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georgestapleton
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Oct 9 2011 15:02

I'm not an academic I am a PhD student so I know a bit about how this works in economics and political science. I don't know how it works in social psychology but I doubt it is all that different. (The journals Dr J is publishing like 'Social Movements' are journals that I might publish in.) So I think I have some grasp on what is normal in Dr J's field. I don't know who Juan's friend is but I really don't think this is normal academic practice.

To clarify, it is not unusual to have your name on an article you have little to do with. This can happen in a number of ways, for example if there is statisical analysis often the statistician will be put down as a coauthor even if the work they did took them three hours while it took the other authors three weeks. Or sometimes if someone's work is being supervised (like in a PhD-supervisor way) then the supervisor sometimes insists on getting credited as a coauthor. This happens a lot but it is an exploitative relationship that is generally considered a bad thing to do despite the fact that a hell of a lot of people do it.

But this:

Quote:
For example, one academic puts out a paper on A. Then a second academic puts out a paper on B, but uses A as a significant basis for B. That second academic puts the first academic's name as co-author, even though they had no part in that work other that their paper on A was used as a major part of the research for paper on B.

I've never even heard of this happening. (Imagine the number of articles Marx, Foucault, Rawls, Nozick, Lucas, Prescott, Skocpol etc. would have written over the last 30 years if this was the case.) Maybe things are totally different in physics or something, but I doubt it. But as I say above Dr J's field is not very far from my own so I'd be surprised if things were that different over there.

petey
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Oct 9 2011 15:55
jesuithitsquad wrote:
Is it your experience then that this is not the case?

yes, it is my experience that that is not the case, but again i'm only very familiar with humanities. in my area most work is done individually, so questions like this don't too often arise. in the cases i know of people collaborating, they worked together closely and produced stuff they agreed on (i did this once). if you need to base your claims extensively on someone else's work, you discuss that work at sufficient length and give credit, but that other writer is never listed as a co-author.

in the natural sciences there can be lots of co-authors on an article, but i'd still be surprised if any of them did not work on the actual contents of the article.

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Tojiah
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Oct 9 2011 16:15

If anything in the sciences the more junior you are, the less likely you are to be credited on work you have not devoted your own time to. Supervisors, heads of lab, heads of department, maybe, and then usually in experimental science. But the process described by Juan would result in citation or thanks, not in co-authorship.

bootsy
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Oct 9 2011 19:27
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Sure, bootsy, we do draw the line in the sand somewhere. I completely agree, but in order to draw the line it does help to know how a particular workplace is organized and what are some of the institutional pressures etc. Seems like few people have an appreciation of what the pressure to publish or perish might lead to. Or how university admin is constantly trying to turn academics into managers of students (and TAs) rather than leaving them to be teachers and researchers.

Like I said:

Quote:
I read over this thread, I read over the response from Aufheben and the comments from JK in response to me, and I can't help but getting the feeling that the underlying assumption here is that revolutionaries should be flexible with their principals in order to accommodate the careers of academics. Nah, that's backwards. If an academic career if going to compromise our movement then the responsibility falls on the academic to reconsider their choice of career.

Yours is exactly the kind of attitude which could, hypothetically speaking, lead to an academic giving a talk on crowd control to a room full of cops and then dismissing it as 'just part of the job'. Well let me be clear, I do not personally believe that academics should be treated any differently to non-academics simply due to the nature of their job. If that is the kind of thing you job could entail then find a new job or find a new movement.

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Oct 9 2011 19:38

As an academic, I would refuse to do what J has done. I would just be uncomfortable doing it. But you seem to want to single out academics rather than treating them as non-academics. There are plenty of people forced to do jobs that would be obejctionable to the movement; e.g. working in munitions factories, heck even people working in the software industry could help develop tools to surveil or de-skill workers. Where indeed do we draw the line? I not inclined to condemn people for the jobs they have (apart from the obvious stuff like cops, but even then in certain countries (like Egypt) I wouldn't condemn all cops), after all it's not like it's free to choose how to survive.

