[Marxism] Working Class Studies/Working Class Academics

Mark Lause MLause at cinci.rr.com
Sun Nov 6 18:47:27 MST 2005


Michael Hoover wrote, "One reason working-class studies exists is to
increase attention to the working class in the academy -- as a subject
for serious study but also as a legitimate position from which to
speak."

This implies something for which we have no evidence and the very
existence of which I question.  The only "legitimate position from which
to speak" which the adoption of African-American Studies or Women's
Studies has really established is that of academe.  Regardless of the
intentions of the individuals involved, universities and colleges
institutionally enter into these areas of study to establish a
proprietary claim over them.

My experience--and those of my colleagues--has been that an area like
Women's Studies actually expropriate and mimic the language of a women's
movement--talk of "activism," etc.--but it does so in order to redefine
"women's" concerns as a consciousness and activism in which middle class
suburban white Republican women can participate just as readily as
lesbian separatists. 

This not only happens with African-American, Women's or Workingclass
Studies, but Marxism itself.  Indeed, the last meeting of "Marxists" in
the academy I attended involved a horrific bit of navel contemplation
about the cultural uses of commercialized public spaces that simply
ignored the class differences that always inform the extent and quality
of popular presence in such places.  Indeed, not a jot of this "Marxist"
analysis applied to workingclass people nor even proposed to do so.  

People on the Left must not buy into these assumptions about
institutions of higher learning.  Yes, you can go there and get things
done as individuals and you will find some like-minded persons there.  

But the institutions will NEVER treat the beast of serious social
criticism as intellectually valid...unless it is part of domesticating,
milking and butchering it.

Solidarity!
Mark L.








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