Marxism and academia
Louis N Proyect
lnp3 at columbia.edu
Mon Aug 15 14:25:39 MDT 1994
If the professors who contribute to this list deliver lectures to
working-class students that have the same character as their posts to
this list, no wonder the student movement has been in decline for decades.
Student activism seems to be on the upswing to some extent. But I doubt
if the anti-nuclear, Central America solidarity or gay activists on campus
of recent years have been aroused to action on account of a lecture on
Sraffa or Althusser.
I get the strong sense that most of you are exchanging ideas with
your colleagues to help you better contend with your more mainstream
counterparts on campus. I happen to use listservs for tips and
hints on tuning databases--there's nothing wrong with using
the Internet for career development. I just wouldn't confuse it
with the class-struggle.
The discussion you are engaged in is typical of academic conferences and
you are entitled to pursue it to your heart's content. Just don't try to
con someone like myself who has been involved with revolutionary politics
for 3 decades into believing that you have been engaged in the same
project as Karl Marx's.
I also seriously doubt that a consistent Marxist would be able to make
much of a career in the university. Someone who is as much of a
political activist as Karl Marx was might decide to emulate Benedict
Spinoza who, to maintain his independence, chose to grind lenses for a
living rather than take a chair at Heidelberg.
On Mon, 15 Aug 1994, Philip Goldstein wrote:
> Nearly fifty percent of American youth attend some form of higher
> education. That fact makes so-called academic Marxism far from a purely
> academic matter. The right-wing attacks radical academics for political
> academics and the left-wing, for ignoring the workingclass even though
> workingclass kids go colleges and universities in much greater numbers
> than ever before.
> Philip Goldstein
> Associate Professor of English and Philosophy
> University of Delaware (Parallel)
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