Quote:
If that is the kind of thing you job could entail then find a new job or find a new movement.

Easier said than done.

bootsy
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Oct 9 2011 19:44

Fair enough Khawaga maybe I stated that a bit strongly. But it seems that many of the rebuttals in this thread, and in the Aufheben response, involve something along the lines of 'that's how things work in academia'. If that is the case then it does leave me with some serious misgivings about revolutionaries working in academia.

piter
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Oct 10 2011 06:34
Quote:
But it seems that many of the rebuttals in this thread, and in the Aufheben response, involve something along the lines of 'that's how things work in academia'. If that is the case then it does leave me with some serious misgivings about revolutionaries working in academia.

I don't know really well Aufheben and I absolutely don't know J, so I'm not in position to judge anybody, but what strikes me is how embarassed/embarassing and ambiguous Aufeben answer to TPTG, and some posts on this thread, looks.

isn't research about crowd control in itself quite an ambiguous thing?

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Joseph Kay
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Oct 10 2011 13:22
bootsy wrote:
I read over the response from Aufheben and the comments from JK in response to me, and I can't help but getting the feeling that the underlying assumption here is that revolutionaries should be flexible with their principals in order to accommodate the careers of academics.

Categorically i am not saying that, and nor are Aufheben. If there was any truth to the allegations then it would be right to do something about it. TPTG's route of sitting on the information for 9 months then launching a public polemic would still be the wrong way to go about it though. My "underlying assumption" is that revolutionaries should have the basic principles and solidarity not to immediately assume extremely serious accusations against comrades are true until proven otherwise. If we ever pose a serious threat to the state this is exactly the technique they will use to get revolutionaries murdering one another, and it only works because people don't apply basic principles of justice: presumption of innocence, examining evidence before rushing to judgement, wading in with their own hearsay, speculation and prejudices etc.

lurdan wrote:
You've used the words snitchjacketing three times in this thread alone - do TPTG accuse of being a police informant ? No they don't.

They label him a police collaborator and state that he has clearly taken sides in pacifying the class struggle. Then they end with a vague threat about sociologists 'gaining access to the milieu'. They explicitly claim J consciously and deliberately collaborates with police repression. Snitchjacketing is the practice of falsely presenting someone as collaborating with the state in order to turn their comrades against them. This is a textbook example, with ducking stool logic in full swing. It only works because so many people are willing to believe scandalous distortions over banal truths.

lurdan wrote:
JD would not be the first radical academic

I'm fairly certain J doesn't see himself as a radical academic, i.e. contributing to social change as an academic. indeed the response states clearly: "we cannot contribute to the communist movement by using ‘enlightened’ expert advice to alter policing methods, or through any other such mediations, but rather through imposing ourselves collectively." But this is another good example of people bringing their own idiosyncratic embellishments and peeves to the party. All aboard the bandwagon...

piter wrote:
ambiguous Aufeben answer

Out of interest, what is ambiguous about categorically rejecting the 'Policing' paper and the liberal reformist project it reflects three times, twice in bold?

Khawaga wrote:
would refuse to do what J has done. I would just be uncomfortable doing it.

What J is alleged to have done, I presume?

georgestapleton wrote:
Ok he didn't write it, fine but then he is lying and can't get annoyed at people for believing his lies.

The only relevant point here is that TPTG knew J didn't write and totally rejects the paper, but ignored this information in order to publicly label him a police collaborator. It's nice you're labelling him a liar too though. As you've been told, repeatedly, his name was added by the authors as a 'favour' because they drew on his ESIM research. This is not a "lie", and indeed is common practice. The fact you claim never to have encountered this in your field is neither here nor there. It's gossip and hearsay.

The most worrying thing about this whole episode is the haste with which people are willing to accept allegations at face value and then proceed on the basis of guilty until proven otherwise (and then dismiss any rebuttal as 'denial', 'defensiveness', etc). This is precisely why throwing shit works, and why people will continue to throw shit.

