Pro-revolutionaries in academia

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Nate's picture
Nate
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Nov 23 2011 19:53
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its the person who points out the collaboration with the police that is stupid and unprincipled? Your world seems a little upside-down.

No. It's the person who deliberately and publicly misrepresents something as police collaboration (as part of a silly point scoring move in a game that's about as important as online chess and probably a lot less fun) that is stupid and unprincipled. Your world seems a little retarded. Probably because of your essentially middle class function.

lines
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Nov 23 2011 20:32

My deleted post was indeed a criticism of Nate and his methods here and elsewhere. It is funny that my post was deleted when it contained no swearing and was fairly temperate. If you look elsewhere on Libcom you will find that Steven and Khawaga have called me 'a complete mental'... but they don't see this is a personal attack. Never mind, it's a funny old world, and I, for one, get a lot of laughs here at Libcom. It's like that old British TV show, Dad's Army.

Nate should not be taken seriously. He mixes humour and anger in a strange way. He seems to be defending something, but I am not sure what it is. I have read many of his posts over about a year or so.

In this latest exchange here he is being sarcastic. He says that people are not puppets, then sarcastically talks about people having a middle class function; when it is suggested, as part of the debate, that his view is topsy turvy, he replies that the person's world is a 'little retarded'. Good onya, Nate!

There is no middle ground here, Spikeymike. Libcom has shown itself to be an unprincipled and ideologically skewed phenomenon through the defence of the actions of Aufheben. I would like to see Libcom and Aufheben disappear from the world, they offer no genuine critique of existing conditions, no passion, and their radicalism is a facade. It really is an either/or question.

But thanks for having me!

dinosavros
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Nov 23 2011 21:38

Admin: no trolling

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Nate
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Nov 23 2011 21:40

Admin: as per warning below, please keep it civil.

Sorry my poorly expressed anger and unfunny jokes have muddied what was previously such a productive exchange, Lines.

I wasn't being sarcastic, though, when I said that what's-his-name's views are retarded. That's my honest opinion. If you'd like to substitute a more acceptable synonym, suggest one and I'll edit my posts to substitute it.

As for Aufheben and all that, here's the problem with you and that other retard's view.

There's the issue of whether or not guy from Aufheben actually did anything objectionable. Then there's the issue of how to handle a situation where someone MIGHT have done something objectionable.

This is someone's cue to call me bourgeois or something, but I think that there's a level of due diligence required with allegations like those made against Aufheben guy. That due diligence has not been followed. In the absence of such, we can only draw our own conclusions based on imperfect information. Like everyone else dealing with imperfect information here, I've drawn my own conclusions, which are of course colored by relatiobsiops. I don't know any of the people involved in any real way. I've had some low level contact with some of the Aufheben and Libcom folk and none with the chorus of haters. From my minimal interactions I'm inclined to trust the former and not the latter, given imperfect information, and a few friends and comrades who I trust completely have met Aufheben and Libcom folk and vouch for them, which makes me more inclined in this direction. So, I've concluded that in my opinion I don't think Aufheben guy did anything wrong. Which makes the actions of folk jumping on him doubly unacceptable (because if it turned out he was a police colloborator the lack of due diligence would be more forgivable in the end) and makes what's-his-name being like "this is real life catching up with Aufheben guy!" strike me as stupid, and mildly offensive. (I'm sure it's more offensive to people closer to all this.)

I think the folk who have taken potshots at Aufheben and are like "I READ IT ON THE INTERNET SO IT MUST BE TRUE" (which is an example of what I would called retardedness) have acted in ways that are unprincipled in situations like this - putting it all online, rushing to convict, etc. The handling of this stuff by critics of Aufheben guy (Joe? James? I forget) and Aufheben and Libcom are simply cartoonish in my opinion. Disrespect intended. And it's also like socially retarded - abstracting out the particulars of the political positions here, folk jumping on Aufheben here have basically been like "I am right about this issue I feel strongly about, those of you who disagree are wrong and your character is defective for not seeing it as I do." This kind of thing is predictable in its outcome - a few people go "yeah! right on!" More people go the other way, because this kind of conversational move doesn't change anyone's minds, it just takes existing disagreements and turns the volume way up (which, for readers who live in their mother's basements and don't understand human interaction, this kind of thing, like calling someone a retard, is a fine thing to do if one is fundamentally disinterested in conversation, but is a retarded thing to do if one is not aware of its effects).

