Go to contents page of Facundo's essay
Go to comments on Facundo's essay from Alternativas.
Go to Robert Mackie's article.
Return to "Facundo on Freire" entry page.
This document is located on the
Suppression of dissent website
in the section on Documents
in the subsection on Facundo on Freire
Paulo Freire has provoked and continues to provoke mixed reactions in the United States since his first visit in 1969-70.  At first, he was inextricably linked to a literacy method or technique, especially among academics engaged in adult education. Yet, as early as 1973, Freire was proclaimed to be "a revolutionary dilemma" for U.S. adult educators.  In 1975 it was back to literacy, through an article that proclaimed "literacy in 30 hours" as the results obtained with the Paulo Freire method.  The interest in Freire has oscillated between those who are more inclined to his literacy technique, and those who are moved by his educational philosophy and process.
In 1981, while Mackie edited a book devoted to examining the links between the pedagogy of Paulo Freire, literacy and revolution (in an excellent critical manner), a new book in the United States by Patricia Cross looking at Adults as Learners,  classified Freire as a developmental theoretician of adult education, and only referred to his work in Brazil and Chile prior to 1970 (a total number of five lines within a 287-page book). In the United States, Freire is read and interpreted in the most diverse circles in amazingly contradictory ways.
A common criticism made to Freire in the United States is that his writings are "obscure." For instance, a booklet produced by the U.S. Catholic Conference (USCC) states: "Paulo Freire is very much in vogue these days, but anyone who reads him will agree that he has a desiccated [sic], metaphysical way of wrapping up his ideas that is most disconcerting."  William Smith has stated that Freire's writings are "abstract and dense almost to the point of impenetrability."  There are, indeed, several problems in trying to understand Freire within the United States context.
Members of his team at IDAC have stated that, in order to be able to grasp the totality of Freire's intellectual development, you must be, or must have been, all of the following: Latin American, Catholic, Marxist and an Educator.  A lack of understanding of Freire's intellectual development is, in my opinion, a key issue. Freire's thought is still evolving. His works--and related bibliography--are usually published in the United States only long after being written, and his published books do not convey when and where Freire wrote each. There is a pattern in the development of Freire's work that can be traced if his books are read in the chronological order in which they were written and evaluated vis-a-vis Freire's practice at that particular time. But this chronological order and other essential bibliographical sources about Freire are, for the most part, unknown and not easily available to U.S. readers.
As of this writing, a new book which collects writings of and about Freire over the seventies has been published...in German!  It will not be available in Spanish until late 1984 and in English no one knows, as it has not been accepted for publication in the English language. Who knows what is in there? A second example is Pereira Paiva's book. I deem it essential to attempt an understanding of the intellectual formation of Paulo Freire before he became internationally famous. As of now, it is only available in Portuguese and Spanish.  Pereira Paiva's research product enables us to test the romantic notion of a 'revolutionary' Freire who was arrested and jailed in Brazil.
A third and last example is a doctoral dissertation written in Canada evaluating Freire's work in Guinea-Bissau, a theme I shall discuss later on.  At this moment, the important thing to share is that the dissertation brings to the fore significant elements that cannot be gleaned from Freire's book about his work in Guinea-Bissau. The dissertation is unpublished.
The fact that Freire's chronological intellectual development as per his books and related bibliography are not easily available in the United States is coupled with the fact that Paulo Freire is an eclectic who relies heavily in Catholic, existentialist, phenomenological and Marxist philosophy.  This is far from the usual bibliography students (even graduate students) are required to read in most U.S. colleges and universities. Let us see Freire's own view of the problem as he discussed it in 1981: 
In Germany, my work is found to be transparent, easy, due-- perhaps--to the Germans' long experience with dialectic thought. They want theory, not facts. In the U.S. people want facts, not theory. But facts do not stand by themselves without theory. My books are printed every year in Germany, and are used by many universities in their academic departments.
Workers also understand my work, as well as those who have some experience of oppression. But I acknowledge there might be a problem of cross-cultural translation with U.S. readers. 