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ocelot
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Oct 10 2011 14:29
Joseph Kay wrote:
piter wrote:
ambiguous Aufeben answer

Out of interest, what is ambiguous about categorically rejecting the 'Policing' paper and the liberal reformist project it reflects three times, twice in bold?

What is ambiguous is that the Aufheben response not only notes that J rejects the 2009 HMIC report (N.B. His contribution to a second HMIC report, in the wake of G20, has been mentioned above, this is not simply the problem of citation by only one Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary report), and that he now considers allowing his name to go on it to be a mistake, but it also says things like:

Quote:
The supposed dangerousness of the liberal reformists
[...]
But it is simply wrong and confused to say that this equates with ‘support’ for the use of force; it is precisely because the two colleagues do support ‘anti-capitalist demonstrators and football fans[*]’ that they seek to reduce police violence, arrests and jail sentences
[...]
TPTG suggest that the ideas in the ‘Policing’ paper have helped in tactics of repression. [...] The research on which the paper is based shows that policing perceived by crowd members as illegitimate and indiscriminate brings them together against the police; the premise, therefore, is those situations where people are not already united against the police. The research and ideas don’t explain how the police’s actions can create difference in a crowd where it didn’t exist previously.
[...]
The ‘Policing’ paper cited by TPTG only aims to “hinder … crowd members’ unification” by arguing against brute force repression. But it is simplistic to understand by this that there is a straightforward relation between repression and the development of struggles, in the same way that there is no simple relation between ‘facilitative’ policing and the falling back of struggles. There are too many mediations.
[...]
In short, TPTG are simply wrong to state that the ‘Policing’ paper[...] help[s] the cops practically with ‘correct repression’.

Which to the untutored mind looks suspiciously like an attempt to have one's cake and eat it. Not only is it unfair to associate J's work with that of his colleagues, but that his colleague's [Stott and Reicher] work is itself, no big deal. This point I do disagree with - and can do so without having any opinion on the specifics of J's actions, about which I have no specific knowledge.

* There seems to be some consensus, perhaps minoritarian, on this site that the politics of the "compulsory non-violence" of the M15, Occupy Wall St, etc, is politically dangerous or even hostile to the re-composition of a strong antagonist class subject. The work of Stott and Reicher is clearly just the academic and institutional arm of the same process - i.e. the protection of legitimate (i.e. preaceful and compliant) anti-capitalist demonstrators and football fans by improving police tactics to isolate "the troublemakers". IMHO there would be extreme cognitive dissonance in suggesting that compulsory pacifism is problematic for the development of social movements and, at the same time, that the work of Stott and Reicher is not. Speaking as an occasional anti-capitalist and football fan, I need "support" like Stott & Reicher's like I need a hole in the head.

Blasto
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Oct 11 2011 00:58

*edit to 2nd para*

Quote:
The only relevant point here is that TPTG knew J didn't write and totally rejects the paper, but ignored this information in order to publicly label him a police collaborator. It's nice you're labelling him a liar too though. As you've been told, repeatedly, his name was added by the authors as a 'favour' because they drew on his ESIM research.

You say this over and over, and I have no reason to doubt that this is what you believe. But I refer again to a press release by the University of Sussex (J's name redacted):

Quote:
Police forces dealing with public protests need to change their crowd control tactics if they are to avoid the violent confrontations witnessed at the G20 summit in London earlier this year, says a new report by a University of Sussex psychologist.
As the Copenhagen climate change summit gets under way this week, police around Europe are preparing their response to mass demonstrations, protests and possible violence.
But they shouldn’t rely on old methods according to University of Sussex psychologist [name] and his fellow researchers.
Leading crowd behaviour experts [name], Dr Clifford Stott (Liverpool) and Professor Steve Reicher (St Andrews) were consulted by the HMIC (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary) review into the death of Ian Tomlinson at the G20 protests in London....
....[name], a social psychologist at the University of Sussex, commented, “Our recommendations form part of a new agenda for the mass democratisation of crowd management. We have designed interventions based on our approach and have shown that they work."

