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Interdisciplinary Journal on Human Development, Culture and Education
Revista Interdisciplinar de Desenvolvimento Humano, Cultura e Educação

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Review Essays / Ensaios bibliográficos
January / Janeiro, 2001

In search of a revolutionary pedagogy
by Marcelo Guimarães Lima

a review of:

Peter McLaren - 
Che Guevara, Paulo Freire 
and The Pedagogy of Revolution

Rowman and Littlefield Publishers,
Lanham, MD (USA), 2000

 To many, the latest book of Canadian-American educational theorist Peter McLaren: Che Guevara, Paulo Freire and The Pedagogy of Revolution, will probably appear as a sort of "unusual conjecture": presenting a number of "surprising", or even, in many ways, "baffling" considerations. 

On one hand, the book revisits some of the themes, works and authors related to the genealogy and the relevant issues of critical pedagogy as understood and practised in the USA by a number of educators and critics, such as McLaren himself, for over two decades now. Among the important sources of critical pedagogy we have, naturally, the works of Brazilian educator Paulo Freire, whose significance for the contemporary debates on education in North America, as well as in other places, since the late sixties and early seventies, is constantly emphasized, with reason, by McLaren.

On the other hand, claiming the figure and symbol of Che Guevara as relevant to the understanding of the theory and practice of a pedagogy for social change today in the North American context, is, apparently, a much less evident proposition, one that may be met with a certain degree of uneasiness or even with frank disbelief. Is it possible, or even necessary or desirable, to put together a Latin-American revolutionary and a Latin-American educator to construe a critical understanding of education today in order to build a revolutionary pedagogy for our time?

And certainly, the present time is a time of triumphant capitalism, or rather, of super-capitalism, and consequently not only of intensified, global exploitation of workers, that is, of all of those who have to sell their labour power in the market place for a living, but a time in which the commodification of all spheres of life and of all the domains of human activities, including Education, has reached proportions that perhaps, one is tempted to say, not even the early Marxist cultural-political critics of capitalism in the early part of the 20th Century, such as Lukacs, Gramsci, Korsch and others, for all their radical insights on the capitalist lebenswelt, could imagine. The novelty of the present context is precisely the urgent need of a radical and practical critique of the status quo, experienced as the lack of such a critique: a double need and double absence, opening a gap between the present and the not so distant past in which historical consciousness meant the possibility of historical invention, in which as Benjamin once observed, historical recollection could open the way to the imagination of the future, and memory could represent the poetical key to a redemption of history and from it. Double lack better understood perhaps by Henri Lefebvre’s notion of the contemporary "alienation from alienation". 

Che Guevara, Paulo Freire and The Pedagogy of Revolution is a book that plays at different levels. In many ways it can be said to constitute the project or first essay of a book, or rather, a group of works, yet to be written. The project of a revolutionary pedagogy for the present time is one faced with plenty of difficulties. Educators are faced with the daily degradation of their working conditions and of their works, with the devaluation of their profession, in spite of all ideological fanfare around the "importance of education nowadays", with the devaluation therefore of their skills and knowledge. Faced with the unrelenting, shameless and increasingly authoritarian subordination of educational goals and processes to the "logic of the marketplace", that is, in plain language: the transformation of a social-cultural process of crucial importance for society as a whole into a "business like any other", commanded by profit making goals and strategies, with the reduction of Education to a "consumer’s good", educators may feel that to affect real changes that will benefit their students and themselves more is needed than occasional "educational reforms" that, most of the times, in fact increase rather than abate the educational malaise and contribute to the persistent loss of autonomy of the educational process, of its institutional basis and of its practitioners. In such a context, the social-political grounds of the institution of Education may be quite clearly apprehended, in a more or less explicit way, even if not always as clearly expressed, by many, or most, of its practitioners. From here to the grounding of a critical social-political project of Education, however, the road is less clearly seen.

In this respect, if anything, what the experience of progressive Education, that is, of Education for social justice and democratic praxis, in Brazil, in Latin America and in the Third World as a whole (of which the work of Paulo Freire constitutes a specific moment), has shown, and continues to show today, is that the effectiveness of educational programs and projects is directly related to their embedding (through specific forms of mediation) in social movements of change in determined historical contexts of transformation, to which they present their specific contributions and from which they take their energies, impulse and general goals. In these historically specific contexts the autonomy of Education becomes a product of its mediation by the transformative movements in society and in turn it mediates social change in the larger perspective of reconstruction, reproduction and renewal of social relations.

