Pedagogy of Hope: Reliving Pedagogy of the Oppressed (2014)
1 One of the most important of Freire’s categories, the inspirer of such powerful reflections in Pedagogy of the Oppressed and Pedagogy of Hope, is the concept of “untested feasibility.” Little discussed, and, I daresay, little studied, this category embraces a whole belief in the “possible dream,” and in the utopia that will come once those who make their own history wish it so. These hopes are so characteristic of Freire.
For Freire, human beings, as beings endowed with consciousness, have at least some awareness of their conditioning and their freedom. They meet with obstacles in their personal and social lives, and they see them as obstructions to be overcome. Freire calls these obstructions or barriers “limit situations.”
Men and women take a number of different attitudes toward these “limit situations.” They may perceive the barriers in question as obstacles that cannot be removed. Or they may perceive them as obstacles they do not wish to remove. Or they may perceive them as obstacles they know exist and need to be broken through. In this last case, they devote themselves to overcoming them.
Here, there has been a critical perception of the “limit situation.” And so the persons who have understood it seek to act: they are challenged, and feel themselves challenged, to solve these problems of the society in which they live, in the best possible manner, and in an atmosphere of hope and confidence. To this end, these persons have separated themselves, epistemologically, taken their distance from, that which was objectively “unsettling” and “encumbering” to them, and have objectified it. Only when they have understood it in depth, in its essence, detaching it from its contingent factuality, from its sheer concrete “being there,” can it be seen as a problem. As something “perceived” and “detached” from daily life, it becomes the “detached-and-perceived,” or the “perceived detached.” As such, it cannot, it must not, abide. Thus it comes to be a problem-topic—a topic that ought to be, must be, confronted. It ought to be, needs to be, discussed and overcome.
To the actions required for breaking through “limit situations,” Freire gives the name, “limit acts.” The name suggests the direction of these “acts”: the defeat and rejection of the given, of a docile, passive acceptance of what is “there,” with the attendant implication of a determinate posture vis-à-vis the world.
“Limit situations,” then, imply the existence of men and women directly or indirectly served by them, the dominant; and of men and women whose affairs are “denied” and “curbed,” the oppressed.
The former see the problem topics in their concealment by “limit situations,” and hence regard them as historical determinants against which there is no recourse—situations to which one must simply adapt. The latter, when they clearly perceive these challenging societal topics no longer in disguise, no longer in their concealment by “limit situations”—when these problems come to be something “detached and perceived”—feel a call to mobilize, to act, and to uncover some “untested feasibility.”
These latter are those who feel it incumbent upon them to burst through the barrier in question. How? By solving, dissolving, through action accompanied by reflection, these obstacles to the liberty of the oppressed. By removing the “barrier between being [o ser] and being-moreso [o sermais],” Freire’s dream so dear. Of course, Freire represents the political will of all women and men who, as he or with him, have come to be workers for the liberation of men and women independently of race, religion, sex, and class.
The “untested feasible” then, when all is said and done, is something the utopian dreamer knows exists, but know that it will be attained only through a practice of liberation—which can be implemented by way of Freire’s theory of dialogical action, or, of course (since a practice of liberation does not necessarily make an explicit appeal to that theory), by way of some other theory bearing on the same ends.
Thus, the “untested feasible” is an untested thing, an unprecedented thing, something not yet clearly known and experienced, but dreamed of. And when it becomes something “detached and perceived” by those who think utopian wise, then they know that the problem is no longer the sheer seed of a dream. They know the dream can become reality.
Thus, when conscious beings will reflect and act for the overthrow of the “limit situations,” which have left them—along with nearly everyone else—limited to being-in-a-lesser-way, to being-less so, then the untested feasible is no longer merely itself, but has become the concretization of that which within it had previously been infeasible.
We have these obstacles, therefore, in our reality, these barriers or boundaries, these “limit situations,” which, once they are “detached and perceived,” have not prevented some persons from dreaming the dream, nonetheless prohibit the majority from realizing the humanization and concretization of o ser-mais, being-in-a-larger way, being-moreso.
1 Colégio Oswaldo Cruz was in operation, under the direction of Aluizio Pessoa de Araújo, from 1923 to 1956, when, to his regret, and that of all who knew the results he obtained, and who had benefited from contact with him, the school was shut down. Beyond any doubt, it had been one of the most important educational activities in the history of education in the Northeast—indeed, we might say, with all justice and realism, in the history of Brazilian education.
Known for its strict ethics, and the excellence of its instruction, Recife’s Oswaldo Cruz (which had no connection with the school of that name in São Paulo), drew its student body not only from Recife and Pernambuco, but from practically the whole Brazilian Northeast, over an area stretching from Maranhão to Sergipe—who sought an education there on the basis of their confidence in its principles and educational practices.
As director (as well as Latin, Portuguese, and French teacher), Aluizio associated experienced professionals with himself from the various fields of knowledge. Yet he always welcomed the contribution of young, new teachers, as well. Paulo Freire is one of many examples. It was at Oswaldo Cruz that Paulo began his work as a teacher of Portuguese. Aluizio’s criterion for the selection of teachers was ever their professional competency, plus their serious dedication to the act of educating.
Most of the professors of the faculties of nearly all of the departments that merged in 1946 to form the first Federal University of the State of Pernambuco, were chosen from among the teachers at Colégio Oswaldo Cruz.
An utterly committed educator, Aluizio built his Colégio into what for the time was an innovative and progressive educational institution. He introduced coeducation as early as 1924. It was likewise at this boarding school that students from other religious backgrounds, especially Jewish (Jews had no school of their own in Recife until the 1940s), received their moral and academic formation.
Colégio Oswaldo Cruz had three science laboratories—for biology, physics, and chemistry, respectively, housed in three amphitheaters the like of which many schools and colleges in the country still today may only dream. Its collection of historical and geographical maps, and its library, were up to date and of a high quality. There were bands, orchestras, choral groups, and, for the girls, ballet halls. Its students established student guilds and other organizations, and published newspapers and magazines. Examples of the latter would be the Sylogeu and the Arrecifes.
Students and teachers who had studied at Colégio Oswaldo Cruz in Recife included nationally and even internationally recognized scientists, jurists, artists, and politicians like (to name only some of the most outstanding) José Leite Lopes, Mario Schemberg, Ricardo Ferreira, Newton Maia, Moacir de Albuquerque, Claudio Souto, Ariano Suassuna, Walter Azoubel, Pelópidas Silveira, Amaro Quintas, Dácio Rabelo, Abelardo and Aderbal Jurema, Egídio Ferreira Lima, Hervásio de Carvalho, Fernando Lira, Vasconcelos Sobrinho, Odorico Tavares, Evandro Gueiros, Dorany Sampaio, Etelvino Lins, Armando Monteiro, Jr., Francisco Brenand, Lucílio Varejão, Sr., Jr., Ricardo Palmeira, Mario Sete and his sons Hoel and Hilton, Valdemar Valente, Manoel Correia de Andrade, Albino Fernandes Vital—and as we have seen, both in the text and in these notes, the author of this book—individuals representing the most varied ideological vectors, but all of them persons of solid training and professional competence.
Colégio Oswaldo Cruz, in the person of its director, had no fear of breaking with the elitist, authoritarian traditions of Brazilian society. Those who passed its portals knew no discrimination of class, race, religion, or gender.
2 Writing about one’s own father is not an easy job. But when you feel, when you know, that, throughout the nearly eighty-three years of his life, your father was a living example of the human qualities of generosity, solidarity, and humility, without any sacrifice of his dignity, it becomes a pleasant, gladsome, and rewarding experience to speak of him.
Said the daily newspaper of Aluizio’s father, Antonio Miguel de Araújo, a physician:
He was born at 4:00 a.m. on Wednesday, December 29, 1897. He was baptized February 21, 1898, by Father Marçal . . . (surname illegible), the godparents being Urbano de Andrade Lima and his wife, Dona [Madame] Anna Clara Lyra Lima.
Aluizio Pessoa de Araújo, born in Timbaúba, died in Recife November 1, 1979.
The Pernambucan educator received his academic and religious training in the (secular) Seminário de Olinda. After completion of the “major courses,” to his parents’ sorrow, he cut short his secular formation and went to Rome to prepare for the priesthood.
A few years later, on June 25, 1925, Aluizio married Francisca de Albuquerque, known as Genove, who had been his executive assistant ever since the opening of the (then) Ginásio (Gymnasium) Oswaldo Cruz. They became the parents of nine children, and had the joy of celebrating their fiftieth wedding anniversary, although it had to be without one of their children, Paulo de Tarso.
The fact of having broken off his priestly studies and married instead was never an obstacle, in Aluizio, to a life ruled by the norms and principles of the Roman Catholic Church. On the contrary, he was now led to a more profound piety—a more authentic religiousness as the guideline of his private and professional life, which he lived by living his faith and prioritizing those special qualities of his, generosity and solidarity. Over and above this, his earnest commitment to ethics and humanism led him to pursue an educational practice of extreme liberality with all men and women who sought, needed, and desired to study. And he did it with humility.
From the 1920s right up to the early 1950s, as Recife had so few public (and therefore free) secondary schools, what Aluizio really did as Director and proprietor of the COC, as his boarding school was known, was to make his private institution for all intents and purposes a public one. Without ever having access to public funds, he granted scholarships, in his own educational establishment, to many a young person in need.
And when he granted them, he granted them. Never did he permit his scholarship students to repay, in any way, shape, or form, what he had bestowed on them out of his personal generosity and in virtue of his social awareness of the fact that education was everyone’s right.
