Manifesto of the Mentored (The Conscience of the Pedagogue)
Last Updated on Monday, 25 February 2013 16:31
Leftist Audio Resources
Last Updated on Saturday, 23 July 2011 10:55
Cultural criticism, what we strive for, is grounded in foundational leftist thinking. Over the course of ten years, we've learned that many people who would benefit from access to primary sources put them off; some dismiss them outright.
We've engaged in a project to make foundational leftist texts available by streaming audio as a tool for education. Here's what you'll need:
This is a prototype with 5 GB of audio available as independent streams anywhere you can access the web. In fact, with Palm and Android, clients are available to playback streams anywhere you have 3G access; for iOS, a client is available that works if you have internet access through wifi.
If the prototype is successful (based on usage statistics and feedback), we'll create a permanent instance. With your feedback, we believe this can be an outstanding resource.
There are three steps after login: browse, add to the playlist (using the + buttons), and then pressing the play button above the playlist.
We really are reliant on feedback.
Contact us if you're interested in the technical details: we relied on the good work of TurnKey Linux, the developers of Ampache, and the resources at Librivox and InternetArchive.
Critical vocabulary for liberatory discourses. We’re relying on Joe L. Kincheloe’s Critical Pedagogy (Peter Lang Primer), because the marginal glossary is geared to readers new to critical theory without condescending or being patronizing. The definitions are concise, terse, and therefore necessarily simplistic - often oversimplified and problematic. They remain nevertheless a remarkable starting point. We'll continue to cultivate a glossary committed to the theory of culture.
The theoretical ways of understanding that developed in the last third of the twentieth century that questioned the assumptions about the world put forth by modernist, scientific Western frameworks.
involves revealing the ways dominant power operates in a manner that allows an individual and groups to act in resistance to its efforts to oppress them.
middle class, conventional, unimaginative, and selfish.
the application of reason alone to analyses of the world in lieu of emotion, affect, and concerns of worth and justice.
German term for spirit of the times.
Involves studies that account for the importance of opposites and contradictions within all forms of knowledge and the relationship between these opposites. Knowledge is not complete in and of itself. It is produced in a larger process and can never be understood outside of its historical development and its relationship to other information.
traditional definition involves systems of beliefs. In a critical theoretical context, ideology ideology involves meaning making that supports form of dominant power.
persons’ ability to shape and control their own lives, freeing self from the oppression of power.
About Vanguard Party
Last Updated on Saturday, 14 May 2011 22:25
Vanguard Party was a non-profit, bi-monthly print publication started in 2001. Although no longer in print, Vanguard Party nevertheless remains committed to promoting culture, critical thinking, and political, economic, and social awareness.
Each issue submission strives to challenge the cultural assumptions taken for granted by the mainstream media, while simultaneously reporting on contemporary issues and culture.
At the same time, Vanguard Party delivers reviews of products, albums, films, and cultural events, as well critiques of current events and news, perhaps a regional culture calendar, classified ads, advice, and certainly in-depth articles and interviews about culture, and fiction, poetry, comics, and photography.
The digital refit is coming along: The legacy site remains, but much of the content has already migrated to its new home at http://www.vanguardparty.org. Follow the links to a dedicated Flickr group, a Tumblr blog, and a twitter stream.
Graphics and theme leave a lot to be desired, but it’s coming along fast enough to keep us enthusiastic about the transition.
If you share a commitment to liberation politics without a vanguard party, consider yourself a contributor. That it’s a work in progress is a given; look for the final submission when you reach the end of the signifying chain of desire.
Father, I am...
Last Updated on Monday, 25 February 2013 15:44
My earliest memories are of... home.
A tiny blue house in a tract of identical houses. There was a green swing-set in the back yard. I remember how the legs would jump up off of the newly laid sod when my brother and I would swing too high. I remember, I think, playing with squirt guns and water balloons my granddad had bought me on (it must have been?) my fourth birthday. There was a rosebush in a bed by the back door. It was spring and my mother tells me I ate every new bud off of the bush because they looked like Brussels sprouts to me. Maybe it is just the hearing of the story that has made me invent the memory of the silky texture of the newly formed petals in my mouth. Maybe it is a true memory. All I know is that the memory exists. I may as well have invented it; I may as well have remembered it. It is all the same now.
