DONATE NOW TO HELP UPGRADE LIBCOM.ORG

Choosing University

89 posts / 0 new
Last post
random
Offline
Joined: 7-01-04
Oct 14 2005 09:56
Choosing University

How does an anarchist, or a libertarian communist, 'choose' university? Are they there, like jack said (i hope in jest?), to ensure themselves a better job than most of us in a few years? To ensure a place in the future middle class, or at least be in the running for one? How does that tie in with lib com politics? Are they there so that they can potentially 'lead' the less educated to a better future? Are they there to learn, and if so did they consider that there might be other ways of doing that?

Lazlo_Woodbine
Offline
Joined: 26-09-03
Oct 14 2005 10:02

Universities are fairly full-on institutions, designed to turn out future managers and/or technicians. So I'd say an anarchist chooses a place that s/he can survive 3 years in with sanity intact.

I did that by going somewhere with a course I really enjoyed, and still only barely made it out.

There's the career thing as well. It's always nice to have a skill that will make you money, but given the choice, I'd go for enjoyment over skills. But then I went when it was still free...

alibadani
Offline
Joined: 12-09-05
Oct 14 2005 10:25

The main writer for Internationalist Perspectives is a landlord in NYC. A communist landlord? THat's pushing it no? Why not a communist cop? Choose a career you can live with. And if you get really rich you can do something useful with the money, like donate it to the ICC. wink

Ted Heath's Ghost
Offline
Joined: 7-10-05
Oct 14 2005 10:32

I like learning and debating, pretty much. What job or class I end up with in 3-5 years is irrelevent, as far as I'm concerned. If you want to learn full-time, and have the free time to teach yourself things, too, then you should just go ahead and do it - there's nothing to feel guilty about.

Also, I guess it depends what you study, but you can also use it to good effect after uni, whether within the framework of capitalism or without (though not in a vanguardist way..)

oisleep's picture
oisleep
Offline
Joined: 20-04-05
Oct 14 2005 10:35

nice to be able to have the choice in the first place, whether you utilise or not is a different story

Nick Durie
Offline
Joined: 12-09-04
Oct 14 2005 10:41

When I went to university there was actually an anarchist group affiliated to the students representative council. I ended up getting involved in that coz I met an anarchist who invited me along. That's how I got involved in anarchist politics (prior to involvement with these people I was a republican communist and a federalist), but I accept that this is very rare.

For me uni was a chance to avoid work and fulfill societal expectations (quite the little middle class bastard). I elected to study something thoroughly useless for earning a living (Scottish language and literature, and English language, and also Gaelic initially, altho I never took to it). I've subsequently ended up a self-employed gardener, altho it took a little while to work out what I wanted to do with myself. My experience of my mates through this period of my life (altho all of them were socialists of one form or another) is that they have tended to become less and less in touch with reality and more into what some comrades refer to as 'anti-duhring' - ie they have retreated up their arse a lot. One of them even has letters after their name and they can't cook or wash dishes without someone else showing them how first. Anyway agree with Laz - universities are designed to fuck wi your brain and get you thinking that you are better than everyone else. Most students are classist as fuck (I know I was when I was 18 anyway, and so was everyone else I spoke to on my course or in the pulpit; there's a casual set of points of reference that are rarely even given voice to that act as a subtext informing this classism. You want a job as a lecturer, you'll have these assumptions. It's self-perpetuating), and the lefties are all into 'finding out where the working class movement went wrong and putting it to rights' as if someone bourgeois fuckface from suburb-land has any fucking idea what the working class movement even is.

I would suggest a reading of 'on the poverty of student life [...]' which I've always found quite good. Certainly influenced me as a student.

Lazy Riser's picture
Lazy Riser
Offline
Joined: 6-05-05
Oct 14 2005 10:45

Hi

Anarchists should avoid University as far as possible.

Love

LR

Lazy Riser's picture
Lazy Riser
Offline
Joined: 6-05-05
Oct 14 2005 10:49

Hi

If they must go, it should be to do hard science, engineering or maths. They should get into the most prestigious, largest, old school Universities they can manage.

I went to King’s in London. It was pretty shit, didn’t like it at all. I find middle class people especially annoying when they achieve a certain critical mass.

