An idea that is often proposed by the education syllabus is that the far left and far right are indivisible. I remember in school being taught the horseshoe theory which propagated the idea that the political spectrum curves, with fascism and communism sitting a stone’s throw away from each other. Not only is this a comical warping of history it shows a strange underlying narrative within the education system that any political ideology that opposes capitalism, our current system, is inherently oppressive and dangerous. Dangerous to who?, we ask.
The move to indoctrinate students into a pro-capitalist agenda is done in an incredibly cynical way. Rather than trying to show the virtues of capitalism – a task which would be difficult – it is structured to show the negatives of every other system, thus convincing the minds of anyone questioning capitalism that there is no better system. This form of indoctrination creates the illusion of free choice, telling those who question the horrors of capitalism, ‘sure you can be a communist but life will get worse’.
There is an illusion of choice in a capitalist society, however, all too often the choice is two sides of the same coin. You can choose to vote for the liberal candidate or the conservative candidate, either way the powers that be are being defended. An example of this playing out can be seen by the attitudes towards the Labour party by Rupert Murdoch’s Sun newspaper. In 1997 when Tony Blair’s Liberal Capitalist agenda was seeking prime ministerial office the paper ran with the headline: ‘The Sun backs Blair’ however, in the most recent general election, the paper’s analysis of Labour’s campaign was: ‘Don’t chuck Britain in the Cor-Bin’. So what changed? The backing of the supposed ‘left wing candidate’ in 1997 shows that freedom of ‘choice’ under capitalism, only exists for the ruling class. Those who stand up to their interests will be attacked, as we saw in the 2019 election. The truth is, the centrism of Blair has more in common with the anti-immigration, sexist, racist and anti working class message of The Sun than it does with the left.
In a debate on Russia Today on the banning of anti-capitalist materials in schools, Chris McGovern the founder of the right wing pressure group ‘Campaign for Real Education’ justified the banning of anti-capitalist material by using the example of a controversial 2015 Times Educational Supplement article which asked students why a person would want to join ISIS, nothing to do with anti-capitalist sentiment. He went on to talk about how if a teacher isn’t ‘woke’ or ‘politically correct’ they are out of a job, deliberately conflating the issue. It seems the right are becoming increasingly hypocritical, as they ban certain types of teaching in order to supposedly keep freedom of speech alive in classrooms.
The move by the conservative government to ban the teaching of anti-capitalist materials in the classroom is a move from a system desperately trying to cling to power. Capitalism is in crisis, and the rich are getting richer while the pandemic ruins lives. The situation capitalism finds itself in is dire, and this ban is trying to keep it this way. We must fight back.
by Alfie McNicol