Category Archives: Movement

Action alert!

Here’s an action alert: write The Nation and complain about their faux-lefty piece. The Arnautoff murals are not there to “remind black people of oppression.” They are there as a critique of the canonization of George Washington and yes, they remind one that this progenitor of American liberty held slaves. They don’t have any of the really gruesome scenes, like pulling their teeth out so he could use them in his own dentures, which he also did.

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Kropotkin and more.

I really should have spent all the time I wasted reading Marxist and other Left theory, simply for the sake of mental health — although it would have been good intellectual exercise as well, and a good political education. Here’s an article on Kropotkin, mutual aid and anarchism that is worth reading. Here is a good book-length study of Kropotkin, and here is a key paragraph from it.

I bought the biography of Victor Arnautoff, although I should not buy non-essential books. And my essay on the language of neoliberalism will start, I believe, by pointing to Kezar’s observations (which are also mine), including the fact that we do not seem to know where we are. And one of the reasons we do not is language.

(I want to come alive again, that is, I seem to be coming alive again after decades of sleepwalking and rare flashes of light.)

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M. D. Y.

I stole this from someone’s page that seems to be public, but I am not sure, which is why I do not identify the author except by initials. It is too good not to share.

Did the New Deal, so nostalgically cited by our democratic socialist intelligentsia today, break the power of these capitalists, who sat at the pinnacle of the economy and the politics that helped enable their wanton accumulation of capital? Did the social democracy of the post-WW2 “golden age” do so (of course, new capitalists came to be and shared power with the old money and supplanted it in a few cases)? Did the social democracy of Europe and Scandinavia, far, far more developed than in the US, break the power of the great houses of wealth there? Did it even end the influence of Nazis in West Germany? Did the power of the working class last long enough to permanently countervail that of its class enemy? Is the world today at all comparable to that of the heyday of social democracy? Is there any longer a socialist world large enough to strike fear into the heart of capital, one that could force concessions in favor of workers in the social democracies and even the United States?

Is Bernie Sanders, the hope of the fanatics at Jacobin magazine and in an important faction of the DSA, even one-tenth the politician FDR was, or even LBJ? In a global world, hasn’t the power of capital multiplied and become almost immune to the weak-tea socialism of Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez, et. al.? And most of all, is not the ecological crisis facing us so great and so daunting, that only something far more radical than a Green New Deal has any chance of coping with it? And if the power of capital is global to an unprecedented degree, how will anything but a global movement, led by workers and peasants in the Global South, have any hope of ending capitalism and birthing a full-blown eco-socialism, built upon a foundation of agro-ecology and substantive democracy and equality?

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El futuro

“Great comparison to the Elsevier model. Also, LSU-BR now has outrageous targets for online enrollment: 5,000 students. If we think of the twenty or so other campuses that have their own targets and if we take a very conservative number of, say, 1,500 per campus, we end up with 30,000 online students. This raises two points. The first is that such numbers would constitute another major campus, indeed one bigger than LSU in Baton Rouge. That would be a major institution that is operating in a variety of unregulated spaces. The second point is that, in my judgment, such projections have something Malthusian about them. I doubt that the population and the market in Louisiana can even remotely sustain them. When we consider that every other state in the nation is doing the same thing, we quickly conclude that the online thing is a bubble.  Or, more likely, a kind of propaganda tool by which administrators try to look with-it and active even when the numbers won’t support that impression.”

“Think the Elsevier model as opposed to publishing? Good grief!” 

“LSU-S has perhaps the largest MBA program in the USA, 3000 students. It was covered in the Washington Post recently. In my opinion, Academic Partnerships, their recruiter, has created a diploma mill. It has NOT led to prosperity at LSU-S. Beware of Academic Partnerships.”

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An argument I will not have again

1/ All institutions need more tenure track hires. That doesn’t mean everyone has to emphasize research to the exclusion of everything else; it means everyone deserves to be on some form of tenure track.

2/ If you have your NTT people on FTE, with benefits, pensions, offices, telephones, and representation in shared governance, that is good (and forsooth, you should have accomplished it by now), but it is not enough.

3/ If you are one of those people who says, “Gosh! We should really start saying hello to our NTT people in the halls, it is so rude of us to ignore them, as we do!” you were clearly very poorly brought up, what can I say. But don’t start greeting them and congratulate yourself for having taken important political action. When you start greeting them, all you will have done is take a small step toward minimal politeness.

4/ Don’t think you’re going to be able to run a program, or a quality program if you relinquish all your TT lines. Realize as well that you may not be attractive enough to move to unless you can offer the TT; and that even if you are, many others are not.

5/ People who say there is no difference between the M.A. and the Ph.D., and that an NTT job with perks is good enough, are neither serious nor sincere. They are just trying to get away with continuing to overburden and underemploy, while representing themselves as heroic champions of the downtrodden.

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Read and quake

According to the College Board, the published tuition and fees of private, nonprofit colleges and universities increased between 2007-8 and 2017-18 at an average rate of 2.4 percent. Given the growth in wealth during that period of the top 1 percent of earners, plus the shifting of financial aid away from the most needy and toward “merit scholarships” for the affluent, it is likely that college for the highest earners is actually less expensive in real terms today than it was a decade ago. The same cannot be said for the majority of the population.

Quoted from here.

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Network of concerned academics

An antidote to the professor watch list.

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