From Michael Yates (on academia)

Craven, Jim jcraven at clark.edu
Sun Nov 9 11:38:45 MST 2003




"Sometimes I think that the colleges should be closed for awhile and we
should all go into the countryside to work."

Didn't they try that in China during the Cultural Revolution? (Don't assume
I mention that to disparage Michael's idea.)

Response Jim C.
In all my classes (Microecon, Macroecon and Econ Geography) Michael's book
"Naming the System" is a required supplementary text. And Michael is coming
to lecture my classes on December 1st. The interesting thing is that not
one, I mean not one of my students has said something like "Will this be on
the tests?" or "Which part will be on the next test?" They all dove into the
book and read it cover to cover in the first week of class. And I have not
heard one complaint about the weltanschauung embodied in the book, the
issues discussed or his take on those issues. Indeed I have heard only
compliments on the readability, content, structure, reasoning and evidence.

Having said all of that, I do know what Michael--and Mark Lause--are talking
about and I too get my own "Willie Loman" moments all the time. For me, I
prefer to be back on the Rez but my own People prefer that I remain where I
am in my present position which is somewhat like what Hunan was for the
Chinese People's Army: a base area from which to operate and try to do
revolutionary work partly as atonement for all the fraud I am a part of in
academia.
And I do think it is true that in some of the left circles, what is passed
off as "revolutionary fervor" or indeed "revolutionary commitment" is often
nothing more than dogmatism, sectarianism and know-it-all-ism.

As for sending all academics to the countryside to do some serious physical
labor and get in touch with all those oppressed folks who are so often
commodified, objectified and cynically used in the "research" of the
etherial cv-notching academics, well I am all for it and would go too heart
condition and all.

Jim C.


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