He never let these principles slip from his grasp. He was ever convinced that this was his “vocation” in the world.
3 The secondary course was the target of legislative material from the outset of Getúlio Vargas’s administration. This material took the form of two decrees—dated April 1931, and April 1932, respectively—the latter confirming and consolidating the systematization and manner of organization the former had prescribed for this branch of instruction, the secondary level.
Throughout Brazilian historical tradition, legislation concerning the schools had been handed down almost exclusively by way of acts of the executive power, bypassing the prescribed initiatives of the legislative branch or of civil society. This reform of the early 1930s, then, raised eyebrows—all the more so, inasmuch as, after losing the elections, Vargas had taken power, in November 1930, by means of revolutionary forces that rejected, more than anything else, the hegemony of the coffee, São Paulo, and mining aristocracy that had ruled the country throughout almost the whole republican era.
Technically, it is true, this educational reform on the part of Vargas and his education minister of that time, Francisco Campos, was innovative. But, while a new departure in terms of method, it was flawed politically, and this flawed it through and through. It had not managed to escape the weight of tradition. It was excessively authoritarian and centralized, and toadied to the elitist tastes and tone of the commanding minority of our society.
The provisions of Vargas’s original educational reform prevailed until 1942, throughout his incumbency, except for the period from 1937 on, when it was replaced by another, even more antidemocratic set of prescriptions.
Secondary instruction was of a traditionally academic mold, and offered no professional or technical training. It was conceived merely as a bridge to higher education—quite a paradox in a country that was seeking to industrialize and had such a need for doing so. The secondary level was the branch of instruction enjoying the greatest prestige, and prerogatives thereunto accruing, in political society, as well as in the middle and upper echelons of civil society, where the still prevailing elitist dreams implanted by the Jesuits in the sixteenth century, with their style of education (in subjects called the “humanities”), lived on.
The secondary course systematized in 1932, to which Freire refers, set up two instructional “cycles.” The First Cycle, called the Fundamental Cycle, was a five-school-year course, and enrolled pupils of both sexes beginning at the age of eleven, upon successful completion of quite a rigorious admissions examination covering carefully selected material. The Second Cycle, which was “college preparatory,” was two school years long, and was called the Complementary Cycle. Successful completion of the Fundamental Cycle was a prerequisite for enrollment in the Complementary Cycle.
The Complementary Cycle was subdivided into three “sessions,” in function of the particular “major” the individual high-schooler proposed to pursue at the university after successful completion of this Second Cycle. The three sessions, in both public and private high schools, all to be modeled on Colégio Pedro II—the official model for all secondary-education institutions in the country—comprised curricula in, respectively, prelaw, premedicine, and preengineering.
As there was as yet no “normal” training for teachers at this time—university-level courses in education—all students inclining to a formation in the area of the human sciences, or envisaging a career in secondary education, were required to complete the “Pre-Law Secondary Cycle,” after which they would matriculate in a School of Law.
This is what Freire did. Having no clear idea, as yet, when he enrolled in the Recife Faculty of Law, in 1943, of becoming an educator, let alone in 1941 when he began prelaw, still, he felt and knew that he wanted to be as close as possible to human problems.
4 The SESI—Serviço Social da Indústria—was created by Law Decree 9403 of incumbent President of the Republic Eurico Gaspar Dutra, June 25, 1946.
As it endowed the National Confederation of Industry with particular powers, enjoining upon it the responsibility of creating, organizing, and directing the new service, the legal act sets forth certain considerations in justification of the measure being taken.
Succinctly, the following considerations had led the Executive power to enact the decretal: “The difficulties created for the social and economic life of the country by the burdens of the postwar period.” After all, it was the duty, while not the exclusive duty, of the state to “foster and stimulate cooperation among classes by way of initiatives tending to promote the welfare of working men and their families,” as well as to foster the requisite conditions for an “improvement in the pattern of life.” A further consideration was the availability of the National Confederation of Industry as an entity among the producing classes for “offering social assistance, as well as better housing, better nutritional and hygienic conditions for workers, and indeed, the development of a spirit of solidarity between employees and employers,” along with the fact that “this program, as an incentive to a sense and spirit of social justice among classes, will greatly contribute to the elimination from among us elements favorable to the germination of divisive influences prejudicial to the interests of the collectivity.”
We see a portrait of the country. It will be interesting to analyze this material, and point out what the “letter of the law” does not say, that the spirit of the decree surely contains.
First, the act is unacceptable by reason of its very form.
It comes from the top down, down from the executive branch. Furthermore, it is even more authoritarian than a simple decree would have been: it is what is called a law decree, that is, a decree that the chief of the executive branch, in this case the president of the republic, issues with the force of law, thereby arrogating to himself functions proper to the legislative branch and exercising them as if they were his own.
Like other Brazilian presidents, Dutra used this mechanism in a manner so bare-facedly partial to Brazilian centralist authoritarianism that, happily, it has now been written out of existence in our bureaucratic apparatus of state.
The document in question speaks of difficulties arising in the postwar era. Brazil could have emerged from the war years awash in wealth. After all, it had been among the countries that supplied stockpiles of various products essential to a war effort.
Other considerations advanced in the document betray a terror of “communism.” They translate a fear that, one day, some Brazilian regime might be antagonistic to Northern capitalism, which was ordering all the witch hunts for “communists.” They camouflage the class struggle. At all costs, a clear awareness of the existence and nature of the class struggle must be prevented.
It “asks” a calm, passive acceptance of the crying discrepancies in material conditions between owners and employees. “Assistance” is offered, in lieu of honest confrontation.
Freire took a job with this government. On the face of it, that could seem a contradiction. But he learned, in this job. After all, he was dealing with working families of factory, farm, and fishing coast, and—most of all—he was doing so in a context of the relations imposed by management on labor. Thus was he enabled to formulate a pedagogical thinking that would be stamped with those salient characteristics of dialogue, criticality, and social transformation with which we become so familiar in this book.
5 The Recife Law Faculty, today a department of the Federal University of Pernambuco, was always one of the political battlegrounds of the Brazilian scene. Many a new idea sprang into being there.
Created along with the São Francisco Square school of São Paulo on August 11, 1827, shortly after Brazil’s declaration of independence from Portugal, this school of law, which initially operated in São Bento Convent in Olinda, was not established merely as a training ground for individuals who would come to compose the national juridical apparatus. It was the alumni of these two schools who, initially, actually forged the Brazilian apparatus of state.
6 Freire had to leave Brazil and request political asylum when only forty-three years of age. He was obliged to live outside his native land, far from his nearest and dearest, for more than fifteen years.
During his time of exile, he lost his mother and many of his friends. Among the latter were countless political activists who had been in a charge of the “culture circles,” or monitors of the National Literacy Program. They were not to be spared the tortures and persecutions of the coming years of military dictatorship.
Thus, paradoxically and ironically, Freire’s departure from our midst at the moment in which he was acting and producing so effectively, efficiently, and enthusiastically, occurred by reason of precisely these qualities in him.
His “sin” was to have taught literacy for the sake of conscientização and political participation. For him, the purpose of literacy was to help the people to emerge from their situation of domination and exploitation. Once politicized by the act of reading the word, they could reread, critically, the world. Such was Freire’s understanding of adult education. His widely used “Paulo Freire Literacy Method” was based on these ideas, so that it conveyed the reality of the unjust, discriminatory society we had built—a reality that needed to be transformed.
The program on the drawing boards would have brought this to so many who had been denied the right to schooling. It was wiped out by the military coup of 1964.
In the gruesome spirit of McCarthyism, and of the National Security Doctrine, inspired in the North, that had installed itself in Brazil, the military officers who had seized power destroyed or otherwise neutralized everything they could get their hands on that they understood to be “subversive.”
In this “new” reading of the world—old in its tactics of punishment, abuse, and prohibition—there was no room for Freire.
He who so loved his country and his people was deprived of being-in his country and being-with his people.
7 The State of Pernambuco is one of the smaller political units of the federation. Its territory is a narrow strip of land extending from the Atlantic Ocean to the border of the State of Piauí, and lying between longitude 35° and 41° west, and latitude 7° and 10° south.
In terms of rainfall, humidity, vegetation, and temperature, it is considered to be divided into three “zones.” Beginning on the coast: the Zona da Mata (“Wooded Zone”), Zona do Agreste (“Agrarian, Farming, Rural”), and Zona do Sertão (“Hinterland,” the desert region).
The first, where you can still see a little of the Atlantic Forest that covered it at the time of the Portuguese invasion of American lands in 1500, has torrential rainfall, blistering temperatures, and high humidity. Even today it is the zone of the canebrakes, in the Portuguese tradition that made the region that nation’s most abundant source of wealth in the sixteenth century.
It was the Portuguese colonial adventure that occasioned the deforestation of so much of this zone. Slave labor drove the mills, and felled the trees to make room for the brakes, and now sugar (until then thought of as a “spice”) could pour into the welcoming arms of European markets, thus sealing the fate of this zone—ecological destruction.
As we move a few kilometers away from the maritime strand, climatic conditions modify, with sparser vegetation and diminishing rainfall, all the way to the border of the Zona de Sertão.
Vegetation in the Sertão is limited exclusively to cactaceous plants, especially the mandacaru or Peru cereus, and xiquexique, other cacti, yielding what we call a caatinga—the stunted, spare forests we have in the Northeast. Daytime temperatures soar, under a blazing sun, in a blue, cloudless sky, and plummet at night.
There are no trees at all, and of course rainfall is a rarity. The frequent droughts of the Zona de Sertão may last months, even years.
