The antagonism between “class” and “race” have plagued educational theory for decades. As a communist organizer seeking to move Marxist educational theory out of the stagnant waters of theoretical debates, I turn to recent CRT scholarship, which I find much more in line with the communist project. Yet, this literature omits world-historic and ongoing transformations inaugurated particularly since the beginning of the 20th century by erasing, discounting or, denouncing them. I argue the primary factors inhibiting educational researchers: Anticommunism. The global revolutionary era led largely by revolutionary communists contains the most fruitful explanations of those conditions and connections (and the historical legacies accounting for mass movements in the U.S. today, like the historic 2020 uprising against the War on Black America). This rich and dynamic legacy is what can get educational scholarship beyond the cages of academia. After outlining the interconnection between anticommunism and anti-Black racism as the contours of master narratives, I demonstrate how anticommunism continues to hold education’s potential contributions to the struggle back while accounting for the material conditions responsible for the absence of revolutionary theory and practice and the overwhelming surplus of theories critical of revolution in the university today. I demonstrate how anti-Black racism in the U.S. is tethered to anticommunism and how Leninism provides the theoretical and practical link uniting the global struggle of the oppressed and creating the Black and indigenous-led communist movement, contending struggles against white supremacy, capitalism, and imperialism depend on a rejection of anticommunism by turning to Black communist Claudia Jones.
Ford, D. (2024). What’s so marxist about marxist educational theory? Policy Futures in Education (online first), 1-18.