Marxism without dogma

Frank Margonis
Vol 14, Number 2, p.150
Among educators, the belief that class-based oppression ought to play a fundamental role in directing educational critique and pedagogical recommendations has accordingly eroded. Marxist analyses and pedagogies have been sharply criticised for neglecting the concerns of those vibrant social movements - in effect, concentrating upon issues of class to the exclusion of issues of race and gender. Assuming that the various segments of the left have much to learn from one another, and that we would be best served by greater unity in the face of a common adversary, I suggest that marxists ought to consider the ways in which marxism might be strengthened by incorporating the insights fuelling ongoing political movements. One step towards revitalising marxism is philosophical: abandoning the deism underlying orthodox marxism that continues to inform most marxist thought. With deistic assumptions abandoned, marxists can reconsider their historical assumptions and strategies for change with sensitivity to the ways in which issues of race, gender, and the environment shape the possibilities for an economically just society. Freed of the assumption that revolution serves students' interests, marxist educators can reconceive pedagogy with an eye toward multiple student positions.