The Whole City Catalogue
Teach-ins & Learning without a school

“We rented a garret, for which we paid (I think) 25s. a year, bought a few second-hand forms and desks, borrowed a few chairs from the people in the house, bought a shillings worth of coals, had the gas (which was already in the house) laid on at the cost of a few shillings, and started our College. We did not advertise it in the newspapers or on the streets, for we could not afford to do that, but we invited all our friends and acquaintances to join us, and in a few days we had about twenty members. ... We had no men of position or education connected with us, and I believe we were better without them, but several of the students who had made special study of some particular subject were appointed teachers, so that the teacher of one class might be a pupil in another.”
Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes
It is not only the responsibility of “the parents” to look after our children and the “education system” to teach our young folk. It is everybody’s responsibility. We are all responsible for the education of all of our young people. Until our education system is designed to teach students about the work that is needing done, in the infrastructure of our communities, in the environmental catastrophe heading their way, in the economical and political circumvention of the political structure by corporate power, we all need to be responsible for the mentoring of our young in a common good.

The education system is as much to do with managing boredom. Look at how kids run away from the school as fast as possible when it is finished. Our teachers are not allowed to teach, our children not allowed to question. Teachers days are filled teaching to memorise a static set of facts to pass an exam. The education of both the student and the teacher is diminished to a conforming level of boredom. Sure there is always the exception, but only through the struggle and determination of those who challenge the orthodoxy of a moribund industrial age attitude to education.

Not so long ago further education used to be free and students subsidised, to ensure society had some of the appropriate skill sets and working class people had some opportunity to succeed in their chosen career path. In contrast the neoliberal education policy today is to ensure each working class student will leave further education, if they even even get there, with a debt of tens of thousands of pounds and a lesser chances with the wrong post code or accent. Formal education only leaves most students prepared for a world of debt and slavery.

At a time when the education system and every other public service should be leading the way in empowering our workers and encouraging a creative and dynamic workforce with the confidence and abilities to challenge the systemic problems in front of us. The government, a product of a private education system are busy murdering us for profit, slashing education budgets, privatising the national health service and all else. While many working class people even helped to vote them into power. What that says about our formal education system is that it is working fine and doing the job it has always done, serving the privileged.

Enough of “education” we need to learn. As Mark Twain reminds us “Don’t let school get in the way of your education” We need to start learning on our own. On our own in the sense of outside of the indoctrination framework of state education to one of free creative inquiry. What else will draw us back from the brink of global catastrophe? In working class progress, our wins, victories and successes were not the product of formal education, but in spite of it. Our learning and agency was achieved in the work place the street, the community, the meeting places, eye to eye contact, support networks and inter generational thinking. Learning where "the teacher of one class might be a pupil in another.” If we want to win, we need to find our way back to common sense and free will. There can be no real progress for ordinary people without it.

The Vietnam Moratorium began in Washington DC and the Moratorium strike's first nationwide peace action and Teach-in was on October 15, 1969. The national Moratorium actions in 1969 and 1970 to end the war in Vietnam became the largest anti-war demonstrations in US history.