We can observe that the correct understanding of critical pedagogy in its "First World" context, that is, in the North-American context, would imply also and fundamentally the understanding of, for instance, American Education in relation to the social forces at work at the present time in American society, including the forces and social movements directed to challenge and change the status quo with the aim of building democratic participation (by no means a given or "unproblematic reality" in the self-proclaimed "Great Democracy of the North") and those forces that oppose it. It is within specific contexts that the works of critical educators have to be analysed in order to better understand their contributions, their limits and the possible or actual relations between, for instance, the experiences of popular democratic movements for progressive education in Latin America and in the US.

One could expect that, due to its  subject, Che Guevara, Paulo Freire and The Pedagogy of Revolution would sketch the beginnings of such an analysis, that is, regarding central aspects of the sociology and the political economy of Education. There are reasons, or so we believe, why it does not. Reasons that may clarify the present turn of critical pedagogy itself, of which the work, or rather the works, of Peter McLaren, a major player in the North American developments of critical pedagogy, is both a source, in a way a sort of "emblem" and, at the same time, in what regards the analysis of the theoretical-practical conjuncture, a "symptom".

Che Guevara, Paulo Freire and the Pedagogy of Revolution, as we observed, is a book that plays at different levels: it marks the deepening of the author’s self-critical path in the construction of a critical theory of Education, it is a moment of a development defined by distinct and complementary phases of engagement and critical confrontation with postmodernist views. It represents, therefore, at the same time (and in different and interrelated ways) an intervention within a given intellectual-political conjuncture. It is a work that reflects an internal development of the educational critic, and at the same time, a work of theory critically engaged, in general terms and in its "programmatic" definitions, with or by the very object (postmodernist ideologies) it intends to "de-construct" (so to speak) and surpass. In its style (and in substance) it is, at once, an academic essay, a work of educational-political theory, a polemic tract, a political pamphlet, the portrait of a cultural-political conjuncture of the academic and educational Left in the US. 

"Who is Peter McLaren and why is he saying those terrible things about America and about Education?" may ask the unsuspecting reader, perhaps a young American university student of good will (good enough to open any of McLaren’s books, and specially the present one). And we may answer with confidence here: Peter McLaren is an American-Canadian intellectual, writer and teacher, whose success in the "academic-spectacular" marketplace in the US, and as critic of the system, has not made him forget where he came from and where his loyalties are. Coming from a working class and petit-bourgeois background, McLaren political instincts has guided him through the rough waters of the praxis of opposition in the institutional field of Education at a time of ideological and theoretical confusion, of triumphant commodification of all human social relations, the era of totalitarian capitalism and its ideology of fragmentation (call it postmodernism), that is, the era of a "new" social formation in the making, in which all aspects of human existence are submitted without mercy and without exception to the logic of surplus value production.

From the point of view of the new and critical phase of global capitalism and its neo-liberal ideology and of the new division of labor it entails, the need for a development of a radical critique of a radical reality brings back the "spectre" of Marxism, perhaps too early buried, et pour cause, under the rhetorical veil of post-structuralism and postmodernism. As an example, among others, of the present relevance of a tradition of Marxist critique, we could point out here, for instance, the so called "cultural turn"of Western Marxism in the early part of the 20th Century, when philosophical, methodological, cultural-political issues gained prominence among the leading theorists of Marxism, such as Lukacs or Gramsci, over the analysis of "economic" questions. Rather than simply displaying the "crisis of the workers movement" and a kind of "impotence" of theory, to grasp and explain the new infrastructural conditions of the day (after the pioneer work of Marx himself for the 19th Century), we can perhaps advance today the hypothesis that the "cultural turn" represented instead a deep insight into the conditions to come and into the workings of capitalist superstructural, "cultural" elements and processes, and their fundamental role in the reproduction and development of capitalism itself. 

Early Western Marxism, with its critique of reification, specially in the works of Lukacs, developed, after Marx, the analysis of the market relation as the dominant model of all social relations in a capitalist society. Market relations subsume under the control of the process of the production of surplus value all of the distinct and sometimes divergent modes of human activities, the various modes of insertion of human beings in the world, that is, the human modes of being, that reveal and constitute the wealth of capacities and of forms of human relations. These, in a society structured around the production of exchange values, become simply extensions of the market relations, mere reflections of the central, and exclusive nucleus of the "life process" of the social whole, as the social bond, and with it the forms that express the wealth of human processes of self-objectification, is reduced to the so called "cash nexus".