I know I remember the taste of freshly made peanut butter from... some summer day camp? Details like where and when are fuzzy, it's the nuances of smell and touch that I remember best. The textures, like the sucking mud in the field nearby, which ate one of my shoes when my cousin Shelley walked us across it one day, and the flush of embarrassment when my mother teased me about my "girlfriend" Jenny from next door.
And I remember the scar across my father's stomach after the accident that I guess got him fired for the last time- it was slightly raised and glazed red with iodine. It looked to me like a color negative of the cracks in the pavement near my grandparents' home, where the seams in the road were patched with tar so that the tires made a bump-bump sound as they rolled over them. I remember how those cracks continued all along the road, and how the sound would lull me to sleep on trips to and from their house. I wondered, at the time, whether they had fixed my dad the same way they fixed the street.
"Daddy was scoobied," he said, with a goofy grin, and now, looking back, I wonder if he had been drinking. In my mind I hear a faint clink-clink of ice in a glass tumbler, filled with vodka and fizzy orange soda . It was my grandfather's drink; he had several a day. It's a favorite of mine now. I wonder what my father drank.
"Your father was fired," Mom said, and her face was full of hard lines.
After that, I remember the arguments, and how barren my bedroom looked, the two twin feather beds stripped bare of their Star Wars sheets; my favorite "Mr. Rogers" sweater stuffed into a black garbage bag.
My mother says I stood above my father's bed, and held his hand and tried to soothe him, muttering "I'll take care of you, Daddy." This was on the day we left. I have no way to verify this. I don't know if it is buried in my memory, or if my mother's retelling of it has planted it there for me to find. I do remember the shape and feel of my father's hand, and softly stroking the dark hair on his forearm, but that is all.
I knew, from then on, that absolutely nothing was so big, so important, so real or so true- not the rosebush, the little blue house, the swing-set, or my silly, smiling, scoobied Daddy- that it couldn't be taken away at any moment, so suddenly and so senselessly as to make me wonder, "Had it ever been?"
Pedagogy and the Pathology of the Hacker Class
Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 June 2011 10:52
It’s been 25 years since a high-school junior known as The Mentor published an essay, soon after his arrest, that quickly became dubbed “The Hacker Manifesto.” The 500 word document, "The Conscience of a Hacker," profiles the mind of the hacker without relying on wrecked Oedipuses, foreclosed or repressed traumas, negligent or conflicted upbringings, social or ideological conflicts, or economic privilege.
For The Mentor, the etiology of hacker pathology has its foundation in the sustained and reliable failure of educators to satisfy their mandates: in the course of his essay, The Mentor provides a scathing catalog of negligent pedagogy.
By the 100th word, we know The Mentor: he’s the student whose achievements consistently fail to reflect his abilities — the underachiever who knows every word of the volley in teachers’ conferences with parents.: “I’m smarter than most of the other kids, this crap they teach us bores me…Damn underachiver. They’re all alike.” He recounts learning how to reduce fractions for the fifteenth time, clearly understands, but must account: “No Ms. Smith, I didn’t show my work. I did it in my head….Damn kid. Probably copied it. They’re all alike.”
Throughout, this refrain reminds us of the inherent inhumanity of the scene.
You bet we’re all alike…we’ve been spoon-fed baby food at school when we hungered for steak…the bits of meat that you did let slip through were pre-chewed and tasteless. We’ve been dominated by sadists, or ignored by the apathetic. The few that had something to teach found us willing pupils, but those few are like drops of water in the desert.
Whether it’s a farce or a tragedy, the pedagogical scene has already precipitated the ascension of a hacker class, expatriated from the “desert” of the real and presiding, peer-to-peer, over virtual telecommunication landscapes, as unified in purpose as they had been indivisible by pedagogues. “I know everyone here…even if I never met them, never talked to them, may never hear from them again…I know you all…Damn kid. Tying up the phone line again. They’re all alike…”
In the twenty-five years since The Mentor declared “this is our world now,” how far have we come in the earnest rhetoric of reform, twenty-five years during which we recognized multiple intelligences, drilled in preparation for differentiated instruction, and internalized a just demand that every student have an equitable opportunity for academic success? What affect has the transformation of secondary education, compelled by the competing rhetorics of standards-based reform and social justice, had on the silent dispossession of students like The Mentor?