Critical teacher education for economic, environmental and social justice: an ecosocialist manifesto

Hill, Dave and Boxley, Simon (2007) Critical teacher education for economic, environmental and social justice: an ecosocialist manifesto. Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, 5 (2) . pp. 28-77. ISSN 2051-0969 [Article]


In this chapter we set out a series of progressive egalitarian policy principles and proposals that constitute a democratic Marxist and ecosocialist manifesto for schooling and teacher education for economic and social justice. This is based on a democratic Marxist theoretical framework (1) and on a structuralist neo-Marxist analysis (2). We also draw out a set of strategic connectivities between these programmatic ends and forms of resistance to neoliberal hegemony to be found in the interstices of contemporary educational systems, with a focus on the United Kingdom .

We recognise the structural limitations on progressive and socialist action, fortified by both the ideological and repressive apparatuses of the state acting on behalf of Capital. Indeed, the psychological violence committed by the agency of parastatal actors such as the businesses contracted by the Office for Standards in Education lend such bodies a functional role in both apparatuses. However, this chapter calls for transformative change throughout teacher education, throughout schooling and education, and by other cultural workers within the Ideological State Apparatuses of Education and the Media, and throughout multiple layers of civil society.

In this chapter, we suggest a series of specified sets of principles and a programme for critical and socialist educators, through which to engage with the Radical Right. In the chapter, we define the Radical Right broadly, in both its Conservative and its revised social democratic (' Third Way' or "post-neoliberal"(sic.) (Ball, 2007) manifestations (in the UK , 'Blairite'/'Brownite', in the USA , 'Clintonite'). We locate the ideational spark of counterhegemonic praxis in opposition to the Radical Right in more or less intersticial resistance at a number of levels. Counter-hegemonic socialist egalitarian ideology in the educational arena operates, as in civil society more broadly, in an often fragmented way and via campaigning foci rather than around an agreed manifesto for Marxist or socialist or ecosocialist education. In this regard the left in Britain , in the education trade unions and in educational campaign groups such as the Anti-Academies Alliance, and the Campaign for State Education, can be regarded as a microcosm of leftist politics in developed coutries in general. If 'Big Politics', that is , the clear Left-Right class-based politics, no longer excite the interest they once did, with an ever-dwindling proportion of the population in the USA and UK bothering to engage with the 'tweedle-dum'and 'tweedle-dee' electoral game, the work of 'single-issue groups' has been seen to be of ever greater significance in initiating resistance to the juggernaut of marketization, privatization and New Public Managemerialism.

In education too, where resistance occurs, it is often piecemeal and specific, and usually also shortlived. In this chapter we argue that in educational struggles as in broader political battles, the bigger picture must not be lost, and the very foci which serve to activate campaigns - such as that against climate change, or against school-testing regimes, oragainst budget cuts or the pre-privatisation or privatisation of state schools - should not be seen as merely 'operational', neutral questions in relation to broad strategic ends, or to mask the larger issues at stake. The programmatic matters we outline here represent the potential for a galvinizing union of current environmental and social concerns and labour rights and conditions battles in the educational sphere, and suggest a project of united action against the capitalist vision of education in the twenty first century.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Health and Education
Item ID: 5058
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Depositing User: Hilary Cummings
Date Deposited: 21 Apr 2010 10:33
Last Modified: 20 May 2020 01:40

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