The Anarchist School: Education For Equality
* The following text, published in # 57 of El Libertario, Venezuela, condenses the vision of the theme of the author, who died in the middle of 2009, who thanks to the work developed in her Free School Paideia, in Mérida, Spain, was a contemporary exponent recognized for the practice and the theory of libertarian education.
[After more than 25 years of intense pedagogical work since a libertarian vision, the last 1st of July Josefa Martín Luengo passed away (1945-2009), she was hostess of the School Free Paideia www.paideiaescuelalibre.org, located in Mérida - Spain, participant of the collective Women of Anarchy -Mujeres por la Anarquía- and close to the National Confederation of Work -Confederación Nacional del Trabajo CNT-. "Pepita," as we lovingly called her companions, on various occasions she had praised the work of El Libertario, and for our 40th edition, a special anniversary number, she remitted to us two articles to be published, of which we had to keep one in file due to limitations of space. As homage, we publish a summarized version of that second text, which can be discharged integrally in www.nodo50.org/ellibertario.]
Educating for a world without powers nor hierarchies, for a world in which each person can be herself and to build her personal history in search of the greatest possible happiness, for herself and for her world; she requires help to generate lacking minds of prejudices, of stereotypes, of dependences, free from the principle of authority, that is to say, a new type of person, that being herself the protagonist of her life contributes along with others to generate a world of equality.
In the base of the inequality, discrimination and hierarchy, the androcentrism is found that supposes the division of the world in two classes very well structured: the masculine of control, the feminine of submission. This basic mental structure creates without abruptness a pyramidal world where authorities and powers exercise their actions on the other part of the societies, that accept their subjugation and show their admiration, by those upper and superior leaders that prevent a world of equality.
The fights against the state or economic powers, scientific, political or ideological, are superficial confrontations that consist of removing a power to impose another, but never to destroy them. The revolutions throughout history, in their great majority, are not more than confrontations that try to substitute some dominant for other, but and the history shows it, never have they managed to eliminate the pyramid of power, because this ambitious project has never been in their intentions.
The androcentrism, as "central point of view" of the centered human in the inherent values of virility, assumes the base of the reigning inequality in the world.
The man, considered as the protagonist of history, has gone, for a long part of the time, creating without discussion the idea that he is the "archetype" that serves as reference to the world; and thus, "his history," "his art," "his science," "his philosophy," "his thought" and "his power," are made unquestionable, generalized and universal and unconsciously they go putting these in the heads of men and women of different epochs and places.
Generating a substantial change of this reality toward structures of equality, passes unmistakably through educating without the androcentric reference, putting in its place the equality in diversity and differences, with it we will immediately eliminate the basic authority principle, that today is established through this universal conception.
Instead of learning to be little girls and to be little boys, we should learn to be people with the same natural rights, the same possibilities and the innumerable interpersonal differences; and for it, the adult generations of ours we should destroy until the time that we facilitate a mental structure with a foundation of equality in place of a foundation of authority.
One of the primary aspects that acts on this generic discrimination, constitutes with it the use and control of space; since its beginnings, it is stimulating to the boys so that they unfold in large spaces, that dominate them with amplitude and its constant activity of power since its birth; it is going to structure and qualify them for the control, the action, and the knowledge of an environment that they should utilize early without fears nor limitations.
While for the girls, due to this principle space is limited to them, the activity is inhibited to them and generally is left to them to be unfolded in a specific, concrete, and narrow territory. The activity and the knowledge of the environment is limited to them, in order that they become accustomed to feeling good in small zones and they feel fear before new and unknown spaces.
In this manner the boy is prepared to dominate the world and the exterior space and the girl for feeling secure in the domestic precinct; establishing in this manner the original base of the typical discrimination: the men make the world, the women make the house.
Educating for equality, which passes through destroying this spatial development, obtains that both can use ALL the possible space in the same way; but for it, it's precise to inhibit the indiscriminate control of which makes the boys as they are and to stimulate the girls to use it with success. And it should begin at the same moment of birth, and if in the families it is not done, and certainly this is not done, because the parental roles are projected, it should be done in the school, that although it can't obtain a complete mental structuring, at least it can reach intermediate attitudes of advance and progress.
Another important aspect at work since the first ages is the domestic work, that it invites with its practice to assume it to both types in a climate of equality. An aspect of transcendental importance is the use of the non-sexist language, since it already configures a thought and upon claiming constantly its use, it weakens the masculine preponderance and advances the participation of girls in daily life.
The education in equality and for equality should center its attention in eliminating to the maximum the stereotypes of those that are transmitted by patriarchal culture, and for this, it should be taught how to BE A PERSON, instead of teaching how to "be a boy" or to "be a girl", since any person has the right of being herself and not to be constrained by cultural corsets that mutilates an important part of their human essence; taking from this world a chaos of confrontation, discrimination, violence, racism and classification on all levels.
Educating in and for equality, supposes the irreplaceable principle of the use and practice of liberty, since if that does not exist, it's impossible that a minimum of free thought, free decision, free relation and free grouping can be shown.
It is because of this that the non-sexist education is a fundamental objective of the anarchist school, of the libertarian school; since if we do not feel free to be like we want to be, to think as we desire to think, the possibility to live and to act for a more just world and less violent will turn out to be impossible, and if not, there is the History of humanity as evidence for it.
Another important characteristic in egalitarian education is sexuality, since the social stereotypes are introduced in a very stiff way. Already we know that sexual liberty or its repression are key items at the moment of generating free minds, because the energy that it needs to repress a natural instinct is excessively strong as for determining an evolutionary and mature personal development.
One must be aware that the masculine stereotype is fixed and maintained preferably by the positive or negative answer that is given to the concept of masculinity; since masculinity is identified with male chauvinism, and is in this aspect where type and sex are identified, generating the idea that if it does not respond to the role of an essentially cultural type, the sexual identity is put into question, of which all of it in puberty and adolescence provides them a great insecurity and fear.
Analysis of reality, emotional sexual work and behavior about routine attitudes are the key items to diminish the limitations that sexual stereotypes impose on equality.
It implies critique, analysis and reflection about the sport in boys, and the limitation of spaces in girls.
Sport and violence accepted, are fundamental elements to indicate to boys that these should appear as a competitive, violent and unsupportive form; which assumes the undervaluation of war and economic competitiveness; while the refusal that girls do of this indicates the social processing that is done of this activity, where their protagonists are almost always male imitators of what the mass media provide them; the girls, simply, do not appear or if they, they are used to being in less recognized sports, and in a lot smaller proportion than is done with men.
In the daily experience in school the relations change, but until that time, also they are shown the training which is submitted to both types, which carries to what in the school relation lives and acts in one way and in the social and family environment in another, because their vulnerable ages are found obstructed by the emotional relations of acceptance - refusal, and through it, for avoiding refusal in occasional actions of one way and of a different form in others; but never equal, by the data, lives and experiences that they have, that the rest of the educated remain under the principles of discrimination, inequality and the limitation of liberty.
To carry out this type of work, establishing the anarchist school is indispensable to have and to go building an educated mind that is as little conditioned as possible in this field; that is to say, to possess a mental structure, that without any class of doubts, feelings, beliefs and acts, under the conception that all people are equals by natural right, with rich personal differences that can contribute to a libertarian world, to a world without borders, to a free and progressive world toward the attainment of the greatest possible happiness.
Josefa Martín Luengo
Translation: Jake Nabasny
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