The secas, as we call them—the droughts—leave the riverbeds empty and the populations hungering and thirsting. The soil that has served for “subsistence farming” splits agape, to receive the misery—the dead livestock and all the hopes—of a folk who now know they must migrate to the Southeast of the country or die.
8 The jangada, the little boat that dots the lovely seascape of Northeastern Brazil, is a catamaran used by small deep-sea fishers to make their living. At sunset, they sell the day’s catch—all that they have harvested from the generous sea of tepid waters that wash the shore in that region of Brazil. Not that the catch is taken “for free.” No, the risks are great, and the toil most arduous.
A fragile vessel, the jangada is constructed of a light, porous wood that floats so high in the water that the little craft will tend not to sink even if it is awash.
It is composed of five logs of jangada wood, each some four or five meters in length, joined together to form its ballast by several sticks of tough, hard wood running across them from one side of the one-and-one-half to two-meters-wide vessel to the other.
The jangada has a big cloth sail, traditionally white, which the wind “hits” to propel the raft over the water. It carries almost no paraphernalia other than the fishing trap and the sail—only a rustic wooden tiller, a creel (the samburá, a round wicker basket to hold the fish after they have been retrieved), and a wooden dipper used to keep the sail wet and impermeável, or “wind-proof.” And an anchor—as rustic as everything and everyone else in the jangada, a stone tied to the end of a rope of caroá fibers that stops the jangada where the jangadeiro wants it to stop, wherever his intuition tells him that it will be here that he will find the riches of the sea that are the object of his quest.
9 The fishers of the Northeast call it pescaria de ciência (scientific fishing), their rudimentary elementary method of deep-sea navigation that consists of the following. The fishers select three points of reference. Two of them will be, for instance, a hillock, or the steeple of a church—anything that stands out from the landscape at a distance. The third will be the edge of the coast itself, the waterline. These three points enable the fisher to head for the open sea on a course as nearly vertical as possible with the coastline, and several kilometers in distance, as he navigates with the naked eye, keeping equidistant from the two previously chosen inland points. Then, at this spot where he has come, from where everything on shore merges into a single, vague point, and where his intuition and sensitivity have told him, “Ah, this is it . . . this is a good place,” he lowers his trap. Several days later, without having left any sign for himself (or for strangers) of how his creative wit has served him here, he sails to the same spot and draws in his net and his catch.
The “hand tool” employed amidst this scientific cognition of his (this concept of an isosceles triangle), the instrument applied between his two acts of “measuring” and determining the right point for gaining the fruits of the sea, is the covo, or wicker fish trap. Constructed of flexible, but tough forest vine, or cipó, the covo is a large box attached to a stone that drags it deep down into the water. The covo floats at this underwater point, which the fisher has selected, for the time needed to fill with the fish, prawn, and other “fruit” that enter there, never to leave again for the freedom of the immense sea waters.
The techniques are very rudimentary, of course. But they are the effort of common sense, of the reading of the world done by the humble folk of the seashore, to make of observation and experience the route to a knowledge analogous to our own scientific cognition.
Cognition like this “scientific fishing” is the object of study of UNICAMP ethnoscientist Marcio D’Olme Campos, who works among the fishers of São Paulo state, although in terms of different conceptions from those set forth here (see note 36).
10 Caiçara is the name we in the Brazilian Northeast give to a shelter built from fibers of the coconut trees growing along the ocean, which serve to protect fishing boats and their equipment. It is also a place where the fishers gather to talk and to rest between stints on the open sea.
11 When an “educator,” parent or teacher, obliges a victim to extend his or her hands, palms up, and beats them, generally with a palm switch, the assailant inflicts more than pain. The stripes (“to pay you back,” the child hears) nearly always swell up, in the aftermath of this disciplinary act, into enormous “cakes”—as the people call them, due to the fact that they rise like cakes in an oven.
12 The military governments of Brazil were headed by the following officers: General Humberto de Alencar Castelo Branco, from April 15, 1964, to March 15, 1967; from the latter date to August 31, 1968, when illness obliged him to resign, General Arthur da Costa e Silva; replacing him on that date, a military junta composed of General Aurélio Lyra Tavares, Brigadier General Marcio de Souza e Melo, and Admiral Augusto Rademaker Grunerwald, to October 30, 1969; Emílio Garrastazu Médici from that date to March 15, 1974; Ernesto Geisel from then to March 15, 1979; and João Batista Figueiredo, from this last date to March 15, 1985.
13 It will be well for us to indicate the current (September 1992) structure of education in Brazil since the enactment of the new Law of Directives for and Foundations of National Education by the National Congress. Drafted and implemented in 1971, during the harshest times of the military dictatorship, the created three scholastic levels were the First Degree, lasting eight school years, and comprising the old primary school and gymnasium curriculum; the Second Degree, of three or four years, depending on the branch of courses in which the student is enrolled; and the Third Degree, known as the “upper” level, the university level, offering curricula of three to six years’ duration.
In Brazilian historical tradition, regular instruction included elementary or primary instruction, the middle level (secondary, commercial, normal, agricultural, industrial, and nautical), of which six branches only the first-named, the secondary, was not geared to training in a particular trade, but was college preparatory; and the upper level, which we cannot call the university level, because the oldest institution of that level of instruction among us recognized as such is the University of São Paulo, created by the government of São Paulo State in 1934.
The primary schools to which Freire refers were those that, of course, offered the first level of instruction, and officially were supposed to educate all children between seven and ten years of age.
14 “Meridionate them” [suleá-los]. Paulo Freire has used the term sulear-se—which does not actually exist in dictionaries of the Portuguese language—to call readers’ attention to the ideological connotation of the terms orientar-se, to “orientate oneself” (lit., point oneself to the east, get one’s bearings from the east), orientação (orientation),” nortear-se (a synonym for orientar-se, but in terms of the north rather than the east), and suchlike derivatives of the Portuguese words for “east” and “north.”
The North is the First World. The North is on top, in the upper part of the world. The North lets knowledge “trickle down” to us in the Southern Hemisphere, where we “swallow it without checking it against local context” (cf. Márcio D’Olme Campos, “A Arte de Sulear-se,” in Interação Museu-Comunidade pela Educação Ambiental, Manual de Apoio ao Curso de Extensão Universitária, ed. Teresa Scheiner [Rio de Janeiro: Uni-Rio/Tacnet Cultural, 1991], pp. 59–61).
The first thinker to alert Freire to the ideology implicit in terms like these, calculated to mark different levels of “civilization” and “culture” between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, between the “creative” hemisphere and the “imitative” one (and mark them quite to the positivist taste), was the physicist we have just cited, Márcio Campos, who is currently working in ethnoscience, ethnoastronomy, and “ambiential education.”
Let me quote the words with which Campos himself, in the book just cited, sets forth his conception and denunciation of the pretended intrinsic superiority of intelligence and creative power of the men and women of the North:
Universal history, and geography, as understood by our Western society in its scientific tradition, mark out certain spaces and times, periods and eras, on the basis of internalistic, indeed ideological reference points very much to the taste of the central countries of the planet.
Many are the examples of this state of affairs, which is imposed on the education of the peripheral countries—that is, the countries of the Third World—as a perfectly casual, textbook kind of thing, a matter of simple information.
In our instructional materials, we find the earth represented on globes having the north pole at the top. Maps and their legends likewise respect this convention, which the Northern Hemisphere finds so appropriate, and are displayed in a vertical plane (on a wall) instead of a horizontal plane (on the floor or on a table). Thus, folks in Rio are heard to say that they are going “up” to Recife; and for all anyone knows they might think there is a north on every mountain peak since “north is on top.”
In questions of spatial orientation, especially with respect to the cardinal points of the compass, the problems are equally grave. The “practical” rules taught here are practical only for persons situated in the Northern Hemisphere, who, in their particular situation, will want to septentrionate (north-ate) themselves so to speak, by analogy with the word orientate (east-ate), meaning getting one’s bearings from the east.
The imposition of these conventions on our hemisphere establishes confusion with respect to the concepts of above and below, north and south, and, above all, principal and secondary, and upper and lower.
At any local reference point of observation, the rising sun, appearing in the direction of the east, founds an orientation. In the Northern Hemisphere, the polestar, Polaris, the North Star, founds a septentrionation. In the Southern Hemisphere, the Southern Cross is the perfectly adequate basis for a meridionation (or south-ation).
Despite all this, the practical rule that continues to be taught in our schools is the rule of the north: that is, you mentally place yourself with the rising sun to the east on your right, with the west on your left, the north straight ahead “up there,” and the south behind you, “down here.” This thoroughly flawed practical rule provides a corporeal schema that, at night, leaves us with our back to the Southern Cross, the fundamental constellation for the act of meridionation. Would it not be better for us to position ourselves with the east on our left? [Emphasis added]
Having cited this lengthy, but indispensable, passage, I should like to call attention to a few words in it that, few as they are, nevertheless say a great deal, and say it very powerfully. They are not abstract words; rather, they imply a particular behavior, and an attitude adopted by the person who exhibits the behavior. A person practicing this behavior and adopting this attitude does so because he or she has acquired them concretely.
Let us carry Professor Campos’s observations and denunciations a bit further, then. Let us ask ourselves, with the purpose of stimulating our own reflection: To be “left with our back to the Southern Cross”—to turn our back on, to turn around so that we are “left with our back to,” the Southern Cross, which is the cross on our flag, the symbol of Brazil, a reference point for us—will this not betoken an attitude of indifference, contempt, disdain, for our own capabilities to construct, locally, a knowledge that would be ours, and would bear on things local, things concretely ours? Why is this? How has it arisen and perpetuated itself among us? In favor of whom? In favor of what? Against what? Against whom, this manner of reading the world?