Freire continues his analysis:
I try to think dialectically by trying to understand contradictions and how they work in reality, not as a given out there, but as something that is in a process of giving itself; something that is not static, that is becoming. How can I describe reality with a static language? My language has to be contradictory in order to grasp a contradictory reality.
But in the United States the habit is to think not dialectically but in a positivistic way. And then my language becomes "mysterious."
At a question as to why he uses such an "academic" language, he responds:
I did not write for the peasants but for those who can work with them. If a graduate student in education cannot read my books, then you cannot understand Sartre, Hegel, and not even Dewey. And your universities have to start all over again!
Freire has made strong criticism of the education provided by most U.S. universities, particularly in doctoral programs, describing them as "eating books" instead of reading them, which provokes "an indigestion of books." He despises the fact that professors feel it is within their right to prescribe exactly which pages of a book a student should read, as if this could give the student a comprehension of the author's thought. Reading a book, Freire has stated, is like re-writing it, nothing to be done in a hurried fashion only because a required long bibliography awaits to be read in a prescribed period. But there is more.
To understand my books you have to have experience with the people--not just with books! What I describe I did. 
The "obscurity" problem, stemming, in my opinion, from the elements already mentioned, is compounded when U.S. readers try to make sense of the many contradictions that can be identified in Freire's writings. When these are pointed out to Freire in face-to-face encounters, he responds very strongly: "I have the right to be contradictory!" And he does, indeed. Yet, within the U.S. environment this argument is not very helpful for persons who are attracted to Freire's theory and who are trying to make sense out of it as a basis to create and/or develop non-oppressive educational programs. For the land of all kind of manuals which explain "how-to" everything in a step-by-step fashion, Freire's refusal to give this type of information results in a considerable amount of frustration, if not anger.
Freire understands this very well and also the fact that he is not familiar with daily life in the United States. His attitude is, more or less: "You guys have to formulate your own theory, and develop your own solutions." But, sadly enough, in conferences where Freire is the "star" (a position that he has said he strongly resents), literacy workers, community organizers and adult educators try to squeeze out from him solutions to the problems they face at their local sites. Freire invariably responds with an anecdote about his work in Brazil, Chile or Guinea-Bissau. As to what the anecdote means within the U.S. context... Well, friend, that is your problem!
One of Freire's main tenets is that education is political.  This is accepted by some liberals and everyone to their political left. The problem is, what does that mean? Which politics are conducive to a non-oppressive (thus, liberating) educational program? Responses are as varied as the political preference of the person who asks the question, and the fact is that all can quote Freire out of context to prove their point because, as I have said Freire's thought has evolved along the years and it is still evolving. The results are heated debates (not dialogues) as to what Freire means, and little action or theory construction as to what must be done in the United States.
Freire attacks sectarianism from both Left and Right. This is often quoted by sectarians in the U.S. to accuse their ideological opponents of being sectarian. It becomes another game of words wherein Freire is quoted in support of almost any political preference. Freire argues for "revolution." At the same time, he declares himself a "pacifist" and has stated that, although he understands that revolutions are not made with flowers, he does not "like to think on violent transformation" adding that he "prefers to be called bourgeois."
"Fine revolutionary you are, Paulo. You cannot even kill a chicken"--this is a personal anecdote of a phrase his wife, Elsa, once told him and that Freire often quotes in seminars. Another phrase by Freire in this context: "I can't kill you, but if you hurt my wife, I could kill you--unless I have thirty minutes to think about it."' What kind of revolution then does Freire advocate?  In Puerto Rico we cannot help but remember books invariably written by U.S. social scientists admiring the "quiet, peaceful revolution" that Puerto Rico underwent during the fifties and sixties while our economy was being devastated by U.S. capital, making 60% of our families dependent on food-stamps. Those in the U.S. who consider Freire as a revolutionary in Brazil prior to the 1964 military coup, would do well to re-read his first book, and to compare this with their personal definitions of what constitutes a "revolutionary."
Freire has made an absolute division of the world into oppressed and oppressors. You must be one or the other. In recent years, in Freire's thought, the oppressed have become more clearly identified with groups that in the United States are called "the poor." In international terms, the oppressed are Third World countries, and inhabitants of the Third World who reside and are subjected to exploitation and racism in "advanced" industrial countries which constitute the First World. There are also "First Worlds" (the elite) in underdeveloped countries. For Freire, it is no longer a matter of geography.
