[Marxism] Ward Churchill case

Louis R Godena louisgodena at ids.net
Mon Jul 24 09:55:03 MDT 2006

Well, turnabout is fair play.  I'm not a professor, yet went on to give 
tenure short shrift.  Mark is not a craftsman (well, he is in one sense, but 
not in the vein in which we are now speaking), but goes on to say so and so 
about craft unionism.   Much of what he says is true, but most of it is not. 
There is no "tenure" among 95% of unionized craftsmen.   The employer simply 
will not pay those kinds of wages to people who are not worth their salt. 
Nor are there paid holidays.   Nor paid vacations.   Nor monies to attend 
far away seminars or professional conventions.   Union officials get often 
generous travel allotments, etc., but this far beyond the reach of the 
rank-and-file.  In short, you are paid for the time you are on the job 
producing for the employer.   That's it.

Nor is there longevity, which is really the crux of tenure.   People are for 
the most part rewarded for showing up for so many years, becoming 
politically connected, and going along with whatever the senior professors 
and the administration deem proper.   On the other hand, I know many, many 
skilled sheetrockers, foundation men, millwrights, framers, and finish 
carpenters who, upon reaching the age when the tenured were contemplating 
retirement, were summarily laid off with the phone call to the business 
agent saying "I can't use this guy; he can't hang eighty sheets of rock a 
day anymore.  Send me someone else."   That's it.  There's no "reward" for 
twenty, thirty, or fifty years of service.   In effect: You're too old.  Get 
the fuck out.   That's the fate of 95% of "labor aristocrats" in the trades. 
Now, no one is arguing (at least, I'm not) that that is right, especially 
under capitalism.   But, then, neither is the tenure system as it is 
currently constituted.

Louis G

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Mark Lause" <MLause at cinci.rr.com>
To: "'Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition'" 
<marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Sent: Monday, July 24, 2006 11:07 AM
Subject: RE: [Marxism] Ward Churchill case

> Yes, the tenure system is regularly and mercilessly abused, as are the
> privileges of craft unionism.
> In both cases, it's a question of whether the society needs and respects 
> the
> skills/crafts or not.  If it does, it's willing to reward the long years 
> of
> study and the prolonged underpaid apprenticeship.  People who don't get 
> the
> privileges become understandably resentful.
> Also as with craft unionism, the jobs are politically awarded.  This is 
> part
> of what makes these areas relatively conservative.
> So, too, as with craft unionism, employers are repeatedly trying to wear
> down the quality of the product they are pretending to sell and trying to
> find ways to deliver less trained and more shoddy services by people who 
> get
> lower pay, but whose work is sold by the employer for ever higher prices.
> At this stage, the abolition of the privileges will be no gain for the
> working class generally.

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