehm 46:15
I will get back to my 10 year book.

David Harvey 46:18

Will Brehm 4:44

David Harvey 4:47

Will Brehm 4:49

David Harvey 5:14

Will Brehm 6:18

David Harvey 6:26

Will Brehm 8:27

David Harvey 8:37

Will Brehm 10:00

David Harvey 10:05

Will Brehm 11:44

David Harvey 12:13

Will Brehm 14:14

David Harvey 14:51

Will Brehm 17:37
是的,我觉得有意思的是,从某方面而言,人们相信教育具有变革作用,可以对抗像资本主义这样的一些社会系统规范。但同时,正如您所言,我们所建立的这个社会体系恰恰在扼杀未来,使人们承担风险的能力降低。这让我想起毛里齐奥·拉扎拉托(Maurizio Lazzarato)关于高等教育中有关债务的观点,他说:“高等教育的意义和目的就是教导学生何谓债务。”学生通过在大学学到的债务知识,为将来在资本主义世界工作做好准备。

David Harvey 18:23

Will Brehm 20:02

David Harvey 20:09

Will Brehm 20:11

David Harvey 20:37

Will Brehm 22:32

David Harvey 22:44

Will Brehm 23:50

David Harvey 24:21
我觉得在它内部就已经有很多抵抗了。我一直强调马克思的“异化理论”。这一概念在马克思主义研究中没有得到很好地阐释,甚至连路易·阿尔都塞(Louis Althusser)这样的马克思主义者都说异化理论是不科学的。但是我不这么想,相反,我认为异化是非常深刻且重要的概念。当我们问“有多少人被所处的劳动环境异化”时,这里的劳动环境不仅指物质层面和工作报酬,更多地还包含工作意义。现在做有意义的工作、过有意义的生活变得越来越难。我有个女儿,今年27岁,她这一代人进入劳动市场的时候,发现有意义的工作寥寥无几,所以她宁愿去当调酒师,也不想做那些毫无意义的工作。工作意义的消失是一种劳动异化的体现。
当然,不满的人们以各种疯狂的形式参加选举,正如我们所看到的欧洲和其他地区发生的那些不可思议的政治事件。我认为左翼政党有一个问题,那就是我们即没有解决那些政治情绪、也没能提出积极的政治策略以寻求更好的解决方案,我们只是不像原来那么搞。我称之为 “左翼的保守主义”。

Will Brehm 28:18

David Harvey 28:28

Will Brehm 30:10

David Harvey 31:21
如果你想要出版就必须依靠出版商,而出版商是一个资本主义机构,他们只愿意出版能卖钱的书。所以有趣的是,如果你的批判能卖钱,他们就会出版。当然,历史上有很多书既畅销又具有很大影响力。比如上世纪60年代哈灵顿(Michael Harrington)所著的《另一个美国》,瞬间引爆了对美国贫困问题的讨论。再比如皮凯蒂(Thomas Piketty)的《21世纪资本论》,尽管我不尽同意其中的观点,但我依然保持开放的态度。皮凯蒂在书中讨论了很多关于财富收入分配的问题,为 “占领华尔街”运动提供了支持,是本非常有启发的书。所以,有时候我们不得不借助资本主义的力量来实现反对资本主义的目的。实际上,这是我们社会的众多矛盾中最为核心的矛盾之一。当然也可以有其他方法,比如社交媒体,或者“公共版权”的形式,但一旦涉及到出版所需的资金时,问题就来了。因此,出版是有自己的一套劳动过程的。但我认为至少对学术界而言,在这一过程中没有人是你的老板,每个作者都是为自己而工作。马克思就问过一个有意思的问题:米尔顿在写《失乐园》的时候创造价值了吗?答案是:没有,他创造的只是精彩的文字。

Will Brehm 34:37

David Harvey 34:38

Will Brehm 35:07

David Harvey 35:20

Will Brehm 36:54

David Harvey 37:39

Will Brehm 37:52

David Harvey 38:13

Will Brehm 39:05

David Harvey 39:07

Will Brehm 39:10

David Harvey 39:15

Will Brehm 39:22

David Harvey 39:29

Will Brehm 40:14

David Harvey 40:16

Will Brehm 40:17

David Harvey 40:19

Will Brehm 41:41

David Harvey 41:43

Will Brehm 42:03

David Harvey 42:21

Will Brehm 42:39

David Harvey 42:40

Will Brehm 44:13

David Harvey 44:57
确实能看到有些人对马克思有更广阔的视角。比如特里·伊格尔顿(Terry Eagleton),我认为他给我们带来了很多文化方面的理论,并且在《马克思主义为什么是对的》一书中,他相当出色地继承了马克思作为解放思想家的精神并将其发扬广大。所以,我相信有些人有能力做到这一点。当然,熟悉希腊哲学、黑格尔、米尔顿、莎士比亚的人或许会说,竟有人可以坐在书桌前,将脑子里的想法创作出如此精彩的作品,是多么不可思议。就看你怎么解读了。

Will Brehm 46:02

David Harvey 46:08

Will Brehm 46:15

David Harvey 46:18

Translation by Jiang Dian
Want to help translate this show? Please contact info@freshedpodcast.com

Will Brehm  4:44
David Harvey, bem-vindo ao FreshEd.

David Harvey  4:47

Will Brehm  4:49
Estamos aqui na Universidade Musashi, em Tóquio na véspera da sua conferência na Sociedade de Economia Política do Japão. Estando num meio universitário como este há mais de 50 anos como vê as mudanças na valorização do ensino superior ao longo do tempo e nas diferentes partes do mundo?

David Harvey  5:14
Bem, a minha avaliação não mudou muito; permaneceu bastante constante. As condições do ensino superior foram, realmente, transformadas radicalmente. E, portanto, tem sido muito difícil manter os meus valores diante do que eu chamaria de corporação [corporatization] e neoliberalização da universidade. E assim, a natureza da luta para manter os espaços abertos, onde visões dissidentes podem ser livremente desenvolvidas e expressadas, essa luta é muito mais difícil agora do que se dizia ser há 20 ou 30 anos. Há 40 ou 50 anos, também, era difícil. É como se houvesse um grande ciclo de: era uma vez, foi muito difícil e depois tornou-se muito fácil porque as batalhas foram vencidas, então tornámo-nos complacentes. E então, a reação começou e agora tornou-se mais difícil.

Will Brehm  6:18
Como foi o começo, na década de 1960? Quero dizer, quando disse que era difícil naquela época, o que tornava difícil? O que foi difícil?

David Harvey  6:26
Bem, era muito hierárquico. Os professores eram deuses que não se podiam desafiar. Havia uma certa ortodoxia bastante uniforme, eu diria, no mundo em que estava, em termos de teoria social que era ou não admissível. Eu nunca encontrei muito o pensamento de Marx, por exemplo, até os 35 anos de idade. De certo modo encontrei-o de forma acidental, entrei no seu pensamento por acidente. E houve uma luta considerável. Conforme ia publicando os meus trabalhos e citava Marx começou a acontecer um fenómeno interessante, as pessoas imediatamente chamavam-me marxista, mas eu não me chamava marxista, fui chamado de marxista. Depois de dez anos a ser chamado de marxista, desisti e disse: “Está bem, devo ser marxista, se todos dizem que sou marxista”. Mas tudo o que eu estava a fazer era ler Marx e dizer: “Na verdade, algumas coisas aqui são muito interessantes e muito significativas”. E, é claro, tem um tom político que eu achei muito atraente. Um outro fator foi ter-me ajudado num momento muito difícil, no sentido de que nos Estados Unidos, país para onde me tinha acabado de mudar no final da década de 1960, estava a passar por um período conturbado com muitas revoltas urbanas de populações marginalizadas. Outro aspeto foi o facto de, um ano antes de me ter mudado para Baltimore, grande parte da cidade ter sido queimada como resultado de tumultos raciais.

E, é claro, a Guerra do Vietname estava a ocorrer, o movimento antiguerra, o movimento da Liberdade de Expressão [Free Speech movement] estava a começar a fazer incursões na universidade e o movimento estudantil era muito forte, muito poderoso. Ao mesmo tempo, há muita resistência a tudo isto. Portanto, houve um período de luta muito ativa desde o final da década de 1960 até meados da década de 1970.

Will Brehm  8:27
E no início, quando começou a trabalhar na universidade, viu a influência, por assim dizer, do capital na universidade?

David Harvey  8:37
Bem, sempre foi óbvio que as universidades estavam vinculadas à classe. Na minha formação em Cambridge, por exemplo, encontrei imediatamente classe. Em Cambridge, as pessoas das escolas públicas muito ricas estavam lá, e elas pareciam estar bem, passando um bom momento e eu estava a suar para tentar ser um bom aluno. E no final, sabe, fui eu quem recebeu as honras académicas, mas eles não se importaram porque simplesmente saíram e foram trabalhar para a empresa dos pais em Londres e eram ultrafrios… E lá estava eu com uma espécie de salário de professor assistente, que era muito baixo na época, lutando para sobreviver. Portanto a classe estava sempre à volta da educação, mas não julgo que o dinheiro estivesse a controlar a universidade da maneira que influencia agora. A minha educação, por exemplo, foi financiada pelo Estado desde que iniciei a escola até ao doutoramento. Então, eu tive uma educação gratuita e, claramente, nessas condições, sentia-me capaz de explorar o que quer que fosse.

Will Brehm  10:00
Nessa altura era politicamente ativo de alguma forma, quando estava em Cambridge?

David Harvey  10:05
Eu diria que vim de um ambiente em que havia alguma simpatia pelo Partido Trabalhista e pelo socialismo e suponho que as minhas crenças políticas fossem, aproximadamente, Fabian socialist. Mas no final dos anos 60, estava a ficar desiludido com coisas como a Guerra do Vietname e pelo facto de os primeiros-ministros britânicos trabalhistas prometerem grandes coisas, mas no final sucumbem ao poder do grande dinheiro. E – como referiu Harold Wilson – os gnomos de Zurique necessitam de ser satisfeitos.