Now that may be some kind of stitch up or something, but J is being directly quoted as saying he has designed policing 'interventions'.
I genuinely 'get' that you feel the open letter is out of order, that J has been treated outrageously, etc. And you are being very strident in your attempts protect him. But for the rest of us, we are faced with an enormous discrepancy between what you and Aufheben are saying and what J is saying himself. So rather than having a go at people for pointing this out, it would perhaps be better for J to explain what the score really is.

Quote:
I'm fairly certain J doesn't see himself as a radical academic

It's a very stodgy text, but if you wade through you will see that J makes quite a point of being a researcher that is accepted within the movement as a radical. From this text I think it is fair to say that there is not a separation between J's academic life and his life as a 'radical'. This is J writing about himself, describing some previous academic research techniques. As the text describes in detail, this was research conducted by J involving a protest movement in direct conflict with the police. The text is too long and dreary to quote in full, but this gives a flavour:

Quote:
It was precisely because [name] was known personally to the anti-roads participants as "one of that campaign" that people were willing to cooperate with him in these ways.
Collaborative practice in psychology and therapy, page 235, Carla Willing and [name].
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Khawaga
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Oct 10 2011 15:17
JK wrote:
What J is alleged to have done, I presume?

Not referring to this episode, but to deal with police period. I would just feel uncomfortable doing anything related to the police. That's not a value judgement on the research or J's conduct.

piter
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Oct 10 2011 17:14
Quote:
piter wrote:

ambiguous Aufeben answer

Joseph Kay wrote :
Out of interest, what is ambiguous about categorically rejecting the 'Policing' paper and the liberal reformist project it reflects three times, twice in bold?

was not talking about this paper.
and the way Aufheben in their answer reject liberal reformist project is indeed ambiguous.

this for ex. from Aufheben answer to TPTG is very silly :

"Giving the cops the ‘insight’ that their own (‘illegitimate and indiscriminate’) behaviour can contribute to crowd conflict is not at all the same thing as giving them the ability to undermine our struggles. In the first place, there are obvious limits to the extent to which the cops can take on board and act upon this knowledge. For one thing, due to their social location, the police are in a sense right to fear ‘the crowd’ (and therefore ‘rational’ to resist the overtures of the liberal reformers, as many of them do): at the end of the day, the state is threatened by crowds of angry proletarians and reacts accordingly. They will therefore still tend to act ‘against the crowd’ on occasions, even when given the ‘insight’ that beliefs about crowd dangerousness can be a self-fulfilling prophesy.

The ‘Policing’ paper cited by TPTG only aims to “hinder … crowd members’ unification” by arguing against brute force repression. But it is simplistic to understand by this that there is a straightforward relation between repression and the development of struggles, in the same way that there is no simple relation between ‘facilitative’ policing and the falling back of struggles. There are too many mediations. Experiences of police ‘illegitimacy’, rather than spurring people on, can actually be ‘disempowering’. There is not much use being anti-police if you can’t do anything about it. On the other hand, struggles can sometimes take off when policing is experienced as soft or ‘fair’. For example, the UK student movement was boosted by events at Millbank in 2010, when police held back. The crowd event remained buoyant but did not escalate; but the movement itself did escalate through that event.

In short, TPTG are simply wrong to state that the ‘Policing’ paper, and by extension J, help the cops practically with ‘correct repression’. Ultimately, the police are forced into repressive strategies by proletarian militancy regardless of such ‘insights’, and in any case the relationship between soft/hard policing and advance/retreat of struggle is highly mediated and contingent on numerous factors."

not very convincing and highly questionnable to say the least...

and the part saying, more or less : "oh, he just advise managers from various state services (including cops ) how to handle crowd, how not to lose their "legitimacy" so there is no problem ..." is also embarassing for them...

and anyway for what use can be "crowd psychology" if not for the state or for wannabe leaders?