The oppressed must fight for their liberation in order to become human, says Freire. And those in the middle classes and upper stratas of society who side with the oppressed must commit an individual class suicide. The image is similar to the Catholic version of Easter--to die and be reborn as humans in a kind of spiritual transformation.
Freire's politics have received the most diverse type of descriptions, some of which are: elitist (Manfred Stanley) ; revolutionary Socialist, as distinct from humanist Socialist or Marxist Socialist ; romantic (Griffith,  and, to some extent, Walker ), to name but a few.
These classifications and labels originate in the fact that, since his second book, the Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Freire has started to quote Marx in empathetic terms, as well as Che, Fidel Castro, and Mao-Tse-Tung. Quoting Marx does not make him a Marxist. Freire seems to be more inclined to the strongly Hegelian writings of the young Marx (which Marx himself never published). It is glaringly clear in Freire's books that, in his theory, 
there is no primacy of economic and historical materialism as the bases for revolution (...) Freire ignores the political economy of revolution in favor of an emphasis on the cultural dimension of revolution.
There cannot be a primacy of historical materialism in Freire, simply because he is a devoted Catholic ("the more I read Marx, the more I find Christ in every street," he says frequently).  Marx, especially the young Marx and his concept of alienation, is consonant with the progressive Christians who believe that humans cannot become truly human until the basic, human, material living conditions are available to them.
Freire has increasingly exhibited a tendency to romanticize and idealize revolutionary leaders in the Third World, taking their writings at face value and, I hate to say, most uncritically. He looks at these leaders to confirm his theory: the revolutionary is a man who acts out of love, a human being who sacrifices without personal self-interest; indeed, a Christ-like figure in authentic communion with the people. While he warns that revolutions can betray their ideals and become bureaucratic and manipulative--these he labels "inauthentic"--he does not offer a concrete example of where he has seen this occur, if anywhere. Interrogated in Vermont by Jonathan Kozol about Cuba, and the highly hierarchical participatory process Kozol has perceived during his visits to the island, Freire responded: 
I have not yet been in Cuba. I have friends there and friends who have been there. Cuba is not creating a paradise, because that is not the task for a revolution. A revolution makes history (...) For me the question is that the more Cuba becomes able to go towards an opening, the more Cuba will become authentically socialist. I do not think Cuba is preponderantly rigid. We also can discover in Cuba some signs of Stalinism (which is spread in the left all over the world). But Cuba cannot be compared. The Cuban people were able to get their history into their hands in 20 years. This could not exist if the people had been exclusively manipulated. How to explain the creativity, the presence of happiness in the streets (not just the people, the streets themselves!). I think Cuba is trying to go more and more beyond rigidity. I myself do not understand the why's of Ethiopia. I do understand Angola and Mozambique, bombarded by South Africa. I was there once and about 600 children died. They also have mediocres there, people that are not so capable. They [the mediocres] speak Spanish there and not Portuguese. This is wrong. But I never saw Cubans in ghettos separated from the Angolans.
But let us assume that they commit more mistakes than right things. The important thing is the attitudes with which they go--as friends; as comrades. (My emphasis.)
The above should be critically examined even by those of us who have been in Cuba. 
Freire shies away from the harsh, painful, violent acts committed by both sides in any revolutionary war,  and reserves his criticism for the violence of oppressors. The violence of the oppressed is justified because it is reactive, defensive and made "out of love."  This stems, I think, from Freire's dichotomizing of the entire world in two antagonistic sides: oppressors and oppressed, leaving no space for mediators or the interlocuteurs valables. This term emerged in the Algerian war of independence and referred to moderate nationalist representatives with whom compromise solutions might be negotiated between France and the struggling Algerians. Amazingly enough, Amílcar Cabral took up the term to describe the beginning of his struggle: "We (...) the engineers, doctors, bank clerks and so on, joined together to form a group of interlocuteurs valables." (See note 25)
Leszek Kolakowski, who was professor of History of Philosophy at the University of Warsaw and expelled in March 1968, both from the university and from the Communist Party for political reasons, and who now teaches at Oxford University, bitter due to Stalinism (this can be felt in his writings), has very interesting things to say on the practice of using sharp, self-exclusive dichotomies.  In his view, when you establish a single politically correct way of looking at things, that is the road to Stalinism and it only promotes "traitors" instead of "dissidents." Then all criticism is silenced and the only result is the creation of escapists. Becoming an escapist is the only solution when you are forced to choose between the options of being "a renegade or a loyal opportunist." The escapist renounces active participation in political life. Any political cause defeats itself when it becomes an end and not a means, because it liquidates the possibility of future allies by producing escapists.