Então comecei a pensar que havia, talvez, algo de errado com a nossa posição política ao mesmo tempo que descobri que muito do aparato teórico da economia, da sociologia e da ciência política não eram realmente adequadas para entender os problemas que estava a estudar no terreno, em particular a cidade de Baltimore, onde, como eu disse, houve revolta urbana um ano antes de eu chegar. Assim, envolvi-me em estudos que se debruçaram sobre “Porque é que isto aconteceu?”, “Quais eram os problemas do mercado imobiliário?” e assim iniciei o meu trabalho no tipo de problemas do mercado imobiliário. Ao descobrir que a teoria económica não me ajudou num momento ou noutro, decidi ler Marx e ver se havia algo lá. E, claro, encontrei algo ótimo para abordar as questões práticas.

Will Brehm  11:44
Assim, Marx, como aprendi, na verdade, através de algumas das suas aulas disponíveis na internet, define capital como “valor em movimento”. Assim, queria perguntar-lhe se este conceito se aplica à educação? Talvez acerca do ensino superior, pelo que referiu anteriormente, sobre o dinheiro estar a influenciar as universidades, seja interessante perguntar como pensamos o capital nas universidades? E como pensamos sobre o valor estar em movimento nas universidades?

David Harvey  12:13
Sim, é claro que a massa do capital está em movimento e está a acelerar a todo o momento, mas o capital precisa de certas infraestruturas. Precisa de infraestruturas físicas, que são duradouras – autoestradas, estradas, portos, coisas desse tipo, que requerem investimento de capital a longo prazo. Da mesma forma, também é necessário investimento de capital a longo prazo na educação, para ter disponível força de trabalho com qualidade, pois é um problema cada vez mais significativo para o capital ao longo do tempo, muito mais do que na altura de Marx. É necessária uma força de trabalho bem formada e educada e também, do ponto de vista da renovação da sociedade burguesa, deve haver uma grande quantidade de inovação e universidades que façam investigação para se tornarem centros de inovação.
Uma das coisas loucas que penso agora é que há cortes no financiamento do ensino superior, quando na década de 60 este investimento criou um ambiente que, até hoje, fornece uma boa explicação para os Estados Unidos da América ainda permanecerem tão fortes na economia global. Este investimento possibilitou haver uma força de trabalho instruído com espírito empreendedor, estando agora todo este investimento a ser cortado levando à força de trabalho a ter menos hipóteses de ser inovadora, porque está cada vez mais endividada. Então realmente há uma estrutura de educação que está a minar o que o capital realmente precisa, estando, no entanto, algum capital a fluir através das universidades de forma a criar essa força de trabalho. Porém é um projeto com custos a longo prazo uma vez que os resultados só serão visíveis no prazo de 10 ou até 15 anos depois.

Will Brehm  14:14
Julgo que uma das coisas que agora me fascina no momento atual dos Estados Unidos, e provavelmente noutros países, é a quantidade de dívidas que os estudantes têm para poder participar na corrida ao mercado de trabalho. Penso nisto e na ideia de vontades, necessidades e desejos do capital, como uma ideia proporciona o desejo de ter educação, mas que implica que as pessoas fiquem endividadas em milhares de dólares, o que realmente limita as suas perspetivas futuras. Posto isto, qual é a sua opinião sobre estas dívidas enormes que os estudantes enfrentam atualmente?

David Harvey  14:51
Bem, julgo que o problema geral da circulação do capital é que esta circulação de dívida se tornou cada vez mais o cerne do que está a acontecer na economia capitalista. E assim, o endividamento está a assumir muitas formas diferentes, devido ao endividamento das pessoas enquanto consumidoras. E, é claro, na medida em que a educação passou a ser vista como uma mercadoria que precisava ser comprada. Portanto, as pessoas precisam de uma demanda efetiva e, se não tivessem o dinheiro, teriam de o pedir emprestado. Desta forma há um endividamento de uma população estudantil e isto limita o futuro e, de certa forma, é uma forma de controlo social da mesma forma que a dívida imobiliária teve na década de 1930, os proprietários sobrecarregados com dívidas não entram em greve. Portanto, estudantes sobrecarregados por dívidas não agitam o barco. Eles querem manter o posto de trabalho, não querem ser demitidos, porque têm uma dívida que necessita de ser paga. Portanto, parece-me que há muitas evidências que indicam que atual população com formação superior tem muito menos probabilidade de correr riscos do que eu quando estava, por exemplo, a sair da Universidade com um doutoramento de Cambridge sem dívidas.

Quando não se tem dívidas pode-se fazer o que se quiser, não tem isso a pairar sobre si. Mas agora as pessoas têm as dívidas a pairar sobre elas, portanto é o mecanismo de controlo social, mas também é sobre manter o capital no futuro, porque a dívida é uma reivindicação sobre trabalho futuro e é uma reivindicação sobre o futuro. Então, de facto, encerramos o futuro das pessoas aumentando os níveis de dívida. Isto significa que é difícil imaginar uma transformação do capitalismo, porque você tem muitas dívidas, fica nervoso porque o seu fundo de pensões é investido em dívidas. Portanto, se abolirmos a dívida, você abolirá o meu fundo de pensões tornando-o desta forma uma questão central do problema. Então, tenho essa ambivalência, vejo o mercado de ações a colapsar e penso: “Sim, é o fim do capitalismo”. E a seguir penso: “Oh, meu Deus, o que está acontecer ao meu fundo de pensões?” Esta é uma espécie de situação contraditória em que todos nós entramos e é uma das coisas que realmente dá uma certa estabilidade social e política ao capitalismo, quando o capital está com, e digo: “Temos que salvar os bancos “. Dizemos: “Não, não faça isso”. E então alguém se vira para nós e diz: “Se não salvar os bancos, desculpe, mas todas as suas economias desaparecem”. Então diz: “Está bem, vá salvar os bancos”.

Will Brehm  17:37
Sim, quero dizer, o que é interessante para mim é que a educação, em alguns aspetos, é avaliada elas pessoas como transformadora e capaz de realmente ir contra as normas sistémicas, como o capitalismo, mas, ao mesmo tempo, o sistema que criamos, como disse, basicamente está a limitar futuro e a tornar as pessoas menos capazes de assumir riscos e até mesmo desafiar este sistema. E isso faz-me pensar no investigador Maurizio Lazzarato, que diz, a dívida na educação, no ensino superior, faz-nos perceber que o valor, o objetivo do ensino superior, é ensinar dívida. Os alunos aprendem dívidas através do sistema para prepará-los, para serem bons trabalhadores capitalistas no futuro.

David Harvey  18:23
Certo. Mas o outro lado disso é que, na verdade, os alunos aprendem cada vez menos a ser críticos. Portanto, as suas faculdades fundamentais estão a ser corroídas e, basicamente, temos situações em que os alunos dizem: “Oh, não me incomode com isso, apenas me diga o que preciso saber para obter a minha qualificação. Consigo-a e posso sair e usar essa qualificação”. Portanto, trata-se da qualificação, em vez de desenvolver um modo de pensamento específico, que é crítico. Por um lado, o capital não gosta de pensamento crítico, porque em algum momento, como aconteceu no final da década de 1960, muitas pessoas começaram a criticar o capital. Portanto, o capital não gosta disso. Por outro lado, se não tem um pensamento crítico, não há inovação. Pode perguntar: “Por que é que não há mais inovação a ocorrer?” a resposta é porque as pessoas não sabem pensar por si mesmas. Na verdade, agora está a emergir um outro tipo de reclamação – não sei se já se deparou com ela – a força de trabalho que sai das universidades, que é incapaz de resolver problemas porque não sabem pensar por si mesmos. Só querem encontrar solução para a qual já sabem a resposta, querem que lhes digam qual é a solução, não têm a capacidade crítica para resolver problemas. Atualmente há muitas reclamações do capital corporativo sobre a incapacidade da geração mais jovem de responder às necessidades do local de trabalho.

Will Brehm  20:02
Quero dizer, dado esse ambiente no ensino superior – e você trabalha no ensino superior. Ainda ensina?

David Harvey  20:09
Por vezes ainda ensino, sim.

Will Brehm  20:11
Portanto, Marx estava muito interessado na prática quotidiana e na sua prática quotidiana como professor, mas talvez de forma mais ampla como cidadão: como navega no sistema, nessas contradições, como diz? Por um lado, está a torcer pela queda do mercado de ações, mas, por outro, teme o colapso do seu fundo de pensões. Como navegar nestas contradições e ser politicamente ativo?

David Harvey  20:37
Bem, por exemplo, posso começar com a contradição da minha própria vida. Perguntamos aos alunos: “Conseguem ver contradições semelhantes?” Por exemplo, podemos falar sobre todo este endividamento e sobre as coisas que temos estado a falar. Se fizermos isso as pessoas entendem imediatamente o que estamos a falar. Portanto, começam a pensar que o sistema é um problema, e que precisamos fazer algo a respeito e precisamos aprender muito mais sobre como o sistema funciona. E nesse ponto podemos conseguir entrar nas coisas. Outra coisa que gostaria de fazer – eu sempre me interessei por urbanização – é se está numa cidade grande, numa universidade importante numa cidade importante, parece-me que tem um mundo educacional enorme para simplesmente sai pelas ruas e começa a envolver-se com as pessoas e até certo ponto sobre o que está a acontecer nas ruas. Uma das grandes coisas sobre o ensino na Universidade da Cidade de Nova Iorque [City University of New York] é que tendemos a receber estudantes que se envolveram em manifestações, que fazem parte de movimentos sociais, para que eu não necessite dizer-lhes que saiam e vejam o que é uma manifestação porque eles sabem muito mais sobre isso do que eu. E o que eles procuram é: “Como percebo tudo isto?” “Qual é a estrutura que me permite perceber tudo isto?” e é por isso que eu tento dizer: “Bem, vamos estudar Marx e ver como as vossas experiências estão relacionadas com o seu pensamento “, e tentar desta forma obter uma espécie perspetiva crítica com base na teoria.