All of that said, since there's no middle ground, perhaps you could hasten libcom's disappearance by beginning a boycott of the forums. Alone you are an insignificant annoying anonymous internet poster, but if your half-dozen friends join you then you could be a force to be reckoned with within the international communist milieu.

Wellclose Square
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Nov 23 2011 22:06
Nate wrote:
that other retard's view... (which is an example of what I would called retardedness)... Disrespect intended. And it's also like socially retarded... (which, for readers who live in their mother's basements and don't understand human interaction, this kind of thing, like calling someone a retard, is a fine thing to do if one is fundamentally disinterested in conversation, but is a retarded thing to do if one is not aware of its effects).
dinosavros
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Nov 23 2011 22:25
Nate wrote:
I don't know any of the people involved in any real way. I've had some low level contact with some of the Aufheben and Libcom folk and none with the chorus of haters. From my minimal interactions I'm inclined to trust the former and not the latter, given imperfect information, and a few friends and comrades who I trust completely have met Aufheben and Libcom folk and vouch for them, which makes me more inclined in this direction. So, I've concluded that in my opinion I don't think Aufheben guy did anything wrong.

The rationale here is very clear. Despite the overwhelming evidence available publicly on the internet, some people will still choose to believe high-status members of their in-group instead.

And anyone who disgrees must just be part of "a chorus of haters".

Blasto
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Nov 23 2011 22:59
Nate wrote:
Sorry my poorly expressed anger and unfunny jokes have muddied what was previously such a productive exchange, Lines.

I wasn't being sarcastic, though, when I said that what's-his-name's views are retarded. That's my honest opinion. If you'd like to substitute a more acceptable synonym, suggest one and I'll edit my posts to substitute it.

As for Aufheben and all that, here's the problem with you and that other retard's view.

There's the issue of whether or not guy from Aufheben actually did anything objectionable. Then there's the issue of how to handle a situation where someone MIGHT have done something objectionable.

This is someone's cue to call me bourgeois or something, but I think that there's a level of due diligence required with allegations like those made against Aufheben guy. That due diligence has not been followed. In the absence of such, we can only draw our own conclusions based on imperfect information. Like everyone else dealing with imperfect information here, I've drawn my own conclusions, which are of course colored by relatiobsiops. I don't know any of the people involved in any real way. I've had some low level contact with some of the Aufheben and Libcom folk and none with the chorus of haters. From my minimal interactions I'm inclined to trust the former and not the latter, given imperfect information, and a few friends and comrades who I trust completely have met Aufheben and Libcom folk and vouch for them, which makes me more inclined in this direction. So, I've concluded that in my opinion I don't think Aufheben guy did anything wrong. Which makes the actions of folk jumping on him doubly unacceptable (because if it turned out he was a police colloborator the lack of due diligence would be more forgivable in the end) and makes what's-his-name being like "this is real life catching up with Aufheben guy!" strike me as stupid, and mildly offensive. (I'm sure it's more offensive to people closer to all this.)

I think the folk who have taken potshots at Aufheben and are like "I READ IT ON THE INTERNET SO IT MUST BE TRUE" (which is an example of what I would called retardedness) have acted in ways that are unprincipled in situations like this - putting it all online, rushing to convict, etc. The handling of this stuff by critics of Aufheben guy (Joe? James? I forget) and Aufheben and Libcom are simply cartoonish in my opinion. Disrespect intended. And it's also like socially retarded - abstracting out the particulars of the political positions here, folk jumping on Aufheben here have basically been like "I am right about this issue I feel strongly about, those of you who disagree are wrong and your character is defective for not seeing it as I do." This kind of thing is predictable in its outcome - a few people go "yeah! right on!" More people go the other way, because this kind of conversational move doesn't change anyone's minds, it just takes existing disagreements and turns the volume way up (which, for readers who live in their mother's basements and don't understand human interaction, this kind of thing, like calling someone a retard, is a fine thing to do if one is fundamentally disinterested in conversation, but is a retarded thing to do if one is not aware of its effects).

All of that said, since there's no middle ground, perhaps you could hasten libcom's disappearance by beginning a boycott of the forums. Alone you are an insignificant annoying anonymous internet poster, but if your half-dozen friends join you then you could be a force to be reckoned with within the international communist milieu.

Every piece of information about JD's collaboration has been provided by himself. He's not been accused of anything other than what he has put his name to. It was all put online by himself or academic institutions he has had dealings with. So take your little temper tantrum up with him.

