Marxist Sociology and Education

QUESTION: Marxist Sociology – Education in Marxist Society

ANSWER:

Marxists believe that the means of production (the economic system) dictates a society’s education system. Thus the educational system in modern capitalistic society reflects the evils of capitalism. Madan Sarup says, “The [modern] educational system thus meshes with capital to ensure the maintenance of women’s oppression.”1 The working classes are also exploited within the current bourgeois system.

Prior to the proletarian revolt and the institution of socialism as the new means of production, the proletariat can only be educated in terms of the dialectical struggle. Once the struggle is over, however, and the proletariat has ushered in a socialist economic system, education will play a different role in creating the ultimate society of communism—the role of indoctrinating youth in the proletarian philosophy.

Education’s role is delineated in People’s Education: “The basic task of communist education and overcoming the survivals of religiousness in our present condition is to prove to the pupils the complete contrast and complete irreconcilability between science, the real and correct reflection of the objectively existing world in the consciousness of people—and religion as a fantastic, distorted and, consequently, harmful reflection of the world in the consciousness of the people.”2

Marxist Sociology – Education is a Valuable Tool for Shaping Ideology
Thus, education is seen as a valuable tool for shaping ideology, a tool employed to create citizens more likely to cooperate with and fit into the Marxist notion of the ultimate society. Once capitalism and bourgeois society are destroyed, students will be educated to detest and distrust religion3 and to embrace a materialistic view of the world.

William Z. Foster’s Toward Soviet America published in 1932 provides a comprehensive view of Marxist ambitions for education in a future communist America. Foster writes, “Among the elementary measures the American Soviet government will adopt to further the cultural revolution are the following: the schools, colleges and universities will be coordinated and grouped under the National Department of Education and its state and local branches. The studies will be revolutionized, being cleansed of religious, patriotic and other features of the bourgeois ideology. The students will be taught on the basis of Marxian dialectical materialism, internationalism and the general ethics of the new Socialist society.”4

Foster continues, “Science will become materialistic, hence truly scientific; God will be banished from the laboratories as well as from the schools.”5 Foster’s view of the role of the church in a communist America is equally chilling: “The churches will remain free to continue their services, but their special tax and other privileges will be liquidated. Their buildings will revert to the State. Religious schools will be abolished and organized training for minors prohibited. Freedom will be established for anti-religious propaganda.”6

Notes:

Rendered with permission from the book, Understanding the Times: The Collision of Today’s Competing Worldviews (Rev. 2nd ed), David Noebel, Summit Press, 2006. Compliments of John Stonestreet, David Noebel, and the Christian Worldview Ministry at Summit Ministries. All rights reserved in the original.

1 Madan Sarup, Education, State and Crisis (London, UK: Routledge and Kegan, 1982), 91.
2 People’s Education (Moscow, USSR), April 1949. Cited in Sleeper, A Lexicon of Marxist-Leninist Semantics, 101.
3 To judge the results of such an education see Stephane Courtois, et al., The Black Book Of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999) and R. J. Rummel, Death By Government (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1994).
4 William Z. Foster, Toward Soviet America (New York, NY: International Publishers, 1932), 316.
5 Ibid., 317.
6 Ibid., 316.

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