The progressive movement has long pushed for the collectivization of society. This is true in all areas of society as individual rights and responsibility have given way to the communal notion of shared responsibility and the common good. While the deconstruction of individualism has always been at the heart of the American progressive movement, it has seldom been so blatantly stated as in MSNBC’s Melissa Harris -Perry call for us to “break through our private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their family, and recognize that kids belong to the whole community.”
The collectivization of kids, in particular, is a central component of a communistic society, and this was recognized early on in the Soviet Union. Once the state (oh, I mean “we”) controls the education and formation of its children it can effectively groom a generation of like-minded supporters. At a congregation of Soviet educators in 1918 teachers were told “We must remove the children from the crude influence of their families. We must take them over and, to speak frankly, nationalize them”.
Education really is the key to a free society because free ideas will challenge and counter the monopoly a government-run education system seeks at its heart to achieve. Like the Soviet’s who sought to remove children from the influence of their parents and replace it with the influence of the state, the foundations of America’s modern public school system was founded on a similar mission. The “Father of American Education”, John Dewey was an ardent socialist and would appeal to similar notions of a collective good.
So while the notion that children are to be thought of as part of a collective is nothing entirely new, the boldness with which progressives now speak is an indication that they feel comfortable using obviously communistic language in the mainstream. (It should also be noted that MSNBC’s official slogan “Forward” is also quite reminiscent of Stalin’s propaganda campaign “Forward to Communism“).