Michael Rosen

Freud debate welcome

Issue section: 
Author: 

May I welcome the fact that SR has begun a discussion about Freud on its pages? It’s not often that you can find a discussion of psychology, psychotherapy and psychoanalysis on the pages of a Marxist periodical. Can I offer some thoughts by way of contributing to the discussion?

1. A Marxist approach to Freud’s ideas would usually consider them in their historical context, spelling out where and how any of them are applicable in the present, beyond the time, place and class of their birth and development.

GCSEs: Gove rigs the system

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

The crisis in the marking of this year's GCSEs should give us one reason to be grateful: it has exposed the farce that is at the heart of our education system.

Bizarrely but predictably, the coalition has used this crisis to produce a dog's dinner of a "reform" which does nothing more than buttress up a faulty apparatus. As usual, the real motor that drives educational underachievement is hidden from view.

It is quite reasonable for teachers and learners to have a method of assessing what is being understood and what skills are being acquired. It is quite another to create a system which pits pupils, teachers and schools against each other that makes a fact-accumulating approach dominate education entirely.

Reading between the class lines

Issue section: 
Author: 

Literacy is like water - a universal need. But what does a demand for literacy actually mean?

Recently the London Evening Standard devoted many pages to alerting its readers to high levels of "illiteracy" in order to start a campaign. It turns out that this was not much more than trying to win more volunteers for an already existing scheme to send volunteers into schools to hear children read - in other words, Big Society charity stuff rather than universal provision.

Culture: it's all in the mix!

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

With David Cameron's words on multiculturalism still reverberating round the gutters, now's a good time to take a second look at the word "culture".

The two main overlapping ways the word is used in everyday conversation are: (a) to cover artistic products we consume - plays, films, books, paintings and the like - and (b) to talk of "the way we do things in our everyday lives" - our kinship relations, what we eat, what kinds of dwellings, rituals, music, gestures we make and, significantly, what language(s), dialect(s) and accent(s) we speak with.

Defending Libraries

Issue section: 
Author: 

Libraries have become one of the expendable, junkable parts of modern capitalism.

The main alibi in circulation supporting the closure of libraries is that they've become less popular. The reason for that, the argument goes, is that a combination of (a) the production of cheap books, (b) multi-genre TV and (c) the arrival on the internet of virtually everything that a book can offer has supplanted the need for libraries.

We need to be sharp about how we defend the library service and indeed be clear about what we are defending and what we would change about it.

The Words on the Streets

Issue section: 
Author: 

Review of 'The Meaning of Everything', Simon Winchester, OUP £7.99

Should you trust someone who writes that General Gordon of Khartoum was an 'inescapably heroic Christian imperialist' who 'is remembered still by all British schoolboys, along with other tragic heroes like Scott, Oates and Lord Cardigan of Crimea'? This is how Winchester writes, so if he's got a story to tell, there are moments like these where you have to grit your teeth.

Capital's Punishment

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

As a postscript to Moira Nolan's review of Al Pacino's Merchant of Venice (December SR), could I add that it would be a pity to overlook the fundamental clash that lies at the heart of the play?

This is not simply or only a matter of Christian versus Jew, but a clash between the new way of making money in the 16th century and the old. The 'merchant' of the title (Antonio) is in fact a mercantile capitalist. We gather this in the opening moments of the play when we hear that his 'argosies' (merchant ships), behaving 'like signiors and rich burghers', are out on the sea. Shylock the Jew meanwhile is a moneylender of the backstreet, medieval kind.

Education: Learning to Dream

Issue section: 
Author: 

To New Labour, schools are factories churning out workers, but how could education be run in an equal society, asks poet Michael Rosen.

When you're in the middle of teaching and lecturing, it's hard and even painful to allow yourself time to imagine what education could be like. And yet it's something we have to do, because the most potent weapon we have has two edges - the dream of something better and the willingness to fight for it. To which we can add: if our dreams are too dreamy no one will join the fight and it is in the fight itself that we will glimpse new dreams.

Education: Dear Diane Abbott...

Issue section: 
Author: 

Poet Michael Rosen slams New Labour's education agenda.

First of all, can I say thank you for having given socialists yet another reason not to waste any time in the Labour Party. Your decision to send your son to a private school helps those of us who say that New Labour is really about inequality.

If you were a Tory, then what you've done would be a simple matter. Tories say they believe in the privilege that comes with either money or birth or both. The problem is that you've spent the last 20 years giving out the message that you're opposed to it.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Michael Rosen