A Facebook friend, Steven Salaita, recently wrote a post about academe arguing that tenure-track professors are kidding themselves if they say they will become more radical once they get tenure. Given Steven’s vicious treatment by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, whatever he writes about higher education is worth reading. I agreed with his post, and I made a long reply. Here, I incorporate what I said into a more coherent commentary.
The first thing to understand about colleges and universities is that they are workplaces. And like all workplaces in capitalist societies, they are organized as hierarchies, with power radiating downward. From the Board of Trustees, to the top administrators, to the tenured faculty, to the tenure-stream faculty, to the vast mass of adjuncts and short-term contract faculty, to the administrative staff, clerical workers, custodians, groundskeepers, and cafeteria employees. Those at the top have as their central objective control over the enterprise, so that their power can be maintained, that revenues from tuition, grants, money from various levels of government, and the like keep flowing in, that the prestige of the college or university grows. And, of great importance, that those below them do not and cannot make trouble by challenging their authority.Read More »
A Historical-Materialist Inquiry into the ‘Human and Animal’
The title of the conference for which this article was originally written, “Defining the Human and Animal,” raises for me two problems that required its reformulation.1 The first problem pertains to the syntactically conjunctive “and” that serves semantically to separate the “human” from the “animal.” Notwithstanding what I would call “ultraconstructionist” claims, most succinctly summarized by Anthony Synnott’s insistence that “the body social [or cultural] negates the body physical,” the differentiation implied by the formulation, “defining the human and animal,” begs a not irrelevant biological question, namely: is not “the human,” Homo sapiens, also an inhabitant of the animal kingdom; are human beings not, to paraphrase Friedrich Nietzsche, “animal, all too animal”?2 Nietzsche would certainly have grasped the irony of Carl Linnaeus’s somewhat sardonic, if not wholly misanthropic, choice to give the epithet sapiens to the genus Homo. In what was clearly intended as an insult, Linnaeus set his fellows firmly in the animal kingdom by baptizing humans with the same epithet he attached to ape species, Simia sapiens.3Read More »
Review by Susan Darlington
Morning Star | 02 November, 2016
Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield
Staged to mark the 30th anniversary of the miners’ strike, COAL is a reworking of a piece originally conceived by Gary Clarke in 2009.
His decision to expand the dance theatre production is only partly warranted, as several sections would benefit from editing.
It opens with a confusing slice of domesticity that sits uncomfortably with live music from The Brighouse & Rastrick Band.
And a party that has a community cast handing out biscuits to the audience does little more than create a warm-hearted interlude that splinters the narrative.Read More »
By Peter Frost
Morning Star | 05 October, 2016
Eighty years ago this month the Jarrow March, also known as the Jarrow Crusade, arrived in London.
Around 200 men set off 80 years ago today on a 26-day march from Jarrow to London to protest against the unemployment and poverty suffered in the northeast Tyneside town.
Although it wasn’t the first or indeed the biggest protest march of unemployed people, it certainly caught the imagination of the nation.Read More »
By Farooque Chowdhury
Countercurrents.org | 01 May, 2016
Condition of labor in today’s world is not difficult to gauge. News on labor’s working and living condition is in abundance, which help comprehend the conditions within which labor survive in the present day world.
State of societies also gives a picture of labor’s condition. Afghanistan or Iraq, Libya or Syria, Greece or Ukraine, Egypt or Sudan, the UK or the USA is only a few examples. A number of societies have already experienced imperialist onslaught or financial and other crises related to capitalism or the so-called austerity measures, which brought devastation and death, eviction from home and unemployment, slashed real wage and anti-labor legislation. Everyday existence is the only question that life faces there in these societies. There’s little scope for labor to get mobilized, chalk out and raise demands, express opinion. A number of laws in a number of advanced capitalist societies virtually make unionization difficult, which is hard to identify at first and easy glance. In countries, unionization is falling. It requires serious search to get the fact from these societies. Modern slaves are now well-known fact in many modern economies.Read More »
Increasingly in Britain, with the mushrooming of warehousing, call centre and service industry work, the workplace has been turned into a virtual slave plantation, asserts JOHN GREEN
Morning Star | 31 December, 2015
When Britain’s last deep pit at Kellingley closed just before Christmas the men told journalists that what they would miss most would be the comradeship of their workmates. Without that, few would chose to work deep underground as a coal miner; the work is arduous, dangerous and unhealthy. What made it tolerable was the work atmosphere, the sense of belonging to a close-knit community, of solidarity and friendship.
Read More »