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Nov 23 2011 23:04

Can we please stick to the actual topic on hand?

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Rob Ray
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Nov 23 2011 23:30

Apparently not BECAUSE IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT THAT LIBCOM'S ADMINS ADMIT THEY'RE WRONG!!11!! OTHERWISE THEY'RE OBJECTIVELY STATE ASSETS AS WELL AS CENSORS!!11!! EVEN THOUGH I'M WRITING THIS ON LIBCOM!!11!! THE MOVEMENT WORLDWIDE NEEDS THIS TO HAPPEN, OR EVERYTHING IS LOST!!!!11!!

roll eyes

Blasto
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Nov 23 2011 23:44

I guess it must be playtime?

But yes, Khawaga, you are right, before this thread is closed as well.

tastybrain
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Nov 24 2011 02:11
Khawaga wrote:
Can we please stick to the actual topic on hand?

Thank you. FFS people, there is another thread about it! I have put myself in the "chorus of haters" but there are more interesting issues to be discussed than the behavior of one academic!

Substantive post to come.

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Nov 24 2011 06:11
Blasto wrote:
Every piece of information about JD's collaboration has been provided by himself. He's not been accused of anything other than what he has put his name to. It was all put online by himself or academic institutions he has had dealings with. So take your little temper tantrum up with him.

We disagree on the meaning of the information such that it is not established between us that "collaboration" has happened. I won't reiterate my other points beyond that.

And I didn't think I was having a temper tantrum. I just said I thought you were acting retarded, and explained why I thought that, and I thought I said it pretty calmly.

I also think that the publicly available information on the internet established both that you were acting retarded and that I was being calm in saying so. I'm rather surprised to hear you dispute what seems to me so obvious. It must be because you're under the influence of high-status members of your in-group. That's the only possible explanation.

In any case, I'm happy not to discuss this Aufheben stuff further in this thread as others have requested, but that's a two way street.

Blasto
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Nov 24 2011 11:33

Nate, I am not happy to not discuss Dr J further and have been very clear in my intentions all along. This thread was started by someone with a genuine question about academia and this was a direct result of the Aufheben issue - read the first post.

So the thread is a discussion is about the wider issues, but (for me at least) the actions of Dr J are a particular point of reference. He is a concrete example of someone not applying their communist critique of society at large to their own daily life, and their own work role in particular (or not, as some will argue).

My experience of academics is much wider than that, as I have said. I have worked very closely with a string of academics on projects over the last twenty or so years and with very mixed results. My local affinity group right now includes a lecturer/researcher. (The lecturer has an openly cynical attitude to HE, whilst at the same time finding some pleasure their largely benign topic area).

The results of previous collaborations were partly to do with all the usual things that make or break a project, but also from my perspective very much to do with their attitudes to their own role as an academic. Infact, there are a couple of academics in particular who are quite brilliant, incisive and witty and who I was very close to, but with whom I can no longer collaborate because it was clear to me that their role had set limits which not only neutered the projects, but created risks for myself and others.

So while some people find my writing abstract or even "retarded", it is written from real experience. And because my desire to transform this world is something real and practical (as it is for many other people on this forum), I will not allow Dr J to be an elephant in the room, an issue swept under the carpet, or in yours and Rob's case, something to be drowned out with shouting.

But all that said, I have have probably exhausted my contribution here, and have perhaps dominated a discussion that will no doubt take other more interesting twists and turns without me.

PS Nate - the term "retard" is clearly a favourite of yours but it doesn't travel well. Here in the UK it is only used by complete fuckwits who think learning disabilities are hilarious. It's a cultural context thing. So rather than come across as a complete fuckwit, maybe call me that instead? Or a libcom admin favourite is complete mental, though that admittedly doesn't have the same ring to it.

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Nov 24 2011 11:09

Hey All, I work as an academic, and I have to say I find it hard to disagree with Blasto, lines et al. I guess I am interested in what this means as a practice. Is it just an individual refusal of certain kinds of research or teaching practices, or does it means quitting and find another job? Consider the rounds of jobs cuts here in Australia ( and I assume they are worse in the US and UK) that might be a moot point. If it is about collective struggle how is that implanted on the ground: specifically since the default ideology that those at universities often express in response to job cuts, worsening conditions etc is a defence of the university as liberal/ social democratic institution?
cheers
Dave

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Nov 24 2011 11:30
Quote:
PS Nate - the term "retard" is clearly a favourite of yours but it doesn't travel well.