I don't question J's good intentions, but i seem to me that his research itself (not only what he do or don't with it) is ambiguous and questionnable from an anti-authoritarian point of view

whatisinevidence
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Oct 10 2011 21:10

If an anarchist with politics not favorable to the Libcom group was denounced in this way, they would not respond in the way that they did. If, for example, members of the Libcom group spoke at policing conferences, how would they ask other communist groups treat that information?

Part of the ridiculous defense of Aufheben comes from the fact that many of the defenders are themselves academics. Their defense is empathy; they can picture themselves, perhaps, doing the same things for the careers. That so many so-called communists are academics is troubling, yes?

If people have known about J.D.'s activities for so long (ten years?!) and not said anything publicly, those people should be held to account. If the Aufheben group was aware and said nothing, they should be held to account.

Cheers to TPTG for speaking up and not going along with the polite silence around the horrible practices of "radical" academics (a silence upheld by academics and other middle class professionals who control the main capital [websites, publications, etc] of the pro-revolutionary milieu and know something about class solidarity).

whatisinevidence
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Oct 10 2011 21:14
piter wrote:
I don't question J's good intentions, but i seem to me that his research itself (not only what he do or don't with it) is ambiguous and questionnable from an anti-authoritarian point of view

This is so tepid. There is nothing ambiguous or questionable about J.D.'s work; it is awful and unforgivable.

tastybrain
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Oct 10 2011 21:48
whatisinevidence wrote:
If an anarchist with politics not favorable to the Libcom group was denounced in this way, they would not respond in the way that they did. If, for example, members of the Libcom group spoke at policing conferences, how would they ask other communist groups treat that information?

Part of the ridiculous defense of Aufheben comes from the fact that many of the defenders are themselves academics. Their defense is empathy; they can picture themselves, perhaps, doing the same things for the careers. That so many so-called communists are academics is troubling, yes?

If people have known about J.D.'s activities for so long (ten years?!) and not said anything publicly, those people should be held to account. If the Aufheben group was aware and said nothing, they should be held to account.

Cheers to TPTG for speaking up and not going along with the polite silence around the horrible practices of "radical" academics (a silence upheld by academics and other middle class professionals who control the main capital [websites, publications, etc] of the pro-revolutionary milieu and know something about class solidarity).

I am not defending this guy J. If what some people are saying is true, then he sounds like a big hypocrite. But I will withhold my opinion until I do further reading.

However, I think you are being a little sweeping in your condemnation of radical academics. I think some really respectable and dedicated comrades have been and are in academia. I agree that academics should not be given any more "leeway" to engage in counterrevolutionary activity than other comrades. However, neither should we go the other direction and automatically regard every radical academic as being compromised. To me, your post smacks of anti-intellectualism and implies that the only true revolutionaries are "working clarse" guys who wear overalls and are constantly greasy wink . It is possible for any radical, no matter what his or her profession, to engage in counter-revolutionary activity. In conclusion, academics shouldn't be given special leeway, but they shouldn't be seen as automatically being snitches or whatever either.

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Rob Ray
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Oct 10 2011 21:51
Quote:
That so many so-called communists are academics is troubling, yes?

Yes, damn that Kropotkin and his career in geography eh? And fuck professor of philosophy and history Mikhail Bakunin. Not to mention LSE Professor of Housing and Social Policy Colin Ward, what a bastard!

whatisinevidence
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Oct 10 2011 22:13
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To me, your post smacks of anti-intellectualism and implies that the only true revolutionaries are "working clarse" guys who wear overalls and are constantly greasy

This is so insulting. Do you think the only people capable of being intellectual are academics?

As for Kropotkin et al... yes, isn't it troubling that nearly every single noted communist in history had a bourgeois or aristocratic background? Not everyone, of course. That people from those backgrounds do what they are trained from birth to do - manage others, be entrepreneurs [starting bookshops, magazines, organizations, and so on], create ideas, etc - is not surprising, but I think it would be good if people would be more open and honest about how their backgrounds and current jobs shape them and their ideas.