Love

LR

the button's picture
the button
Offline
Joined: 7-07-04
Oct 14 2005 10:53

Yeah, my undergraduate degree (philosophy) nearly drove me fucking nuts, although that had more to do with where I studied rather than the subject itself. Full of fucking rich kids, one of whom thought it was very amusing to ask for a translation anytime I said anything, because of my quaint & amusing Yorkshire accent. Cock. roll eyes

My real education in philosophy was in the following 10 years, as I carried on reading the stuff while I was working. Not saying that this is universally the case, but I reckon philosophy was wasted on the 18 year-old button.

I went back into education after a 10 year gap, to do an MA in sociology, and that was a totally different experience -- and was probably closer to what I'd hoped philosophy would be when I chose to study it as a nipper.

As to whether anarchos should go to university, why the fuck not? To invoke a principle here, or to suggest that going to uni is in some sense to cross class lines strikes me as cockery of the first order. I certainly got a real insight into the realities of the class system as an undergraduate, and learned to hate the rich fuckers like never before. (anti-copyright) the button tongue

the button's picture
the button
Offline
Joined: 7-07-04
Oct 14 2005 11:01
Jack wrote:
Can we steal this as our position paper on university?

8)

See edit above. tongue

Ted Heath's Ghost
Offline
Joined: 7-10-05
Oct 14 2005 11:08

Though it entirely depends on who you are, so it doesn't really matter what any one individual's experience is. If you have enough confidence in your own character and opinions, and never take yourself too seriously, you'll do just fine.

Lazlo_Woodbine
Offline
Joined: 26-09-03
Oct 14 2005 11:10
Lazy Riser wrote:
If they must go, it should be to do hard science, engineering or maths.
Sergei Nechaev wrote:
The revolutionary knows only one science: the science of destruction. For this reason, but only for this reason, he will study mechanics, physics, chemistry, and perhaps medicine.
Lazy Riser's picture
Lazy Riser
Offline
Joined: 6-05-05
Oct 14 2005 11:11

Hi

Quote:
As to whether anarchos should go to university, why the fuck not?

Indeed. But University was certainly less pleasant than I imagined it would be. I think I tried to reinvent myself as a Londoner and ended up working in the city for 3 years or so before kicking that idea in the head. Options had really started to look a bit grim to me, so I exited that roman shell. Probably worked out for the best. I hope to do more travelling around soon.

Quote:
I certainly got a real insight into the realities of the class system as an undergraduate, and learned to hate the rich fuckers like never before.

Are you saying it's character building? I’m not saying you’re bourgeois, comrade, but that’s a pretty middle class evaluation of the experience. My philosophy is, “If it hurts overall, then don’t do it”. Everything comes down to a cost/benefit decision in Lazy Riser’s ledger of existence.

Love

LR

Garner
Offline
Joined: 30-10-03
Oct 14 2005 11:49
Lazy Riser wrote:
If they must go, it should be to do hard science, engineering or maths.

Correct. All that other namby-pamby shit can easily be learnt in a few hours of your spare time.

the button's picture
the button
Offline
Joined: 7-07-04
Oct 14 2005 11:54
Lazy Riser wrote:
Are you saying it's character building? I’m not saying you’re bourgeois, comrade, but that’s a pretty middle class evaluation of the experience. My philosophy is, “If it hurts overall, then don’t do it”. Everything comes down to a cost/benefit decision in Lazy Riser’s ledger of existence.

Well I can't deny that it had some effect on my character. Whether that effect was creative or destructive, well, I'll leave that to my biographer. (Jack, I hope you're making a note of this). Looking back, it was fucking lunacy to go to Oxford (oops..... cat out of bag -- that's me middle class for sure wink ). However, that doesn't mean that no good came out of the experience. If I have a philosophy a la Lazy Riser, it would be "reflect on your experiences, both good & bad."

