Free Education

From Karl Polanyi
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Text in Hungarian to translate into English

[124] Clerical public education treats knowledge in the same way that bacterial cultures are customary in the laboratory. It is allowed to reach the people only in the form of “curriculum”, because it has proved to be a very good vaccine against all kinds of science and enlightenment. Thus, public education is undeniably a dangerous operation, but apparently no major trouble can arise from it, only all media should work conscientiously to ensure that knowledge does not easily reach the people. In this optimism, over time, the reaction is disappointing everywhere. It is not enough to leave half of the country uneducated “for the sake of the Hungarian language”, it is not enough to order half of the students from the school to the field with an underdeveloped body “for the sake of national production” and it is not enough to take care of what is left he two - all this is not enough. It is a mere utopia that mere omission can prevent culture from developing. It is not enough to honor your fool, you also have to chase the smart ones. Folk and ethnic self-education and the voluntary educational activities of society must also be suppressed. The Italian, French, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese and Austrian reactions have learned bitterly - and the Hungarian reaction will learn as well - that the spiritual forces of a people unite in free activity and voluntary institutions on their own, and that the , who undertakes to maintain ignorance, is soon forced to engage in an open struggle with the thirsty will of society.

On July 1, 1911, the Hungarian Government for Religion and Public Education issued a decree on free education under number 50877. With this decree, Hungarian clericalism took the offensive path that had recently become fatal to French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Austrian clericalism.

In this decree, the Minister will make every effort to break the flourishing free education activity that has begun among the working and radical bourgeoisie. Among the measures of the decree is the fact that from now on all kinds of free education will be placed under the main supervision of the state, lectures can be visited by the Minister's delegate and check that the teachings advertised there do not violate public morals or the country's law. This public morality measure encompasses a whole legion of reforms. [125] The dissolution of trade unions will no longer require a spokesman and an agent provocateur; in the event of major strikes, the Minister will simply send a yellow envoy to the National Central Catholic Bachelors' Association (who is a member of the National Council for Free Education under the Decree) and will propose the dissolution of the association after static exercise of its right of superintendent as non-moral. and are contrary to the law of the country. But it is possible that the delegate of the National Central Catholic Bachelors' Association will be satisfied with the more modest result that he will be banned from the free teaching activity of the organization.

The state, however, now wants not only to oversee free education, but to “support” it anyway. In addition to the teacher and the municipal doctor, the decree seeks to win the “local intelligence”, namely the priest, the clerk and the landowners, for the task of cultivating folk art for a fee. Although we think that more accurate observation of the owners on them cannot usually result in 'local' symptoms of intelligence, we also see born freelance educators in the clerks, because they probably know best what is allowed and what is not. We can also be confident that the remuneration of free education, under the conditions and modalities set out in this decree, will lead to a sharp rise in public morality.

In elections between teachers and in wage movements among clerks, public morality will be daunting. Because it is only necessary to imagine the degree of public morality required in Hungary for the county “free education committee” to recommend the teacher for a reward, the guardianship or school board is willing to prove the presence of 25 student constants, the Free Education Council committee (16. §) deems the person worthy of this, the Standing Committee confirms this and finally the Minister acknowledges this brilliant public morality in a bell.

The decree opens the door to government domination in all areas. Clericalism wants to hide free education under the shield of state supervision in order to do it there. [127] Innocent clauses voicing public morality and the law and order of the state, many loops for brave and conscientious free education. According to the democratic conception, the legal order of the state is only that which a. is in harmony with culture and if there is a discrepancy between the two, order must be established in the laws of the state so that they again serve the purposes of culture. And who will dig into telling what is in conflict with public morality, what is not? The belief of educated humanity is that it is against public morality to spread all kinds of superstition or deliberately constructed prejudice and to force it on undeveloped brains; but above all, it is against public morality for a decree in which a public office openly promises money and monetary benefits to educators to compromise and falsify the knowledge of the people, and on the other hand threatens those who reject the bribe with contempt.

However, immoral regulations must also be enforced. And here's the bump. Because it is a different thing when an individual visits the state and slams the gates of education in front of him than when the state is forced to visit free education organizations at their own gates and attack them in their own homes. Public culture can be embezzled in silence, but can only be robbed openly. When the state is not content with upholding and institutionalizing its historical misconduct, but acts conquering to the detriment of individuals, associations, groups, and classes, it evokes a civil war and calls the entire enlightened public into a cultural struggle.

And we cannot be bribed by immoral decrees or intimidated by threats. The decree of the Minister of Religion and Public Education is illegal and unconstitutional because it deprives us of our freedoms. We will not comply with the decree of the Minister of Religion and Public Education, nor will we allow our behavior to be influenced by it.

in August 1901, a small school opened in Barcelona that did not teach religion and included science in its curriculum. In 1906, the clerical government began the persecution of this Free School, which was called the Modern School; but after 13 months in prison, the founder of the school had to be acquitted of the charges against him. As a result of this persecution, public and secret free educational organizations emerged en masse in Spain. The clerical government was forced to move forward on the path it once took. He continued his attacks on free education under more and more excuses. In the month of August 1909, he prosecuted the founder of the free schools for the second time, and on October 13, 1909, he finally executed the death sentence after a rude and illegal process that incited the whole of Europe. Not a year passed into the martyrdom of Francisco Ferrer, the immortal founder of the Modern School in Barcelona, ​​and the irresistible Spanish clericalism was forever swept away by resurrected popular wrath.

We look forward to hearing from you at 50.877/911. s. vk. min. implementation of this Regulation.

Károly Polányi.

Text Informations

First publication: “A szabadoktatásért”, Szabadgondolat, 1.4, p. 125-127
KPA: 01/08 (4 pages; copy of the original article)
Other Languages:

Lg Name
FR Education libre