Today The Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA) recommends critical race theory resources and publicly denounces Rudolf Steiner. Waldorf leadership is threatening a parents dream of a Waldorf education that will fully develop their child's unique capacities by encouraging a harmful learning environment of divisive neo-racist ideology.
The materialistic worldview of the Woke Revolution denies the spirit and is undermining our shared values. Many anthroposophists have compromised their dignity and integrity by saying the right things while most others remain silent. Nothing will change unless people stand up and put a stop to the insanity. Yet a few remain who have the courage to defend Steiner and Anthroposophy from the activists attempting to hijack Steiner inspired innitiatives. This page is dedicated to them.
Waldorf Pedagogical Section Council of North America
Elan Leibner with Douglas Gerwin
Former Executive Director of Biodynamic Association
Waldorf Education Author, Consultant, Teacher Training
Author of Evolution, Race and the Search for Global Ethics: Transforming the Criticism of Anthroposophy and Waldorf Education
Waldorf videos by founder of philosophyoffreedom.com
Diversity and the Symphony of Human Hearts
By Elan Leibner, with Douglas Gerwin
Full article in the Research Bulletin, Research Institute for Waldorf Education here:
Elan Leibner and Douglas Gerwin are members of the Waldorf Pedagogical Section Council of North America. They are long-serving Waldorf teachers and adult educators, as well as authors and editors of articles and books on a range of anthroposophical subjects related to Waldorf education and the study of anthroposophy.
Anthroposophical Perspective Of Critical Race Theory In Waldorf Education
For over a year now, we have been engaged as a society in an examination of deep-seated social inequities as we struggle to find ways to redress four and more centuries of injustice. This widespread debate about racism, diversity, equity, and the need to secure basic human rights for all constituents in our society is often couched in terms of the basic tenets of Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Intersectionality. These principles are deeply rooted in the philosophical soil of postmodernism, which also gave rise to other relatively recent disciplines such as Postcolonialism, Queer Theory, Gender Studies, and other forms of contemporary discourse.
In this essay we aim to introduce into this discussion a few anthroposophical ideas (The Evolution of Consciousness and Karma) that offer another possible perspective in this debate. We suggest these ideas as a way of broadening the terms of the discussion to include elements otherwise omitted or simply denied a voice.
Critical Race Theory Has Lost Faith In The Liberal Democratic Project
By their own statements, postmodernist thinkers (such as Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault) and their philosophical offshoots, such as adherents of Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality, have lost faith in this project altogether. For them the ideals and principles of this outlook are simply social constructs that serve as power structures of a ruling elite. The activism that grew out of their work challenges the standard logic of formed discourse––hypotheses supported by evidence––since these are taken to be tools of oppression. Hence air horns can be used to drown out public lectures of opponents on college campuses, for example. From their viewpoint, to engage with those of opposing views is a fruitless exercise since it entails negotiating with oppressors (or their Uncle Toms) on their oppressive terms.
Individual Agency Is More Important Then Group Identity
A spiritually-based approach to karmic circumstances will not deny or ignore or dismiss the veils of gender, race, etc., but neither will it fixate on them. What matters is the persons’ gifts and challenges rather than the veils they wear. Individual agency is more important than group identity. Every time we see ourselves and our fellow human beings clearly, veil-less-ly, in their Self-identity, we accomplish a spiritual deed; every time we see ourselves or another person as primarily a veil identity, we remain blind to Self and bound to self.
Martin Luther King, Jr., exhorted us to see his children for the “content of their character rather than the color of their skin.” This is how we will “hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope” and “transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.”
Our goal must be to transcend veils altogether while still recognizing the harm caused by seeing and treating persons solely in accordance with their perceived veils.
The Child Needs Good Teachers, Not Necessarily Teachers Who Look Like Them
In recent conversations, Waldorf alumni of color have reported to us that they did not see themselves reflected in the curriculum and in the schools they attended: there were no heroes and heroines of color, and the faculty was mostly of European descent. The former observation, especially, raises an urgent criticism of the Waldorf curriculum and must be remedied. The latter observation may prove to be of less central concern: a child needs good teachers, not necessarily teachers who look like the child.
