Being and consciousness in academe

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Sun Dec 17 12:24:44 MST 2000

George Snedeker:
>  I would also make the distinction between adjuncts, tenured assistant,
>associate and full professors. it also matters what kind of college we work
>at. Columbia is not SUNY/Old Westbury. there are ways of rebelling against
>our own alienation from species being, not to mention social alienation. our
>being in the world does produce our consciousness. these are also not the
>best of times to be a propagandist. the best we can do in the class room is
>to present alternative ways of thinking and information to students.

George, two things. Try to delete any text that is not immediately germane
to your reply. Since many subscribers live in 3rd world countries, any
efforts made to reduce unnecessary bandwidth and cut phone connection costs
would be appreciated.

On the substantive point, perhaps it is a mistake to think that one can be
an effective "propagandist" in a classroom. The most important benefit of
being a professor, from the standpoint of the revolutionary movement, is
the free time it gives you. This means that you are available for the mass
movement. I was always so impressed with Bart Myers when I was in CISPES in
the early 1980s. Here was a psychology professor from Brooklyn College
doing the same things as any other activist, like passing out flyers on the
weekend or participating in civil disobedience.

The other thing it allows you is proximity to students. Speaking for
myself, if I were a professor at a place like Columbia University, I would
expore ways to organize study groups on Capital, etc. While Lou Paulsen is
correct that course material is dictated to a degree by what the
adminstration demands, you are free to say what you want in your spare
time. For my money, Edward Said at Columbia, despite all his flawed
theorizing of Marx and orientalism, does more for the revolutionary
movement than all the "orthodox" Marxists in the faculty who do nothing
except publish in Science and Society, etc.

Louis Proyect
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