In many ways, our Late Capitalism period has only exacerbated the subversive and destructive workings of the reification processes. In a deeply and growing contradictory way the development of production, that is, the increase of social wealth, is paid for by social and economic exclusion, super-exploitation goes hand in hand with a socially produced scarcity of jobs, which amounts to the elimination of the "surplus worker"; and the productive wonders of technology, by increasing the productivity of work, generates the economic, political and moral enslavement of workers and the, always historically relative as Marx observed, pauperization ( both "physical" and " spiritual" ) of the many.

In a time in which technology opens the way to new modes of action, new ways of knowing, new possibilities of understanding reality and therefore new possibilities of autonomous and diversified human social practices, the "owners" of the new productive forces, the global capitalist classes, expropriate at a global scale the working classes (and the global under classes) of their human condition ( also historically defined, as Marx observed). Marx’s analyses of capitalist production showed that the control of the productive processes is the domination of the worker who cannot be separated, except in abstraction, from his/her own human nature, that is, from his/her historically defined human condition, the wealth of capacities, resources, dispositions, needs and creative powers defined and constructed in the social- historical process of humanity’s autopoiesis and that includes also the historically evolved ethical dimension of humanity. The new slavery of the " electronic age of capital" is both market slavery, where the creative and self-creative powers of the individual is curtailed by the imposed organization of work (class structure), and the one arising from market exclusion, generating the surplus human, the "overproduce", superfluous human being.

It is not by chance that our time is considered to be one of, to use a popular euphemism, moral and ethical "uncertainties". Behind the generalities of euphemistical representation, lie the very determinated and concrete evils of today. While the progress of science and technology revise our understanding of the world and of ourselves, opening new worlds, new vistas and new challenges, our lives are confined within social structures of domination that negate in practice the very possibilities of human development the mind knows and the heart knowingly desires. Human identity is a historical product and a historical process. Our time is also one of struggle over the very definition of our being, of what we are which includes the human dimension of the past and of the future, of becoming, and of what we may aspire to be. And what we are also includes the ethical-political dimension of our social nature: what we do to and with one another. 

In the building of human beings, in the production of subjects, Education has an important role: it is one of the arenas in which the struggle for the definition of our humanity is played and, in the social conditions of today, it is also a site in which the conflicts and contradictions of the times are reflected with particular intensity. The new economy of exclusive capitalism, the new domination of capital over the working classes (defined also in broader terms following the universalization / intensification of market relations), requires a new working subject, a new labor force forged also, among other places, by the educational institution. That the exclusive and excluding logic of capitalist exchange and accumulation may be in directed contradiction to the communicative logic of knowledge production and dissemination is certainly not a deterrent to the present day process of fast and forced commodification of Education.

It is within this context that the work of critical pedagogy, as defined by McLaren, intervenes in order to counter the hegemonic ideology, to multiply as much as possible the critical instances and to foster critical agency within the educational institution and educational practices understood in the larger sense of the term. And to that, the resource to Guevara and Freire, in their convergences and distinctions, going beyond the examination of their respective theoretical contributions proper, signals also the quest for the meanings inscribed in each man’s persona, in their lives and actions. In order to reveal the dialectical unity (dialectics=unity of the diverse, unity in or as conflict) of their theoretical work as embodied praxis. To consider the meanings produced by and derived from their works as material processes inscribed in the larger realities of the world’s vital processes and as a moment of it: affecting or contributing to affect real transformations on real processes. And with this, the book marks also the limits of critical pedagogy, announcing a pedagogy of the future to be born from the movement of history itself.

Throughout the book, examining the life and works of Che Guevara and Paulo Freire, McLaren engages in a polemical exchange and critique of postmodernism and a self-critical assessment of the postmodern moment and foundations of critical pedagogy as prolegomena to a revolutionary pedagogy of the future. Both lucid and volatile, engaging and exasperating, brilliant and uncertain, the style and the substance of McLaren’s work embody and reveal in an exemplary way the contradictions of its (our) conjuncture, displaying at the same time the necessity and the enormous difficulties of its (our) task, the task of those, from the educational field and related domains, engaged in a defensive and offensive war against the new masters of the new world (dis)order. But, in saying that we have certainly not "solved" the question, for any work is in one way or the other the contradictory embodiment of its conjuncture. The present text does so in an exemplary way, or so we believe, that we must try to characterize.