Will Brehm  22:32
É incrível pensar que a escrita de Marx com 150 anos ainda é relevante para ajudar a perceber a vida dos estudantes hoje.

David Harvey  22:44
Certo. Bem, na verdade, mais ainda. Quero dizer, o ponto aqui é, se na década de 1850 dissessemos: “Onde era dominante o modo de produção capitalista?”, ele era dominante apenas na Grã-Bretanha, na Europa Ocidental e na parte oriental dos Estados Unidos e em todo o lado havia comerciantes, e agora é comum em todo o lado. Portanto, há um sentido em que a teoria que Marx construiu para lidar com esse mundo da produção industrial capitalista agora se tornou global. E é mais relevante do que eu penso que já foi antes.

E, portanto, quero enfatizar isto às pessoas, porque muitas gostam de escrever sobre Marx e dizer: “Bem, você sabe, isso era o que estava a acontecer naquela época”. E eu digo: “Bem, não, na verdade, naquela época, havia todo o tipo de coisas acontecer no mundo, além da sua acumulação de capital”. Agora, você não consegue encontrar praticamente nenhum lugar do mundo onde a acumulação de capital não seja dominante.

Will Brehm  23:50
Eu sei e é incrível pensar como é tão difundido, é tão mundial, e se está a infiltrar em partes da vida, como a universidade que normalmente não fazia ou que historicamente não tinha esse tipo de lógica. Então julgo que fico um pouco pessimista e penso: “Bem, onde começamos a resistir? Como resistimos, quando é um sistema tão grande que é tão difícil estar fora dele?”

David Harvey  24:21
Mas creio que há muita resistência internamente. Enfatizo muito o conceito de alienação de Marx, que, como sabe, não foi realmente muito fortemente articulado, creio, dentro da tradição marxista, em parte porque alguém como [Louis] Althusser disse, que é um conceito não científico. Considerando que eu acho que é um conceito profundamente importante. Se disser: “Quantas pessoas são alienadas pelas condições de trabalho como elas existem atualmente?” E as condições do trabalho não são simplesmente sobre o aspeto físico do trabalho ou quanto dinheiro recebe. Também tratam da noção de ter um emprego significativo e uma vida significativa e empregos significativos são cada vez mais difíceis de encontrar.

Eu tenho uma filha que tem 27 anos e a geração dela olha para o mercado de trabalho e diz que não há muito trabalho que seja significativo, então eu prefiro ser barman do que realmente ter um desses empregos sem sentido. Então encontra uma espécie de alienação da situação laboral porque o significado desapareceu. Há muita alienação na vida urbana quotidiana, nos níveis de poluição, nas más condições dos sistemas de transporte, nos engarrafamentos e nas chatices associadas em lidar com a vida quotidiana na cidade. Portanto, há uma alienação, depois uma alienação da política, porque as decisões políticas parecem ter sido tomadas em algum lugar da estratosfera e não somos realmente capazes de a influenciar, exceto num bairro muito específico. E existe uma sensação de alienação da natureza e alienação de algum tipo de conceito da natureza humana. E olha para uma pessoa como Trump e diz: “Esse é o tipo de pessoa que eu gostaria de ser?” e “Este é o tipo de ser humano que queremos incentivar a povoar a Terra? É assim que o mundo será?” Penso que há muito descontentamento no sistema.

Pessoas descontentes, é claro, podem votar de todos os tipos e formas loucas, e vemos a acontecer coisas bem loucas na política. Julgo que a aqui a esquerda tem um certo problema: não abordamos todos esses sentimentos políticos e não propusemos algum tipo ativo de política para encontrar melhores soluções. Então deixamos o jogo desaparecer e penso que, até certo ponto, isto tem muito a ver com o que eu chamaria de conservadorismo de esquerda.

Os marxistas, por exemplo, são incrivelmente conservadores e você sabe que perdi a conta ao número de vezes em que numa discussão fui levado a voltar a discutir Lenin. Bem, tudo bem, admiro Lenin e penso que era importante ler sobre ele, mas não considero que o problema seja agora. Aqueles problemas com os quais Lenin se defrontou, e não me quero perder infinitamente em todos esses argumentos sobre se era Lenin ou Luxemburgo, ou, você sabe, “Quem é Trotsky?” ou quem estava certo. Eu quero falar agora. Quero falar sobre a crítica marxista agora, o que esta nos diz e depois falar e dizer a nós mesmos: “Como realmente construímos uma alternativa a esse amplo senso de desilusão que existe na sociedade?”

Will Brehm  28:18
Pensa que a educação em geral, ou talvez o ensino superior especificamente, pode fazer parte da construção dessa alternativa com base na sua crítica marxista?

David Harvey  28:28
Pode ser, e deveria ser. O problema agora é que o ensino superior é cada vez mais dominado pelo dinheiro privado, está a ser privatizado, o financiamento foi privatizado. Mesmo quando era financiado pelo Estado havia sempre restrições, mas não tão ferozes como agora. Basicamente, grandes capitais e corporações financiaram/ doaram quantias maciças às universidades para construir centros de investigação. Mas os centros de investigação procuram soluções técnicas, raramente encontram outra coisa senão um tipo nominal de preocupação com as questões sociais. Eles não são sobre – quero dizer, por exemplo, o campo ambiental, esses institutos para analisar questões ambientais. É tudo sobre tecnologias, acordos de tributação, ou algo desse tipo. Não se trata de consultar as pessoas, não se trata de discussões deste tipo.

Quando estávamos a investigar essas questões nos anos 60, havia sempre muita participação e discussão pública. Agora é imposta uma solução superior ao problema ambiental. Se estiver interessado no problema ambiental de uma perspetiva social, provavelmente, estará nas ciências humanas em algum lugar ou outro e poderá ter um pequeno simpósio nas ciências humanas sobre como, quando você começa a ser muito político, mas os engenheiros e tecnocratas bem financiados nesses institutos de investigação não ficarão muito animados em ouvi-lo.

Will Brehm  30:10
De maneira semelhante, às vezes surpreendo-me com o fato de haver poucos sindicatos que lutam pelos nossos direitos na academia, pois no nosso trabalho como professores e na redação de artigos trabalhamos muito mais do que a semana normal de trabalho. E o mais importante, creio, é que existe um sistema tão perverso ou maluco que os académicos têm todo esse trabalho a escrever artigos que depois são publicados nesses sites com fins lucrativos, que vendem periódicos e artigos e muito pouco dinheiro é devolvido ao professor que fez o trabalho real. Enquanto isso, o CEO da Wiley, que é uma grande editora, fatura algo em torno de 4 milhões de solares por ano. Quero dizer, parece tão distorcido. E na minha perspetiva o que é interessante é que alguns desses mesmos professores que estão nesse ambiente usam críticas marxistas nos seus trabalhos, havendo quase uma desconexão com esse mesmo trabalho. Nem sei como compreender isto.

David Harvey  31:21
Bem, penso que se queremos ser publicados precisamos de encontrar um editor e o editor é uma instituição capitalista. Agora, o interessante sobre a publicação é que os editores tendem a publicar qualquer coisa que vende. Portanto, é possível publicar se tiver uma perspetiva crítica, desde que venda. Obviamente, existem alguns livros que vendem amplamente e têm um grande impacto. E historicamente, é claro, The Other America, de Harrington, nos anos 60, de repente explodiu toda a questão da pobreza nos Estados Unidos. Um livro como o de Piketty, apesar de ter sido crítico, abriu e apoiou muito o que o movimento Occupy estava a fazer, falando sobre os problemas de 1%. O Piketty documentou muito disto, então é extremamente útil. Então, sim, precisa de usar meios capitalistas para fins anticapitalistas. Mas essa é, de facto, uma das contradições centrais da nossa própria situação social. É claro que existem alternativas para fazê-lo, através das redes sociais e do uso de uma espécie de Copyleft de um certo tipo, mas isso torna-se um pouco problemático se alguém precisar do dinheiro com o que quer que publique. Então, sim, existe o processo de trabalho, mas a coisa boa, pelo menos, que eu diria sobre o processo de trabalho para académicos é que ninguém é o seu chefe – faz isso por si mesmo. E Marx tem uma pergunta muito interessante: “Milton, ao escrever Paradise Lost, criou valor?” E a resposta é: “Não, ele escreveu frases maravilhosas”.

Ele diz que Milton escreveu Paradise Lost da mesma maneira que o bicho-da-seda produz seda; ele fez isso pela sua própria natureza. Isso só se tornou uma mercadoria, quando ele vendeu os direitos por cinco libras para alguém. E então tornou-se uma mercadoria, mas não faz parte do capital – só se tornou capital quando o livreiro começou a usá-lo como uma forma de circular o capital. E assim, gosto de pensar no meu trabalho como uma espécie de trabalho de bicho-da-seda – faço-o pela minha própria natureza, e não por algum tipo de instrução de algum editor. Então, eu faço isto porque quero, quero comunicar algo, poucos sindicatos a lutar por seus direitos, e tenho algo a dizer, e quero torná-lo público.

Will Brehm  34:37
E não pode deixar de o fazer.

David Harvey  34:38
Certo, e muito desse trabalho está disponível em acesso aberto, gratuito, no sítio da internet, por exemplo, mas depois há a pessoa escrita, os companheiros do Capital de Marx, que acompanham as palestras. Algumas pessoas gostam do formato da palestra e outras consideram-no difícil, preferindo o formato escrito. Portanto, o formato escrito está no mundo editorial.

