[Marxism] The professional turn in higher education

Joseph Catron jncatron at gmail.com
Fri Sep 2 12:38:06 MDT 2011

On Fri, Sep 2, 2011 at 5:14 PM, Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com> wrote:

The organizing of graduate students at NYU is a cautionary tale of how
> quickly the State appears when labor begins to organize. As the drive gets
> underway, the University quickly turns to the juridical apparatus (and legal
> expense) to challenge whether graduate students have the right to be
> recognized as workers. It is the eye of the State that grants our labor its
> status, and an employer can ask the night watchman to look the other way.

Which is the opposite of my understanding of the GSOC saga. NYU refused to
bargain a new contract in when the existing one expired in 2005, after the
NLRB's Brown University decision in 2004. But it was GSOC that had
approached the NLRB, ultimately won recognition through it, and relied on it
for its continued recognition. If there's a lesson to be learned, it
pertains to labor's reliance on "the eye of the State," not capital's.
Unions win victories to which the NLRA doesn't entitle them all the time -
any SEIU campaign that exacts "voluntary recognition" for security guards,
for example, or the epic boycotts by the UFW and FLOC. "The night watchman"
is really only relevant when both parties agree to rely on him.

"Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen

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