There is no disjunction between life, work, struggle, politics or education when, in our theory and praxis, we move beyond static and fetishised notions of the world. Even if we have learned otherwise all human creativities develop mutually within the same processes. By considering work, art and education separately, as distinct segments of our lives, we create a fundamental antogonism which cheats us of both life and doing. But this interconnectedness can only be fully grasped by emancipated subjects who are ready to struggle, ready to challenge the enforced reality of day to day life.

Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed and Education for Critical Consciousness [1]Murray Bookchin’s and Daniel Chodorkoff’s Social Ecology [2], Ivan Illich’s Deschooling Society, John Holloway’s Change the World without Taking Power and Jacques Ranciere’s The Ignorant Schoolmaster [3] all offer authentic and responsible positions which open up our critical capacities to make choices and transform reality. The common starting-point for all these theorists is creativity – which can only be expressed by those who are engaging with the struggle to become emancipated and fully human. Their vision of education is truley radical as they regard it as inseparable from life and doing. This position is also inherantly antogonistic to capitalism which, as the social ecologist Daniel Chodorkoff explains over simplifies life, or simplifies it to the absurd.

It is now more important than ever to invent and re-invent our humanity and radical or alternative ideas of education are a very important step in this path. That is why education now cannot be reflected without also reinventing revolution. We are not interested anymore in the revolution by the intervention of deus ex machina nor in the avant-garde that imposes its will from the outside. There is no outside, as there is no inside: there is only in-out, flooding in, against, and beyond. [4] Revolutions are taking place daily through multiple expressions of our creativity, imagination, insubordinations and disobedience, in the particularities which are moving and transforming us, in our palettes and our pockets, through spreading rhizomes and multiplicities of resistance. There are a multiplicity of bonds of solidarity, which have not yet been traversed, deconstructed or perverted by capitalism. That is why alternative and autonomous education, struggle and life cannot be encountered within institutions which butress the capitalist flow of doing.

Some of the best theorists and practioners can be found in the struggles of Indigenous and pracarious workers of Latin America such as Colectivo Situaciones and MTD de Solano in Argentina; [5] Movimento Sem Terra in Brazil; [6] the Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mexico;[7] the Mapuche in Chile and so on. All mentioned movements are simultaneously expressions of alternative art, education, culture and politics, which rise beyond neoliberalism. Instead of separating, alienating and demolishing human beings they are creating new art of human existence and doing.

Joseph Jacotot, a philosopher of universal education discovered that people have the capascity to teach what they do not actually know (for example he taught Flemish students French without any knowledge of Flemish himself). Through courageous struggle the Zapatistas are starting to teach things they did not know, they are reinventing the principles of education and struggle. While they are developing their autonomous politics (life and doing), they are moving towards wholeness and freedom, unity and diversity, non-hierarchical relations, mutations, fluctuations and homeostatic spontaneity. They are walking very slowly, as Zapatistas are fond of saying, but they are walking together. Education is the integral and fundamental part of the Zapatistas struggle. They have two main principles of education: educar produciendo (to educate by producing) and educar aprendiendo (to educate by learning). For the Zapatistas ‘no one teaches no one and no one learns alone’.[8]

There is only one more experience which arises out of the heterogenaity of recent struggles that is important for new and different vision of education, politics, culture and society: the encuentro (encounter). Encuentro opens up the politics of space and listening which emerges after the first scream of refusal. The Zapatistas never emphasize their theoretical contribution to the struggle, even if Zapatism has unquestionably inspired new theoretical fields for political analyses, practice and struggle. They are not constructing a new International; they don’t have uniform theoretical fields or standardized notions in the struggle against neoliberalism. They were on the contrary creating an encuentro within which junctures, connectivity, consciousness and consensus emerges. Through interplay, discussions, assemblies and magic realism they have been constructing places and spaces, where the possibilities of encuentro are being created.

Encuentro is not a political meeting place in the sense of radical academic conference or activist forum. It is the political space of falling in dialogue, analyses and direct actions, that obstinately and creatively recognizes unity through diversity, maintaining a respect for the heterogeneous proposals and practices which derive from different worlds of historical and political repression. Dialogue in itself is a co-operative activity involving respect. The process is important and can be seen as enhancing community. Encuentro as a strategy, process, space, meeting, or form of engaged art is feasible only by mutual recognition of the dignity of all participants. Only in such a manner is it possible to dream new horizons of the common collective: in art, in education and in society. Sometimes like stampeding cows, sometimes like well considered subjects in rebellion, we are learning how to realize encuentro.

The movements in Slovenia were searching for effective ways to struggle against capitalism. Various institutions and other state apparatus perverted our power-to into power-over, [9] and we were tricked, distorted, misunderstood and immobilized. Our discourse was perverted, adjusted and made docile. Then we started to listen to the whispering of engaged art rebellion by Zapatistas, Mapuche, and other movements in Argentina and Brasil and we started to create new places of autonomous political and cultural practices. We occupied abandoned houses and old factory in the center of the town and transformed them into elaboration of enormous activist and artistic project, which enabled true dialogue, encounters and imagination. Through this radical practice, which is a slap in the face for capitalism, we have succeeded in inventing autonomous universities dealing with art and politics, theory and practice, reinventing assemblies as the body of self-organization, and creating a ‘new’ politics for all marginalised groups and individuals in Slovenian urban and rural society.

In last six years movements in Slovenia have created assemblies for erased people [10], anti- racist assemblies, networks with immigrants and against deportations, peace and anti-NATO movements, mobilization for ecological questions and so on. All mentioned struggles were achievable because of the persistence of interdisciplinarity approaches and mutuality of engaged art, political doing and life that ventured to walk beyond capitalism without an exact destination or secure and defined path. Like the Zapatistas asking we walk.

Marta Gregorcic (1977), sociologist and activist, living in Ljubljana

1. Freire, Paulo, “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”, London: Penguin, 1972.
2. Bookchin, Murray, “Remaking Society: Pathways to a Green Future”, Chodorkoff, Daniel. “Education for Social Change”, 1998, on
3. Ranciere, Jacques, Le maitre ignorant. Libra ririe Artheme Fayada, 1987.
4. More on this see Holloway, John: “Change the world without taking power: the meaning of the revolution today . London”, Pluto Press, 2002.
5. Colectivo situaciones and MTD de Solano. Contrapoder: una introduccion.
Colectivo situaciones and MTD de Solano. Hipotesis 891. Buenos Aires. De Mano en Mano. 2002.
7. Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos. “Un pinguino en la selva lacandona.” I and II. July, 2005,
8. Nadie educa a na die y nadie se educa solo!
9. See Holloway 2002.
10. Erasure was a systematic state action. Erased are around 1% of population in Slovenia who were erased from the Registry of Permanent Residents of the Republic of Slovenia in 1992. Slovenian governent is still ignoring the consequences which bring erasure to around 18.305 people in Slovenia.