[Marxism] Jim Craven responds to Hari Kumar

Louis Proyect 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 
normally undertake.

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.

Jim Craven

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."
Josef Stalin

Employer has no association with private/protected opinion



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