If Gramsci was here now, he could teach Gove a lesson
Tory education minister Michael Gove has confirmed what Russian revolutionary Lenin said in 1917.
Lenin noted how revolutionaries could be reviled during their life but sanitised in death.
And last week hypocrite Gove claimed the Italian revolutionary Marxist Antonio Gramsci as an ally!
He addressed a small audience at the Social Market Foundation.
Absent journalists regurgitated his thoughts in the following day’s media.
Gove parroted Gramsci’s critique of fascist Benito Mussolini’s reforms to support his own caricature of recent educational practice in Britain.
Gramsci was fighting the “hegemony” of ruling class ideology in the universities, church, courts, police stations and media.
He was interested in how best to arm what he termed “organic intellectuals”—communist agitators in the revolutionary struggle.
Gove on the other hand presides over a strengthening of authoritarian centralisation.
He dictates to teachers how and what they must teach.
He tells students they must be tested for “phonics” aged five and have their Education Maintenance Allowance scrapped at 16.
He dictates to parents that their school must be handed over to his privatising mates.
Gove might fool the likes of his slumbering Labour counterpart Stephen Twigg.
But his perverse attempt to steal revolutionary analysis for reactionary ends should fool nobody else.
A really useful guide to Gramsci on education is at bit.ly/14TVge
But education activists have much more to learn from Gramsci than just pedagogy.
We can learn that we need a revolution to end Gove’s vicious, reckless capitalist system.
Nick Grant, West London
Food for thought
I read with interest your article on food adulteration (Socialist Worker, 9 February). This is part of a much bigger problem.
For example, an additive called high fructose corn syrup is widely used in the US. It is cheaper than cane sugar and is starting to be used in Europe too.
Some studies suggest that it makes people feel less full up and more likely to keep eating than other sugars, or that it carries a higher diabetes risk.
The increase in added sugars is one reason for the US obesity crisis, especially for poorer folk unable to afford decent food.
Capitalism puts profit before need. It ruins the health of millions with poor quality food.
Another world is possible where people come before profit, and that’s what socialists are fighting for.
Andy Coles, Manchester
I wooden eat that...
in Victorian England food was adulterated with sawdust, chalk and all sorts of rubbish to make it go further and increase the profits.
There was even an industry making raspberry pips out of wood to put in jam.
So this is not a new thing, but until now a fairly robust system used to protect the food we ate.
But the Tories and Lib Dems have weakened those protections.
It makes me furious.
Linda de Villiers, on Facebook
Cameron’s betrayal of the Lockerbie victims
David Cameron and his Libyan counterpart Ali Zeidan announced that police from Scotland would visit Libya and examine all files relating to the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie.
This looks like an excuse to try to find a loophole to vindicate the trials of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi and Lamin Khalifah Fhimah.
This new regime in Libya appears to be a puppet of Western powers.
It should instead demand that officers from Libya visit Scotland to examine all files relating to what was effectively a show trial of two innocent Libyans.
The bombing was largely financed by Iran and carried out by Syrians. But at the time Iran sided with Britain and the US against Iraq. Libya sided with Iraq.
If Cameron is allowed to pull the final curtain down on the Lockerbie trial, he will be doing a grave disservice to victims of the bombing and their families.
William Burns, Edinburgh
Shame on MPs who opposed equality
Despite being seriously ill in hospital, I still had to put pen to paper to write of the shame I feel at my MP Henry Bellingham’s vote against equal marriage.
I know my views are the polar opposite of his generally.
But in a free vote he is supposed to have sought some form of opinion from the constituents he claims to represent.
Well he didn’t ask me and I bet he didn’t ask you.
Jo Rust, King’s Lynn
When I was at school, being gay was an isolating experience. You thought you were the only one.
So I was amazed when I arrived as a relief teaching assistant in a school in Sheffield to see many members of staff wearing T-shirts with the slogan, “Some people are gay, get over it!”
I immediately grabbed the last one.
The willingness for school staff to take action like this challenges the culture of bullying that so many gay students experience at school.
It also removes the pressure for gay staff to “come out’” while giving them the confidence to do so if they wish.
Anne James, Chesterfield
Fury of the farm workers
When we protested at Lib Dem farm minister David Heath’s surgery, he left by the back door.
He is abolishing the Agricultural Wages Board. It controls wages and rents for farm workers.
The government’s rush to dissolve it contrasts with its inaction on banks or tax havens.
John Burbidge, Chair, Unite Tolpuddle branch
I’m appalled by Cameron
I am appalled by what David Cameron and his ministers have done.
People are having to suffer with all these cuts. He doesn’t give a damn.
It causes so much stress to have to worry about how one can make ends meet.
It is worse than when Labour was in power.
Eileen Elizabeth, West Godalming, Surrey
Don’t vote for cuts, Labour!
Often Labour councils say they have no choice but to pass on Tory cuts.
There has to be an alternative. Our Unite union community branch has called on Labour councillors to reject cuts and pass a “needs” budget.
Matt Hale, Sheffield
You’re right about Wilson
Your article on Harold Wilson (Socialist Worker, 9 February) was astute and totally correct.
Wilson was a con man and one of the worst prime ministers ever inflicted on this country—and that is saying something.
Peter, Barry Vale, Glamorgan
Evil cops are above the law
The police who shot down miners in South Africa are evil bastards.
I bet no charges are brought against them. It’s the same the world over, no different to Britain.
Put a villain in uniform and give him a gun—and suddenly he is above the law.
Stephen Brazil, on Facebook