Kolakowski further points to the value of inconsistency,  which he describes as a "refusal to choose once and for all between any values whatever which mutually exclude each other."  He makes it very clear that he is not advocating for a middle-of-the-road position. He is only stating that the various values are, notoriously throughout history, introduced into society by mutually antagonistic forces. Inconsistency, then: 
as an individual attitude is merely a consciously sustained reserve of uncertainty, a permanent feeling of possible personal error, or the possibility that one's antagonist may be right.
Kolakowski is not arguing for an absolute relativism. There are limits to inconsistency (what Kolakowski calls 'elementary situations'): 
Open aggression, genocide, torture, mistreatment of the defenseless--all these are elementary situations... here we suddenly confront a dual-valued world... Inconsistency has certain limits within which it is valid: the limits wherein reality is contradictory. But reality is contradictory up to a certain point.
Perhaps because of Freire's radical dichotomy and his refusal to face the agonizing decisions that must be made by revolutionaries in war, his own IDAC team wonders whether Freire's program of education for liberation may only be feasible in a 'post revolutionary' situation.  At this time, we deem it important to bring up the very American Saul Alinsky and some of his rules for the ethics of means and ends, in Rules for Radicals: 
Freire's writings (perhaps because of the reasons we have stated) are in strong disagreement with what Alinsky presents as [rather cynical, hard] rules. I think Alinsky describes the way of things as they are, and Freire describes them as he thinks they should be. In his admiration for revolutionary leaders, not once does Freire examine the extent to which the leaders he admires may have been guided by the above "rules."
In conversations with U.S. Alinsky-inspired community organizers, I have heard many times that Freire is "more revolutionary" than Alinsky was. This I attribute to the stated anti-Communism of Alinsky, vis-a-vis Freire's quotes from Marx, Che, Fidel, Amílcar Cabral and Mao-Tse-Tung's cultural revolution. But we have to see Freire's quotes and remarks within a context: a context which is certainly not Communist and that includes a philosophical stand that rejects historical materialism, and which I believe to be basically personalist. Besides, let us not forget that Freire has never been directly involved in a revolutionary struggle (armed warfare), Communist or not.
It is not our intention to dwell on a comparison between Freire and Alinsky. It is the subject of a doctoral dissertation now in progress at Rutgers University. But there is another distinction we would like to point out, and it is the way Freire and Alinsky categorize humans. For Freire, as we have seen, humanity is sharply dichotomized into "oppressors" and "oppressed." For Alinsky, it is divided into the "haves," the "have-nots," and the "have some, want more." 
Early in the seventies Griffith referred to Freire's reliance "upon emotionally laden and vaguely defined terms."  If you are in agreement with Freire's view of reality you will not see this vagueness. Freire talks most imprecisely about "the correct way," about "authentic leaders" and about "political clarity." The logical inference is that the truth is his and of those who share his beliefs.
This type of attitude can be expected in a person who is on the way to become a leader (or prominent member of a vanguard of the Leninist type), preparing for revolution. Is Freire at that stage? Alinsky reminds us that, in preparing for a confrontation, you have no option but to act as if you were 100% right and to declare that you are. You cannot afford to doubt in that type of situation, if you want victory. After victory, in Alinsky's words, you "clothe with moral garments" everything you did to grab power. As J. M. García-Passalacqua reminds us, "the winning terrorists of yesterday are the respected statesmen of today.  As for the future, it is for us to decide.
