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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