Gramsci goes to school in England
Model for Gove, Tory Minister
by Fabio Cavalera
by Fabio Cavalera
If he weren't already famous for being on the Right of the Conservative Party, Michael Gove could pass today as a dangerous subversive, in view of his declaration of sympathy for Antonio Gramsci, one of the founding fathers of Italian communism.
Speaking to the audience from the think-tank, Social Market Foundation, the much-talked-of Education Minister of Her Majesty's government revealed that an inspiration for his education reforms for the UK's schools (more discipline, more selection) was Antonio Gramsci, as he had the courage to confront the so-called "theory of progressive education" of the New Education Movement that "passed off as equality" - which emphasised the need to stimulate growth among children in their "natural" practical ability, rather than promoting their cultural development through traditional teaching and learning the Classics.
Gramsci's intuition warned of such a pedagogical approach (the theory of "progressive education"), superficially attractive but "far from being democratic" in reality, which would deprive "the working class of the instruments they need to emancipate themselves from ignorance" (Gove's words). In his position as Education Minister, the Conservative spokesman has taken a lesson in pedagogy, recalling the work of Gramsci, that "I hope will be read accurately". He has made it the reference model, as the communist intellectual said, with the aim of "carrying the young up to the threshold, transforming them into people able to study, to control - and to check those who are in control."
It's truly unforeseen. These British conservatives are an interesting political phenomenon. Cameron wants gay marriage and confrontation with Tory traditionalists. His minister Gove, certainly no progressive, celebrates with conviction the thoughts of a great Italian Marxist. In London there is a centre-Right party divesting itself of old taboos.
'Corriere della Sera', February 7, 2013. Translated by Patrick West, 8-2-13