at the risk of seeming ridiculous…

Strong Enough to Free Both.

Posted in written thoughts by Charles on July 25, 2007

Revisiting Freire: 

“This, then, is the great humanistic and historical task of the oppressed: to liberate themselves and their oppressors as well.  The oppressors, who oppress, exploit, and rape by virtue of their power, cannot find in this power the strength to liberate either the oppressed or themselves.  Only power that springs from the weakness of the oppressed will be sufficiently strong to free both.  Any attempt to ‘soften’ the power of the oppressor in deference to the weakness of the oppressed almost always manifests itself in the form of false generosity; indeed, the attempt never goes beyond this.  In order to have the continued opportunity to express their ‘generosity,’ the oppressors must perpetuate injustice as well.  An unjust social order is the permanent fount of this ‘generosity,’ which is nourished by death, despair, and poverty.  That is why the dispensers of false generosity become desperate at the slightest threat to its source.”


 “Dialogue cannot exist, however, in the absence of a profound love for the world and for men. The naming of the world, which is an act of creation and re-creation, is not possible if it is not infused with love. Love is at the same time the foundation of dialogue and dialogue itself. It is thus necessarily the task of responsible Subjects and cannot exist in a relation of domination. Domination reveals the pathology of love: sadism in the denominator and masochism in the dominated. Because love is an act of courage, not of fear, love is commitment to others. No matter where the oppressed are found, the act of love is committed to their cause… the cause of liberation. And this commitment, because it is loving, is dialogical. As an act of bravery, love cannot be sentimental; as an act of freedom, it must not serve as a pretext for manipulation. It must generate other acts of freedom; otherwise, it is not love. Only by abolishing the situation of oppression is it possible to restore the love which that situation made impossible. If I do not love the world, if I do not love life, if I do not love people, I cannot enter into dialogue.”

Marxian dialects presents the necessary struggle that occurs between the two classes: proletariat and bourgeoisie.  The interesting thing that Marx points out is that it is only in the proletariat will you find the concern of humanity as a whole.  The reason for this is in the simple fact that the proletariat class has no property or profit to defend.  As a class, they represent the very dehumanizing process where their works are taken from them.  They are alienated from the very things they create.  And because the act of creation is the essential character of humanity, they are continually stripped.  It is because of this that Marx indicates that the proletarian interest must  take hold of the economic process.  For the creation of a new order would have the interests of all in mind… because they are restoring the creative process that was stripped of them.  The bourgeois has too many things to hold onto… thus making their interests selfish.

 Freire’s analysis of the “strength” found in the weakness of the oppressed further dramatizes Marx’s thoughts.  The dialectical relationship Freire demonstrates between oppressor and oppressed is only synthesized by the very “strength” of the oppressed.  That which is their humanistic interest, their desire to be fully human.   Poetic.  And just so radical that it has to be true.

Furthermore, Freire’s weapon of choice to bring about this synthesis is dialogue.  Dialogue… the manifestation of the love of the other.   His choice is love.  To take it a step further, it is the love of the oppressor.  The oppressed ought not to become the oppressors themselves, but rather the lover.  Brilliant.

 It was good to hear from you again Paulo.  You have been missed. 


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