Gleason, Arthur, Workers’ Education in the United States, with some Foreign Examples (New York, 1923). For other essential classic studies on the history of workers’ education, see
Hansome, Marius, World Workers’ Educational Movements: Their Social Significance (New York, 1931);
Guigui, Albert, The Contribution of the ILO to Workers Education, 1919–1970 (Geneva, 1972);
Hopkins, Philip G. H., ed., Workers’ Education: An International Perspective (Milton Keynes, 1985).
Docherty, James. C. and van der Velden, Sjaak, eds., Historical Dictionary of Organized Labor,
3rd ed. (Lanham, UK, 2012).
3. There are exceptions, most notably
Thompson, E.P.'s The Making of the English Working Class (London, 1963). Thompson, of course, wrote Making while employed as a workers’ education instructor. The essays in this volume cite many of the most important contributions to this literature. Also important to consult are a few older and newer surveys of the field, including
Resnick, Idrian N., ed., Tanzania: Revolution by Education (Arusha, TZ, 1968);
Kane, Liam, Popular Education and Social Change in Latin America (London, 2001);
Steele, Tom, Knowledge Is Power! The Rise and Fall of European Popular Education Movements, 1848–1939 (Bern, 2007); and
Novelli, Mario and Ferus-Comelo, Anibel, eds., Globalization, Knowledge and Labour: Education for Solidarity within Spaces of Resistance (London and New York, 2010).
4. See, for example,
Negt, Oskar, Soziologische Phantasie un exemplarisches Lernen: Zur Theorie und Praxis der Arbeiterbildung (Frankfurt am Main, 1971), 7. John Reed’s account of the “thirst for education, so long thwarted, [which] burst with the Revolution into a frenzy of expression,” clearly places the emphasis where it belongs: on reading, not rioting. “All Russia was learning to read, and reading—politics, economics, history—because the people wanted to know. … Hundreds of thousands of pamphlets were distributed by thousands of organizations, and poured into the armies, the villages, the factories, the streets.”
Reed, John, Ten Days That Shook the World (New York, 1919), 14.
Negt, Oskar, “Politische bildung ist die Befreiung der Menschen,” in Positionen der Politischen Bildung 2: Ein Interviewbuch zur ausserschulischen Jugend- und Erwachsenenbildung, Hrsg. Huffer, K-P, et al. . (Schwalbach am Taurus, 2004), 197.
7. Nearly 100 years ago,
Dewey, John made much the same point in The Public and Its Problems (New York, 1927), and this decisive intervention between the two world wars of the twentieth century and on the eve of the Great Depression is still very much worth pondering.
9. See the classic 1928 formulation by the pioneering US labor educator and activist, A. J. Muste. Trade unions, he wrote, combine within themselves “two extremely divergent social structures, that of an army and that of a democratic town meeting. The union is a fighting instrument and exhibits always more or less definitely a tendency to take on the characteristics of armed forces and warfare in its structure and activities. … [On the other hand,] the union must remain ‘a purely voluntary agency’ and … conceives itself an essential organ for carrying on industry democratically in such a way that the personalities of the worker are not obliterated in the process.”
Muste, A. J., “Factional Fights in Trade Unions” in Hardman, J.B.S., ed., American Labor Dynamics in the Light of Post-War Developments (New York, 1929), 332–333