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#563#564#565#566 Episode #567 - Radical Democracy and The Rebirth of Epimethean Man
(Deschooling Society 7)


The Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) in 2006

Sat 3 September 2011  David McNally, Various Spanish Activists, Ivan Illich (reading)
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Download Hour1 Download Hour2We start this week's show with Professor David McNally on 21st century instances of people rebelling against their would be overlords. Then a set of activists in Spain on how a recent wave of protests against the austerity morphed into an experiment in self-government. Finally, we conclude our reading of radical philosopher Ivan Illich's 1971 book, Deschooling Society, in which he describes the re-conceptualisation needed to break from the counter-productive and dependency producing hierarchical institutions of the 20th century.
We start the show with a talk by Professor David McNally, author of many books, most recently Global Slump, which unmasks the 'new austerity' as the enabling of a huge resource grab by the plutocrats. Speaking on 2011-04-13, he notes the hopeful signs of people, when really up against it, resisting their programming by taking their lives into their own hands. He starts by describing the 2000 Cochabamba 'Water Wars', in which people defied police bullets to drive Bechtel out of the country. Then we hear how in 2006 the teachers' union in Oaxaca, Mexico, stepped outside the self-interested model to shoulder some burden of their whole community. In response people rallied in their hundreds of thousands to protect them from the attacks of local and national police, culminating in an anti-government movement which found people running their own media and policing their own streets. He then speaks about the great popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, which he characterises as both inspired by hunger and rising food prices and also a desire for freedom.

In our next section, we hear various activists from Spain on the self-organising people's assemblies which have been happening there as a result of activism which continued beyond the election. Hundreds of thousands of people, again, have been massing in peaceful protest, something that not widely reported on by the commercially controlled media until violence erupted as a result of agents provocateurs.

We conclude the show with the final chapter of Illich's Deschooling Society. Following on from last week's episode, in which he described his vision for decentralised, bottom up hierarchies, In chapter 7, Rebirth of Epimethean Man, Illich describes what will be necessary to break out of the trap of institutionalisation. He suggests we need to fundamental our self-conception, from a mass of consumers with needs to individuals with out own roles and purposes. We can no longer demand that institutions meet homogeneous 'needs', but must trust instead in friendship, not in material consumption but the joy of spontaneous, unplanned life.
Thanks to C. S. Soong for the David McNally interview, and to John Larsen for pointing me to the Spanish activists interview and to Chris for posting it.
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