We have seen Freire's statements on revolution and violence. Where is he at? Timid remarks have been made since 1980 to the effect that "Freire's practice does not have the liberating potential it aspires to, rather there are dangers that its potential might be the reverse,"  or more privately stated, "Freire may be taking us to a place where we do not want to go." The "place" is not even mentioned. A last example: 
I appreciate your concerns about Freire. I too am protective -- he's such a loveable guy -- but he's made his contribution -- and, in a way, we are all guilty of making him a guru... Paulo has been such a good friend and such an important influence -- for all of us!
Early in the seventies, William Griffith warned that a logical conclusion of Freire's theory was that, after the triumph of a 'revolution,' there would be no freedom to disagree with the new ruling group.  Those of us who were inspired by Freire were angered. Yet, having analyzed Freire's writings, talks and actions since the Pedagogy of the Oppressed, I am more and more inclined to agree with Griffith.
At this point, some readers may be asking, "What does all of this has to do with the subject of this essay?" It has to do a lot. If we find that we are or were unclear about the meaning and objectives of the theory upon which our educational activities were or are being based, and have accepted it as inherently relevant to our work, what kind of clarity can we have when evaluating the process and outcomes of our programs? Particularly when we are supposed to be acting and critically reflecting upon our actions!
The fact is that "we" had very little information about the issues that are here discussed when we created "pedagogy-of-the-oppressed programs." We idealized Paulo Freire and his pedagogy as a "Third World" revolutionary approach that would (by definition) be relevant to minorities (the inner Third World) in the United States. And, even though many of us were, or had been, what IDAC says you should be to fully grasp Freire (Latin American, Catholics, Marxists and Educators), we were living in the United States. We crashed head-on into its complex realities.
1. In Literacy and Revolution, Mackie categorizes into four types all reactions to Freire's writings: (a) those imbued by the theology of liberation who "cast Freire's work within an idealist framework" (p. 8); (b) adult educators who "fail to understand Freire's politics" and "wrestle with ways to denude, domesticate, absorb and eventually nullify the challenge [Freire makes] to functionalism" (p. 9); (c) the literacist interpreters, "often hampered by an ethnocentric view of [Freire's] methodology in relation to English-speaking cultures" (p. 9); and (d) "those who take issue more or less directly with the political impetus of his pedagogy." Mackie concludes that there is a "kaleidoscope of misinformation, misrepresentation and downright nonsense concerning Freire" (p. 10).
2. Stanley M. Grabowski, ed., Paulo Freire: A Revolutionary Dilemma for the Adult Educator (Syracuse, New York: ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult Education, 1972) .
3. Cynthia Brown, Literacy in Thirty Hours: Paulo Freire's Literacy Process in North East Brazil (London: Writers and Readers Publishing Cooperative, 1975).
4. Patricia Cross, Adults as Learners (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1982), pp. 231-32.
5. U.S. Catholic Conference, Paulo Freire, LADOC Keyhole Series No. 1, p. 3. No author given for the quote, which appears unsigned in the introduction.
6. William Smith, The Meaning of Conscientizaçao: The Goal of Paulo Freire's Pedagogy, Center for International Education (Amherst, Mass: Univ. of Mass., 1976), p. vi. This author also produced "The C-code Manual" to "operationalize" the concept of conscientization in a joint project conducted by the School of Education of the University of Massachusetts, the Agency for International Development (AID) and the Ecuadorian Ministry of Education. One of the goals of the project was to utilize "modified forms" of Freire's methodology to demonstrate that "such a method of literacy was more effective than the literacy system then being used" (p. 4). AID withdrew its support for Freire in 1963, but by 1972 it was proposing his method in "modified form" for Ecuador. I find this fascinating!
7. Dominicé and Darcy, IDAC Document #8, p. 31.
8. Paulo Freire, Der Lehrer Ist Politiker Und Künstler, Hamburg, October 1981.
9. The Portuguese version of Vanilda Pereira Paiva's book is entitled Paulo Freire E o Nacionalismo-Devenvolvimentista (Rio de Janeiro: Civilizaçao Brasileira, 1980).
