In "Scenes from the Inferno", Alexander Cockburn (1989) wrote about the reality behind, the so-called triumph of capitalism. One of his illustrations is particularly relevant for a critical mathematics education: in Chile, where in some Santiago neighborhoods, "the diet of 77 to 80 percent of the people does not have sufficient calories and proteins… to sustain life", Pinochet’s regime measured malnutrition in relation to a person’s weight and height, in contrast to the usual comparison of weight and age. "So a stunted child is not counted as malnourished, and thus is not eligible for food supplements". (p. 510) This talk will explore the connections between understanding the outrageousness of collecting such statistics, and acting to change the outrageousness of such situations.

Broadly speaking,
the Critical mathematics Educators Group hopes to connect critical mathematics
educators’ work with economic, political and social movements towards a
just, humane society. We share the concerns of humanistic mathematics educators
to respect our students and to teach mathematics in such a way that understanding
is emphasized over memorization and students actively participate in their
own learning. We share the concerns of ethnomathematics educators to counter
the Eurocentric models of the development of mathematical knowledge, to
consider the interactions of culture and mathematical knowledge, and to
start the learning process from our students’ mathematical knowledge. We
add to those humanistic and ethnomathematical concerns an attention to
how the power dynamics of society result in the situation where "the intellectual
activity of those without power is always characterized as non-intellectual".
(Freire & Macedo, 1987, p. 122) We view mathematics as one area of
knowledge constructed by humans in order to understand and learn about
our world. We believe that major objectives of all education are to shatter
the myths about how society is structured; to understand the effects of,
and interconnections among racism, sexes, ageism, heterosexism, monopoly
capitalism, imperialism, and other alienating, totalitarian institutional
structures and attitudes; to develop the commitment to rebuild those structures
and attitudes; and, to develop the personal and collective empowerment
needed to engage that task.

This talk will outline
the organizational roots and the organizational connections of the Critical
mathematics Educators Group; discuss the non-static definition we have
proposed and the intellectual currents that underlie it; review the activities
in which we are involved; and raise various political and research questions
for exploration.

Those questions include:

- What is critical mathematics education in contrast to excellent, humanistic teaching, project-based curricula, and so on?
- What are OUR politics – the politics that underlie "the politics of mathematics education" that we are discussing?
- How do we work within our own organisations/conferences to change our internal power dynamics that result, for example, in the First International Conference on Mathematics Education and Society having 8 out of 8 white keynote speakers?
- What connections/collaborations/organizational structures do we want to build among MEAS, PDME (Political Dimensions of Mathematics Education), CmEG, TSGEm (International Study Group on Ethnomathematics), Humanistic Mathematics Network, etc? (And what relationships do we want with the larger mathematics education organizations, such as ATM, NCIM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, USA) AMESA (Association of Mathematics Educators of South Africa), etc.?)
- How can we connect critical mathematics education in the classroom and in the community with political struggles and, social movements for a just, equitable society?

__References__

- Cockburn, A. (1989)
‘

Freire, P. & Macedo,
D. (1987) **Literacy: Reading the Word and the World**, South Hadley,
MA: Bergin & Garvey