An initial, provisory balance of McLaren’s move with Che Guevara, Paulo Freire and the Pedagogy of Revolution in the present "war of positions" in the cultural-political front of today may be summarized as follow: it is, to a great extent, a consciously provocative move and, as such, an attempt to trace a dividing line on crucial issues forcing its adversaries to "unmask" themselves and to take, in spite of themselves, clearly delineated positions on determined issues, when less clear ones would play to their advantage. It is also a risky move for the "provocateur" is the one that takes the initiative, assumes solely the risks, working within dynamic, shifting contexts. In such contexts, the act that exposes the enemy will also expose himself.

To McLaren’s credit we can note the courage of "fighting in enemy’s territory". And yet, this very circumstance may define both the value and the limits of his initiative. Some of the most significant of these limits, of a general nature (but no less pregnant with particular, specific consequences), are the ones inherent to the North American political and intellectual context, and, within it, to the academic environment in the US. In general terms, we can point out some of the effects in the text of the general historical conjuncture. For better or worse, the present conjuncture can be characterized negatively by the absence of a historical Left fighting in the national political institutional front, the absence of organized mass movements directly oriented towards the abolition of capitalist social relations, the absence of a (always historically relative) political "center" of anti-capitalist social struggles. In such a context, the ensuing political "pluralism", in action and in thinking, will most of the times run the risk of being no more than the ideological expression of political fragmentation, heterogeneity and heteronomy facing the ( in what matters, always) united front of capital. In a sense, postmodernism, in its North American version, is the political logic of Late Capitalism, as McLaren observes repeatedly and with reason, to divide is to rule.

It is certainly a truism to say, but one perhaps worth repeating again and again, and indeed it is a readily observable fact, that the present period of capitalism’s structural reorganization has dispersed and fragmented the anticapitalist opposition. And one of its repercussions in theory is the fragmentation of theory itself. A fragmentation that will not be countered simply by a return to theory’s past. In this particular we can say that what we need today is not a "defense" of Marxism but the development of a Marxism for the new century, for Marxism itself as the theory of socialism, that is, of the historical negation and surpassing of capitalism, is nothing if not this very development. It is certainly to the development of a socialist project in the specific field of education that McLaren’s present work wants to contribute. Here, one of the (unavoidable?) effects of the present state of affairs is the very plurality of critical roles assumed in the book. It results, at times, in a sort of diversification of fronts that itself does risk, at specific levels, the very fragmentation it intends to combat.

Against a critical socialist project, one could argue, commonly enough, that the end of the Soviet Union signed the historical passing away of the Left and that, since revolution is presently nowhere to be found, it doesn’t make much sense to talk about the "abolition" of capitalist social relations as an act of historical will of the anticapitalist forces of today (such as the working classes and their direct and indirect allies), as a relevant notion to the understanding of the present political context in the US or elsewhere, marked by a de facto pluralism of contrasting and contradictory goals, agents and processes (united only by the underlying workings of the market). In fact, as the argument goes, such a notion may only display nothing less than a nostalgia for a vanished, or simply imaginary totality that Marxism, by the fiat of dialectics, was once supposed to reveal and produce. And yet the present day prophets of pluralism, difference, dissemination, and of ideological and practical laissez-faire, fail curiously to notice the homogeneous substance of global capitalism as the very condition that makes possible the proliferation of the discourse of difference and of "pluralism": the more equalized, homogenized by the forces of capital, in spite of ourselves, we become, the more we talk about difference. One MacDonald in every street-corner of the world: this may be in fact the real background and landscape of the ideology of difference!

We could point out here that "globalized" postmodernism, among other things, is also, in many ways, the global spreading of the internal political structural landscape of the US, characterized historically by the ideological " neutralization" of ideological conflict, by the ideologically constructed "invisibility" of class struggle. It is the imposition of many of the particularities of American political conduct and environment to heterogenous national and political formations around the world.

One could equally point out, plainly, that the anti-revolutionary argument, in fact confounds particular expressions, historically determined instances, episodic and also local effects of class struggle with the historical process of revolution or revolution as historical process. As we know, since Marx (and perhaps, since the French Revolution), capitalism itself is a profoundly "revolutionary" system, a system that only survives by constantly re-inventing itself within given structural limits, confronting dangerously and repeatedly its limits, risking to overstep its own boundaries but always retreating from self-subversion by the resource to economic crisis as an instrument of political and economic control. In a time of dispersion of political opposition, the "spectre" of Guevara may represent the total, armed and organized, autonomous and calculated, planned and passionate, conscious and willed opposition against the highly integrated, technologically administrated, subversive and conquering power of universal capitalism. 