10. Linda Harasim, "Literacy and National Reconstruction in Guinea-Bissau: A Critique of the Freirian Literacy Campaign" (Thesis for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the University of Toronto, 1983).
11. It is impossible to detail the impact of the many sources which nurtured Freire's eclecticism. See Mackie's "Contributions to the Thought of Paulo Freire," in Literacy and Revolution, pp. 93-119; also Harasim (note 10 above), pp. 347-65, sub sections entitled: "The Philosophical premises of Freire's pedagogy" (Christian Existentialism, Idealism) and "Freire and the PAIGC: Ideological Populism." A last source is Pereira Paiva's book, devoted in its entirety to describe and analyze the roots of Freire's thought until 1965 and his pedagogical ideas as the logical product of a particular period of Brazil's intellectual life.
12. Blue Series, Side 3. See note 5 in Section 1. All quotes from Freire in this and the next several paragraphs were transcribed from this tape.
13. It is interesting to note, on the basis of this quote, Pereira Paiva's assertion in Paulo Freire, p. 28, that in the German publication of Education as the Practice of Freedom, whole sections and expressions in the book that dealt with Brazilian nationalism were excluded. This, she says, while allowing the text to have a more universal meaning, makes it difficult for German readers to understand both the extent to which the book is grounded in Brazil 's intellectual life during 1950-60 and the book's ties with developmental nationalism.
14. We should bear in mind that the contents of most of Freire's books are not descriptions of what he did, but philosophical and theoretical considerations about what he did.
15. What is meant by Freire with this statement is that education has a political purpose. In Freire's views there are only two purposes: education is either for liberation or for domestication. But "political" here has more to do with the ideas behind any educational scheme; ideas that are transmitted (and can be challenged) both through the process and contents of education. It bears no relation to a specific political practice with which to organize and move to transform the political and economic structures of a given society in a specific context. Thus, the confusion. See note 25 in Section 6.
16. The quotes about violence and revolution are transcribed from the Blue Series cassettes, Side 5 (see note 5 in Section 1), and were statements made by Freire in 1981 in Vermont. Other quotes: "No sane person can love to kill," thus a revolutionary must estimate "the social cost, in lives, of any military operation." This was part of an anecdote about Amílcar Cabral's stand on the subject. We will later see that Cabral did not evade this issue of the need for violence. Freire added: "I would love it if every change could be done in meetings, and if those in power would stop oppressing. Unfortunately, that is not so. (...) Who are those who hate such a quantity of people by allowing them to die in hunger? This is violence and hate at a tremendous level!" On the murder of Chilean President Salvador Allende (1973), Freire said: "I was tremendously shocked. All of us were seeing a dream destroyed. The dream of transforming society in peace, freedom, democracy. It is a lie that there was no freedom in Chile. I had been there, absolutely free. (...) But I also believe that it is possible to begin to transform societies with less cost. We have to give the best of ourselves to do that because history is changing." On his return to Brazil: "There is a new international order, new historical conditions. In Brazil I am trying to do what I can within my situation." Freire said that he has joined the Brazilian Workers' Party.
17. Manfred Stanley, "Literacy: The Crisis of Conventional Wisdom," in Grabowski, Revolutionary Dilemma, pp. 36-54.
18. Mackie, Literacy and Revolution, p. 105.
19. William Griffith, "Paulo Freire: Utopian Perspective on Literacy Education for Revolution," in Grabowski's Revolutionary Dilemma, p. 77.
20. Jim Walker, "The End of Dialogue: Paulo Freire on Politics and Education," in Mackie's Literacy and Revolution, p. 112.
