Popular and Political Education

Some elements of the concepts of popular education trace back to the French Revolution in 1789. It evolved in the nineteenth century and reached a critical juncture in the aftermath of the Soviet revolution of 1917 and then was advanced further by the work of Antonio Gramsci in Italy. The modern incarnation of what we call “popular education” can be traced back to the waves of anti-imperialist struggle that swept Latin America in the 1960’s.

During this period liberation theology emerges (focusing on organizing within ecclesiastical communities) and revolutionary left cadre developed radical techniques for adult education and new processes for political formation. Paulo Freire and others extend this work (through what were known as CEB’s — Comunidades Eclesiais de Base) and developed a method for teaching and raising political consciousness that revolutionized education for the people.