True, but if you're going to use that point to have a go at him, you might want to avoid using terms like fuckwit, ie. fuck-wit (as in a witless fucker). It looks a bit like you're telling him off for calling people retarded, and then calling him a retard using slightly different terminology.

Edit: Blasoto, I really don't mind you bollocking on about it, if you want to spend your days online arguing the toss about how everyone other than you is a sell-out (while continuously ignoring the point that to do so basically means we may as well pack up and go home now, as the people you can actually work with quickly reduces to about 15 garbage workers in Merthyr Tydfil if we follow the logic to its conclusion) that's your own affair. Frankly I think it's been actively counterproductive so far, but in the long term it really makes very little odds to anything.

Just try not to conflate separate issues constantly so they derail the original question the whole time (inb4 lengthy THEY'RE THE SAME ISSUE!!!!11!!! diatribe).

lines
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Nov 24 2011 12:18

Good point, Grumpy Cat.

No one, as far as I can gather, has said that it is 'wrong' to work as an academic. The main problem is when the methods and fruits of academia overly affect ones perspectives and practice as a communist. JD did nothing wrong as an academic, but he did a lot (too much) wrong as a communist, both in his practice (Wanstead, ESIM, work with Stott, et al) and in the way he has let academia shape his, and Aufheben's, perspectives as a communist.

It is possible to be an academic and a communist. But in each role one must speak differently (although, after some time this may actually be impossible, which invalidates not the academic half of the person, but the communist half of the person).

If one believes that one is able to speak as a communist in the day-to-day and long term life of an academic, then one has misunderstood what communism (or a communist rejection of this society) means. If one believes that one is able to use ones academic perspectives in the service of a communist critique of society, then one has not understood the limitations of academia.

This perspective goes for anyone in any job. A communist postal worker, for example must guard against endorsing the basic premises of the postal service. Once a communist says that the postal service must be preserved in a revolutionary situation they have misunderstood their role as communists.

In another thread a paid academic, Ramona, asks how to get her students to join her proposed picket line. As you indicate (with reference to 'default ideology'), Grumpy Cat, setting up a picket line at a University is about as interesting for communists as a picket line at a police station.

For Rob Ray,
Give it a rest, and keep the thread on topic. Nate is well out of order and should be ignored.

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Nov 24 2011 12:09
grumpy cat wrote:
Hey All, I work as an academic, and I have to say I find it hard to disagree with Blasto, lines et al. I guess I am interested in what this means as a practice. Is it just an individual refusal of certain kinds of research or teaching practices, or does it means quitting and find another job?

I'm also interested in this as a potential academic (not finished with studies). I guess I'm even more fucked because I study economics and thus would have to try even harder to keep my stuff from being useful to the Establishment...

The problem with quitting and finding another job is, if you want to go all the way and "drop out" of the middle class, you're most likely "overqualified" for most jobs. At least that's my experience hearing that from people who finished their studies and wanted to work at the base and not in management. I think there is potential in university work place struggle, and turning the kids on to new ideas (what centre politicians would term "radicalizing students"). My uni has a radical left study-group that offers readings on Capital for example, though I have yet to engage in activities with them.

I am still puzzled what one could do in particular though.

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Nov 24 2011 12:13
Quote:
Give it a rest

From the poster who having signed up two weeks ago has contributed to just four threads.

Pro-revolutionaries in academia
Why this article has been removed?
Aufheben riots article
Aufheben's Crowd Controlling Cop Consultant: The Strange Case Of Dr. Who? And Mr. Bowdler

grin

lines
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Nov 24 2011 12:20

Consider your leg pulled, Mr Rob Ray!

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Nov 24 2011 12:25
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a picket line at a University is about as interesting for communists as a picket line at a police station

I was going to make a snarky comment, but really, what can add to the clarity and obviousness of this?

Blasto
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Nov 24 2011 12:45

And why ask students to stand on a lecturers' picket line (which is like asking school kids to defend their teachers), when they clearly have a much more imaginative approach to getting a point across.

radicalgraffiti
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Nov 24 2011 12:50
lines wrote:
This perspective goes for anyone in any job. A communist postal worker, for example must guard against endorsing the basic premises of the postal service. Once a communist says that the postal service must be preserved in a revolutionary situation they have misunderstood their role as communists.

Whats wrong with having a organisation that delivers mail? why wouldn't we need such a thing during or after a revolution?

