Those of Us Still Stuck with Academe

Dennis R Redmond dredmond at
Fri Mar 9 02:55:35 MST 2001

On Fri, 9 Mar 2001, Philip Ferguson wrote:

> In the course of the meeting with this other senior lecturer, the lecturer
> asked the student, in a rather hissy way, "Just what kind of marxist are
> you?  Are you a Lukacs/Colletti Marxist?"  When the student responded that
> he quite lked Lukacs, the lecturer hissed at him, "Lukacs is SHIT!"  and
> went to his bookshelf to get a book that apparently proved Lukacs was
> 'shit!'  Said student laughed and said goodbye to the lecturer and left the
> room.

My experience in the US is depressingly similar. It's like a Lost
Generation out there, you know, the phone is somehow off the hook with a
whole generation of academics. The only bright spot continues to be the
micropolitical movements, which remain lively, feisty and active on the
ground. But I'm beginning to think the pre-Seattle Left is a total
write-off. One avowed "Marxist" in the publishing biz accused me of being
a stuck-up bourgie pig because I wrote about Adorno. No critique, nothing
constructive, just a simple "I have symbolic capital and you don't".

> I am starting to become sympathetic to Mao turning the academics out of the
> universities and sending them to learn from the peasants!

Well, it's not any better in the real world. Universities have a harder
time throwing people out for being heretics -- in the biz world, we'd just
be fired, end of discussion -- so they've devised a correspondingly more
complex set of strategies for containing dissent. I still would like to
burn the system they way Bourdieu has, though -- turn the weapons of the
system against itself, etc. But I'm thinking seriously of dumping
academics altogether and working for a union somewhere.

-- Dennis

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