Will Brehm  35:07
Sim, e penso que apenas esperamos que haja mais pessoas na academia como você que estejam a fazer isso pela sua própria natureza, e não muito preocupadas com a forma como isto se torna uma mercadoria.

David Harvey  35:20
Menos e menos. E esse é um dos problemas, julgo. Cada vez menos, toda uma geração de académicos foi criada dentro desse aparato disciplinar, que é necessário produzir muito disto, tantos artigos desse tipo dentro de um certo período de tempo para manter a sua posição. Portanto, há cada vez menos isto porque, quando está pressionado sob este tipo de condição, não pode demorar 10 anos para escrever um livro.

Levei 10 anos para escrever Limits to Capital e, durante esse período, não publiquei muito e, nas condições contemporâneas, estaria sob um stress real, devido ao facto de não ser produtivo o suficiente e todo o resto, estando sujeito a dizerem-me: “Necessita de produzir mais”. E há muitas coisas que aconteceram como resultado; a qualidade da publicação académica diminuiu muito significativamente à medida que a quantidade aumentou. Outra coisa é que, em vez de realizar uma investigação profunda e real, o que leva muito tempo, é muito melhor escrever um artigo em que critica outra pessoa. Digamos que, apenas, se envolve em coisas críticas e pode escrever um artigo em seis meses tornando o tempo de rotatividade da academia mais curto, tornando os projetos de longo prazo difíceis de concretizar.

Will Brehm  36:54
Isto lembra-me o recente escândalo no The Third World Quarterly, o artigo publicado por – penso que por um americano, não tenho 100% de certeza – mas que basicamente argumentou num artigo porque precisamos ver o colonialismo como bom. Nenhuma investigação, apenas esse tipo de argumento diabólico que, realmente, deixa as pessoas chateadas. E, é claro, torna-se instantaneamente o artigo de maior leitura no The Third World Quarterly, que existe há 60 anos. E então, é claro, o conselho editorial meio que renunciou em protesto, mas apenas se resume nisso.

David Harvey  37:39
Sim, e é claro, também recebe muitas citações e, de repente, ele dirige-se ao chefe de departamento e diz: “O meu trabalho está a ser muito citado, dê-me mais dinheiro”.

Will Brehm  37:52
Sim, é isso, e a universidade que ele está afeto não o criticou, foi tratado como um assunto que diz respeito à diversidade de opinião. É um exemplo de como se pode jogar com o sistema académico em detrimento de pensar profundamente, como estava a referir com os 10 anos que demorou a escrever um livro. Considera que Marx teria sido um bom académico?

David Harvey  38:13
Não, teria sido terrível! Ele nunca teria conseguido um cargo em nenhum lugar. Primeiro, ninguém saberia em que disciplina colocá-lo. Eu tenho um pouco esse problema. Quero dizer, venho da geografia, mas muitas pessoas pensam que sou sociólogo ou outra coisa. Mas ele não se encaixa facilmente em nenhuma disciplina. E, em segundo lugar, ele não concluiu muito do seu trabalho. Eu tinha sempre uma pequena coisa na minha secretária que dizia: ele tinha uma carta da sua editora que dizia: “Prezado professor Marx, ainda não recebemos o seu manuscrito Das Kapital. Pode, por favor, facultá-lo dentro de seis meses, ou teremos que contratar outra pessoa para escrever este trabalho? ”

Will Brehm  39:05
Sabe se ele cumpriu alguma meta?

David Harvey  39:07
Não, claro que não cumpriu.

Will Brehm  39:10
Quanto tempo demorou a escrever O Capital? O primeiro número.

David Harvey  39:15
Eu julgo que foram aproximadamente 15 anos.

Will Brehm  39:22
E há três volumes no nome dele de O Capital, mas o terceiro foi co-escrito ou compilado.

David Harvey  39:29
Bem, dois volumes, o número dois e três foram compilados por Engles. Tem havido muita discussão sobre o quanto Engles os fabricou, e até que ponto ele fez parecer que eram documentos perto de estarem prontos para publicação deixados por Marx. Atualmente há muita discussão crítica sobre este aspeto porque os manuscritos estão disponíveis gratuitamente e as pessoas estão a lê-los com muito cuidado, sendo possível ver o que Engles construiu e o texto real, e eles estão a encontrar todo tipo de coisas que Engles adicionou ou não. Portanto, há um exercício académico interessante em curso.

Will Brehm  40:14
Era suposto haver mais do que três volumes?

David Harvey  40:16

Will Brehm  40:17

David Harvey  40:19
Depende de como os conta. No Grundrisse, ele fez várias propostas – os três volumes que ele já tem de O Capital, depois um sobre o Estado, outro sobre o Mercado e Comércio Mundial e outro sobre as Crises. Portanto, havia pelo menos três outros, e é possível encontrar outros lugares onde ele mencionou outras coisas para as quais era necessário olhar. De facto, a questão do trabalho assalariado é abordado de certa forma no primeiro volume de O Capital, mas Marx nunca realmente escreveu uma explicação e discussão muito sofisticada sobre a determinação de salários. Ele tinha em mente fazer isso, mas ele tinha alguns pensamentos preliminares sobre isso, mas esses pensamentos preliminares acabaram no primeiro volume de O Capital. Julgo que ele queira ter um volume inteiro só sobre salário. Mas, como disse, partes dessa ideia acabaram por estar presentes no primeiro volume de O Capital, mas não tudo.

Will Brehm  41:41
Trabalho por acabar, presumo.

David Harvey  41:43
E uma das coisas que penso que deveríamos estar a fazer – aqueles que estão familiarizados com o texto – é tentar encontrar formas de concluir o que ele estava a falar nos três volumes de O Capital, o que eu tentei fazer no meu último livro.

Will Brehm  42:03
Então, na verdade, levanta um bom ponto: quem mais do que a próxima geração de pensadores marxistas – quero dizer, você passou 50 anos a fazê-lo. Quem vê hoje, da nova geração, a desempenhar esse papel?

David Harvey  42:21
A resposta para essa pergunta é: “Não tenho muita certeza”. Porque existe uma grande lacuna entre as pessoas da minha geração ou próximas da minha, com cerca de 60 anos ou mais, e a geração mais jovem entre os 20 e os 30 anos.

Will Brehm  42:39

David Harvey  42:40
Sim, existem muitas pessoas dessa geração que estão realmente muito interessadas em explorar Marx com muito mais detalhe. No meio, quase não há ninguém. E as pessoas que lá estavam abandonaram amplamente o que estavam a fazer e tornaram-se meio que neoliberalizadas, e tudo mais. Portanto, existem algumas pessoas no meio, obviamente. Portanto, não está completamente em branco, mas tenho muita fé na sua geração, na verdade, porque penso que sua geração está a levar isto muito mais a sério. Julgo que parece uma necessidade mais convincente que eles precisem de algum tipo de análise desse tipo. Considero que o que minha geração é obrigada a fazer, que é o que tenho tentado fazer, penso que na última década, na verdade, por meio do que chamo de Projeto Marx, é produzir uma leitura de Marx mais aberta e fluída, e mais relacionado com a vida quotidiana e não muito académica. Então, tentei produzir estas interpretações de Marx que são simples, mas não simplistas. É muito difícil negociar essa distinção, mas esse tem sido meu objetivo. Um dos aspetos que considero encorajadores é o facto de esta missão estar a ter uma reação bastante positiva.

Will Brehm  44:13
Portanto, Marx era conhecido por ser muito bem lido. E ele era um belo escritor O Capital – primeiro volume é absolutamente uma bela leitura, e ele realmente baseia-se numa variedade ampla de outros escritores. Eu pergunto-me: está a ler alguém académico contemporâneo, ou talvez um artista, ou um cineasta capaz de trazer uma variedade tão grande de pensamentos para a criação de algumas obras de arte ou algum trabalho académico de forma tão bela como Marx fez há 150 anos?

David Harvey  44:57
Eu considero que existem pessoas que têm uma perspetiva mais ampla sobre Marx. Penso em alguém como Terry Eagleton, pode trazer muitas questões culturais e, no seu livro sobre porque Marx estava certo, penso que fez um ótimo trabalho em retomar o espírito de Marx como pensador emancipatório. Penso que existem pessoas que são capazes de fazer isso, mas alguém que conhece a filosofia grega, ou Hegel de dentro para fora, Milton, Shakespeare, sabe – isto apenas confunde a mente de que alguém  se pode sentar com tudo isso na mente e produzir um trabalho fascinante, penso em como interpretá-lo.

Will Brehm  46:02
David Harvey, muito obrigado por se juntar ao FreshEd. Realmente não foi um prazer conversar; foi uma honra realmente falar consigo hoje.

David Harvey  46:08
O prazer foi meu em conversar consigo e lembre-se, é a sua geração que precisa fazer isto. Por isso, mãos à obra.

Will Brehm  46:15
Voltarei ao meu livro de 10 anos.

David Harvey  46:18

Translation by Rui da Silva

Want to help translate this show into other languages? Please contact info@freshedpodcast.com

Will Brehm 4:44
David Harvey, bienvenue à FreshEd.

David Harvey 4:47

Will Brehm 4:49
Nous voici donc assis à l’université de Musashi à Tokyo. C’est à la veille de la conférence de la Société japonaise d’économie politique, où vous allez prononcer un discours. Vous êtes assis dans un cadre universitaire comme celui-ci depuis plus de 50 ans maintenant. Comment votre compréhension de la valeur de l’enseignement supérieur a-t-elle évolué dans le temps et dans l’espace ?