Restricting Classical Literature From The Curriculum Is Worrisome
It is very worrisome to us if broad swaths of classic literature, for example, are stricken from the curriculum. Classic texts from Homer to Shakespeare to Twain and even Dr. Seuss have been eliminated in schools for failing to abide by contemporary values or terminology. An education devoid of certain classics limits students in innumerable ways, not least by leaving them ignorant of the banned material and the ways in which it still resonates within their culture. Why would we be so afraid to read demanding and even problematic texts with students?
Minority Students Do Not Have Different Needs
It is the teacher’s task to reach every student and to sense what every student needs. In this sense, it is too simplistic to say that marginalized communities produce different kinds of people. As a teacher, one has to figure out how to help all students reach their individual potential. Some students need mild encouragement, some need to be challenged competitively, some need an intellectual stimulation, some humor, and some need artistic entryways before they can relate to abstractions. There is nothing, as far as we know, that makes individuals of any minority background different in this fundamental sense. Look at the student; try to see the student; love the student; now teach.
Hyper-Vigilant Surveillance Of Adults For Imagined Offenses Destroys Trust
The most difficult aspect of school life when it is subjected to hyper-vigilant surveillance of one adult by another is that one either feels left out of the inner circle, excluded from the centers of decision making because of some veil quality, or fearful that one’s every word will be measured against some yardstick of potential offensiveness. The inability to develop trust in collegial relationships is the sad consequence of this kind of surveillance, a trust that can otherwise grow among colleagues who hold a basic faith in the goodness of one another and a sense that they are on a common journey. When one has to be on guard all the time lest one say, do, or even somehow cause someone to imagine that one may have said or done something wrong or offensive, so much energy is spent remaining vigilant that trust grows very slowly – if at all.
Conversation Rather Than Adherence To A Single Point Of View
In conversation, a mode of discourse different from argument or even debate, both sides seek to see more light, find more truth, move beyond the “two-ness” of their starting points in search of new insight that transcends their own positions. If we could learn to have conversations, rather than stake positions and demand adherence to a single point of view, the common journey will build the intimate trust mentioned earlier.
Racial Color Blindness Is The Ultimate Goal
How about we set ourselves a task not to see Racism and Anti-Racism, for example, as the only options, but seek instead individual and collective encounters that unite us around a common goal of activating love as a potential and a force within our communities?
Racial color blindness and disability blindness are impossible at the physical or material level––indeed they are a sign of mindless unconsciousness––and yet they constitute the ultimate goal of a truly human circle. If we accept that the human being is at its core a spiritual being, we need to practice seeing in that way –– in other words, practice seeing with the heart: artistically, compassionately, warmly.
Robert is the former Executive Director of, and current Strategic Advisor to, the Biodynamic Association and former Executive Director of Practical Farmers of Iowa. He is the founder and director of New Spirit Farmland Partnerships and the Monarch Farms Project.
Anthroposophy Is Not In Need Of An Outside Social Justice Impulse - It Is Already A Social Impulse In And Of Itself
"We do not understand biodynamic agriculture, as well as Waldorf education, anthroposophical medicine, and all the other diverse offshoots of anthroposophy, correctly if we think of them simply as “applications” of spiritual science to different vocations. This is an abstraction. In reality, these movements are the result of powerful forces of social conscience living in different individuals and groups of people in the early 20th century, which then received from Rudolf Steiner and spiritual science a certain direction, a certain form through which their social impulses were channeled and further cultivated."
"What I hope to have made clear so far is that biodynamics is not an agricultural impulse derived from the teachings of spiritual science; it is rather, a powerful social impulse working in the domain of agriculture that has united itself with the spiritual substance of anthroposophy."
"Biodynamics is thus not something that needs to be wedded to, or have grafted onto it, any type of social impulse, movement, or worldview from outside—it is a social impulse in and of itself—with an inexhaustible wellspring of inspiration for social deeds. The same can be said of all the different so-called “daughter movements” of anthroposophy."