Would not that “thoroughly flawed practical rule” be one more form of alienation infecting our signs and symbols, by way of a knowledge developed to the point of producing a cognition that turns its back on itself, and turns, with open heart, gluttonous mouth, and head as hollow as a pot (waiting to be filled by signs and symbols from elsewhere), so that we end up as a continent of knowledge developed and produced by men and women of the North, the “summit,” the “upper part,” the “top”?
15 General Eurico Gaspar Dutra was President of the Republic from January 31, 1946, to January 31, 1951, in the period immediately following the dictatorship of Getúlio Vargas—which the general, alongside so many civilians and other military had helped to build from 1930 onward, when the cowboy politician began his struggle for the power that he finally won and held onto for fifteen years.
In October 1945 Dutra was one of the dictator’s overthrowers. As soon as he was elected president, he initiated, ironically enough, the period we refer to as that of our Brazilian “redemocratization.”
16 Vasco da Gama is an overcrowded “popular” or lower-class neighborhood of the then peripheral zone of Recife.
17 In the Northeast, we use the word here translated “yard” [oitão] to designate the stretch of ground running along the side of a house, between the house and the wall of the property on which it has been built. Or the area running along the side of any building.
For example, when we say “no oitão da igreja” (in the oitão of the church), we are referring to the little stretch of ground running along the sides of the church, not the front churchyard or any yard that may lie behind the church.
A house with oitões livres, then, as the Portuguese reads, is one that has been built in such dimensions as to leave a space—not necessarily a very big space, although it could be a quintal, or real yard, too—between the house and the wall at the edge of the property on which the house has been erected.
18 In the 1950s, “Arno-brand appliances” were the symbol of the purchasing power of the Northeastern middle class, which in those postwar years was very limited, especially by comparison with that of its equivalent in the United States or many European countries—or, for that matter, with that of southeastern or southern Brazil itself.
This “poor” middle class of the Northeast of those days sought to salvage some prestige, and respect for its purchasing power, by purchasing and using at home a line of name-brand electrical appliances produced in Brazil under the trademark Arno. Anyone who could afford an Arno blender, vacuum clearner, or egg-beater—and when they could, they were careful not to hide the fact!—felt and esteemed themselves to be privileged members of the modest Northeastern middle class.
19 Jaboatão, a city just eighteen kilometers from Recife (and merging with its outskirts today) was felt in the 1930s to be lying quite a distance from the Pernambucan capital, due to the precarious conditions of access to it—almost exclusively by train, on the British-owned Great Western Railway.
It was there that the Freire family moved in the hope of better days to come, having been plunged into poverty, like so many other Brazilian families, by the New York stock market crash of 1929.
It was from Jaboatão too, that, after having lost her husband in 1934, Tudinha Freire “traveled” daily to Recife in hopes of obtaining scholarship money for her son Paul. Each evening that she returned with her “I didn’t get it,” her cadet seemed to see his chances of a university education slip further away.
Desperate, Tudinha made one last attempt, and early in 1937, received a yes from Aluízio Pessoa de Araújo.
Chancing to pass along Dom Bosco Street, she noticed a sign, on the building at number 1013, which read, “Ginásio Oswaldo Cruz” (Oswaldo Cruz gymnasium, or secondary school). Only in the 1940s was the institution renamed Colégio Oswaldo Cruz (Oswaldo Cruz boarding school). She entered the building and asked to speak with the director. And Tudinha’s request was promptly granted—on one sole condition, “that your son, my newest pupil, likes to study.”
It was in Jaboatão, where he lived from the age of eleven to twenty, that Paulo became acquainted with a world of difficulty, in which one lived on scant financial resources. There were the difficulties arising from his mother’s untimely widowhood, when society was much less open to a woman’s working outside the home than it is today. And there were the difficulties he felt personally, “skinny, bony little kid” that he was, in fending off the hostility of a world that had such little sympathy for the weak and impoverished.
But it was also in Jaboatão that he learned to play soccer, which was an exciting experience for him. And it was there that he swam in the Jaboatão River, where he watched poor women, squatting, and washing and beating against the rocks either their own families’ clothes or those of more wealthy families, for whom they worked. It was there, again, that he learned to sing and whistle—things he still loves to do today to relieve the weariness that comes from intellectual activity, or from the tensions of everyday life. He learned to dialogue in his “circle of friends,” and learned sexual appreciation for, “falling in love with” and loving, women. Finally, it was there in Jaboatão that he learned and assimilated—with a passion!—his studies of both the popular and the cultivated syntax of the Portuguese language.
Jaboatão, then, was the space–time of a learning process, and of intense difficulties and joys in life—all of which taught him to strike a harmonious balance between having and not having, being and not being, capability and incapability, liking and not liking. Thus was Freire molded in the discipline of hope.
20 I should like to call the reader’s attention to the names of Recife streets. They are picturesque, regional, lovely, romantic names, nor have they gone unnoticed by intellectuals, poets, and sociologists (for example, Gilberto Freire).
The names are not always cheerful ones, but they almost always contain a preposition, and tell a little story. We may read them on the blue, white-lettered signs of centuries-old Recife: Rua das Crioulas (Street of the Native Women), Rua da Saudade (Street of the Longing, for home), Rua do Sol and Rua da Aurora (Street of the Sun and Street of the Dawn; these are the streets running along the Capibaribe River in the middle of town, one along the west bank, the other along the east bank), Rua das Graças (Thanksgiving Street), Rua da Amizade (Friendship Street), Rua dos Miracles (Street of the Miracles), Corredor do Bispo (Bishop’s Way), Rua das Florentinas (Street of the Florentine Women), Praça do Chora Menino (Square of the Little-Boy-Weeping), Rua dos Sete Pecados (Street of the Seven Sins) or Rua do Hospício (Hospice Street), Rua dos Martirios (Street of the Martyrs), Beco da Facada (Stab Alley), Rua dos Afogados (Street of the Drowned), and so many others.
Rua da Imperatriz (Empress Street), so familiar to all Recifians, which runs from the intersection of Rua da Matriz (Womb) with Rua do Hospício, across Ponte da Boa Vista (Bellevue Bridge, we might say) and becomes Rua Nova (New Street) is actually—something few of us know—Rua da Imperatriz Teresa Cristina, named in homage to the consort of the second and last Emperor of Brazil, Dom Pedro II.
21 Massapé, or massapê, according to the “Aurélio” (Aurélio Buarque de Holanda Ferreira, Novo dicionário da língua portuguesa [Rio de Janeiro: Nova Fronteira, n.d.], derives most probably from the words massa, “mass” or “dough,” and pé, “foot.” If this is its etymology, this clay would receive its name from the powerful clutch it applies to the feet of anyone attempting to walk in it. Peculiar to the Brazilian Northeast, massapé is calcareous, almost always black, and ideal for sugar-cane cultivation (Aurélio, p. 902).
22 A pinico or penico is a chamber pot, a small vessel used in a bedroom at night as a urinal before homes had modern bathrooms with flush toilets.
The popular strata use the expression pinico do mundo (the world’s chamber pot) by analogy for regions of Brazil of extremely high annual rainfall.
23 A badoque or bodoque is a slingshot—a crude, homemade weapon frequently built by children and consisting of a forked stick fitted with a rather broad rubber band between the prongs. The elastic strip is drawn like a bowstring, then released to launch a small stone from the center of the strip. It is used as a toy, or, especially among the poorer populations of the rural zones, for hunting birds for food.
24 The use of the word “archeology,” here, is obviously metaphorical—as, for that matter, it is so typically of the Freirean taste for figurative language. The term is used by analogy with its literal meaning. Freire is speaking here of the archeology he is practicing upon the emotions of his past. Reliving these emotions, he executes an analysis that searches, that veritably “digs” into the particular emotions that have caused him to suffer, to fall into depression.
This archeology, then, is not the one French philosopher Michel Foucault is referring to when he uses the term.
25 Anyone from the Northeast of Brazil—or of Africa, Freire adds—knows the scent of earth.
In Recife, to whose soil the educator is referring, when the hot, humid topsoil is rain-soaked, it exudes a strong scent of moisture and heat, reminiscent of the scent exhaling from a woman’s body—or a man’s, for that matter—when stimulated by the sensuality of tropical climes.
26 Freire had been friends with Paulo de Tarso Santos ever since the latter had invited him to head a national literacy program.
The 1961 Law of Directives for and Foundations of National Education, with its decentralizing tendencies, had a certain inhibiting influence on campaigns of national scope. But one evening President João Goulart attended a literacy course graduation, in Angicos, Rio Grande do Norte. There he had the opportunity to observe how well Freire’s team worked. And so he conceived the notion of breaking with the new orientation in educational policy and assigning all initiatives in educational practice to the responsibility of federal agencies alone.
With the government taking this decision, the sensitivity of Paulo de Tarso, now minister of education—known today, as well, for the beauty and expressiveness of his painting, to be seen where Brasília stands as a symbol of the early, rebellious years of the 1960s—led him to create the Programa Nacional de Alfabetização, the National Literacy Program.
It fell to Freire, then, to coordinate that program, which was supposed to teach five million Brazilians to read and write in two years. Every indication was that this would bring about a shift in the balance of political power—as indeed was the intention of the approach being used. After all, the Paulo Freire Method now being officially implemented sought not to impart literacy mechanically, but to politicize the persons learning to read and write.