I'm not sure how anyone can read the responses by the Libcom group and Aufheben and not get the feeling they are being lied to. One gets the idea they want this to just 'go away' and everyone to forget they heard about it. Well, sorry. That isn't going to happen.

tastybrain
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Oct 10 2011 22:49
whatisinevidence wrote:
Quote:
To me, your post smacks of anti-intellectualism and implies that the only true revolutionaries are "working clarse" guys who wear overalls and are constantly greasy

This is so insulting. Do you think the only people capable of being intellectual are academics?

No, of course not. Most people who condemn academics are also condemning "theory" and elevating "action" as the only positive practice. If this doesn't apply to you, than I apologize.

Your listing of "creating ideas" as being one of the horrible sins of "middle class academic" anarchists does nothing to dispel my impression of you as anti-intellectual, however. Also, how are you defining "academic"? Is it just professors or does it include lecturers, teachers, researchers, tutors, etc? Your straightforward identification of being an "academic" with being "middle class" is troubling to me. There are autoworkers who make more money than some types of "academics", for example.

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Oct 10 2011 23:10
whatisinevidence wrote:
If an anarchist with politics not favorable to the Libcom group was denounced in this way, they would not respond in the way that they did.

Just to quickly chime in, this is absolutely untrue. We've taken down smears in the past and we've removed mention of people's names in the past, even people we don't like (politically or personally)..

whatisinevidence wrote:
Part of the ridiculous defense of Aufheben comes from the fact that many of the defenders are themselves academics. Their defense is empathy; they can picture themselves, perhaps, doing the same things for the careers.

I don't get this bit as it doesn't sit with my experience of Aufheben.. from all the Aufheben people I met, J was the only academic (the others I met being unemployed afaik, though possibly wrong).. I get the feeling that the word "perhaps" in that last sentence is the most important as it seems to show that you're mostly putting this together from what you imagine to be the case rather than anything really solid..

Also, about Aufheben having some sort of 'class solidarity' with 'other' middle class academics.. I've always felt they were the opposite:

Aufheben wrote:
The academic, social worker, lawyer etc. may wish to attack capital but they characteristically do so by premising their resistance on the continued existence of their own role in a way unthinkable to the working class individual. Thus there are radical psychologists, radical philosophers, radical lawyers and so on,[26] but not radical bricklayers or radical roadsweepers! The latter are simply radical people who wish to escape their condition. By contrast, the former wish to engage in the struggle while at the same time retaining their middle class identities, including their specialized skills and roles. As such, their participation presupposes rather than fundamentally challenges the institutions and social relations that provide the basis of these identities.
whatisinevidence wrote:
I'm not sure how anyone can read the responses by the Libcom group and Aufheben and not get the feeling they are being lied to. One gets the idea they want this to just 'go away' and everyone to forget they heard about it. Well, sorry. That isn't going to happen.

Honestly I don't what to say here.. I don't know what to do about your 'feeling' that you're being lied to and I don't know where a conversation can go if people defending themselves or others are accused of being liars unless they say that J (and by extension Aufheben) is a cop collaborator.. maybe it would help if you could explain why you feel that you're being lied to?

As for wanting this to 'go away', well, yeah, there are other things I'd like to be getting on with tbh.. as much as I like both TPTG and Aufheben, a bun fight like this is really twatty in the midst of an economic crisis, especially as I still feel it all could have been resolved via email.

whatisinevidence
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Oct 11 2011 00:07

Pointing out that the founder of a well-known ultra-left communist publication in the UK (which isn't very well known generally, but we are dealing with a tiny subculture here) has a long professional career contributing to the theory of policing is not a 'bun fight'... nor can it be resolved via email (keeping it to private email would mean that knowledge of the affair would be restricted to those in the know, a situation obviously beneficial to J.D. but very unethical [and also untenable - somebody would spill the beans eventually]). It is an important question.

In your narrative, it is 'twatty' to bring up J.D.'s collaboration. I think the only twat here is J.D. - those making the situation public and provoking the conversation are doing something virtuous.

