[lbo-talk] Just Wait Until I Get Tenure

Michael Yates MIKEDJYATES at msn.com
Tue Apr 4 11:17:05 PDT 2017

An essay for all the profs out there.


"The first thing to understand about colleges and universities is that they are workplaces<https://monthlyreview.org/2000/01/01/us-versus-them/>. 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<http://cheapmotelsandahotplate.org/2012/10/02/us-versus-them-laboring-in-the-academic-factory>.

To hide the harsh reality, schools will spend considerable sums to maintain the fiction that their primary goal is to ensure that they are places where critical teaching and faculty research are paramount. Of course, some critical teaching and research do occur, but both are subservient to the main objective of control. Colleges and universities are not neutral entities but part and parcel of the reproduction of capitalist society, and in the end their structures guarantee that they operate accordingly. In fact, as David Noble has convincingly demonstrated<https://monthlyreview.org/2002/03/01/technology-and-the-commodification-of-higher-education/>, our institutions of higher learning have themselves become important sites of capital accumulation."

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