Staughton Lynd, author, attorney, radical historian, and civil rights leader presented one of three keynote addresses at the Rouge Forum’s 2009 Conference at Eastern Michigan University last month.
His speech—which shares its title with Lenin’s famous work on the principles of democratic centralism—draws on his experiences as director of the Mississippi Freedom Schools of the mid-1960s to identify where we can can begin to resist the antidemocratic impulses of greed, individualism, and intolerance in our work as educators.
Lynd’s talk reminds us that people learn by and through experience, not by reading the “right newspapers” or attending lectures. A claim that is somewhat reminiscent of Guy Debord’s assessment of what revolutionary organizations should be about:
“Revolution is not ‘showing’ life to people, but making them live. A revolutionary organization must always remember that its objective is not getting its adherents to listen to convincing talks by expert leaders, but getting them to speak for themselves, in order to achieve, or at least strive toward, an equal degree of participation.” —Guy Debord [“For a Revolutionary Judgement of Art”]
The bottom line in Lynd’s talk is as simple as it is challenging, let’s make every school a freedom school.
Read Lynd’s talk here and in the upcoming issue of The Rouge Forum News.