The paragraph that you quote from an Aufheben article doesn't mean anything. It is common practice for academics to critique academia (in fact, it is a necessary ritual for 'radical' professors), and anyway the article does not deal with the crucial question - that the author/editor of it is in fact part of what he is writing about. It is dishonest*. Now that the question has been posed in a practical way, their abstract critiques of academia dissolve into a classic defense of professional immunity. The statement from Aufheben does a lot more than pretend J.D. wasn't involved (their explanations about paper authorship approach Stalinoid absurdity); the statement actually defends the work of the professional colleagues J.D. supposedly doesn't actually work with. They can't even come out and defend their boy plainly ("yes, J.D. has been lecturing and writing for the police, but he is our friend and comrade so we don't care"), which would have been somewhat honorable and allowed everyone to part ways with them cleanly. Instead they go through the motions of trying to cover it up. Too late for that now.

*In the same way, many discussions here about education go on for a while before it comes out that those defending schools are, in fact, teachers...

tastybrain
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Oct 11 2011 00:13
whatisinevidence wrote:
It is common practice for academics to critique academia (in fact, it is a necessary ritual for 'radical' professors), and anyway the article does not deal with the crucial question - that the author/editor of it is in fact part of what he is writing about. It is dishonest*.

So it's dishonest to critique a system you are part of...kind of like workers critiquing wage labor.

whatisinevidence
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Oct 11 2011 00:18

From the Aufheben response:

Quote:
He stands by this research work [talked about at the "mass emergency talks" to police and others] as worthwhile and even humane.

...

it is simply wrong and confused to say that this equates with ‘support’ for the use of force; it is precisely because the two colleagues do support ‘anti-capitalist demonstrators and football fans’ that they seek to reduce police violence, arrests and jail sentences.

...

The research he does with his two colleagues, and the fact that his name is sometimes attached to publications by them that are used to put forward their liberal-reformist arguments, is politically irrelevant, rather than practically or ideologically damaging.

...

Giving the cops the ‘insight’ that their own (‘illegitimate and indiscriminate’) behaviour can contribute to crowd conflict is not at all the same thing as giving them the ability to undermine our struggles.

His name is sometimes attached to publications by them by no fault of his own and not because he helps write them. Does anyone really believe that? Giving cops insights into crowd conflict doesn't help them undermine struggles. Does anyone really believe that? He "stands by his research" but opposes what it's used for. What?

whatisinevidence
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Oct 11 2011 00:24
tastybrain wrote:
whatisinevidence wrote:
It is common practice for academics to critique academia (in fact, it is a necessary ritual for 'radical' professors), and anyway the article does not deal with the crucial question - that the author/editor of it is in fact part of what he is writing about. It is dishonest*.

So it's dishonest to critique a system you are part of...kind of like workers critiquing wage labor.

No, you misunderstand me.

It is dishonest to write about something without mentioning your involvement in it. If you write an article about how middle class professionals can't contribute to communist struggles because they're specialists/etc/etc, surely it makes sense to mention you are a professional researcher? If you're writing theoretical articles about anti-roads protests, surely it makes sense to mention you are lecturing about crowds to police conventions?

I am a cashier at a shitty grocery store. I am happy to mention that and use it as a point of reference for my critique of wage labor. It would be weird and dishonest, however, to write about grocery stores without mentioning working in one... right?

I understand why middle class professionals don't mention their jobs or class backgrounds when writing communist things. There is shame and guilt about it. Still, one has to ask people to get over that and write honestly about their situation.

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Devrim
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Oct 11 2011 00:29

Can I just ask for a clarification here? It might have been mentioned already, but I saw it said that the guy didn't write these papers. People have also said that it is common practice in academia for people to be credited as authors on papers that they didn't write.

Was this guy added as an author on these papers without his knowledge, his permission, or against his wishes, or did he agree to be added as an author?

Devrim

bootsy
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Oct 11 2011 01:24

Conducting research into crowd behaviour, research which of such value to the State that it is used as the basis for a paper on policing riots, is problematic. Best case scenario then is that this was totally out of his control, that his name was put on that paper without his knowledge and that he never intended for his research to be used in this manner. That is taking Aufheben's response to be the total truth.