This is precisely one of the important ways in which the resource to Guevara works is played and displayed, in McLaren’s text. But, as McLaren knows well, to desire the revolution of the oppressed of the Earth is not to demonstrate its necessity/possibility here and now, and for the near future. If it is not simply the manifestation of a sort of nostalgia for an era of " clearly defined" ideological options (although, within Marxism, such a characterization is also something highly questionable), and nostalgia is certainly not the case here, the understanding of Guevara’s revolutionary legacy has to account dialectically for the differences and similarities between him and us, between then and now, to account for the historical distance and the historical proximity that unite and divide us. But to this task, perhaps a slightly diverse strategy than the one employed by Mc Laren, would be necessary. Do we assume too much, for instance, in addressing as types of one object the Marxism of Guevara and the elements of Marxism in Paulo Freire’s work? And precisely how are we to account for Guevara’s concept of historical and dialectical materialism? This is not to dwell in the arcane of theory, nor to see Guevara as subsumed under the abstract substance of "theory", be it of Marxist theory, but to do justice to the potentially theoretically enlightening dimension of his revolutionary praxis.

Among the various dimensions of Guevara’s Marxism, his internationalism in ideal and in practice, as McLaren notes, is an important element to be re-examined in the era of multinational capitalism and globalization.It may be true, for instance, as Sinclair states that: " History will probably treat Guevara as the Garibaldi of his age, the most admired and beloved revolutionary of his time. The impact of his ideas on socialism and guerrilla warfare may be temporary, but his influence, particularly in Latin America , must be lasting. For there has been no man with so great an ideal of unity for that divided and unlucky continent since Bolivar." #(1), but here also there is ambiguity, for it is precisely as a socialist, as a Marxist (again: of what kind?) that Guevara lived and conceptualized that unity. Against the unity of present day capitalist globalization: unification from above, by the masters, which in the Latin American case represents a sort of 
dialectical "new phase" of the long night of imperialism, unification from below supposes the struggle for Latin American socialism. And that, contrary to Garibaldi's, is today an unfinished and yet, as im the past, urgent task.

In what regards the question of Education which is, after all, the explicit object of McLaren’s book- how to clarify the project of the construction of a "Pedagogy of Revolution" and Guevara’s role in such a project ? To stress the importance of education in the revolutionary struggle for Guevara, and to show the examples of his role as a teacher during the armed struggle, and his stress on the transformation of the historical subject, the guevarian "hombre nuevo", as the pedagogical task of the Revolution, are, no doubt, important points but, in themselves, hardly sufficient for grounding a new pedagogy. If anything, Cuba itself is, in specific ways, the legacy of Guevara’s armed struggle, and the examination of education in Cuba a fundamental task to the understanding of past and present revolutionary pedagogy and the possible and actual pedagogical dimensions of guevarismo. It is, in fact, I believe, the mastery of the history of revolutionary Cuba, its past and present, in its practical and theoretical aspects, that can only give us the materials to understand all of its specific dimensions and, among these, the development of Education in Cuba, its particular scope, unique as well as universal determinations, and possible significance for progressive educators everywhere today. The task of constructing a pedagogy of revolution today is one that must confront the future of revolution as well as the future revolution and the future of pedagogy itself. And to this task, as McLaren rightly observes, only a materialist approach will be of use. 

The task of re-conceptualizing Guevara must be, above all, in order to be productive, of a primarily historical nature, that is, it must focus on the historical dimension, historical materials and the historical process itself of wich Guevara’s struggle is a moment. Certainly, what constitute and what does not constitute historical materials properly speaking, must be understood in the spirit of historical materialism, that is, in a way that clarifies the dialectical articulations between history and the present, between the present of history and the present as history, the presence of the past among the living, and the promise of liberation of the past and from it within history. To clarify the articulations between the life of the individual, in many ways "incommensurable", and the social historical determinants that structures the individual’s field of action and possibilities, is to locate the exchanges between the lived realities and the larger structural coordinates that confers a degree of historical intelligibility and meaning to a person’s life. And that amounts to ground the narrated self/ other in the territory of analysis, without wich, and specially in the case of Guevara, narrative may easily turn into myth. Certainly, this does not precludes the confrontation with our myth making capacities. But it does alert us to the proper political productivity of the discourse of history that must constitute the revolutionary understanding. It is in fact the relentlessly pursued self-critical examination of the political productivity of its own discourse, of its objectively apprehended (and not simply desired/imagined) grounding on class struggle, that characterizes the dialectics of a materialist understanding.