With this societal swerve to the left in prospect, the conservative elite, enlisting the support of certain sectors of the middle class, proclaimed the Paulo Freire Method, now being officially implemented, “highly subversive.” And of course it was, although not from the perspective of the dominated.
The dominant, ignoring the real needs of the people, which called for greater seriousness in the business of education, were in dismay—at the method, its author, and Goulart’s populist government itself.
With the military coup of April 1, 1964, one of whose main targets was to keep the people from acquiring use of the written language, the program was quashed, and its mentors persecuted. The method had failed to retain the alienated and alienating characteristics of earlier literacy campaigns. For many of Freire’s associates, then, as for himself, the choice was prison and torture, or exile.
27 Cidade-dormitório (bedroom city) is a Brazilianism denoting municipalities most of whose families have their breadwinner going to work every day in another town, generally to neighboring cities that are larger or whose employment opportunities are more abundant. These working people return from their distant tasks so late each day that it is already time to retire for the night.
Freire has obviously used the term as a metaphor, meaning that, at that moment of which he speaks, intellectuals were scurrying to Santiago from various parts of the world, seeking to enhance their own politicization, and to discuss “Latin Americanness” and the Christian Democracy of Chile.
28 Manha (wiles, craftiness) expresses a certain quite Brazilian behavior in which, unwilling or unable to confront another person, or some bother-some or difficult situation, a person attempts to camouflage the fact or situation with the strategem or artifice of idle gossip, or noncommittal, casual chatter that is neither positive nor negative with respect to the matter under discussion. The purpose of the “wily one” is to stall for time, and thereby manage to draw some advantage for himself or herself without being explicit about that intent. The person exercising manha plays with words—and often enough, plays make-believe with his or her own person—in a superficial, false engagement that seeks to escape the reality of the situation.
In Freire’s understanding, manha is all of this, and one thing more: a necessary defense tactic in the cultural and political resistance of the oppressed.
1 Josué de Castro, a celebrated Pernambucan physician, after careful research of the diets of the Northeastern populations, has drawn up what came to be called the crab diet. The name comes from the fact that the crab is the typical crustacean of the lands of the mangroves, and one of the most important sources of nutrition for the most impoverished strata of the population of these areas. It is found in abundance where it likes to live best, alongside the palafittes, the pile structures built over the sloughs where the mangroves grow, and its meat is of high nutritional value.
Castro’s most important book, known throughout the world, is Geografia da fome (Geography of hunger). Shockingly realistic, it paints the portrait of the hunger and the struggle for survival of the populations in the Brazilian Northeast to whom survival is forbidden.
2 Minas Gerais (General Mines) is one of the federated units or states of Brazil, and is located in the Southeast (latitude 14°–22°, longitude 41°–51°). Its name derives from the fact that, within its present territory, toward the middle of the eighteenth century, the great gold deposits were discovered, as well as, later, those of many other precious metals.
3 PUC-SP is the familiar abbreviation, among us Brazilians, for the Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo: São Paulo Pontifical Catholic University.
4 What we call a favela, in Brazil, here translated “slum,” is an agglomeration of shacks inhabited by the poor and originally constructed of discarded building materials, old lumber, sheets of zinc, scrap iron, and so on. Until very recently, favelas were entirely without running water, electricity, sewer systems, refuse collection, or public transportation.
The first favelas were erected toward the end of the last century, by communities of emancipated slaves. Unemployed, possessing no tools or skills, they invaded the hilly areas of the large cities, at first, to settle there. Later, abandoned in the streets, they wandered to the inner city for survival.
Many of the favelas that swell the large Brazilian cities are no longer among the hills (which have become the bourgeoisie’s favorite place to live). Now they are to be seen along streets or streams, as well, or on private urban terrain they have occupied in their “invasion of the land,” or under viaducts—indeed, in any abandoned area in which they find it possible to install themselves, in small or large family groups, and gain a feeling of being closer to employment and/or civilization.
Brazil’s largest favelas are to be found scattered across the hills of Rio de Janeiro, where the first emanicipated slaves came in large numbers. The Roçinha favela counts more than 500,000 inhabitants. Despite the huge number of shacks, and the promiscuity that translates their inhabitants’ abandonment by society, even the denizens of the favelas are gaining politicization, often enough with the assistance of pastoral teams of the Catholic Church, and are beginning to organize in neighborhood associations that vindicate their right to public services.
In the Roçinha favela, as in so many others, violence and hostility is on the increase—in response, it seems to me, to the centuries-old exclusion from social life of those Brazilians who have been obliged merely to “mark off the days of their lives.”
Such is the revenge wrought by the oppressed on their oppressors. Today we are paying the price: in our favelas we have one of our most serious social problems, and it calls for urgent, definitive solutions.
Among the solutions would be agrarian reform. Brazil is just as colonial today as it was in the sixteenth century, when it was divided into huge estates called latifúndios—the hereditary “captaincies”—in the naive hope entertained by Portugal that these “lands that grow anything you plant” could become a populated, productive region.
The immense latifúndios, barren and uninhabited, each the private domain of a single family, are preventing the creation in our country—which is one of the few modern capitalist nations in the world, and, incredibly, the eighth economic power worldwide—of a more humane, more rational distribution of these vast expanses (not that such a distribution has ever been seriously attempted).
In reality, the authorities today, especially the mayors, have to deal with these clandestine clusters of shacks, the eyesore of nearly all of the large cities of Brazil. City hall is faced with the task of providing decent living conditions for the persons who are obliged to live there.
A determined political will must strike an alliance with technological solutions. Given Brazil’s current economicosocial structure, it will be impossible to do away with the thousands of favelas scattered across the country.
In the city of São Paulo, the current municipal adminstration is attempting to improve the conditions of the favelas—but only of those that have sprung up on terrain solid enough to bear the physical weight of a large number of homes and persons. Favelas that have been erected on terrain vulnerable to landslides and caveins are discouraged. The favelas are no longer the stopping-off place once used by the migrants on their way to establish themselves in the economic life of this metropolis.
As we all know today, politicians and plain citizens alike, the favela is the only available space in the city of São Paulo for working families that have arrived in recent years. Saturated and swollen by a population overflow (the census says around 10 million, but the actual population is over 12 million) the city is simply out of room. And so the newcomers have been obliged to go to live among the destitute, outcast, old residents of the favelas, who were condemned to live in them more than a century ago.
The favelados, the favela people, of the city of São Paulo have mounted a campaign for the legalization of their homes and, and of their occupation of the land on which these homes stand. Nowadays most of the dwellings are of brick or cement block, and are roofed with tiles. Countless are the societies of “Friends of the Neighborhoods” who set up adult literacy programs in collaboration with the Municipal Secretariate of Education, and at the same time lobby municipal authorities with a view to obtaining other public services.
The goal of the favelados, then, is to make their de facto possession of their homes a de jure ownership. They feel that this would make it possible to urbanize the favelas, and thus improve their public services. A large number of São Paulo favelas now have water, electricity, and in some cases, a sewer system.
The São Paulo municipal budget is the third largest governmental budget in the country (after the federal budget and that of the state of which it is the capital, São Paulo State). São Paulo is a dynamic pole of the national economy and the cultural center of the nation. Paradoxically, it is also home to a population, according to city hall records (1992), of some one million favelados, in 1,790 favelas.
5 Like the favelas, the cortiços (beehives) represent more than just a housing problem. They are symptomatic of even broader and more serious social problems.
Cortiços are houses inhabited by a number of families at once, each family leasing some little part of the house or building in order to make their home there. They may lease them from the owners themselves, or (more commonly) from intermediaries who sublet them.
The first cortiços were old mansions, standing in the center of town, where affluent families once lived. The latter, obliged to move to a better neighborhood far removed from the great problems of the inner city, where violence now reigns, have abandoned their antique dwellings with their numberless rooms of all sizes to the lower or very-low-middle classes to make their homes in. Today the cortiços have spread practically all over the city, and consist, often enough, of far more modest houses than those noble old mansions.
Promiscuity is rampant, of course, as are the great risks generated by the absence of hygienic living conditions, and the precarious physical condition of both the aristocratic old mansions and the new cortiços.
Estimates by the municipal housing secretariat, SEHAB-HABI, indicate, for São Paulo, in 1992, 88,200 “beehive” homes, housing a total of three million persons.
Sometimes a family does not even have an entire apartment to itself. It may share it with other families, occupying it in eight- or twelve-hour shifts, especially in the inner city, where the “beehive clientele” is to be found.
The city of São Paulo, like nearly all large Brazilian cities, has part of its population living in these conditions, imposed on them by an unjust distribution of the national income.
6 The upper-middle and upper-class neighborhoods of the city of São Paulo known as the Gardens, which were originally divided into Jardim América, Jardim Europa, and Jardim Paulista (Garden America, Garden Europe, Garden São Paulo), today form a single whole. Their long, tree-lined boulevards, with their trees, sidewalks, lawns, and gardens, are lined with great, lovely, well-constructed houses set amidst huge, flowery gardens, and apartment buildings where good taste, comfort, and luxury are in abundance.
The Gardens are at the opposite extreme from the favelas and the cortiços.
1 Ethnoscience is the name used for their practice by the team of Unicamp researchers (of the University of Campinas, at Campinas in São Paulo state) to which Márcio Campos belongs. These investigators ply their various sciences under a common “ethnoscientific” umbrella. What they have in common is that they do precisely an ethnography of the cognition and technology (hence an “ethnotechnology”) of various distinct cultural contexts. Ethnoscience, then, is an academic science practiced upon another science, that of another culture. Its practitioners study, for example, various native groups of the territory of Brazil, as well as the caiçaras (here denoting the coastal dwellers themselves) of São Paulo State, and thereby create a body of knowledge that articulates the science and technology of these peoples with the culture that is theirs as well.