David Harvey 5:14
Mon évaluation n’a pas beaucoup changé, elle est restée assez constante. Les conditions de l’enseignement supérieur ont vraiment été radicalement transformées. Et il a donc été très difficile de maintenir mes valeurs en vie face à ce que j’appellerais la corporatisation et la néolibéralisation de l’université. Et donc la nature de la lutte pour garder des espaces ouverts, où les opinions dissidentes peuvent être librement développées et exprimées, cette lutte est beaucoup plus difficile aujourd’hui qu’elle ne l’était il y a 20 ou 30 ans. Mais il y a 40 ou 50 ans, elle était également difficile. C’est donc comme s’il y avait eu un grand cycle de : Il était une fois très dur, et puis c’est devenu plus facile parce que les batailles étaient gagnées, et puis nous sommes devenus complaisants. Et puis la réaction s’est installée et maintenant c’est devenu plus dur.

Will Brehm 6:18
Alors, comment c’était au début, dans les années 1960 ? Quand vous avez dit que c’était difficile à l’époque, qu’est-ce qui l’a rendu difficile ? Qu’est-ce qui était difficile ?

David Harvey 6:26
Eh bien, c’était très hiérarchique. Les professeurs étaient des dieux que vous ne pouviez pas défier. Il y avait une certaine orthodoxie qui était assez uniforme, je dirais, dans le monde dans lequel je vivais, en termes de quel type de théorie sociale était admissible et laquelle ne l’était pas. Je n’ai jamais rencontré beaucoup de pensées de Marx, par exemple, jusqu’à l’âge de 35 ans. Et puis je l’ai rencontré par hasard, et je m’y suis mis par hasard. Et il y a eu une lutte considérable. Comme je publiais de plus en plus de choses où je citais Marx comme étant intéressant, où les gens me traitaient immédiatement de marxiste, je ne me suis pas appelé marxiste, on m’a appelé marxiste. Et après environ 10 ans de ce traitement, j’ai abandonné et j’ai dit : “Bon, je dois être marxiste alors si vous dites tous que je suis marxiste”. Mais tout ce que je faisais, c’était lire Marx et dire : “En fait, il y a des choses ici qui sont très intéressantes et très significatives.” Et, bien sûr, cela a une teinte politique que j’ai trouvée très attirante. Et cela m’a aidé à un moment très difficile dans le sens où aux États-Unis, où je viens de m’installer à la fin des années 60, il y a eu des soulèvements urbains partout où se trouvaient des populations marginalisées. Et la ville où j’ai déménagé, Baltimore, l’année précédant mon arrivée, avait été en grande partie incendiée lors d’un soulèvement racial.

Et bien sûr, la guerre du Vietnam était en cours, le mouvement anti-guerre, le mouvement pour la liberté d’expression commençait à faire des incursions dans l’université et le mouvement étudiant était très fort, très puissant. Et en même temps, il y a beaucoup de résistance à cela. Il y a donc eu une période de lutte très active de la fin des années 1960 jusqu’au milieu et à la fin des années 1970.

Will Brehm 8:27
Et au début, avez-vous vu l’influence du capital, vous savez, dans l’université quand vous avez commencé ?

David Harvey 8:37
Eh bien, il a toujours été évident que les universités étaient liées à des classes sociales. Ma formation à Cambridge, par exemple, m’a tout de suite fait rencontrer la classe et Cambridge comme je ne l’avais jamais fait à la maison, quand les gens des écoles publiques qui sont très riches étaient là, et ils semblent, vous savez, s’amuser en quelque sorte et je transpirais à l’idée d’être un bon étudiant. Et à la fin, vous savez, c’est moi qui ai en quelque sorte obtenu les honneurs académiques, mais ils s’en fichaient parce qu’ils partaient travailler dans l’entreprise de papa à Londres et étaient ultra riches au sein … Et j’ai fini par toucher une sorte de salaire de professeur assistant, ce qui était une bagatelle à l’époque, et je luttais pour survivre. La formation était donc toujours présente dans l’enseignement, mais je ne pense pas que les gros capitaux contrôlaient l’université comme ils le font maintenant. Mon éducation, par exemple, a été financée par l’État tout au long de ma scolarité jusqu’à mon doctorat. J’ai donc bénéficié d’une éducation gratuite et il est clair que dans ces conditions, on se sent capable d’explorer tout ce qu’on veut explorer.

Will Brehm 10:00
Étiez-vous politiquement actif lorsque vous étiez à Cambridge ?

David Harvey 10:05
Je suis, je dirais, issu d’un milieu où il y avait une certaine sympathie pour le parti travailliste et le socialisme et je suppose que l’étendue de mes convictions politiques était en gros socialiste fabienne. Mais vers la fin des années 60, je commençais à être désillusionné par rapport à des choses comme la guerre du Vietnam. Et le fait que les Premiers ministres travaillistes britanniques promettaient de grandes choses, mais qu’ils finissaient par succomber au pouvoir du grand argent. Et – comme l’a dit Harold Wilson – les gnomes de Zurich devaient être satisfaits.

J’ai donc commencé à croire qu’il y avait, peut-être, quelque chose qui clochait avec notre situation politique, en même temps que j’ai découvert que beaucoup des appareils théoriques que je comprenais de l’économie, de la sociologie et des sciences politiques n’étaient pas vraiment adéquats pour comprendre les problèmes que j’étudiais sur le terrain. En particulier dans la ville de Baltimore, où, comme je l’ai dit, il y a eu un soulèvement urbain l’année précédant mon arrivée et j’ai participé à de nombreuses études sur les questions suivantes : “Pourquoi cela s’est-il produit”, “Quels étaient les problèmes du marché du logement” et j’ai commencé à travailler sur les problèmes du marché du logement. Et constatant que la théorie économique ne m’aidait pas à un moment ou à un autre, j’ai décidé d’aller lire Marx pour voir s’il y avait quelque chose là-dedans. Et bien sûr, j’ai trouvé que c’était très utile pour aborder des questions pratiques.

Will Brehm 11:44
Donc Marx, comme je l’ai appris, en fait, grâce à certains de vos enseignements qui sont en ligne, définit le capital comme “la valeur en mouvement”. Et je voulais vous demander : Est-ce que ce concept s’applique à l’éducation ? Peut-être spécifiquement à l’enseignement supérieur aujourd’hui, parce que vous avez dit que les gros capitaux en sont maintenant venus à dominer les universités. Alors, que pensez-vous du capital dans les universités ? Et comment pensons-nous à la valeur en mouvement dans les universités ?

David Harvey 12:13
Oui, la masse du capital est bien sûr en mouvement, et s’accélère sans cesse, mais le capital a besoin de certaines infrastructures. Mais le capital a besoin de certaines infrastructures. Il a besoin d’infrastructures physiques, qui sont durables – des autoroutes, des routes, des ports, des choses de ce genre, qui nécessitent des investissements de capitaux à long terme. De même, il a besoin d’investissements à long terme dans l’éducation, car les qualités de la main-d’œuvre deviennent un problème de plus en plus préoccupant pour le capital au fil du temps, bien plus qu’à l’époque de Marx. Vous voulez une main-d’œuvre bien formée et instruite. Et vous en avez aussi besoin du point de vue du renouvellement de la société bourgeoise, qu’il y ait beaucoup d’innovation et que les universités de recherche deviennent des centres d’innovation. Bien sûr, l’une des choses les plus folles auxquelles je pense aujourd’hui, c’est que l’on réduit considérablement le financement de l’enseignement supérieur, alors qu’en fait, les investissements considérables dans l’enseignement supérieur dans les années 1960 ont créé un environnement qui, aujourd’hui encore, explique en grande partie pourquoi les États-Unis restent si forts dans l’économie mondiale, parce que vous avez une main-d’œuvre très instruite, à l’esprit d’entreprise, mais vous réduisez maintenant tout cela, et la main-d’œuvre est de moins en moins susceptible d’être innovante, parce qu’elle est de plus en plus endettée. Vous avez donc en fait une structure d’éducation qui sape ce dont le capital a vraiment besoin. Mais néanmoins, une partie du capital doit passer par les universités de manière à créer cette main-d’œuvre. Et c’est un projet à long terme qui coûte, parce qu’en quelque sorte, où les bénéfices et sortent 10, peut-être même 15 ans plus tard.

Will Brehm 14:14
Et je pense que l’une des choses qui me fascine en ce moment, comme en Amérique et probablement dans d’autres pays, c’est le montant de la dette des étudiants pour participer au futur marché du travail. Et j’y pense parfois en termes de cette idée des désirs, des besoins et des souhaits du capital, comme cette idée qu’il y a un tel désir d’être éduqué, que les gens s’endettent de milliers de dollars, ce qui limite vraiment leurs perspectives d’avenir. Quelle est votre opinion sur cette dette massive à laquelle les étudiants sont confrontés de nos jours ?

David Harvey 14:51
Je pense que le problème général de la circulation du capital est que la circulation de la dette est devenue de plus en plus le point central de ce qui se passe dans l’économie capitaliste. Et donc, l’endettement prend de nombreuses formes différentes, à cause de l’endettement que les gens contractent du côté des consommateurs. Et, bien sûr, dans la mesure où l’éducation est devenue une marchandise qu’il fallait acheter. Les gens ont donc besoin d’une demande effective et s’ils n’ont pas l’argent, ils doivent l’emprunter. Et c’est ainsi que l’on a maintenant l’endettement d’une population étudiante. Et cela hypothèque l’avenir. Et d’une certaine manière, c’est une forme de contrôle social, de la même manière que l’on disait dans les années 1930 que les dettes des propriétaires de maisons ne se mettent pas en grève. Ainsi, les étudiants grevés de dettes ne font pas de vagues. Ils veulent garder leur emploi, ils ne veulent pas être licenciés, parce qu’ils ont toutes ces dettes à rembourser. Il y a donc beaucoup de preuves, me semble-t-il, que la population des étudiants diplômés est beaucoup moins susceptible de prendre des risques que dans la situation où je me trouvais, par exemple, en sortant de Cambridge avec un doctorat sans dette.

