Letter to the Phoenix: Teachers, the front line revolutionaries

Hundreds of teachers participated in the Denver Public Schools strike in 2019. (Photo: The Denver Post)

Note: The Red Phoenix does not edit the content of letters and reproduces them as a glimpse into the minds of working people in the United States.

The Red Phoenix received the following letter from A. Dewy, a public school teacher in the South who has growing concerns over legislation in our country and its effects on education and American youth.

He wakes up and gets his little girl ready for preschool while his wife dries her hair and gets dressed for work. The little girl, awake with a bright smile that greets the day, asks for cereal and a sippy cup of milk. He prepares her breakfast while her mother puts on her shoes. The man drives to the local high school. Bright and early, he prepares his room for his students, he prepares his lesson for them, and he prepares himself for the task of teaching.

This is the early morning routine of a revolutionary. Teaching is an art and a calling. It is also a task that is on the front line of our Marxist Revolution. If we begin to see teaching it for what it is, a revolutionary task, then we can more effectively combat the fascist attempts to take control of our schools.

The task of the teacher-revolutionary has become considerably more difficult over the years. It has, however, only grown in importance over the same time period. The revolutionary needs of our time demand our comrades in classrooms proudly take up the scarlet banner without reservation.

What is the fascist’s end game with the destruction of education? Let us look at the testing grounds that Ron DeSantis has created in the state of Florida. It is DeSantis that is leading the movement of the far-right, and he is winning. If he is successful, our hope for revolutionary education begins to fade into the darkness.

DeSantis’ policies are multifaceted and complex. Yet, their goals are overly simplistic.

Vox reported that DeSantis campaigned on education “reform” in 2020. He has since made that promise a reality. From banning our transgender comrades from competing in school athletics, to providing parents with opportunities to insert their own, uniformed ideologies in the classroom, he has taken steps to dismantle the schools of Florida. Of course, we must not forget the “Don’t Say Gay” bill that criminalizes discussion of basic human anatomy and gender.

This undermines the professionalism of the field of education. Parents send their children to school to learn from a person who has studied the art of teaching. Now, these parents can turn the system into a building of hate and ignorance.

Even more concerning for our revolutionary ambitions is that DeSantis is growing his support for his plans locally. He is crafty. As Vox reports, “24 out of 30 candidates he supported” won. This is where the danger sets in. After Trump, the power of the demagogue is on the rise in the United States. This is proof that these platforms are well funded and well developed enough to garner support from the larger public. Their propaganda campaign is marching across the country.

DeSantis thinks so little of education, that he believes anyone can do the job. He wants to control education by pushing out college educated teachers and replacing them with uneducated veterans. He wants Florida schools staffed with drones who are ready to spew Capitalist propaganda to impressionable minds. The Associated Press reports that the program allows veterans, with no degree, to receive a 5 year temporary license. 5 cohorts of students, indoctrinated by the militant arm of DeSantis’ regime. What will happen when soldiers inevitably outnumber teachers? The military industrial complex will lead to the military educational complex. In the same way that the military co-opted industry for war making, so too will it co-opt education.

These soldier “teachers” will only intensify the national dependence and worship of the military. This will lead to the strong men that control them being seen as gods. Opposition will be squashed in each student’s intellectual infancy. These teachers, along with the other policies that aim to destroy the liberating capacity of education, will create generation after generation of complicit wage slaves. We cannot allow this. We cannot allow even one student to be turned into a Capitalist cog. These policies will doom countless students to lives of silent desperation under Capitalism’s boot heel.

This campaign against education started with the far right responses to a harmless academic framework: Critical Race Theory. This embolden their desires for dominance. Now, they are realizing their goals.

I live in a rural area in the American South. These policies are all too real. The school board is jam packed with Republican Fascists from the community. The school system has an abstinence only program. This is an attack on low income communities that desperately need access to contraception and public health education. As an educator, I see the harm of these policies everyday. I stay awake at night, fearing what will come next.

There is hope. Teachers are the front line revolutionaries of this battle. As the war wages, we must believe in the revolutionary position of teachers. We must also demand that others see it too. The act of teaching is a deeply revolutionary act. Every day, we have to be models of critical thinking. As Marxists, we have to sow the seeds of distrust in capital based systems. It is our job to shape these children for the revolution. If we don’t, DeSantis will. We cannot afford that.

Revolutionary teaching is deeply subversive. In these times, we must teach our students the value of labor and the need for social reform. In so doing, we begin to take back the power that was lost to the Fascists Right. Teachers like myself need to become too valuable to lose and difficult to replace. This is the security that is necessary to advance our cause.

Moving forward, we need a Revolutionary Marxist Pedagogy for our time. We must have actionable plans to subvert the powers of educational destruction. Trump was first. DeSantis is next. His plans are well structured, and they aim directly at the hearts of rural America. If his plans are proposed far and wide, they will find homes. Like a dandelion, the seeds will float through the air until they find purchase and take root. We cannot afford this. We need a Marxist Pedagogy for our time that is resilient to the aims of our adversaries and is progressive for our students. It will be them that will lead us forward to Revolution.

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Categories: Education

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