Hostility to professors

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at columbia.edu
Mon Nov 27 08:21:49 MST 1995


On 27 Nov 1995, Chris, London wrote:

> Dearest Louis,
>
> I have a problem about your hostility to professors,
> and IMO the list has a problem because we need good
> links with the most progressive sections of the academic
> world.
>

Louis: My idea of a professor worthy of respect is someone like Paul
Cockshott. He tries to relate his ideas as an academic with real life
struggles. He also writes in such a way so that his ideas are
understandable by everybody.

My problem with leftists in academia has nothing to do with my
obstreperousness. It is a political question that has been diagnosed
quite neatly by the estimable Ellen Meiksins Wood in the 1995 Socialist
Register:

"The university itself now also offered a particularly attractive
bourgeois career. The expansion of the university meant, after all, not
just a growth in student numbers but new job opportunities for its
graduates, an explosion of university teachers which was to last just
long enough for veterans of the sixties to become the lecturers of
later decades. Those theoretical currents that in the sixties had
celebrated ideological struggle, cultural revolution and the
world-historic agency of intellectuals and students were bound to hold
special attraction for many in this social layer. The expansion of this
academic bourgeoisie may also have tended to magnify out of all
proportion the importance of intellectual fashions which, while looming
very large in the eyes of academics, left the rest of the world untouched
(a tendency more pronounced today than ever). At any rate, whether or not
these currents represented the best, or even the most important, tendency
in sixties radicalism, they were like to be the most intellectually--or
academically--long-lasting. They were certainly the most flattering to
intellectual pretensions, the most conducive to academic productity and
the least susceptible to the vagaries of history and material constraints."


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