Et puis vous pouvez aller faire ce que vous voulez, et vous n’avez pas cela en tête. Mais maintenant, les gens ont cette menace sur eux. C’est donc à la fois un mécanisme de contrôle social et un moyen de conserver le capital pour l’avenir, car la dette est une créance sur le travail futur, et c’est une créance sur l’avenir. Donc, en fait, nous avons verrouillé l’avenir des gens en augmentant les niveaux d’endettement. Et cela signifie qu’il est difficile d’imaginer une transformation du capitalisme, parce qu’il y a tant de dettes. Je suis personnellement devenu nerveux parce que mon fonds de pension est investi dans la dette. Donc si nous abolissons la dette, vous abolissez mes fonds de pension. Mon fonds de pension devient donc une partie cruciale du problème. J’ai donc cette ambivalence ; je vois le marché boursier s’effondrer et je me dis “Yay, c’est la fin du capitalisme”. Et puis je me dis : “Oh, mon Dieu, qu’est-ce qui arrive à mon fonds de pension ?” Mais c’est une sorte de situation contradictoire dans laquelle nous nous trouvons tous et c’est une des choses qui donne en fait une certaine stabilité sociale et politique au capitalisme que lorsque le capital a des problèmes, et j’ai dit : “Nous devons sauver les banques”. Nous disons : “Non, ne faites pas ça.” Et puis quelqu’un se tourne vers nous et nous dit : “Si vous ne sauvez pas les banques, désolé, toutes vos économies ont disparu.” Alors vous vous retournez et dites : “Ok, allez sauver les banques.”

Will Brehm 17:37
Oui, je veux souligner que ce qui m’intéresse, c’est que l’éducation, à certains égards, est considérée par les gens comme un facteur de transformation, et peut-être un lieu où aller vraiment à l’encontre de certaines normes systémiques. Donc, vous savez, comme le capitalisme, mais en même temps, le système que nous avons créé, comme vous l’avez dit, est fondamentalement en train de verrouiller l’avenir, et de rendre les gens moins capables de prendre des risques, et peut-être de défier ce système. Et cela me fait penser à l’érudit [Maurizio Lazzarato, qui dit, la dette dans l’éducation, l’enseignement supérieur, ce que nous commençons à réaliser c’est que la valeur, le but, de l’enseignement supérieur est d’enseigner la dette. Les étudiants apprennent l’endettement par le biais du système pour les préparer à devenir de bons travailleurs capitalistes à l’avenir.

David Harvey 18:23
C’est vrai. Mais l’autre côté de la médaille est que les étudiants apprennent de moins en moins à être critiques. Leurs facultés critiques s’érodent et nous avons des situations où les étudiants disent : “Oh, ne m’ennuyez pas avec tout ça, dites-moi juste ce que je dois savoir pour obtenir ma certification”. Et je l’obtiens, et ensuite je peux partir et utiliser cette qualification. Il s’agit donc de la qualification plutôt que de développer un mode de pensée particulier, ce qui est essentiel. Et d’un côté, le capital n’aime pas la pensée critique, parce qu’à un moment ou à un autre, comme cela s’est produit à la fin des années 60, beaucoup de gens ont commencé à être très critiques à l’égard du capital. Le capital n’aime donc pas cela. D’un autre côté, si vous n’avez pas de pensée critique, il n’y a pas d’innovation. Et le capital s’assoit et dit : “Pourquoi n’y a-t-il pas plus de choses innovantes ? Et c’est parce que les gens ne savent pas comment penser par eux-mêmes. Et en fait, on se plaint maintenant – je ne sais pas si vous avez rencontré cela – de la main-d’œuvre qui sort des universités et qui est incapable de résoudre les problèmes, parce qu’elle ne sait pas penser par elle-même. Ils veulent juste trouver une solution à laquelle ils se branchent. Ils veulent donc des informations, mais ils n’ont pas la capacité critique d’être réellement des résolveurs de problèmes. Et il y a beaucoup de plaintes maintenant, parmi le capital des entreprises, sur l’incapacité de cette jeune génération à répondre aux besoins du monde du travail.

Will Brehm 20:02
Je veux donc dire, étant donné cet environnement dans l’enseignement supérieur – et vous, vous travaillez dans l’enseignement supérieur. Je pense que vous continuez à enseigner aussi ?

David Harvey 20:09
Oui, j’enseigne un peu.

Will Brehm 20:11
Donc, Marx était très intéressé par la pratique quotidienne, et par votre pratique quotidienne en tant que professeur, mais peut-être plus largement, en tant que citoyen : Comment naviguez-vous dans le système, ces contradictions, comme vous dites ? D’un côté, vous applaudissez la chute de la bourse, mais de l’autre, vous vous lamentez sur l’effondrement de votre fonds de pension. Comment faites-vous face à ces contradictions et comment continuez-vous à être politiquement actif ?

David Harvey 20:37
Eh bien, par exemple, je peux commencer par cette histoire et cette contradiction dans ma propre vie. Et puis nous demanderons aux élèves : “Pouvez-vous constater des contradictions similaires ?” Et, par exemple, toute cette dette, et parler des choses dont nous avons parlé. Et si vous faites cela, les gens comprennent tout de suite. Et donc, vous commencez peut-être à penser que le système est un problème, et que nous devons faire quelque chose pour y remédier, et ensuite que nous devons en apprendre beaucoup plus sur le fonctionnement du système. Et à ce moment-là, vous pouvez entrer dans les choses. L’autre chose que je voudrais faire, cependant, c’est – j’ai toujours, bien sûr, été intéressé par l’urbanisation. Et si vous êtes dans une grande ville, et si vous êtes dans une grande université dans une grande ville, il me semble que vous avez un monde éducatif énorme qui vous permet de sortir dans la rue et de commencer à impliquer les gens dans une certaine mesure sur ce qui se passe dans la rue. L’une des grandes qualités de l’enseignement à la City University of New York est que nous avons tendance à avoir des étudiants qui sont très proches de la rue et qui sont sortis pour participer à des mouvements sociaux, ce qui fait que je n’ai pas besoin de leur dire d’aller voir ce qui se passe dans la rue parce qu’ils en savent beaucoup plus que moi. Et ce qu’ils viennent me voir, c’est pour me dire : “Comment puis-je comprendre tout cela ? “C’est pourquoi j’essaie de leur dire : “Bon, d’accord, étudions Marx et voyons comment ce que vous vivez est lié à ce mode de pensée”, et j’essaie ainsi de parvenir à une sorte de perspective théorique critique.

Will Brehm 22:32
Il est incroyable de penser que les écrits de Marx d’il y a 150 ans sont toujours pertinents pour aider à donner un sens à la vie des étudiants aujourd’hui.

David Harvey 22:44
C’est vrai. En fait, c’est encore plus vrai. Je veux dire, le point ici est que si vous disiez dans les années 1850, “Où le mode de production capitaliste était-il dominant ?” et qu’il ne l’était qu’en Grande-Bretagne, en Europe occidentale et dans la partie orientale des États-Unis et partout ailleurs, il y avait des marchands et ainsi de suite et qu’aujourd’hui bien sûr, il domine partout. Il y a donc un sens dans lequel la théorie que Marx a construite pour traiter de ce monde de production industrielle capitaliste est maintenant devenue mondiale. Et elle est plus pertinente que je ne l’ai jamais été auparavant.

Je tiens donc à le souligner auprès des gens, parce que beaucoup de gens aiment écrire sur Marx et dire : “Eh bien, vous savez, c’était à propos de ce qui se passait à l’époque”. Et je réponds : “Eh bien, non, en fait à l’époque, il y avait toutes sortes d’autres choses qui se passaient dans le monde en dehors de l’accumulation de votre capital.” Aujourd’hui, il n’y a pratiquement aucun endroit dans le monde où l’accumulation de capital n’est pas dominante.

Will Brehm 23:50
Je sais, et c’est incroyable de penser à ce que c’est, c’est tellement omniprésent, c’est tellement mondial, ça s’infiltre dans des parties de la vie, comme l’université qui n’avait pas normalement, ou n’avait pas historiquement ce genre de logique. Et puis, je suppose que je deviens un peu pessimiste et que je me dis : “Eh bien, par où commencer pour résister ? Et comment résister quand il s’agit d’un système si massif et si difficile à situer à l’extérieur ?

David Harvey 24:21
Mais je pense qu’il existe beaucoup de réticences en son sein. J’insiste beaucoup sur le concept d’aliénation de Marx, qui, vous savez, n’a pas été très fortement articulé, je pense, dans la tradition marxiste, en partie parce que quelqu’un comme [Louis] Althusser a dit que c’était un concept non scientifique. Alors que je pense que c’est un concept très profondément important. Et si vous disiez : “Combien de personnes sont aliénées par les conditions de travail actuelles ?” Et les conditions de travail ne concernent pas seulement l’aspect physique du travail et la quantité d’argent que vous obtenez. Il s’agit également de la notion d’avoir un emploi valorisant et une vie valorisante, et les emplois valorisants sont de plus en plus difficiles à trouver.

J’ai une fille de 27 ans et sa génération regarde le marché du travail et dit qu’il n’y a pas grand-chose de valorisant, alors je préfère être barman plutôt que de prendre un de ces emplois sans intérêt. On se trouve donc dans une sorte d’aliénation par rapport à la situation de l’emploi, parce que le sens du travail a disparu. Il existe une grande aliénation par rapport à la vie urbaine quotidienne, aux niveaux de pollution, aux dégâts causés par les systèmes de transport et les embouteillages, et aux tracas liés à la vie quotidienne en ville. Il y a donc une aliénation de l’espace de vie, puis une aliénation de la politique, parce que les décisions politiques semblent être prises quelque part dans la stratosphère et que vous n’êtes pas vraiment en mesure de les influencer, sauf au niveau très local du quartier. Et il y a un sentiment d’aliénation de la nature et d’aliénation d’une sorte de concept de la nature humaine. Et vous regardez une personnalité comme Trump et vous vous dites : “Est-ce le genre de personne que j’aimerais être” et “Est-ce le genre d’être humain que nous voulons encourager à peupler la terre ? Est-ce que c’est ce que le monde va devenir ?” Et donc je pense qu’il y a beaucoup de mécontentement au sein du système.

