Notes on storming the ivory tower

Over at Lawyers, Guns, and Money, D has a post up about the new CBA for Profs at the University of Alaska. In it and in the comments are a few despairing remarks about the prospects for organizing in academia. I have my own thoughts on the subject, but it was striking that I came across the following passage in an email having to do with the Andrea Smith tenure case immediately after reading D's post. It's from a short essay Andrea Smith wrote called, "Social-Justice Activism in the Academic Industrial Complex."
Academics give one of several excuses as to why they cannot engage in collective engagement, all of which are indicative of the extent to which academics become unconsciously (or consciously) loyal to the current capitalist system. Academics will often say, for instance, that they are "too busy" to do activist work. The reality, however, is that everyone is "too busy" for organizing. If we were to build mass movements around those who are not busy, we would have three people to do the work. So, the assumption behind this excuse is that academics should have some kind of special dispensation from activist work. But why should academics be any less responsible for taking part in activist work than florists, garbage collectors, or beekeepers? The assumption that academics should have some special dispensation suggests an investment in social elitism that would hold academics in a special category from other workers of the world. |Andrea Smith|

Incidentally, you should sign the Grant Andrea Smith Tenure Petition.

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