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Nov 24 2011 12:53
Blasto wrote:
And why ask students to stand on a lecturers' picket line (which is like asking school kids to defend their teachers), when they clearly have a much more imaginative approach to getting a point across.

I don't know what lecturers you had but mine were nothing like school teachers eek

And radicalgraffiti, your graffiti obviously isn't that radical, everyone knows that the postal service is counter-revolutionary. Who posts the eviction notices!?!?!

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Nov 24 2011 13:00

Blasto wrote

Quote:
And why ask students to stand on a lecturers' picket line (which is like asking school kids to defend their teachers), when they clearly have a much more imaginative approach to getting a point across.

But when I hit that link, I see photos of people with the names of books written on shields. Now I have never spoken to any of those people, but I feel comfortable guessing that some of those books they would have discovered at uni. Maybe even a lecturer introduced it to them and maybe in a way that they loved or maybe hated, or maybe were confused or bored by....But either way even in this moment of revolt they carry something 'positive' about their time at uni with them (even if it is an idealised fragment).....Something complex is going on when we 'defend education' in the same way that people 'defend their jobs'.
cheers
Dave

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Nov 24 2011 13:03

nice one grumpy cat. I am sure there are those out there who had an old commie uncle or were visited by Marx in a vision. But there are others (me included) who only really had access to books when we got into the education system (well, I did have some Goosebumps books before college, but I don't think that counts).

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Nov 24 2011 13:32
Arbeiten wrote:
nice one grumpy cat. I am sure there are those out there who had an old commie uncle or were visited by Marx in a vision. But there are others (me included) who only really had access to books when we got into the education system (well, I did have some Goosebumps books before college, but I don't think that counts).

So from that, are universities agents of revolution or have students become radicalised by their individual and collective alienation? And are those books really a banner for universities, or just poetic licence and playfulness?

Many people would have been radicalised by their experiences on that very day, but we don't conclude from that the police are an agent for change.

Whatever way we build our perspective, it is only ever from within this world - it doesn't mean any of it is worth saving, though that is not what you were suggesting, unlike radicalgraffiti.

radicalgraffiti wrote:
Whats wrong with having a organisation that delivers mail? why wouldn't we need such a thing during or after a revolution?

Nothing is wrong with it, but why ask postal workers to carry a corpse of the old world into the new. Communism is a belief in ourselves. Of course there would be communication, but any communication system would be created and exist through free will, not by chopping the head off the old world and putting a new one on it (even with a natty red and black cap). Don't mistake the end (communication - which is necessary), with the means (Royal Mail, etc, which is built on a purely capitalist and statist logic and necessitates a huge amount of coercion).

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Nov 24 2011 13:31

Blasto

Quote:
So from that, are universities agents of revolution or have students become radicalised by their individual and collective alienation? And are those books really a banner for universities, or just poetic licence and playfulness?

No that is not what I was trying to say. And I imagine a lot of it would be "poetic licence and playfulness".

Blasto
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Nov 24 2011 13:40

I did appreciate your original point Grumpy Cat. I was just picking up the thread from what Arbeiten had written.

Edit: there was an interesting comment on defending education here.

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Nov 24 2011 13:39
Blasto wrote:
And why ask students to stand on a lecturers' picket line (which is like asking school kids to defend their teachers), when they clearly have a much more imaginative approach to getting a point across.

These students will of course have nothing but contempt for their lecturers picket lines. roll eyes

Spikymike
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Nov 24 2011 14:35

I might be in the 'middle ground' on this again, but I do not see lines or blasto's point as necessarily being opposed to the N30 strike by academics or seeking support from students for this action, in so far as this action involves at least a brief interuption in the normal everyday life and function of the university and a straightforward defense of living standards by all public sector workers and not just academics.

Students as future workers (and not all of them by any means in the same professional category as lecturers) should be encouraged to 'take time out' and possibly, alongside at least some sympathetic academics, use that time to critique the institition that they are both incarcerated in.

It is true that most academics and many students (and their trade unions) will support this action in terms of the defense of the institution ( for reasons argued in these threads) rather than just a basic material need (and more so than other non-academic workers who will also be striking of course) but the action has a value outside of the ideology of those involved it seems to me.

Admitedly theres no great challenge to the institution itself on a one day 'token' strike but it might just break the mold of resignation and compliance accross much of the public sector just now.

Communists can surely both support these strikes and challenge the approach of those 'defending the institutions' ?, though that is a more complex job than a simple case of cheering it on.