[lbo-talk] posh as fuck

Jordan Carroll jordanscarroll at gmail.com
Tue Dec 6 14:06:50 PST 2011

"[WS:] True, academic workers are to the left of the US mainstream. But to borrow from the repertoire of the more radical wing of this forum, this means that the role of academia is akin to that of the Democrat Party: to attract people with a subversive potential and then defuse this potential. Instead of being in the 'real world' organizing, these folk sit in their academic offices, fart into chairs, and fancy themselves of being radicals by speaking in tongues of the pomo newspeak. What is bad for the goose is bad for the gander, no?"

Is that really true? Many of my graduate student friends are involved in activism and virtually all of them attend demonstrations on a regular basis. Most of the professors in my department show up, too, and several have spoken about their political work outside of the university. I'm not saying that there aren't "armchair radicals," but I have met more active leftists in academia than anywhere else. Again, there's a lot of work to be done on universities but, at least in the humanities and social sciences, they are in many ways better for promoting left politics than the average workplace.

And I would say that leftist engagement also has a strong correlation with departments that engage in "pomo newspeak." The student movement here is led primarily by students and professors in history, sociology, English, and comp lit. Meanwhile, departments in disciplines that pride themselves on clarity and immediate practical application have pushed hard to keep Chancellor Katehi and cops on campus.


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