On Academe and the list was Re: NACLA and Colombia
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Sat Dec 16 22:08:06 MST 2000
Gary MacLennan wrote:
> >I trust Michael will forgive me if I point out what I think is something of
> an inconsistency in this post. At one level he defends the academy then on
> the other hand he admits there are very few radical educators out there.
> Michael also points out that things are tough at the academy. Sure things
> are not as cushy as they once were. But out there in the real world things
> are *very* tough. We academics are still relatively privileged.
> However the issue I wish to deal with primarily is the status of academics
> on this list. To listen to Michael and Yoshie and Carroll (!) one would
> think that academics were an endangered species on Marxism at lists. Rubbish I
> To begin with I am happier as an academic here than on most of the other
> lists I have been or am on. Granted Lou runs a different kind of list from
> that which many academics may be comfortable with. His emphasis is on
> political activism.
> I do not think however he is an academic basher, and Michael is quite wrong
> to say so. And please do not do what Doug Henwood did and send me a bunch
> of quotes from what Lou has said on other lists. I am not interested in
> what goes on elsewhere. The whole point is how we behave on this list.
> >Actually I am much more critical of academics than Lou is. Michael
> polemically caricatures Lou's position as the following:
> "that halls of academe are crawling with sell-outs with cushy jobs who
> have no political agenda other than to turn young minds in pomo
> >If Michael ever visits Brisbane I will take a great deal of pleasure in
> introducing him to quite a number of former leftists who fit this
> description exactly. You only have to knock on a few doors at Griffith
> University! We could also take a trip down to Sydney and we would be
> falling over them.
> >It is my experience (in Australia at least) that the former beautiful
> people of the 60s have set the tone for academic life. In my own field the
> contributions of Hirst, & Bennett & co has produced a new generation of
> bright young pragmatists. Instead of fighting out the good fight and
> holding on, Bennett and the others led the counter revolution. There is no
> other word to use than "sell out".
> >In my own university I am now the last academic who describes themselves as
> a Marxist. Once there were nearly 20 of us. The point I make is that most
> of the others are still teaching. They have however to use the jargon
> "reconstructed" themselves. Moreover they are training a generation of
> post graduates who cling desperately to the slogan "whatever it takes".
> >There is simply no forum to take this phenomenon on and so when I
> tune into this list I feel I am among comrades and would like Michael and
> others to recognise that a lot more. He thinks he hears an anti-academic
> record at work. I on the other hand think I detect the voice of the
> precious pretentious in his own complaints. Lou won't bow the knee to
> academics, but as a Marxist I neither want nor expect him to.
Gary thanks for this excellent post! I so much share with you.
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Department of Political Science
SUNY at Albany
Nelson A. Rockefeller College
135 Western Ave.; Milne 102
Albany, NY 12222
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