The focus of these scientists’ research is on how these peoples, who live by fishing, gathering, farming, and hunting, construct their knowledge and develop their techniques of production and extraction. This knowledge and these techniques are based on observations, perceptions, and experiences, which in turn are systematized by these peoples, thus coming to form, in the understanding of the ethnoscientists, genuine scientific knowledge.
More conservative academicians regard this knowledge as no more than a kind of common sense, and hence prescientific knowledge. The ethnoscientists reject this interpretation, arguing that, on the contrary, the cognition of these peoples is authentically scientific, in a sense analogous to the scientific character of the cognition systematized in universities. The two “productions of knowledge” differ only in their argumentation, premises, methodology, and consequently, in their distinct manners—both valid—of reading the world. Whereupon, from these distinct readings of the world, distinct cognitions constantly emerge whose vehicle is an awareness of the historical situation—not the prehistorical—of each individual, and every people.
Accordingly, ethnoscientists defend, from their scholarly position in the broader world, the preservation not only of our planet’s biological diversity, but of its sociocultural diversity as well. Indeed, the latter supports the former, which in turn is overwhelmingly composed, by reason of their geographical predominance, of the peoples of the tropical forests.
2 Freire calls Rio de Janeiro simply “Rio,” which is how we usually refer to the city. Celebrated for its matchless beauty, bounded by the sea, the mountains, the forests, and a lagoon, Rio is one of the most important cities of the country from a politico-economico-cultural viewpoint. It had been the capital of Brazil ever since the colonial period, all through the shift of the dynamic economic pole from the Northeast, with its sugar production, to the Southeast with the initiation of the “mining cycle,” when, in 1960, the seat of government of the union was transferred to Brasília, that creation of the courage of President Juscelino Kubitscheck combined with the talents of Oscar Niemeyer and Lúcio Costa.
During one period of the military regime, Rio de Janeiro, the “Wonder City” (as we Brazilians all style it in homage, when we are not “singing” its actual name), was a city-state, known as Guanabara.
3 Ariano Suassuna, today a member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters, and a brilliant alumnus of Colégio Oswaldo Cruz, was born in Taperoá, in the very center of the state of Paraíba, in the hinterland or desert region, not far from the Serra da Borborema.
For all his funny name and pale skin, Ariano is one of those Northeasterners who are glad to be alive, who are caught up in a “taste” for being. He is a lover of the heat, the rocks, the dry soil, the scrubby vegetation—but especially, of the wisdom and shrewdness of his native region.
His works deal with the uncultured—the illiterate or semiliterate. They tell of the dry earth, and the austere men and strong women who forge their personhhoods in the fire of aggressiveness. They are tales of persons with calloused hands, and feet discalced by poverty and split by the dryness of their bony, skinny bodies, which, for days and years, have been out in the merciless glare of the sun. They expound the naughty wiles and talent for deception by which these men and women keep at arm’s length from oppression and the oppressor.
Ariano’s tales, recounted in the ingenous speech of the personages of his Autos (Acts, that is, officially documented actions of a solemn personage), in a popular lingo, and in the context and situations that so well characterize the Brazilian Northeast, have burst the barriers of that region to conquer the nation and the world, ever since the publication of a work he composed while still very young, his finest and best loved, the Auto da Compadecida (Act of the compassionate woman).
4 Freire uses the expression interdição do corpo (interdiction of the body) in quotation marks because he is referring to a category that I am exploring in my research on the history of Brazilian illiteracy.
I have learned through my investigations that the Jesuit-style domination employed to subdue the Indian, the colonist, or the black, at the beginning of Brazilian colonization, and render them docile, with a view of swelling the coffers of the Portuguese crown (and later that of the Society of Jesus itself, which had come here with the official mission of “instructing and catechizing the Indian”) was so efficient that the dominant class adopted it as one of the mechanisms it applied in order to reproduce the society of the few who have knowledge and power, and the many who remain excluded and prohibited from being, knowing, and “being able.”
I have dubbed this ideology the “ideology of the interdict of the body,” letting corpo (body) stand, as we do in our language, for the person as the self. The reason I have called it this is that it explains the phenomenon of absence from the privileged space of the school in terms of the intrinsic inferiority, the incompetency, of those who do not occupy that space. Thus it camouflages (as does any dominant ideological discourse, being the voice of the dominant class) the authentic reasons for these prohibitions. The actual reasons for these interdictions, and for this ideological discourse, stand in dialectical relationship with the political and economic context of our society, by virtue of the manner in which that society produces its existence.
A social organization such as ours, which was always colonial, even after political autonomy (1822), and which still preserves the telltale signs of a colonial society—a society molded concretely and historically of values, behaviors, hierarchies, and preconceptions whose guidelines are discrimination, authoritarianism, and elitism—will necessarily be founded on prohibitions and interdicts.
Thus, from the dawn of Brazilian history down to our very day, these prohibitions have managed to reserve Brazilian illiteracy for the strata of lesser social value. Included today are, especially, black women and men, and white women of the popular strata.
The Jesuits’ reading of the world, during the period of their missionary work in Brazil (1549–1759), which was inaugurated under the regime of King John III, exaggerated the extent of incest, nudity, and cannibalism as practiced here—natives’ ways of being—and introduced the notion of sin, inculcating an internalized spirit of obedience, subservience, submission, hierarchy, imitation, example, and Christian devotion—European values— which counterbalanced the notion of sin in a dynamic tension. This is the origin of what I have come to call the ideology of the “interdict of the body.” (Cf. Ana Maria Araújo Freire, Analfabetismo no Brazil, cited in Paulo Freire’s text, above.)
1 “Brazil’s slavocratic past” is still extensively present, in the aristocratic discrimination among the various social classes, and in race and sex discrimination (although no longer in discrimination based on religion, which still prevailed among us until a few decades ago).
Brazil comes to be considered by the “culture of the North,” which is the culture that allows its knowledge to “drain” down the throats of us dwellers of the Southern Hemisphere—one of the territories discovered by the white, civilized European.
In 1500, Brazil was indeed “conquered” by Portugal, and the victors hung their flag between the altars and masses of the Catholic fathers and the naked Indians, who by now had been stripped of their taboos and their alleged “art of oppressing and exploiting.”
There was created, then, in these American lands, a colony, which would have the function of producing whatever the world division of labor were to require of it.
Thus, if it was economically inviable to go to the Orient in quest of spices, the latter would have to be extracted here (in the Amazon region) or produced here (in the Northeast).
With the selection of what was to be produced in the immense expanses of fertile lands (sugar), with Holland’s capacity to produce the machinery needed in the manufacture of this consumer product in such demand in Europe, and with Portugal’s experience, meager but adequate, in that manufacture, only one problem remained. Who would work on the cane plantations, and who would mill the cane in the machines? And who would stir the hot syrup in the caldrons with wooden sticks from the Atlantic Rain Forest, then dense and luxuriant in the Brazilian Northeast, while it thickened?
The solution was found in black slavery. Thus, the colonizers went in quest of the citizens of Africa, purchasing them—as cogs in the wheels of the sugar machines—from the Dutch, who for a time plied the black slave trade between Africa and Brazil. From 1534 to 1888, when slavery was abolished, thousands of blacks entered Brazil—an estimated average of five thousand souls per year. (I have said “souls,” since the Jesuits who came here in 1549 regarded the blacks as creatures without souls.)
Despite the fact that they were the “engine master’s” heaviest investment, in this colonial enterprise, the slaves were not on that account handled with care.
It is recorded by our historians that the useful life span of this black “coal” that fueled the sugar production of the first Brazilian centuries was, on the average, seven years of slave labor.
Women, less used for the heaviest work, were house slaves, many of them, performing domestic service in the great houses—those in which the lord and his family resided.
It was common, in the era of a slavocratic economy in Brazil, for a white man to “mate” with his black slave women, whether merely to “possess” many women, or to enlarge the most valuable element in the legacy they would hand on—their slaves—by way of their own descendants.
Thus, a society formed in Brazil that, beginning as elitist and authoritarian, became discriminatory as well, losing all or nearly all respect for person-to-person relationships—especially, I reassert with the author, for relationships between different sexes, races, and classes, and above all between wealthy whites over poor blacks.
2 Quilombo, in its acceptation in this text, has a strong political connotation. A quilombo is a place where the black slaves of Brazil took refuge, building there, together, in complete solidarity and community, an all but self-sustaining city. Thus, they founded a genuine culture of resistance to the barbarizing oppression of slavery.
Décio Freitas, ranking scholar of the black question among us, declares, in his Palmares: a guerra dos escravos (Palmares: the slaves’ war): “As long as there was slavery in Brazil, the slaves revolted, and expressed their revolt in armed protests whose repetition is unparalleled in the history of any other country of the New World” (p. 11).
I must warn that official historiography omits such an interpretation. It denies its realism. It has “reasons” for not understanding and not accepting the incontestable factuality of the political and revolutionary content of the slave revolts.
These specious objections only betray an authoritarian, discriminatory rot or rancidity that the blacks, ever the vanquished of our history, have been obliged to accept in silence.
