Revolt, or a step-by-step model?

Today I was once again reading from Moacir Gadotti’s Reading Paulo Freire (1994, p. 128) about the criticism according to which Paulo Freire -- one of the founding figures in international movement of critical pedagogy -- never explicated his view of decent society, or clarified the nature of the revolution needed to construct a decent society based on radical humanist values. Is this true? And if so, is it because his belief in dialectical thinking, or the idea that the ‘road is made by walking’? In other words, is it because his idea that “there are no finished models of society as the social structure is always in motion” (p. 130). Is it further so, like Gadotti points out, that there are at least two sorts of social change, those of mechanical and dialectical (or dialogical)? Mechanical change would mean that socio-economical change of society and its means of production would somehow directly affect psychological, social and educational spheres. Assumingly this was not Freire’s argument. Dialectical change would require overall, concerted change all the way from socio-economics base up to social, cultural, educational and spiritual superstructure. And, besides that, it would demand strict individual change in attitudes, and in ‘being-in-the-world.’ Here Gadotti interprets Freire: “Oppression does not take place only on the social plane but also on the individual level. And it is just on this level that authoritarianism can be seen. And it is just here that oppression must begin to be fought, that is, where it is nearest to us.” (p. 130.) Or as Freire writes it in his Pedagogy of the Oppressed: "we cannot say that in the process of revolution someone liberates someone else, nor yet that someone liberates himself, but rather that human beings in communion liberate each other" (p. 114).

So, what is Freire’s answer to the troubling question regarding the logic of societal change? How does it happen? I am quite convinced that Freire did not think that education and educators could make a change – not to mention a revolution – alone, all by themselves. -- Besides the fundamental question, I read the previous quotation in the context of higher education: How should we start building ‘organic learning alliances’, in which we would act not as antagonist teachers and students, but as co-operative allies in a resistance movement? I think the really hard part for most of the mandarins in the academia would the following: “The preservation of traditional methods of education in a revolutionary context signifies the distance between dream and practice. One of the revolutionary struggles is the struggle for the renovation of the methods and procedures at the same time as the content of education is renewed.” (p. 131-132.)

And talking about roads that are made by walking, here's Eduardo Galeano's testimonial: "I was wandering lost through the streets of Cádiz, thanks to my acute sense of disorientation, when a good man rescued me. He instructed me on how to get to the old market, and to any other destination in the wide world: "Let the road lead you." (http://progressive.org/mag_galeano0206) (-- By the way, I seem to have a talent of orientation; it is hard for me to get lost in the woods, or a big city...)


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