21. Robert Mackie, "Contributions to the Thought of Paulo Freire," in Literacy and Revolution, p. 105.
22. Samuel Silva Gotay in El Pensamiento Cristiano Revolucionario, endeavors to prove that it is possible to be both a Christian and a historical materialist. Samuel does not differentiate between Protestant and Catholic Christian revolutionaries. In addition, in an interview we held on January 31, 1984, he told me that his book presents the theory under which historical materialism and revolutionary Christianity can find a common theological ground. I would like to remind the reader of Camilo Torres, a Catholic priest who actually joined the Colombian guerrillas for armed warfare against the oppressive government and was killed by the army in the process. Even though he took up arms, he expressed: "I could truly collaborate with the Communists in Colombia because I believe that among them there are truly revolutionary elements and because, to the extent that they are scientific, they have points that coincide with the work I have proposed myself to do... we are friends of the Communists and will go with them to grab power, without discarding the possibility that afterwards there will be a discussion on philosophic questions. At this moment, practical matters are the important thing. (...) Communists should know that I will not join their ranks, that I am not nor will be a Communist, not as a Colombian, as a sociologist or as a priest." (Quoted by Silva Gotay, pp. 54-55). Camilo Torres is described by Silva Gotay as a "mystic devoted to revolution" (p. 55). Although I recommend Silva's book without reservation, I must say that it has not persuaded me that a Catholic can be a historical materialist. The theoretical juncture he presents, however, is fascinatingly coherent.
23. Blue Series, Side 5.
24. What does Freire mean by "the people" in his statement on Cuba, as recently as 1981? See my reflections in note 28, Section 1. Is "the people" in power in Cuba? Do we believe that "class struggle" has been eliminated by the Revolution?
25. See note 16 above. Alistair Horne in A Savage War of Peace. Algeria 1954-62 (New York: Penguin Books, 1979), states: "It was undeniably and horribly savage, bringing death to an estimated one million Muslim Algerians and the expulsion from their homes of approximately the same number of European settlers. If the one side practiced unspeakable mutilations, the other tortured and, once it took hold, there seemed no halting the pitiless spread of violence" (p. 14). Amílcar Cabral, admired by Freire, did not evade the issue. Referring to what Portugal had turned into 'strategic hamlets' in Guinea-Bissau, he stated: "These hamlets have been subjected to violent attacks by our troops and several of them have been destroyed." Amílcar Cabral, Revolution in Guinea: Selected Texts, translated and edited by Richard Handyside (New York: Monthly Review, 1969), p. 115. Amílcar was murdered in 1973. There is simply no way to avoid the presence of violence in a revolution, no matter how justified the violence may seem to be.
26. I do not think that combatants can successfully face the enemy with 'love.' They may be moved by love at another, more general level, of which I will speak further on. I agree that the violence of the oppressed is reactive, but I do not think it is loving.
27. Leszek Kolakowski, Marxism and Beyond (Great Britain: Paladin Books, 1971). He tells us: "The problem of a single alternative is one of the most important of our time. It most adequately expresses the experience of the Stalinist era and the main tendency of the political Left resulting from that experience. The whole complex of recent political and intellectual attempts at the ideological renaissance of the revolutionary Left... may be characterized as an attempt to break through the traditional Stalinist blackmail of a single alternative." (Kolakowski 's emphasis, p. 115.)
28. He says: "total consistency is tantamount in practice to fanaticism, while inconsistency is the source of tolerance." (Ibid., p. 230). Further on: "Inconsistency is simply a secret awareness of the contradictions of this world" (p. 231).
31. Ibid., p. 237.
32. Dominicé and Darcy, IDAC Document #8, p. 31. See note 49, Section 1.
33. Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals (New York: Vintage Books, 1972). The rules are spread throughout the Chapter "Of Means and Ends," pp. 24-47.
34. Alinsky's "have some, want more" leaves space for a materialist (self-interest) explanation on why the middle class (the have some-want more) may join the lot of the oppressed. We will see that he does not escape the idealist trap either. But at least, he does not fall into a sharp dichotomizing. His years as community organizer may have taught him that things are not always as clear-cut as we would like them to be. His classification appears in Rules, pp. 18-23.
35. William Griffith, "Utopian Perspective," p. 74.
36. Stated by Juan M. García-Passalacqua in "The Nature of Terrorism," The San Juan Star, Sept. 13, 1983, p. 25; and "FALN," The San Juan Star, July 9, 1983, p. 27. ;
37. Jim Walker, "The End of Dialogue," p. 150.
38. The last two examples are excerpts from personal letters sent by concerned practitioners to the author during 1983. Their names are not relevant for the purposes of this text.
39. See note 35 above. Griffith made a critique of Freire's "revolutionary program," pp. 74-77.