[Marxism] 'Tenured radical' tries to revive professors group

Ruthless Critic of All that Exists ok.president+marxml at gmail.com
Thu Jul 17 16:11:41 MDT 2008


On Thu, Jul 17, 2008 at 5:24 PM, Matt Wappett <mwappet at uidaho.edu> wrote:

> Absolutely Mark!  Having come from a long family heritage working in the
> coal mines and railroad factories in Durham County, I too feel
> tremendously privileged at the opportunity to take that heritage and
> bring it into the university classroom to put a human face on the
> oppression and economic injustices that have formed modern
> post-industrial social relations and my identity as a scholar in the
> Marxist tradition.  If I weren't employed by a university, then I
> wouldn't have the ability or support to do the research on social
> justice issues that I'm currently engaged in.  Similarly, if I wasn't
> employed by a university I probably wouldn't be in a position to help
> students recognize and remove the technocratic and neo-conservative
> fetters that they are unknowingly being saddled with in U.S. public
> schools.  I'd like to think that, at least in my classrooms, I'm giving
> students a safe forum to think and, hopefully, develop into the future
> vanguard...of course this creates tension, but if there isn't tension
> and debate then I'm not doing my job.

In my experience, many students are actually turned *off* by
activist-seeming professors. It creates a backlash in the student's
mind.  So when a marxist is a professor, he may end up doing more harm
than good. Remember, to a student you're an authority figure, and
people instinctively dislike authority figures and tend to dismiss
their ideas.

To Mark: It's great that you've written so many books. But I have to
ask: How does writing about  "revolutionary secret societies in the
mid-nineteenth century US" contribute to the class struggle today? How
does writing books which very few except other professors or grad
students will read, help the cause of socialism?

As I mentioned, Marx never taught in a university. C.L.R. James never
taught in a university. And James came from a blue-collar background
himself.

Look at all that James accomplished.

Louis Proyect never taught in a university. Yet, look at how many
people are being introduced to Marxism through his blog and this
mailing list he runs.

Mark, if you continued to work in a factory and started a
reading/study group with fellow workers, it is possible that you may
well have succeeded helping the cause of socialism much more than by
writing books (although I'm sure that your books are excellent).

RC




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