And as for submitting everything to a cost/benefit analysis? Who's using bourgeois tools of evaluation now? tongue

random
Offline
Joined: 7-01-04
Oct 14 2005 12:58

are you talking cost/benefit analysis to the individual or to society? specifically, what are the costs and benefits of university to the people who dont go?

ted Heaths ghost wrote:
If you want to learn full-time, and have the free time to teach yourself things, too, then you should just go ahead and do it - there's nothing to feel guilty about.

im not suggesting that people should feel guilty that they have or are taking the opportunity to go to university. that would be stupid.

if a person wants to 'learn' surely there are better ways than going to uni, and there are people in all walks up for debate. actually, ive found more interesting discussion and debate among non students (people who have never been) than amongst current students at least, who rarely seem to have much 'politics' at all.

if someone is lucky enough to have the free time to teach themselves things, could they use that time (instead of uni) to set up alternative spaces for learning and discussion, open to any interested people regardless of previous 'evidence of study'? has anyone here done this?

the button wrote:
My real education in philosophy was in the following 10 years, as I carried on reading the stuff while I was working.

so are you saying that the time and money spent on your degree was worthless in terms of actual knowledge? is the only point to uni to privilege those that have been over those that havent?

the button wrote:
I certainly got a real insight into the realities of the class system as an undergraduate

eh? are you suggesting that going to uni is a good way to see the reality of the class system?? for who exactly? i dont think any 'working class' kids need to go to uni to get that.

jack, what do you consider 'better' jobs, ones that you need a degree in order to get? is this based on a specific career that you actually want and need a degree for, or just a general 'better' job? do you mean jobs that pay 'better'?

Lazlo_Woodbine
Offline
Joined: 26-09-03
Oct 14 2005 13:03
random wrote:
is the only point to uni to privilege those that have been over those that havent?

University's main function is to reproduce the ruling and middle classes. A lot of degrees give no real training, apart from in writing reports, and their function is to give the person the right culture to be acceptable for certain higher-status jobs.

random
Offline
Joined: 7-01-04
Oct 14 2005 13:27

is that the answer to the question

Quote:
As to whether anarchos should go to university, why the fuck not?
the button's picture
the button
Offline
Joined: 7-07-04
Oct 14 2005 13:38

random on his/her high horse, yesterday

random
Offline
Joined: 7-01-04
Oct 14 2005 13:40

revol cant you keep your nonsense to general? i mean, if youve got nothing to say about the topic then why post?

dont talk to me about moralising revol. you're constantly making judgements about other peoples choices and positions.

im going to ignore any trolling from you here, its boring watching you wreck your way through every thread on this forum. do you have anything actually to say about why you chose to go to uni, or what youre getting out of it? you know, do you actually have a position on this beyond "nyer nyer"?

random
Offline
Joined: 7-01-04
Oct 14 2005 14:05
Quote:
i went to uni cos i got the oppurtunity and thought it better than goin into a sould destroying job,

dont job opportunities for graduates also tend towards 'soul destroying'? or do you mean you're just putting off the inevitable for a few years?

Thora
Offline
Joined: 17-06-04
Oct 14 2005 14:13

Does being a drop out make me extra rad, cos I recognised uni as a totally un-anarcho institution and like, rejected my priviledge and stuff?

random
Offline
Joined: 7-01-04
Oct 14 2005 14:21

thora, i guess that depends on why you dropped out and what youre doing instead..

so why did you drop out? if it was because you "recognised uni as a totally un-anarcho institution", do you think thats true of all university education or just your experience of it? do you think that there are ways of using uni to make it more anarchist, on an individual level, or do you think thats impossible? do you think that the university as an institution is damaging, specifically in a perpetuation of current class divides way? or do you think its mostly benign?

petey
Offline
Joined: 13-10-05
Oct 14 2005 15:14
alibadani wrote:
The main writer for Internationalist Perspectives is a landlord in NYC. A communist landlord? THat's pushing it no? Why not a communist cop? Choose a career you can live with. And if you get really rich you can do something useful with the money, like donate it to the ICC. :wink:

a communist landlord! my kinda guy. i've got rent control, which is kinda socialist, and i like it. grin

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Oct 14 2005 15:24

Nick Durie, now Anarch's gone I think you must win the libcom prize for middle class guilt!

Nick wrote:
as if someone bourgeois fuckface from suburb-land has any fucking idea what the working class movement even is.

Firstly if someone from a suburb's bourgeois then you get your class analysis out of CrimethInc., and secondly a massive proportion of the working class (what 50 or 60%?) comes from the suburbs. We don't all work in spark factories with big hammers any more matey.

Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:
University's main function is to reproduce the ruling and middle classes. A lot of degrees give no real training, apart from in writing reports, and their function is to give the person the right culture to be acceptable for certain higher-status jobs.