Les gens mécontents peuvent bien sûr voter de toutes sortes de manières et ce que nous voyons en Europe et ailleurs, ce sont des choses politiques assez folles qui se passent. Et je pense qu’ici la gauche a un certain problème du fait que nous n’avons pas abordé tous ces sentiments politiques et que nous n’avons pas proposé une sorte de politique active pour trouver de meilleures solutions. Nous avons donc laissé le jeu disparaître et je pense que, dans une certaine mesure, cela a beaucoup à voir avec ce que j’appellerais en fait le conservatisme de la gauche.

Les marxistes, par exemple, sont incroyablement conservateurs et vous savez que j’ai perdu le compte du nombre de fois où, dans une discussion, j’ai été ramené à devoir discuter de Lénine. Bon, d’accord, j’admire Lénine et je pense qu’il était important de lire à son sujet, mais je ne pense pas que le sujet soit d’actualité. Je ne veux pas me perdre dans tous ces arguments sur la question de savoir si c’était Lénine ou le Luxembourg, ou, vous savez, “Qui est Trotsky ?” ou qui avait raison. Je veux en parler maintenant. Je veux parler de la critique marxiste maintenant, de ce qu’elle nous dit, puis parler et se dire : “Comment construire alors une alternative à ce très large sentiment de désillusion qui existe dans la société ?

Will Brehm 28:18
Pensez-vous que l’éducation au sens large, ou peut-être l’enseignement supérieur en particulier, peut contribuer à la construction de cette alternative basée sur votre critique marxiste ?

David Harvey 28:28
Il peut l’être, et il devrait l’être. Le problème actuel est que l’enseignement supérieur est de plus en plus dominé par l’argent privé et qu’il est devenu privatisé ; le financement est devenu privatisé. Et lorsqu’il était financé par l’État, il existait toujours des contraintes, mais pas aussi strictes qu’aujourd’hui. Et fondamentalement, les grands capitaux et les sociétés vont financer/donner des sommes massives aux universités pour construire des centres de recherche. Mais les centres de recherche ont pour but de trouver des solutions techniques ; ils ont très rarement autre chose qu’une préoccupation nominale pour les questions sociales. Ils ne s’intéressent pas – je veux dire, par exemple, au domaine de l’environnement, à ces instituts qui se penchent sur les questions environnementales. Et c’est une question de technologies. Et tout cela concerne les dispositions fiscales, ou quelque chose de ce genre. Il ne s’agit pas de consulter les gens. Il ne s’agit pas de discussions de ce genre.

Lorsque nous faisions des recherches sur ces questions dans les années 1960, il existait toujours une forte participation du public et des discussions publiques. Aujourd’hui, une sorte de solution technocratique est imposée d’en haut au problème environnemental, qui est en cours d’élaboration. Et si vous vous intéressez au problème environnemental d’un point de vue social, il est probable que vous soyez quelque part dans les sciences humaines et que vous puissiez organiser un petit symposium en sciences humaines sur la façon dont, lorsque vous commencez à être très politique à ce sujet, mais les ingénieurs et les technocrates bien financés dans ces instituts de recherche ne seront pas très enthousiastes à l’idée de vous écouter.

Will Brehm 30:10
De la même manière, je suis parfois étonné de voir comment, dans les universités, le travail des professeurs consiste à écrire des documents et à travailler beaucoup plus longtemps que la semaine de travail normale, et qu’il y a très peu de syndicats qui se battent pour leurs droits. Et ce qui est plus important, je pense, c’est que, vous savez, il y a un système tellement pervers ou fou dans la mesure où les universitaires dépensent tout ce travail pour écrire des articles qui sont ensuite publiés dans ces sociétés à but lucratif qui vendent ensuite des revues et des articles et très peu d’argent revient au professeur qui a fait le travail réel. Et pendant ce temps, le PDG de Wiley, qui est une grande société d’édition, gagne quelque chose comme 4 millions de dollars par an. Tout cela semble tellement faussé. Et ce qui est intéressant dans mon esprit, c’est que certains de ces mêmes professeurs qui sont dans cet environnement, ils utilisent des critiques marxistes dans leur travail, mais il y a presque comme une déconnexion avec leur propre travail. Et je ne sais pas comment donner un sens à cela parfois.

David Harvey 31:21
Je pense que si vous voulez être publié, vous devez trouver un éditeur et l’éditeur est une institution capitaliste. Ce qui est intéressant dans l’édition, c’est que les éditeurs ont tendance à publier tout ce qui se vend. Il est donc possible, si vous avez un point de vue critique, d’être publié si cela se vend. Il y a donc évidemment des livres qui se vendent bien et qui ont un impact important. Historiquement, bien sûr, The Other America de Harrington, dans les années 60, a soudainement fait exploser toute la question de la pauvreté aux États-Unis. Un livre comme celui de Piketty pour l’ensemble, bien que j’aie été critique à son égard, s’est néanmoins ouvert et a beaucoup soutenu ce que faisait le mouvement Occupy, et a parlé des problèmes du 1%. Et Piketty en a documenté beaucoup, donc c’est extrêmement utile. Donc oui, vous devez utiliser des moyens capitalistes à des fins anticapitalistes. Mais c’est, en fait, une des contradictions qui est au cœur de notre propre situation sociale. Il existe bien sûr des alternatives pour le faire par le biais des médias sociaux et de l’utilisation d’une sorte de Copyleft, mais cela devient un peu problématique si quelqu’un a besoin de l’argent de ce qu’il publie. Donc oui, il y a le processus de travail mais la bonne chose que je dirais au moins à propos du processus de travail pour les universitaires est que personne n’est votre patron – que vous le faites pour vous-même. Et Marx a une question très intéressante : “Est-ce que Milton, en écrivant Paradise Lost, a créé de la valeur ?” Et la réponse est : “Non, il a juste écrit des phrases merveilleuses.”

Il dit que Milton a écrit “Paradise Lost” de la même façon que le ver à soie produit de la soie ; il l’a fait de sa propre nature. Elle n’est devenue une marchandise que lorsqu’il en a vendu les droits pour cinq livres à quelqu’un. Puis il est devenu une marchandise, mais il ne fait pas partie du capital – il n’est devenu un capital que lorsque le libraire a commencé à l’utiliser comme une sorte de moyen de faire circuler le capital. C’est pourquoi j’aime à considérer mon travail comme une sorte de travail de ver à soie – que je le fais par nature, et non sur instruction d’un éditeur. Je le fais donc parce que je veux le faire, je veux communiquer quelque chose, j’ai quelque chose à dire et je veux le faire savoir.

Will Brehm 34:37
Et vous ne pouvez pas ne pas le faire.

David Harvey 34:38
C’est vrai, et une grande partie de ce travail est gratuit comme maintenant sur le site web, par exemple, les gens peuvent le faire et puis il y a la personne écrite, les compagnons de la capitale de Marx, qui vont avec les conférences. Certaines personnes aiment le format des conférences, et d’autres le trouvent difficile, alors elles peuvent passer au format écrit. Le format écrit est donc dans le monde de l’édition.

Will Brehm 35:07
Oui, et je suppose que nous espérons simplement qu’il y a plus de gens dans le monde universitaire comme vous qui font cela de leur propre nature, et qui ne s’inquiètent pas trop de la façon dont cela devient une marchandise.

David Harvey 35:20
De moins en moins. Et c’est l’un des problèmes, je pense. De moins en moins, et toute une génération d’universitaires a été élevée au sein de cet appareil disciplinaire, que vous devez produire tant de ceci, et tant d’articles de ce genre dans un certain laps de temps afin de maintenir votre position. Il y en a donc de moins en moins qui le font, parce que dans ce genre de conditions, on ne peut pas prendre dix ans pour écrire un livre.

J’ai mis dix ans à écrire Limits to Capital, et pendant cette période, je n’ai pas publié beaucoup et dans les conditions actuelles, j’aurais été vraiment stressé par le fait que je n’étais pas assez productif, et tout le reste et ils m’auraient eu et m’auraient dit : “Vous devez produire plus”. Et beaucoup de choses se sont produites en conséquence ; la qualité des publications universitaires a diminué de manière très significative alors que la quantité a augmenté. Et l’autre chose, c’est qu’au lieu d’entreprendre une sorte de recherche vraiment approfondie, qui vous prend beaucoup de temps, il est bien mieux d’écrire un article où vous critiquez quelqu’un d’autre. Supposons que vous vous engagiez dans une sorte de critique et que vous puissiez écrire un article comme un fou en six mois. Ainsi, le temps de renouvellement du personnel universitaire est devenu beaucoup plus court et les projets à long terme sont beaucoup plus difficiles à entreprendre.

Will Brehm 36:54
Cela me rappelle le récent scandale du Third World Quarterly, l’article publié par un Américain, je crois, dont je ne suis pas sûr à 100%. Mais il a essentiellement exposé les raisons pour lesquelles nous devons considérer le colonialisme comme une bonne chose, et il a rassemblé tout l’article. Pas de recherche, juste ce genre d’argument diabolique qui énerve vraiment les gens. Et, bien sûr, il devient instantanément l’article le plus lu dans The Third World Quarterly, qui existe depuis 60 ans. Et puis, bien sûr, le comité de rédaction a en quelque sorte démissionné en signe de protestation, mais cela résume bien ce moment.

