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Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
Double Game of French Socialism

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  • The Message
    • II. Doctrine and Strategy in the Socialist Program for France
      • 10. Education
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10. Education


We turn now to the formation of children and youth.

Self-managing education, according to the Program, begins no later than two years of age, when it is most desirable that the child be handed over to a pre­primary or nursery school. But complete preparations must be made to receive those children whose mothers choose to deliver them to socialist education at any age, even when newborn.

How well all of this fits in with the planned sterility of the self-managing family! 24

Some schools may still remain in pri­vate hands for a period of "gradual" transition. But even they will be tied to the State educational machinery, which will encompass all levels, from pre­primary through university and post­graduate school. Principals, teachers and other staff members in public or private schools will have roles very similar, though not identical, to those of man­agers and technicians in self-managing companies. According to the principle of "democratic planning," fathers and mothers and other interested persons will likewise participate in the process of education. The "commoners" of the school, that is, the students, will have -to all imaginable degrees, and even to an unimaginable degree - rights analogous to those of the workers in the self-­managing company. 25

But that is not all. In the school as well as in the family, child or adolescent "plebeians" will be motivated and encouraged to wage a systematic class struggle against educational and domes­tic authorities, and will hold their own assemblies, tribunals, appellate courts and so on. 26

In nationalized or self-managing schools, the curriculum, the whole teach­ing staff, and the secularist and socialist formation of the intellect will be subject to the State. 27

The Program does not make entirely clear which schools will be allowed to go on surviving - or dying - in private hands to the degree that the gradualist strategy determines. Nevertheless, it is not hard to conjecture that they will manage to evade the State's influence and power only to a small and uncertain degree, if at all. 28

Isn't this educational network totali­tarian? The Program tries to evade this embarrassing question by citing an edu­cation plan to be prepared democrati­cally so that each and every one may be able to express his opinion. Supposedly, this plan would thus represent the will of all.

On the basis of this sophistry, the socialists claim that the unified system of education is not a monopoly. Even though this system is unified, they con­tend that everyone is invited to partici­pate in it. So how can anyone brand it a monopoly?

One sees very well that the Program achieves "Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité" quite in its own way. At the moment of the collective decision, everyone is equal because the power of decision belongs to the majority, which decides all educa­tional matters. It is for the minority to obey. When, then, is individual liberty achieved? At the very moment of the voting, because every one is free to argue and to vote as he likes. But only at that moment ...


24.          "The government will take the necessary measures to make it possible for all children from two to six years of age to have access to nursery schools.  ... It will experiment with the organization of child care centers accepting infants from birth to six years of age" ("Common Program - Proposals for Updating," p.30).

"Child-care center.. will be key piece in the initial system.  This is the stage where the struggle against social inequalities and segregations begins"(ibid., p.2870).

"The fight for equality begins in the nursery [school]" (ibid., p. 311.)

"But how can the democratic sense, today anesthetized, be awakened? First through the school, conceived as the place par excellence for apprenticeship in self-management" (Program, p. 132.).


25.          "Tripartite management (parents and children, staff, and public collectivities [sic] must liberate initiatives and permit after free discussion. the definition and evaluation in common of the goals and responsibilities which it entails for each person ... The spirit of responsi­bility demands . . . the disappearance of prior hierarchical control" (Program, p. 286).

"The basic liberties in schools and universities, as well as in the army, are equally part of the requirements of the Socialist Program: freedom of  expression and assembly in the schools, high schools and universities; socio-educational homes run directly by high-school and college students; effective participation of the students in the life and management of their school; right of class representatives to participate in every class council and of the students to attend them; right of the students to participate in the physical organization of their high-school or college; ... student control of the organization of the university and of the curricula ... the establishment of a real student statute " (Program, p. 314).

"We will undertake a profound transformation of our educational system.  Everyone must participate in it: parents, those who are elected, associations, representatives of employees and employers, and above all the teachers... The unification of the public educational system will be the result of general agreement and of negotiation" (Declaration of General Poilicy," p. 51)


26.          "The Socialist Program recog­nizes the child's full place in society: equality, liberty and responsibility are not reserved for adults. The rights to expression, creative activity, and decision-making must be recognized from one's schooling on" (Program, p. 311).

"Youth also has a specific place: [in modern society] it is under tutelage...No matter what social class they belong to, youngsters have no real responsibility whatsoever and little control over their own lives. There is a considerable gap between their capabilities and what they are now entitled to do in society" (Program, pp. 311-312).

"Nothing is more important today than to recognize the right of young people be themselves."

"Within the family, the right of youngsters to be themselves means: the possibility for a young person to appeal a decision concerning him (relative to his choice of course or profession, the way he lives ... ); the democratiza­tion and development of youth homes for young people in conflict with their families; ... the facilitation of apartment rental for young people . . . ; the free right to contraception and the elimination of parental consent for minors' voluntary interruption of their own pregnancies, a considerable development of sexual education in schools. and a revision of systematically repres­sive attitudes concerning the sexuality of minors "(Program, pp. 313-314).


27.          ". . . generous and aggressive conception of the socialists for [bringing about] a great, unified, laicist and democratically-managed public educa­tion service " (Program, 284).

"The government will set the goal of establishing a single and exclusive body of teachers for all disciplines encompassing the whole schooling from nurse school through grammar, secondary and professional schools" ("Common Program - Proposals for Updating, p. 35).

"All parents may have the religious or philosophical education of their choice given to their children off school premises and without the assistance of public funds" (idem, p. 32).


28.          "All sectors of initial teaching and an important part of continuing education will be consolidated in one national and laicist public service con­trolled only by the Ministry of National Education.

"The establishment of a public service of national education will be dealt with starting in the first session of the legisla­ture ... As a general rule, state-assisted private schools will be nationalized whether they be employer-sponsored, for profit, or religious ... Necessary trans­fers of premises will exclude any spoliation.

"The situation of premises or staffs of private schools not receiving public funds may be the object, at their request, of a survey in view of their eventual integration" ("Common Program - Proposals for Updating," pp. 31-32).


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