That is still pretty bad.

I really don't think this is a minor spat between some obscure ultra lefts. It has pretty profound implications for the attitude our movement should take toward academics. It bothers me that the LibCom group are so unwilling to confront that.

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Oct 11 2011 01:32

I don't think we should be generalizing from the J case to academics in general* there bootsy. Crowd psychology is very different from Marxist political theory or some sort of history discipline for example. Perhaps a new thread should be made about that because it is interesting (where lines are drawn between active collaboration, state cooption, and disinterested scientific research).

*there also seems to be a hard time distinguishing J from Stott and Reicher in some sectors.

bootsy
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Oct 11 2011 01:37
Rob Ray wrote:
Quote:
That so many so-called communists are academics is troubling, yes?

Yes, damn that Kropotkin and his career in geography eh? And fuck professor of philosophy and history Mikhail Bakunin. Not to mention LSE Professor of Housing and Social Policy Colin Ward, what a bastard!

Living in the past may help you to cope with the contradictions of the present, but it won't do anything to change the reality which confronts us. This kind of snide comment does little justice the points being raised.

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Oct 11 2011 01:56
bootsy wrote:
It has pretty profound implications for the attitude our movement should take toward academics. It bothers me that the LibCom group are so unwilling to confront that.

It bother me that you are so willing to just condemn academics for being academics. What about condemning the janitor working for a prison, or the police? They clearly do much more for the state than some academic writing about ethics on Survivor.

tastybrain
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Oct 11 2011 02:04
whatisinevidence wrote:
tastybrain wrote:
whatisinevidence wrote:
It is common practice for academics to critique academia (in fact, it is a necessary ritual for 'radical' professors), and anyway the article does not deal with the crucial question - that the author/editor of it is in fact part of what he is writing about. It is dishonest*.

So it's dishonest to critique a system you are part of...kind of like workers critiquing wage labor.

No, you misunderstand me.

It is dishonest to write about something without mentioning your involvement in it. If you write an article about how middle class professionals can't contribute to communist struggles because they're specialists/etc/etc, surely it makes sense to mention you are a professional researcher? If you're writing theoretical articles about anti-roads protests, surely it makes sense to mention you are lecturing about crowds to police conventions?

I am a cashier at a shitty grocery store. I am happy to mention that and use it as a point of reference for my critique of wage labor. It would be weird and dishonest, however, to write about grocery stores without mentioning working in one... right?

I understand why middle class professionals don't mention their jobs or class backgrounds when writing communist things. There is shame and guilt about it. Still, one has to ask people to get over that and write honestly about their situation.

Ok fair enough. Mention your personal relationship to the topic being discussed. That seems like a solid thing to do.

Again, not having read all this stuff I am not taking a stand on the actual issue at hand. I will "own up" right now, however, to the fact that I am a student contemplating pursuing a career in academia, so take that as you will. So as not to derail the thread, I would invite you, whatisinevidence, to join me in the "higher education in Libcom" thread. It seems like you have some definite opinions on the matter and could make a contribution.

I for one don't see a problem with "academia" existing after the revolution, including people who research and teach as their primary activities, if:

a) The "professors" so not get any special privileges (same food, housing, consumption, etc as everyone else)
b) They do not have any coercive power over "students" (no grading, no passing or failing, no compulsion to take a class)
c) The option of becoming a "professor" is open to all
d) The academics share equally with everyone else in the "shit work", i.e. work no one wants to do as their primary activity.

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Oct 11 2011 02:18
tastybrain wrote:
whatisinevidence wrote:
It is common practice for academics to critique academia (in fact, it is a necessary ritual for 'radical' professors), and anyway the article does not deal with the crucial question - that the author/editor of it is in fact part of what he is writing about. It is dishonest*.

So it's dishonest to critique a system you are part of...kind of like workers critiquing wage labor.

Academics have a high degree of control over the work they choose to do. Most workers don't.