Today, black movements, still timid, are appearing here and there in our country. Under the leadership of certain black men and women, some blacks are coming to accept their blackness and to value it. Thus they are forging a new time and a new space for the black race in Brazil. Without ever ceasing to be Brazilians, in heart and mind, these men and women are purposely accentuating the cultural marks of their African heritage. The silence of centuries is at last finding a voice, as Brazilian blacks begin to assume themselves historically—take responsibility for an autonomy in the conduct of their own concrete history.
The slave rebels of the sixteenth century rebelled not only in order to preserve their African heritages; they likewise struggled, for over a century, against slavery as a system, of which they were the greatest victims whether they had a clear and critical awareness of it or not.
The black republic of Palmares, the most important of the quilombos, established in the South of the Captaincy of Pernambuco, was an example of a productive economy and exemplary social organization of blacks who had risen against the slavocratic labor regime on which, along with the latifúndio and the sugar monoculture, the colonial economy rested.
Freitas ends his bruising, beautiful, and highly significant study on the black insurrections, whose life was from the late sixteenth to the late seventeenth century in the Northeast—the most economically dynamic region of Brazil in colonial times, thanks to its sugar production—with these words:
Every quilombo that appeared on the summit of a wooded ridge constituted an obscure little epic. Evaluated as a whole, and in historical perspective, the quilombos assume the dimension of a great epic.
They did not achieve success in their attempts to transform society, but they did exhibit the specificate predicate of the epic: the heroic action through which human beings assert themselves as such, independently of success or failure. These rustic black republics manifested the dream of a social order founded on an equality of siblingship, and are therefore integral to the revolutionary tradition of the Brazilian people.
Palmares was the most eloquent manifestation of the antislavery discourse of Brazilian blacks throughout nearly three centuries of slavery. The resolution taken at Serra da Barriga to die rather than accept reenslavement expresses the essence of the message that the Palmares blacks send from the depths of their night. After all—to cite the Hegelian reflection—“The master is master only in virtue of the fact that he possesses a slave that recognizes him as such” (Décio Freitas, Palmares: a guerra dos escravos, 2nd ed. [Rio de Janeiro: Graal, 1978], p. 210).
3 The authoritarian discriminations of Brazilian society ultimately proclaim the illiterate incapable of thinking, deciding, or choosing, so that they ought not to be accorded the right to vote. Indeed, we hear, anyone elected by the illiterate would also be uncultivated, and equally “harmful to the nation.”
Those who think in this way ignore the fact that the illiterate are precisely illiterate with respect to reading and writing, not orally, and that the reading of the world precedes the reading of the word, as we learn from Freire himself.
Our historical tradition, arising as it does from the slave mode of production prevailing in colonial times, molds us to an authoritarian, elitist, discriminatory society, as I have asserted in several of these notes to Freire’s book.
In the Brazilian Empire, only “good men” voted—that is, male property owners. The first republican constitution, of 1891, having excluded the illiterate (along with beggars, women, and the noncommissioned military) from voting, dialectically perpetuated an inexperience with democracy, and within that, an inexperience with choosing and voting. Women voted and could be elected to office only from 1933 on.
Only with the 1985 elections did the illiterate win their suffrage. They might vote if they wished: they were not, however, obliged to do so, as were all literate citizens of Brazil, native or naturalized, from the age of eighteen.
Beginning with the 1989 elections, the right to vote was extended to young persons from the age of sixteen up—provided, of course, they knew how to read and write.
In the presence of this historical tradition of “aristocratic, elitist rancidity,” one readily appreciates the dismay, rejection, and fear prevailing, in any phase of the electoral process, in a Brazilian election.
4 Luiza Erundina is Mayor of São Paulo, and the “Petist” administration is the government she as a member of the Petist party has formed for the management of that immense city. The word Petist derives from the protogram for Partido dos Trabalhadores, Workers Party: PT, pronounced “pay-tay.”
The PT is both a new political party, and a novel one in terms of its orientating ideologies. It maintains a doughty, committed militancy, with the result that the degree of its intervention and participation in the national political scene (and not only in that of municipalities where it has had its candidates elected to the prefecture) waxes by the day.
5 To the extent permitted by the Constitution, the Municipal Education Secretariate of São Paulo prioritizes primary instruction: eight school years, maintained in 355 schools. It also conducts a secondary school, and many (324) nursery schools. It maintains no institution of higher education, and only five “special education” schools, which are exclusively for the hearing-impaired and comprise both the primary and secondary levels.
In Brazil, the federal, state, and municipal governments all maintain free instruction, in accordance with the wherewithal and priorities of each, on the higher, secondary, and primary levels.
I speak of priorities because there is nothing to prevent (and it actually occurs) a state of the federation from maintaining primary and secondary schools (São Paulo State is the best example), or a municipality from offering instruction at all three levels: higher, secondary, and primary. The federal union itself only very rarely offers instruction below the university level.
Let us observe that this official instructional network—regular, and in various special purpose modalities, supletivo (supplementary)—is further complemented by private systems, which also offer instruction on the three levels instituted in the country.
These private establishments are monitored and financed by the various government offices for education on all three levels of government, besides being subject, of course, to the principles, objectives, and finalities imposed by the Law of Directives for and Foundations of National Education, which sets standards for all Brazilian schooling.
6 The authoritarian, centralizing power tradition so familiar to Brazilian society has of course extended itself to all facets of that society. Education could scarcely have expected to be an exception.
In 1961 we saw the first law voted by the National Congress for the three levels of instruction. From 1822 to 1961, all matters concerning education had been determined by decrees and “law decrees,” with the exception of two pieces of legislation that instituted, in 1827, the “law courses” and the “schools of primary letters” in Brazil. Up until 1961, then, the disciplines and their curricula, their objectives, their standards, and especially their content—or their programs, since content was more commonly referred to up until then—were determined by legally binding regulations of various kinds issued by the Minister of Education with the endorsement of the President of the Republic.
Only with the enactment of the 1961 Law of Directives for and Foundations of National Education did local officials and the instructional institutions themselves receive official authority to engage in determinative deliberations on instructional matters. Heretofore local discussion had been permitted only by way of exception and/or solely within the letter of the law.
This experiment in the democratization of instruction, unprecedented in extent and depth, was initiated during the democratic administration of Mayor Luiza Erundina, thanks to the administrative skills, authority, and competence—professional, pedagogical, and political—of Paulo Freire.
The arduous, difficult task in question, to be performed without the old authoritarian, interdicting “rancidities,” but also without going to the other extreme of permissiveness and “spontaneism”—constant concerns of Freire—was carried out, with enthusiastic concurrence on the part of all involved, in Paulo’s tenure from January 1, 1989, to May 27, 1991, as Municipal Secretary of Education.
Thus, the content of the courses pursued by the students of the São Paulo city schools, which have taken with alacrity to the new democratic experience of self-management, takes its point of departure in community needs and experience, which latter are thereupon subjected to cognitive exploration by teachers specializing in the various fields of knowledge, all working simultaneously.
An interdisciplinary approach to studies, and the choice of themes to be investigated, as part of the democratization of instruction, have yielded excellent results in terms of the acquisition of knowledge in itself scientific but based on a starting point in the commonsense knowledge that the children bring with them to school. In fact, the children come to perceive (and this is basic for their formation) the unity prevailing in the plurality of things, as well as the importance of a minute interpretation of each of the various parts of the universe within the totality.
During his term as head of the São Paulo Municipal Education Secretariat, through the implementation of an authentically democratic approach to management, Freire has demonstrated that decentralization is not only possible, but desirable. A democratic decentralization is found to occasion the active reinforcement of decisions that need to be taken in function of the desires and needs of the various communities, and in terms of the social classes of each, throughout the immense metropolis that is the city of São Paulo.
Delegating his authority to the secretariat’s technological teams, Freire encouraged the formation of a number of deliberative bodies whose purpose would be to address various matters impinging on the main core of the act of educating, the act performed by that municipal organ that is the school.
These bodies are made up of pupils, teachers, directors or principals, superintendents, counselors, and mothers and fathers, together with all of the support personnel in the schools—in other words, everyone involved in the educational process.
7 Freire could have cited a work he had already written, before 1960 (the date of the text at hand), as evidence of his concern for content from his earliest writings onward.
I refer to the “Theme Three Report” he developed, which was presented by the Pernambuco Commission, and then included as well in the Second National Congress of Adult Education, held in Rio de Janiero, July 6–16, 1958.
I recently read a paper in the Mining Symposium on the Thought of Paulo Freire held in Poços de Caldas, September 3–6, 1992. I showed that, by way of that 1958 composition, Freire marked his entry into the history of Brazilian education. The revolutionary thesis he presented at that adult-education congress was that important.
That Report of Freire, I am certain, was the seed of all of his other, later works; but it had a value in itself, as well.
I also declared, there at the beautiful little spa near the hydromines of Minas Gerais State, that, in my view, when he published Pedagogy of the Oppressed in 1970—ironically in English in the United States rather than in his native Portuguese—he established his place in the universal history of education.
That book, which became revolutionary the moment it came into the hands of its first readers, is revolutionary, first, by virtue of the manner in which its author had come to understand the pedagogical relationship between human beings and the world. And it is revolutionary in that it opens up to those human beings the opportunity they have for liberation for them all, once they take up their histories for reflection—“detach” their problems and confront them. Thus, the once seemingly unfeasible becomes, through the dream, “untested feasibility”: the dreamers of the dream—the oppressed—liberate themselves and their oppressors alike (see note 1, above).
The problem themes to be studied, to be reflected on, and to be conquered by each society, will obviously consist in the experiential content of the lives of those men and women who, in communion, exercise a praxis of liberation.