Anthroposophy Movements Are Distorted By Adopting Social Justice Thought And Strategies Without the Illumination And Guidance Of Anthroposophy
"To grow the biodynamic movement in a healthy way, it is therefore necessary for two different things to take place: first, that it is refreshed, again and again, by new people flowing into it with their unique social impulses and perspectives; and second, that these social impulses are continually wedded to and illuminated by the social and spiritual substance of anthroposophy; just as took place for the founders of the movement."
The biodynamic movement can thus be distorted in two different ways:
1. It can close itself off to the fresh social impulses of succeeding generations...
2. It can welcome new people and fresh social impulses, but neglect the process of uniting these social impulses with, and illuminating them through, the substance of anthroposophy; instead adopting and grafting onto itself all kinds of perspectives, narratives, and agenda from movements outside itself. We could call this the grafting tendency.
"...in the grafting tendency, we find a courageous will to engage with the people, needs, and questions of the present time, and we need to recognize and honor the importance of this gesture for the health of our movement. The problem arises when these needs and questions lead to an impatient grabbing hold of thought forms and strategies from all manner of outside movements, whether or not these movements are actually aligned with the inner substance of anthroposophy."
"The tragedy of the latter tendency is that the right questions are asked, but they are not brought into relationship with the being of anthroposophy for illumination and guidance.
What has been missing, I would suggest, in the biodynamic movement, through the working of these two tendencies, is an individualized approach or response to the questions of social justice drawn from the profound social and spiritual heart of biodynamics and anthroposophy.
"For these relationships between movements to be healthy, however—just as in our personal human relationships—each movement needs to be deeply grounded in their own unique identity, purpose, and trajectory, as well as in a growing understanding of the other. True collaboration, in other words, has nothing to do with grafting or merging with one another."
Biodynamics and Social Justice: An Awakening Call
Author: Robert Karp
writings, request full article, excerpts PDF
The Social Justice Movement Makes The Problems They Seek To Change Worse
"I am seeking to strike a very delicate balance in this essay. On the one hand, I am affirming the need for profound social transformation of American and Western societies, but I am also suggesting that the narrative and strategies currently holding sway in the social justice movement, are incapable of bringing about the needed transformation. This installment, then, has two fundamental goals:
a) to begin to lay the ground for a new narrative, a new understanding of and approach to social justice that is drawn from the deep wellsprings of anthroposophical spiritual science, and
b) to explain why the highly influential narratives and strategies currently permeating the social justice movement are not only inadequate to the task, but are actually making the problems they are seeking to change worse."
These two tasks are intimately connected, in my mind, because to birth a new narrative and approach to social justice, I believe we need to understand, at a deep level, why the current narrative, and many of the strategies born of this narrative, simply will not bring about the changes in social life that each of us longs for so deeply."
The Waldorf Experience Rejuvenates The Various Cultures Of The World
"The fact that Waldorf schools can provide a good education for their children is only a very small part of this picture. The overriding reason is that the people who start these schools have come to experience how the riches of their own culture find a home and a new, universal form of expression, through Waldorf education. You could say, they experience the Waldorf impulse as a kind of grail chalice into which the fruits of their culture can be poured and which undergo a kind of rejuvenation through their union with the Waldorf impulse, which in turn allows these individuals to bring fresh, transformative impulses into their local communities. In this process, I would suggest, they do not feel they are uniting the fruits of their culture with something European per se, but rather with something universal, that helps draw out the best of their own cultural legacy.
Likewise, when we look to the incredible growth of biodynamic agriculture in India, we find that this has not been the result of a bunch of greedy, missionary-minded, white, anthroposophists imposing their ideas, practices and financial schemes onto Indian farmers and Indian culture. This has, indeed, been the way, the methodology, of the western, biotech industry. The growth of biodynamics in India, however, has arisen entirely out of the spirit of genuine love and friendship, initially, between Peter Proctor, a white man, and various Indian farmers, scientists and agriculture professionals—crosscultural friendships which continue to grow and ramify to this day. And what has arisen through these friendships is not the replication of the biodynamic farming models of Europe, but rather the rejuvenation, the strengthening and re-enlivening, of traditional Indian agriculture, which, of course, came into being under the guidance of the great initiates of Indian culture in long past ages."
