Anarchy 92

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Contents of No. 92

October 1968

About Risinghill Martin Small 289
Experiment at Kingsway Charlie Gillett 306
A visit to Kilquhanity House School Michael Bartholomew 310
Max Stirner on education S. E. Parker 318
Cover by Ivor Claydon and B. J. Segar  

Kilquhanity House School

It’s not a matter of giving the children total freedom to do as they like. We do have some compulsory lesson time—from 9.30 to 11 and from 1.30 to 3—but they are given a great deal of freedom, even within that time, to do what they like doing. One boy may be reading a favourite author, another writing an article for our weekly magazine, the Broadsheet, another may be outside measuring or observing something, all according to their own pace and abilities. But it’s not total freedom. I always talk to them of freedom in this way: “A man may be free to jump in the water or not to jump in the water. But if he jumps he’s not free to remain dry.” Here they can do French or not, but if they choose French they must abide by the requirements of the teacher and the subject. They say “free as a bird in the air”, but a bird obeys the rules of aerodynamics.

Between 11.30 and dinner-time each day they have a free choice. It can be drama or science. Some might be on “maintenance”, working with men draining the meadow or repairing the fencing. Every morning after breakfast we have “useful work”—the kids help with milking the cows, feeding the pigs and chickens, the household chores, sweeping the dorms, making the breakfast, preparing the vegetables for the mid-day and evening meals. It’s all organised at the school council, which everybody in the school attends once a week, from the teachers to the eight-year-olds. A senior boy or girl takes the chair and all the decisions are reached by democratic vote. They make a lot of the rules and decide on punishments, usually fines or taking away privileges: never a caning, never in your life. It’s like a primitive tribe: they see justice done, everyone can have a say—this is valuable. But think of the civics in this practical government. Real feelings enter into this, real lives are being affected, it’s a thousand times better than mock debates. They learn patience and tolerance and charity. It’s the same with the games. All ages together, boys and girls playing rounders on half a football field. I suppose most schools wouldn’t call it games at all; but the charity—letting the little ones get to first base, not getting them out too soon—this is what games should be. I suppose a small school like this, for all ages, can be called inefficient these days; but only in the narrow sense, only in subject learning. It’s not inefficient when it comes to the unmeasurable values that have been developed. Brains aren’t everything. Human qualities, like reliability, stickability, integrity—these qualities grow here simply out of living together.

We don’t get the grey-faced exam-passer, the boy who never gets jam today, alwaays jam tomorrow, who can’t enjoy school because of what he has to do to get to university; who can’t enjoy university because of what he’ll have to do to get a job; in the job, what he’ll have to do to keep up. Sir Herbert Read said that education is the generation of happiness. That’s the really creative work, the work that must be done to enable happiness to grow and flower in a child. Your young crook, your maladjusted child, is just an unhappy person.

John Aitkenhead

Other issues of “Anarchy”:

Please note: Issues 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 12, 13, 14, 20, 26, 34, 36, 37, 38, 39, 66, 70, 71 are out of print.

Vol. 1. 1961: 1. Sex-and-Violence; 2. Workers’ control; 3. What does anarchism mean today?; 4. Deinstitutionisation; 5. Spain; 6. Cinema; 7. Adventure playground; 8. Anthropology; 9. Prison; 10. Industrial decentralisation.

Vol. 2. 1962: 11. Paul Goodman, A. S. Neill; 12. Who are the anarchists?; 13. Direct action; 14. Disobedience; 15. David Wills; 16. Ethics of anarchism; 17. Lumpenproletariat; 18. Comprehensive schools; 19. Theatre; 20. Non-violence; 21. Secondary modern; 22. Marx and Bakunin.

Vol. 3. 1963: 23. Squatters; 24. Community of scholars; 25. Cybernetics; 26. Thoreau; 27. Youth; 28. Future of anarchism; 29. Spies for peace; 30. Community workshop; 31. Self-organising systems; 32. Crime; 33. Alex Comfort; 34. Science fiction.

Vol. 4. 1964: 35. Housing; 36. Police; 37. I won’t vote; 38. Nottingham; 39. Homer Lane; 40. Unions; 41. Land; 42. India; 43. Parents and teachers; 44. Transport; 45. The Greeks; 46. Anarchism and historians.

Vol. 5. 1965: 47. Freedom in work; 48. Lord of the flies; 49. Automation; 50. Anarchist outlook; 51. Blues, pop, folk; 52. Limits of pacifism; 53. After school; 54. Buber, Landauer, Muhsam; 55. Mutual aid; 56. Women; 57. Law; 58. Stateless societies.

Vol. 6. 1966: 59. White problem; 60. Drugs; 61. Creative vandalism; 62. Organisation; 63. Voluntary servitude; 64. Misspent youth; 65. Derevolutionisation; 66. Provo; 67. USA; 68. Class and anarchism; 69. Ecology; 70. Libertarian psychiatry.

Vol. 7. 1967: 71. Sociology of school; 72. Strike City, USA; 73. Street School; 74. Anarchism and reality; 75. Improvised drama; 76. 1984; 77. Anarchist group handbook; 78. Liberatory technology; 79. Latin America; 80. Workers’ control; 81. Russian anarchists; 82. Braehead School.

Vol. 8. 1968: 83. Tenants take over; 84. Poverty; 85. Anarchist conversations; 86. Fishermen; 87. Penal System; 88. Wasteland culture; 89. France; 90. Student revolt.

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