What does Guevara, the teacher-student of revolution in the 20th century, has to offer us today? For McLaren, Guevara's "unfinished" work and life is a first "source" to inquire on the revolution of our time.
But what specific forms will take the revolution of the 21st century? How will educators in the US, in Latin America and all over the world, contribute to elucidate this crucial question?

Paulo Freire, as McLaren observes, has disclosed to us the political dimension of literacy: not simply the embedding of literacy practices in a given social-political context, but the inner political dimension of the learning process, the practice of literacy as self-formative, individual praxis. The Freirean "method" involves an epistemology of literacy consciously grounded in a particular ontology of social being. Whatever its shortcomings, in spite of the inevitable historical limits of his works, the relevance of a core of "revolutionary knowledge", that is, the understanding of the transformative, and hence, profoundly political character of literacy development for the individual and his/ her social group, that knowledge is, according to McLaren, the enduring legacy of Freire and the basis of his relevance for educators today. Literacy is not simply the acquisition of an instrument of modern social, economic, professional life, the development of a particular technical instrument, but the possibility of interpreting the world anew as a prelude to (or, more precisely, in the very process of) changing the (always already) interpreted world. Interpretive praxis becomes here a moment of transformative praxis, and a crucial one.

And we could note here that the enormous influence of Freire among the North-American progressive educators, has not prevented misreadings of his concepts and, at times, as McLaren observes, of the very subject of his works. To counter the domestication and banalization of Freire’s concepts, and also the misunderstanding, the involuntary and also the voluntary distortions, the misappropriations and outright falsifications that have contributed to feed the long, and not always productive, controversies around critical pedagogy, it is necessary to read it in the light of its own historical soil and moment. For it is only such a reading that truly unlocks the productive possibilities of a particular discourse and allows the process of re-contextualization, as a sort of "creative appropriation" of a work, to take place.

In particular , the work of Freire has been prey to what I call a sort of " imperialist reading and appropriation" that subsumes the Freirean experience under categories not fit to it, a reading that readily ignores the particular historical soil from which a pedagogy of the oppressed was developed by refusing to understand it as expression of a specific experience and reality, the experience and reality of a collective other. Paulo Freire, the individual and his works, contrary to the impression one receives when reading some of his North-American interpreters and also some of his North-American critics, did not "fall from the sky" into the heavens of the North-American educational field and conflicts, but rather was a product of the specific development of Education and social movements in Brasil, and later in Latin America and Africa. The most productive, as well as the most problematic aspects of his works, cannot be fully understood and evaluated if one ignores its sources, in theory and in reality, and its process of formation.

In the midst of a postmodern kaleidoscope of competing "interpretations" of critical pedagogy and of the works of Paulo Freire, amidst the cacophony of "voices", the proliferation of "perspectives" and "criticism", all "unique" and yet equally banal in their strategies and results, I believe one of the merits of McLaren’s book is his conscious attempt to offer a different perspective, one that I would venture to call, for lack of a better word, and at the risk of being misunderstood, "tercermundista".That is, a perspective that restores, as much as possible, the autonomy of its discursive object and locates its power precisely in what resists appropriation. With sensitivity, McLaren’s readings of Freire and Guevara tries to embrace the Latin American dimension of both man’s works, and therefore contributes, in the spirit of Che and Freire, to rethink globalization from the perspective of the excluded of the postmodern era, from a revolutionary perspective in the making.

Che Guevara, Paulo Freire and the Pedagogy of Revolution is finally a book that will most likely leave the reader with more questions than he or she had before. A work that will present us with more problems than answers. As a sort of new and disconcerting "guide for the perplexed", it will touch our own perplexities and rightly so, and yet, it will also dare us to imagine that the revolutionary praxis of our time is being fashioned, here and now, in the depths of the alienated world.

Reflecting a fractured reality, critical pedagogy is a pedagogy at odds with that reality and therefore, "at odds with itself", as McLaren writes. Che Guevara, Paulo Freire and the Pedagogy of Revolution, is in a similar way, an essay "at odds with itself". Revolutionary pedagogy, a work in progress, is a pedagogy in search of itself. As an essay, that is, an attempt in the proper sense of the word, the productivity of the present work will be measured by the other essays that will follow from it, by other attempts to solve the riddle of the revolution of our time. Attempts that the present book will most certainly inspire for some time to come.

(1) in Sinclair, Andrew (1998)- Che Guevara, Gloucestershire: Sutton. Quoted by McLaren, p.112


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