David Harvey 37:39
Oui. Et, bien sûr, il reçoit aussi beaucoup de citations et soudain, il va voir son chef de service et lui dit : “Je suis en haut de l’échelle des citations. Donnez-moi plus d’argent”.

Will Brehm 37:52
C’est vrai, et son université n’est pas venue le critiquer. Vous savez, c’est une question de diversité d’opinions. C’est quelque chose que vous pouvez voir comment vous pouvez jouer le système de cette façon avec les universitaires. Au lieu de faire cette réflexion profonde, comme vous en parlez, avec les 10 ans pour écrire un livre. Pensez-vous que Marx aurait été un bon universitaire ?

David Harvey 38:13
Non, il aurait été terrible ! Il n’aurait jamais été titularisé nulle part. D’abord, personne ne saurait dans quelle discipline le mettre. J’ai un peu ce problème. Je veux dire, je viens de la géographie mais beaucoup de gens pensent que je suis sociologue ou autre chose. Mais il ne s’intègre pas facilement dans une discipline. Et puis, deuxièmement, il n’a pas terminé une grande partie de son travail. Et j’avais toujours cette petite chose sur mon bureau : Il avait une lettre de son éditeur, qui disait : “Cher Monsieur le Professeur Marx, nous avons appris que nous n’avons pas encore reçu votre manuscrit de Das Kapital. Pourriez-vous nous le fournir dans les six mois, ou nous devrons charger quelqu’un d’autre d’écrire cette œuvre ?

Will Brehm 39:05
Savez-vous s’il a respecté le délai ?

David Harvey 39:07
Non, bien sûr que non.

Will Brehm 39:10
Combien de temps lui a-t-il fallu pour écrire Capital ? Numéro un.

David Harvey 39:15
Je pense que c’était en gros 15 ans, je crois.

Will Brehm 39:22
Et il existe trois volumes à son nom pour Capital, mais le troisième a été co-écrit ou compilé.

David Harvey 39:29
Eh bien, les deux volumes deux et trois ont été compilés par Engles. Et il y a eu beaucoup de discussions sur la quantité fabriquée par Engles, et il a certainement fait croire que ces notes que Marx avait étaient plus proches de la publication qu’elles ne l’étaient en réalité. Il y a donc beaucoup de discussions critiques parce que les manuscrits sont maintenant disponibles gratuitement et les gens lisent les manuscrits très attentivement, à partir desquels Engles a élaboré le texte réel qui nous est parvenu, et ils trouvent toutes sortes de choses qu’Engles a ajoutées ou manquées. Il y a donc un exercice scientifique intéressant qui se déroule à ce sujet.

Will Brehm 40:14
Il devait y avoir plus de trois volumes ?

David Harvey 40:16

Will Brehm 40:17
Combien de personnes ?

David Harvey 40:19
Cela dépend de la façon dont vous les comptez. Dans le Grundrisse, il a fait plusieurs propositions – les trois volumes qu’il a déjà sur la capitale, puis un sur l’État, un sur le marché mondial et le commerce mondial, et un autre sur les crises. Il y en a donc eu au moins trois autres, et il est possible de trouver d’autres endroits où il a mentionné d’autres choses qu’il doit examiner. En fait, la question du travail salarié, elle est bien sûr couverte dans une certaine mesure dans le premier volume du Capital, mais Marx, n’a jamais vraiment écrit d’explication et de discussion très sophistiquée sur la détermination des salaires. Et il avait l’intention de le faire, mais il est évident qu’il avait quelques idées préliminaires à ce sujet, mais ces idées préliminaires ont fini dans le premier volume du Capital, mais il voulait, je pense, avoir tout un volume sur le travail salarié en soi. Mais comme je l’ai dit, des bribes de cette idée ont abouti dans le premier volume du Capital, mais pas l’ensemble.

Will Brehm 41:41
Un travail inachevé, je suppose.

David Harvey 41:43
Et l’une des choses que nous devrions faire – ceux d’entre nous qui sont familiers avec le texte – c’est d’essayer de trouver des moyens de compléter ce dont il parlait, et de représenter réellement ce dont il parle dans les trois volumes du Capital, ce que j’ai essayé de faire dans le dernier livre.

Will Brehm 42:03
Cela soulève donc en fait un bon point : Qui d’autre dans la prochaine génération de penseurs marxistes – je veux dire, vous avez passé 50 ans à faire cela. Qui, selon vous, prend aujourd’hui la relève de la génération suivante ?

David Harvey 42:21
La réponse à cette question est : “Je ne suis pas tout à fait sûr”. Parce qu’il y a un grand fossé entre les personnes de ma génération ou proches de ma génération, en quelque sorte sexagénaires et plus, et la jeune génération à la fin de la vingtaine, au début de la trentaine.

Will Brehm 42:39
Donc moi.

David Harvey 42:40
Oui, il y a beaucoup de personnes dans cette génération qui sont en fait très intéressées à explorer Marx de façon beaucoup plus détaillée. Entre les deux, il n’y a presque personne. Et les gens qui étaient là ont en grande partie abandonné ce qu’ils faisaient et sont devenus une sorte de néolibéralisation et tout le reste. Il y a donc quelques personnes au milieu, évidemment. Ce n’est donc pas complètement vide, mais j’ai beaucoup de foi en votre génération, en fait, parce que je pense que votre génération prend cela beaucoup plus au sérieux. Je pense qu’elle ressent davantage le besoin impérieux d’une analyse de ce genre. Et je pense que ce que ma génération est obligée de faire, et c’est ce que j’ai essayé de faire, je crois, au cours de la dernière décennie, par le biais de ce que j’appelle The Marx Project, c’est de produire une lecture de Marx qui soit plus ouverte et plus fluide, plus en rapport avec la vie quotidienne et qui ne soit pas trop scolastique. J’ai donc essayé de produire ces interprétations de Marx qui sont simples, mais pas simplistes. Il est très difficile de négocier cette distinction, mais c’était mon objectif. Et l’une des choses que je trouve encourageantes est ce que je considère comme une réaction très positive à cette mission.

Will Brehm 44:13
Marx était donc connu pour être très bien lu. Et c’était un très bel écrivain et Capital – Volume 1 est tout simplement une très belle lecture. Et il s’inspire vraiment d’un si grand nombre d’autres écrivains. Et je me pose des questions : Lisez-vous quelqu’un qui est un chercheur contemporain, ou peut-être un artiste, ou un cinéaste capable d’intégrer une si grande variété de pensées dans la création d’une œuvre d’art ou d’une œuvre savante d’une manière aussi belle que Marx l’a fait il y a 150 ans ?

David Harvey 44:57
Je pense qu’il y a des gens qui ont une perspective plus large sur Marx. Je pense à quelqu’un comme Terry Eagleton, qui peut apporter beaucoup de choses culturelles et qui, dans son petit livre sur les raisons pour lesquelles Marx avait raison, a fait un très bon travail en reprenant l’esprit de Marx en tant que penseur émancipateur et en le poussant à se réaliser. Il y a donc des gens, je pense, qui sont capables de faire cela, mais quelqu’un qui connaît la philosophie grecque, ou Hegel à fond, Milton, Shakespeare, vous savez – cela dépasse l’entendement que quelqu’un puisse s’asseoir là avec tout cela en tête et produire un travail qui est fascinant, je pense en termes de comment l’interpréter.

Will Brehm 46:02
David Harvey, je vous remercie beaucoup d’avoir rejoint FreshEd. Ce n’était pas vraiment un plaisir de parler, c’était un honneur de prendre vraiment la parole aujourd’hui.

David Harvey 46:08
C’était un plaisir de discuter avec vous, et n’oubliez pas que c’est votre génération qui doit le faire. Alors, occupez-vous maintenant.

Will Brehm 46:15
Je vais retourner à mon livre de 10 ans.

David Harvey 46:18

Translation sponsored by NORRAG.

Want to help translate this show into other languages? Please contact info@freshedpodcast.com

Have any useful resources related to this show? Please send them to info@freshedpodcast.com


Many students move across national borders to attend university.  Although the number of these globally mobile students is small compared to the total number of students enrolled in higher education, there numbers are increasing.

But the patterns are changing, with more regional and south-south mobility.

The role of scholarships in promoting these new patterns of student mobility is gaining attention by researchers and development aid alike. My guests today, Joan Dassin and Aryn Baxter, have recently contributed to a new edited collection entitled International Scholarships in Higher Education: Pathways to Social Change, which was edited by Joan Dassin, Robin March, and Matt Mawer.

Joan Dassin is a Professor of International Education and Development and Director of the Masters Program in Sustainable International Development at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. Aryn Baxter is an Assistant Professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College and Director of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Arizona State University (ASU).

Citation: Dassin, Joan & Baxter, Aryn, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 99, podcast audio, December 11, 2017. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/dassinbaxter/

Transcript, Translation, and Resources:

Read more

Today we talk about a television show that was hugely popular in Latin America called El Chavo del Ocho.

The show crossed borders across Latin America, taking on a multiplicity of meaning. My guests today, Daniel Friedrich and Erica Colmenares, have a new edited collection that explores how the show worked and produced particular visions of Latin American childhood, schooling, and societies. They also contend that their approach to studying El Chavo del Ocho is a new direction in comparative education research.

Daniel Friedrich is an Associate Professor of Curriculum at Teachers College, Columbia University where Erica Colmenares is a doctoral candidate in the Curriculum and Teaching department. Their new edited collection is entitled Resonances of El Chavo del Ocho in Latin American Childhood, schooling and societies. It is the first book in the new Bloomsbury series “New Directions in Comparative and International Education.”

Citation: Friedrich, Daniel & Colmenares, Erica, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 98, podcast audio, December 4, 2017. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/friedrichcolmenares/

Transcript, translation, resources:

Read more