Category Archives: ALFS presentation

On academic freedom

This study explores the history of academic freedom in America through the focus of three interpretive models–the Gentleman Scientist Model, the Liberty Model, and the Professional Model–to show how the concept evolved over the past century. It examines violations of academic freedom, AAUP statements, and debates about the meaning of academic freedom to show how it remains a contested concept. It concludes that by studying the origins and changes in the idea of academic freedom in America, current controversies can be better understood.

That is a dissertation abstract, and the dissertation is fascinating.

During the Great War, the AAUP decided the concept of academic freedom did not apply, and condemned rather than support the many faculty dismissed for their antiwar beliefs. The Nation was appalled.

The Nation magazine criticized the AAUP report as “a serious disappointment” arguing that “By rejecting this principle, the committee, for the period of the war, hands over the keys of the castle to the enemy…” and “jeopards the very conception of a university” (“The Professors in Battle Array,” 1918). The Nation argued, “surely the university, as the home of freedom, should not go out of its way to impose on its members, in addition to these, other restrictions that are not laid on other members of the community” (“The Professors in Battle Array,” 1918).

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Quoi faire

Well, for one thing, if we are to have a state-wide organizing campaign I think it should be about tuition and its relationship to state disinvestment in higher education. Here is why.

State disinvestment is the inciting incident for this phenomenon. We can and should be critical of some of the institutional responses to that disinvestment, but this is the central problem. That disinvestment has led schools astray from their putative mission.

In the words of executive vice chancellor and provost of Cal-Berkeley, Carol Christ, “Colleges and universities are fundamentally in the business of enrolling students for tuition dollars.”If this is how institutions are required to operate, the current problems of access and affordability will only continue to get worse.

And, if I get the Kindle Paper White, here is what I will put on it:

– the Mayhew books on Lorca: but no, there is only one on the Kindle
– Artaud, Les Tarahumaras: but no, they do not have this on the Kindle

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L’université, la lutte

Giroux on Facebook today:

Fascist regimes wage a war against societies with strong social bonds and in doing so turn people against all notions of the public good, compassion, the government, working people, and the mesh of democratically inspired social relations. Instead of dignity, collective rights, social provisions, and a celebration of the public imagination, we get cruelty, the breaking of social obligations, and the breakdown of the social fabric.

There is this article on the impossibility of critique but it does not talk about high tuition as something one could and should contest.

I have been trying to come up with an issue to organize around and tuition seems to me to the most obvious.

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Diferenciando

Remember our football players, saying rude things about a political candidate in the locker room when they did not know they could be heard? That is what I would call free speech in the first place, and youthful high jinks at worst. Yet they did not get away with it, and it is possible some could have been 17. The new Supreme Court Justice, however, is not destined for a pleasant afterlife.

And here is the slightly overwrought, yet convincing article on how capitalism necessarily implodes into fascism AND causes eco-disaster, which in turn becomes a final solution and is thus welcomed and encouraged, even though that seems illogical and even suicidal on its face.

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On the corporatization

…and adjunctification.

Part-time faculty and academic values.
Patrick O’Donnell’s bibliography (very comprehensive, with many important-sounding titles I did not know of or am not familiar enough with).

KEY is that the institutions are not OK (note how the Wall Street Journal has endorsed torture supporter and Amazon Basin destroyer Bolsonaro for President of Brazil, for instance, calling him a “swamp drainer“).

Then, there is this piece on climate change and fascism, which has basically convinced me one must be a committed socialist. What interests me in particular is what it says about the workings of ideology. Emphasis is added here, and I believe I have seen another version of the piece. The author, in that version, goes on to say that eco-disaster is courted and desired because it is a “final solution” — the world is rid of those climate disasters drove to migrate.

Noam Chomsky has said that the Republican “party is dedicated to racing as rapidly as possible to destruction of organized human life. There is no historical precedent for such a stand,” with modern fascism directly correlated to the increasing chaos of climate change itself. Roy Scranton in We’re Doomed. Now What? writes that as the “gap between the future we’re entering and the future we once imagined grows ever wider, nihilism takes root in the shadow of our fear…. [Y]ou can see it in the pull to nationalism, sectarianism, war, and racial hatred. We see it in the election of Donald Trump.”

What must be reckoned with is how this situation was directly engendered by industrial capitalism, and in particular by the partisans of its most extreme ideological manifestations of libertarianism and neoliberalism who have provided cover for policies that have enflamed the crisis. Past centuries were circumscribed by their worldviews . . . but while our adherence to the market is as all-encompassing as a Babylonian’s loyalty to Marduk, it is only our dark religion which actually threatens Armageddon.

Unfettered, unregulated, capricious, vampiric capitalism has brought us to the brink, and the mass inability to comprehend this fact evidences how ingrained said ideology is. Our blinders are such that human tragedy that is attributable directly to our economic system is often naturalized as simply being “The way that things are,” thus precluding even the possibility of different ways of arranging our world. Deathdue to differing ideologies is always interpreted as conscious and preventable, but capitalist tragedy is simply understood as how life operates.

While admitting that capitalism provided for unprecedented class mobility and technological innovation, an honest consideration of its death toll in any hypothetical Black Book of Capitalism would have to include not just the obvious fatalities of those who died in industrial accidents . . . but indeed the victims of colonialism, the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and of fascismo corporativo, which is simply capitalism driven to its horrifying end.

Invisibility of such atrocities through normalization is a species of what the philosopher Louis Althusser termed “interpellation,” that is to say that we’re all molded subjects of the ideology that governs our world so that we mostly hold uncritical assumptions about capitalism’s normativity. Writer William T. Vollmann addresses future generations in his new tome on climate change Carbon Ideologies, explaining that “We all lived for money, and that is what we died for.” As 2040 approaches our ignorance is a form of collective suicide.

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Podem-me prender, and so on

Here are 45 pages on Trump’s tax fraud case in New York.

Meanwhile, I am trying to work on my much more mundane activism cases. I have these notes:

The AAUP, if it goes into a “death spiral,” will not do so for lack of money but because people leading it do not admit how far things have gotten, how far gone everything is.

Message development for organizing and recruiting: AAUP core principles are key to a free university, free inquiry, and a democratic society.

“Adjunct” is not an ontological category, but a political one.

The question is, are we for a critical university?

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Price

The new competitive online price will enable more students to access our first-rate faculty and curricula. It’s the same great product, just at a far better price,” … said.

The University’s … degree and any future specially priced programs are exceptions to the rate reduction and will continue to operate under a package-price structure.

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