[Marxism] Jim Craven responds to Hari Kumar
lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Apr 14 12:14:54 MDT 2005
on the Hudson v Craven et al case Hari Kumar wrote:
It is difficult from afar to see anything other than personal vendettas
playing themselves out.
Response Jim C: Precisely. When one sees a situation "from afar", not
knowing all the facts and nuances of a case, then all sorts of inferences
and conclusions are possible. That is sometimes what is wrong with some of
the lists: all sorts of people, with a lot of time available to hit the ol
keyboards, making summary judgements and passing on matters about which
they know little or nothing--"from afar."
There is no doubt in my mind that some of the "raw meat" that is fed to the
right-wing that they use for attempt to silence and remove the left from
academia is provided by elements of the nominal left itself. Academic
Freedom, for example, does not give anyone--nor should it--the "freedom" to
be technically incompetent in a given discipline (by that I mean, for
example, teaching concepts and constructs--that one has chosen to teach--
and giving patently incorrect information), or, to structure courses around
one's own narrow and narcissistic personal/academic interests and just
ignore what I do not feel like covering; nor does it give me the "freedom"
to set up class exercises that, by their nature, are not all-inclusive for
all members of a class. Academic freedom does not give adjuncts the
"freedom" to waltz in to a department and simply ignore what others in that
department are doing, caring nothing about one course being a foundation
for another, focusing only on one's own narcissism and need for a stage and
what one "feels like" teaching for one's own "personal" gratification.
Academic freedom does not allow one to treat different students differently
in terms of basic course and final grade assessments or assessment
instruments. Academic freedom does not allow one to use students as pawns
or objects or props for the narcissism, megalomania or politcal/personal
agenda of a teacher; nor does it allow teachers to use their powers to
force students into potentially dangerous situations or into publicly
demonstrating for/or being associated with positions they would not
Indeed I was at the WTO demonstration in Seattle over several days (not
just for a few hours) and indeed I saw some of my own students there; the
difference was, I did not use my class or my students or my powers as a
teacher to coerce some into positions or situations associated more with my
own political proclivities or interests; in fact, I taught my classes, told
my students about the demonstration and then drove back and forth between
Seattle andVancouver to meet my teaching responsibilities for which I--like
Hudson--were being paid. Could I for example, make "church attendance" at
"my church" a gradeable class exercise for the whole class or even for
those who "choose" to attend with me? Could I hold classes in a bar thus
discriminating against those under-age? This is not about "freedom of
speech" or even "freedom of association" except for those who do not know
the real facts/background associated with the case and/or have some kind of
absolutist--and very narcissistic--notions of what forms and levels of
"academic freedom" do or should exist even under socialism.
There is a whole lot going on in bourgeois academia that is pure fraud:
boring and meaningless courses put-on/constructed more for the
research/personal interests/cv-notching of the academics than for the real
needs and interests of students; arbitrary, capricious and highly
subjective instruments and standards of assessment; grad students used as
pawns/serfs/cheap labor for faculty upward mobility; research work that is
nothing but spinoffs of previous spinoffs of previous meaningless and
esoteric "research"; teaching regarded as some kind of interlude between
publish-or-perish, the faculty club and the next sabbatical; teaching done
by TAs not always qualified to be teaching at the levels at which they are
teaching (to free the profs for the "really important" stuff of academia);
summary pronouncements and conclusions based on superficial and
ideologically-driven cherry-picking, data mining, contrived syllogisms,
source mining etc "from afar" and with no immediate or comprehensive praxis
or contact with the objects./issues of "analysis."
These and other conditions in bourgeois academia do not go on just with the
right-wingers; some on the nominal left can be just as narcissistic,
megalomaniacal, contemptuous of students and their own needs/rights,
self-indulgent and even outrightly incompetent--even in terms of their own
cherry-picked stuff that they propose/purport to teach.
James M. Craven
Blackfoot Name: Omahkohkiaayo-i'poyi
Professor/Consultant,Economics;Business Division Chair
Clark College, 1800 E. McLoughlin Blvd.
Vancouver, WA. USA 98663
Tel: (360) 992-2283; Fax: (360) 992-2863
"The people who cast the votes decide nothing.
The people who count the votes decide everything."
Employer has no association with private/protected opinion
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