Now, with Pedagogy of Hope, Freire expounds and plumbs his favorite analytical themes more maturely. Objectively, after all, these themes need to be analyzed as elements of the body of a critical, liberative pedagogy. And in this new book we are led to understand the author’s pedagogical thinking even better, through the critical seriousness, humanistic objectivity, and engaged subjectivity which, in all of his works, are always wedded to a creative innovation. Thus, Freire bequeaths us not only Pedagogy of Hope, but a pedagogy of hope steeped in “dialogicity,” utopia, and the human liberation.
But let us return to the Theme Three Report, whose subject, as proposed by the Ministry of Education, which scheduled and sponsored the event, was: “The Education of Adults and Marginal Populations: Favelas, Mocambos, “Beehives,” Foreign Enclaves, and So On.” In an altogether new pedagogical language, most progressive and innovative for the era, Paulo Freire proposed that the education of adults in the zones of the mocambos (shacks hidden in the woods, constructed of thatched Brazil satintail and clay and covered with dried coconut straw) ought to be based on students’ awareness of the reality of their everyday lives, and must never be reduced to simple mechanical, uncommitted literacy. The content, then, ought to arise out of that experience and that reality.
In the body of his address, Freire spoke of the importance of the programs of the literacy courses, as content was more commonly called in those days. I shall transcribe here a part of his “Conclusions and Recommendations,” which constitute a synthesis of his whole discourse, and thereby not only provide us with a condensation of his ideas, but indicate solutions as well.
The programmatic content, then, which ought to be democratically selected by the parties participating in the act of educating for literacy, within a broader proposal, of educating, was specified as follows:
E. That the program of these courses—always in conformity with local, regional, and national reality—be developed with the participation of the educands in some of its aspects, at least in flexible concerns admitting of adjustment:
1. 1 Hygienic, moral, religious, recreational, and economic aspects of life in the local area
2. 2 Aspects of regional and national life, especially when they bear on the development of the country
3. 3 Development and utilization of local democratic leadership
4. 4 Creation of new attitudes toward the family, neighbors living close by, the broader neighborhood, and the municipality. These attitudes ought to be based on a spirit of solidarity and understanding. [Emphasis added.]
As early as the 1950s, then, Freire was building a dialectical relationship among three elements: literacy education, study content, and the political act of educating, with this third element “imbedding” the other two.
8 Bate-papo (chewing the rag, chewing the fat) is a Brazilian colloquialism denoting a noncommittal, amiable, desultory, or even inconsistent conversation.
9 As a work of basic importance for the rifts in countless societies of our time, Pedagogy of the Oppressed has been subjected to embargos and interdicts in various parts of the world.
This was the case, for instance, in the 1970s in Portugal, Spain, and Latin America, where extremely authoritarian government actions bereft of all popular legitimation proscribed Pedagogy of the Oppressed as “tares”; weeds sown amidst good wheat.
I have in my files a dossier on the interdict imposed in Portugal on this work of Freire’s, where institutions languished under the Salazar yoke up to the Carnation Revolution in 1974.
These documents, of which I shall now present a summary analysis, show that, on February 21, 1973, the Office of Information Services, an organ of the Secretariate of State for Information and Tourism, in its Ofício (Order) no. 56-DGI/S, “respectfully besought” the Director General of Security, “for the welfare of the Portuguese nation,” to “be at pains that the publication” of Pedagogy of the Oppressed, by Paulo Freire, published by João Barrote, be “distrained” or seized, inasmuch as the Information Office had ascertained that the work in question was “a book of political theory, and experiment in the mentalização [mentalization, an attempt to instill a particular mentality, to brainwash] of the people with a view to inciting a social revolution.”
The document concedes that Pedagogy of the Oppressed is not “necessarily” a work “of a Marxist nature,” but insists that this work of Freire exhibits “a great deal of [Marxist] influence.”
Portuguese authorities likewise “understood” that, as the edition was a limited one, and the language of the book “inaccessible,” the danger within the Portuguese nation itself was not great. They overlooked the fact that underground copies were being circulated; nor can the language limitation have been very considerable, as we may gather from the testimony of Portuguese subjects in the African colonies, whose experiences and sufferings enabled them to understand Freire’s language and proposals altogether adequately.
1 Thiago de Melo, the Amazonian poet who sings the praises of the Amazon River—“Water’s Native Country”—with such beauty and creativity, lives today by the water’s edge, twenty-four hours from Manaus by boat.
He lives on, he lives with, he lives from, he lives for that rio-mar, that “ocean of a river,” that he so loves—as he loves the Amazon rain forest, which is just as full of surprises.
Amidst the flora and fauna, the pororoca (din of the river waters crashing into the Atlantic), flooded forests, and copper-colored caboclas (mixed-race Indian-and-white men and women) in that extraordinary, exuberant, and exotic scenario, Thiago de Melo lives his life, awash in that world of millions of lives.
Decades ago, in the 1960s, while serving as a Brazilian cultural attaché in Chile, he hosted a group of Brazilians in his home—almost all of them exiled from the country next door—and invited Paulo Freire to explain the approach the latter had been using in his adult-literacy programs in Brazil. Afterwards, Thiago composed one of his most intensely moving poems.
He had not been able to sleep after the meeting. Freire’s concept of adult education had been too exciting, too astonishing for him. The next morning, on that summer’s day of 1964, in solidarity with the numberless folk of his race and kind who were then prevented from reading the word, he composed his “Cançao para os poemas da alegria” (Ballad for the poems of gladness). It appears as an appendix in Paulo Freire’s Educação como prática da liberadade (Brazilian edition).
He composed it in order that his glad wonderment at the creation of the method, mingled with his sorrowing wonderment that Freire could have been considered subversive, might proclaim the wonderment of hope.
1 Brazilian President João Belchior Marques Goulart took power as head of state on September 7, 1961, after a surprising turn of events had brought him hurrying back from China to Brasília, capital of Brazil and seat of government of the union.
As vice-president-elect, he had had to cut short his official visit to China in order to be sworn in as president of the Republic, following the unexpected resignation of Jânio Quadros, a mere seven months after the latter had taken office amidst great hope and enthusiasm on the part of the Brazilian people who had elected him.
Goulart, another of our populist rulers, erroneously regarded as a Communist, was under the watchful eye of the military, the dominant Brazilian class, and the Northern “owners of the world,” throughout his incumbency.
His indecisive measures for a grassroots reform, necessary though they were for the country—and in the interest of the subordinate strata and therefore of progressive sectors—left those of the political Left almost as dissatisfied as those of the Right, who considered that President Goulart had gone too far in his concessions to “those people.”
Strikes, including by navy personnel and sergeants of the national army; the emergence of peasant organizations, especially the peasant leagues; educational and popular cultural movements; attempts at a land reform to deal with the latifúndios improdutivos, or enormous unproductive land tracts; social legislation in behalf of farm workers; tactless, inflammatory speeches by members of his administration, some of them delivered from the public reviewing stands of the streets; a National Adult Literacy Program that responded to the interests of the social strata excluded from the schools for centuries; the public apology of the agricultural minister, Carvalho Pinto, which did manage to subdue some of the wrath of the right—along with other considerations—unleashed the military coup. Mounted in the name of the subversion (?) of inflation (100 percent a year then; now 1000 percent!), and corruption (!!!), the coup signaled the beginning of a strangling of the Brazilian people and nation that went on from April 1, 1964, to March 15, 1985.
2 For the National Literacy Program, see notes 7, 27, 49, above.
3 This “city” is called Segundo Montes, and is named for one of the Jesuits murdered in San Salvador a few years ago by the forces of established power.
The residents of this locality recounted to us that they themselves had had to seek refuge in Honduras, for long years, having fled the massacres perpetrated by the national army against women, children, and men not all of whom were engaged in the revolutionary struggle. This is how it was in Perquin, where more than two thousand simple peasants were crammed onto a little piece of ground and murdered, as an example and warning to all: Desist from the struggle or die. Desist from the struggle to be-moreso, from the battle for more being.
The survivors had then made their way, in anguish and distress, to the neighboring country. Now, in the company of gentle, peaceable United Nations troops—for they had come on a mission of peace—these same survivors, ten years older, had trudged for days upon end, traversing mountains and valleys, in anxiety and affliction, returning to their country to rebuild it.
They had returned to their Province—Morazón—not far from where they had come. But now they abandoned their former, blood-drenched locality for another point—a place where, between the forests and the mountain winds, they might build a place of life, and not of death. Thus arose the town of Segundo Montes.
They plant crops, breed barnyard animals, discuss their social organization, sing their songs, provide literacy courses for their adults, and educate their children. They are women and men who, reading the world with humanity and justice, are creating a different world, and they keep their eyes on Segundo Montes, “the Father.”
That Jesuit and five of his companions were roused in the middle of the night to suffer the agony of knowing they were being lined up to be “executed.”
As the order had been given to leave no witnesses, the woman who did the domestic work in the Padres’ house, like her fifteen-year-old daughter, found no mercy.
This massacre, an inhuman tactic if there ever was one, had been premeditated by the forces in power as a form of intimidation. After all, the murder of Archbishop Romeo, shot dead as he celebrated mass in San Salvador Cathedral, had not sufficed.
The rightist government hoped that, with the massacre of the Jesuits, all the guerrilla forces of the left would surrender. Instead, they grew stronger still.
Segundo Montes, native of Spain, martyr of El Salvador, lives on. He lives in the Viva! his people shout every few minutes in praise of those to whom they would do homage. And he lives in their longing, in their irrepressible desire for the education of which they have such need and which they love, as they cry out, in a chorus that rings like thunder: “Viva la educatión popular!”