By Mani Martinez
Ask me to show you a poster child that advocates hard work as the only way to get out of the exploitation of capitalism and that blames the exploited and disaffected for their conditions -- and I can point to numerous poor people who's minds have been processed into elitist fodder through the process of higher education and are now the gatekeepers that protect capitalist bosses' values and interests.
Some university graduates truly believe what they have been taught in universities has been genuinely vested, researched, and presented in ways that help them think more critically, empirically, and without bias...but hunty y'all done been duped.
The ideas that dominate society - which are produced and secured by the walls of universities (institutions born out of colonialist ideals) are controlled by the class that rules society and the universities...and ain't no oppressed people running these places. So the ideas produced and preferred in these institutions aren't made to benefit poor and working class people.
Now, I ain't saying don't get that diploma...just make sure when you're in there to struggle to incorporate an analysis from poor and working class people and learn to be more competent at incorporating their intellectual engagement with the world into your own empirical understanding of the world...most often their analysis will be left out of university classrooms and academic development.
But because poor and working class people make up most of the world -- our experience is of profound importance in attempting to develop a scientific understanding of the world.
We are all scientists in the ways we systematically struggle to discover ways to survive the exploitation and misery of capitalism. No one knows this better than poor and working class people.
For first generation students this means learning to intellectually engage and debate with people including our parents and family members, our neighbors, our childhood friends who ain't make it to college in ways that open us up to learn from each other rather then just push what we've been taught in the universities and fail to reflect not just on the fact these individuals may think differently but more importantly why and how that can further our ability to understand ourselves and them as people conditioned through capitalism.
We need to strive to breach the gap between their knowledge of the world and the methods we are taught in universities. For students of more affluent backgrounds confronted with the moral disillusion of their status in society and having a fundamental understanding that capitalism most be destroyed - along with their class status - it is of most importance that they learn to genuinely respect and draw from the scientific knowledge that comes from those disenfranchised and disaffected by capitalism.
And for everyone regardless of class or race, we must be careful not to essentialize blackness or whiteness - but face history and reality through the lens of the poor and the working class - whose lens has often been left. And engage more critically with the way class contradictions play a role in universities.
However, universities in their development of intellectuals and professionals -- tend more so to alienate its participants through its bourgeoisie (classist) brainwashing regiment (conveyor belt).
Go to them plantations, steal that knowledge, be subversive when they encourage you to be individualistic and nurture within you bourgeois aspirations, discipline yourself to think scientifically - not emotionally or morally (the scientific will be the moral) - and make a commitment deep in your heart to come back and struggle to teach your people how to think scientifically so that with those tools more of us can better understand what capitalism means - and whether that is what our people choose to value - and trust that through scientific analysis we will choose what is better and necessary.