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

sandy rankin srankin12 at gmail.com
Thu Jul 17 20:03:38 MDT 2008

Ahem. Marx had Engels for financial support.

On Thu, Jul 17, 2008 at 5:11 PM, Ruthless Critic of All that Exists <
ok.president+marxml at gmail.com <ok.president%2Bmarxml at gmail.com>> wrote:

> 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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