Suggesting That Anthroposophy, Waldorf curriculum, Or Biodynamic Agriculture Are Tainted By White Supremacy Is An Error Of Imponderable Proportions
"The spirit of anthroposophy, in other words, is one of pure service to other people, cultures, religions, traditions, and movements. Anthroposophy, as a modern mystery stream that has come to terms with the strong, Ahrimanic influences of modern culture, contains a force that has the unique capacity to strengthen and enliven all people and cultures with whom it comes into genuine dialogue, genuine friendship. To suggest, as some have begun to do, that anthroposophy, or the Waldorf curriculum, or biodynamic agriculture, or any other of the so-called daughter movements, are somehow tainted by European or American traditions of white supremacy is an error of almost imponderable proportions.
The truth is that all races, cultures and civilizations have given birth to fruits of universal significance, fruits that entirely transcend the influence of the double of those cultures. If this were not the case, the earth temples of the different cultures would be found empty at the time of their opening—there would be no healing wisdom able to stream forth from them. Anthroposophy, likewise, though midwifed into being by European culture, is universal in significance and scope, and is not tainted in the least with the colonial, missionary, white supremacist traditions of the European or American past. In fact, it carries within itself the power to heal and transform those very tendencies."
Eugene has been a Waldorf educator for nearly five decades. As an author, mentor, and consultant, he has shared his class teaching experiences with teachers and parents at over 125 schools worldwide. He is director of the Online Conferences for Grades 1-8 and continues to work with schools and teachers.
How Much Does AWSNA Believe In What They Say?
"Not long after teachers struggled to find their way with distance learning, AWSNA deftly swept those concerns under the rug and announced that Anti-Racism was the new Burning Issue."
"Whatever one’s stance on the Internet as a Waldorf modality, the most important question is: How could AWSNA and its affiliated schools hold the evil nature of the Internet to be a sacred truth, only to instantly turn around and say the opposite? And not apologize for all the confusion they have caused! And what is the next "evil" that the Waldorf leadership will tell us is really "good”? This begs the question of how much we Waldorf practitioners believe in what we are saying and how fully we are willing to act on it. Every idea that does not become an Ideal slays a force in our soul," Steiner once said, and we must wonder if the same gap between what we say and what we do is permeating the Waldorf classroom, much as it has the Waldorf Boardroom and AWSNA headquarters."
Do The Anthroposophical Foundations Of Waldorf Education Really Matter To AWSNA?
History would indicate that there will be no discussion or reflection concerning how the momentous decision to take Waldorf online was made, whether the coercive methods used to activate that decision were justified, and, above all, how much the anthroposophical foundations of Waldorf education really matter anymore. In the absence of angels, the Waldorf leadership seeks inspiration from its lawyers.
AWSNA And Its Member Schools Are Widening The Division Between Waldorf Education And Anthroposophy
"Perhaps the real "heroes" in this sorry tale are the teachers who had the courage to reject distance learning, risking their own financial security to teach their classes in someone’s home. Some of these efforts have led to small and vibrant "community" schools, many of which try to take Steiner’s educational principles to heart. AWSNA and its member schools are quietly widening the division between Waldorf education and Anthroposophy."
An AWSNA Executive Director Denounces Rudolf Steiner And Describes Him As Misguided
"When the call to “denounce” Steiner appeared on the AWSNA website member schools were encouraged to follow suit. In a 2020 online interview, an ASWNA Executive Director supported the Association’s denunciation of Steiner’s “racist” statements and described him as “misguided.”
The Future Of True Waldorf May Be Unaffiliated Community Schools
"With this as a background, the formation of unaffiliated community schools may provide an urgently needed foundation for the genuine renewal of Steiner’s educational impulse. If the compelled distance learning of 'Waldorf 2.0' represents the nadir of Waldorf education in our time, the teachers and parents of the Waldorf Diaspora may be the ones sowing the seeds of the Michaelic schools of the future."
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