On Academe and the list was Re: NACLA and Colombia

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at SPAMosu.edu
Tue Dec 19 14:05:41 MST 2000

Hi Lou Paulsen:

I'm having an e-mail problem (I can receive messages all right but my
SMTP server has been "congested," so I can only sporadically send
messages), so my reply is belated, but here goes.

>How about me?  I'm sort of an academic.  I recently did my first peer review
>for the Sociological Quarterly.  I'm a "self-hating academic" though ;-)

I see many "self-hating" academics, here and elsewhere, on or
offline.  I wonder what is the source of the peculiar kind of "self
hatred" from which Marxist intellectuals seem to suffer often,
especially in the English-speaking world.

That said, I think that "self hatred" is counter-productive.  Why
should the working-class become attracted to a political &
intellectual current full of "self hatred"?  "Self hatred" seems to
me to be a sign of "self destruction," so to speak, tending to foster
sectarianism through which one takes out one's "self hatred" upon
one's fellow leftist intellectuals.

>Yoshie is right that there is no "academic class" but you have to admit that
>a lot of academics haven't caught on to this fact.  False consciousness

Yes, but this problem is not at all confined to academics, though I
wish that it were the case.  It's a form of "professionalism" as an
ideology that George Snedeker mentioned in one of his posts.  The
problem of Max Weber's "calling" redux!  You find the same problem
among lawyers, artists, engineers, medical doctors, social workers,
computer programmers, administrative workers, teachers in general
(not just higher-ed teachers), and so on, and so forth.

>My experience with the "Marxist section" of the American Sociological
>Association is that there is an almost complete disjunction between them and
>the socialist parties, unlike anything you would find in Europe.

I don't know if the situation is any better in Europe, but if what
you say is correct, the reason may be the existence of socialist &
communist parties that have had mass bases & even some footholds in
local and/or national electoral politics in Europe.  Socialist
"parties" in the USA come nowhere close to their European or even
Japanese counterparts, to say nothing of their Third World


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