Oh really? So do you not believe the govt. saying they want 50% of all people to go to uni? Or d'you just think the middle and ruling classes will be more than 50% of the population?

And saying Uni's to create managers and technicians - are you barmy? WTF is a technician anyway, and how is some muppet Media Studies graduate one?

Lazlo_Woodbine
Offline
Joined: 26-09-03
Oct 14 2005 15:29
John. wrote:
Oh really? So do you not believe the govt. saying they want 50% of all people to go to uni? Or d'you just think the middle and ruling classes will be more than 50% of the population?

The government is trying to bullshit us that increasing the number of graduates will increase the amount of high-paying jobs. In reality, the class system will be unchanged, as the two-tier nature of the education system means that lots of people going to university will come out with nothing but debts. The main function of university will continue, unchanged.

What's a technician? Someone who performs a specialised, higher-status function, usually involveing intellectual labour and university training. As a result, such people are usually closer to the ruling class, and in some cases the line is often blurred (e.g. barristers). Like most professionals. For example, if a media studies graduate became a sound engineer, or sub-editor wink then they'd be a teechnician. If, on the other hand, they came out of uni with an address book full of production companies' bosses names, they'd be well on the way to management.

Ted Heath's Ghost
Offline
Joined: 7-10-05
Oct 14 2005 15:32
Quote:
if a person wants to 'learn' surely there are better ways than going to uni, and there are people in all walks up for debate. actually, ive found more interesting discussion and debate among non students (people who have never been) than amongst current students at least, who rarely seem to have much 'politics' at all.

Yeah, I completely agree, but I think even in an organised, liberal-capitalist environment such as unis you can learn a great deal - but as with everything, it varies from person to person. I'm currently finding that it's getting more and more interesting, even though it's full of liberals and slightly-left socialists (Geldofians, basically...). Even though they seem to have difficulty thinking outside of the divide in the elite (libs v cons), that still means I can learn, simply by expanding on how and why I can dismiss their views. It's like when you get ill, you build up an immunity to it.

Also, it's important to remember that they might have dull aspirations and have difficulty thinking for themselves, but they are still humans, and it's important to work out what they think, how they think it and why they think it. You might even be able to convert a few.

Also, making friends is swell wink

Quote:
if someone is lucky enough to have the free time to teach themselves things, could they use that time (instead of uni) to set up alternative spaces for learning and discussion, open to any interested people regardless of previous 'evidence of study'? has anyone here done this?

That's a totally cool idea. A sort of alt-uni. I know that students often do things like that, but only amongst themselves. A completely open educational and debating society would be pretty neat.

As for the thread as a whole, I think a distinction needs to be made concerning what people do after they leave. A doctor or teacher, for instance, are far more respectful and useful proffessions that management types, or joining the elite. If you listed typical post-uni jobs, also, you'll probably find that ones that are actually useful and beneficial aren't necessarily privalidged, either, whereas the parasitic ones offer huge benefits.

random
Offline
Joined: 7-01-04
Oct 14 2005 15:46

i was under the impression that both medicine and teaching have increasingly become like 'management' positions, to the detriment of the services offered. isnt that why so many teachers, nurses, midwives etc are abandoning these professions?

Quote:
That's a totally cool idea. A sort of alt-uni.

it isnt mine, ive been reading lots of john holt and ivan illich.. im gonna try and set up some sort of political reading group locally, but i was wondering if it would be feasible to do this online (and not to read michael moore!). i was kind of inspired a bit by the article on how not to read that redtwister put up here. my feminist group here is putting together a womens history day too, which will be open to everyone irrespective of age or gender etc, anyone who is interested really. so im thinking a lot about alternative learning spaces, hence my interest in why anarchists choose uni and what alternatives there could be..

OT re.

Quote:
It's like when you get ill, you build up an immunity to it.

thats how im feeling about revol. neutral

Ted Heath's Ghost
Offline
Joined: 7-10-05
Oct 14 2005 15:59
Quote:
i was under the impression that both medicine and teaching have increasingly become like 'management' positions, to the detriment of the services offered. isnt that why so many teachers, nurses, midwives etc are abandoning these professions?

I'm not sure - they seem to be professions where there's a very blatant career ladder that you have to sell your soul to even get near. That said, people who want to genuinely learn how to heal people or want to helps others learn themselves are pretty neat, in my mind.

Quote:

my feminist group here is putting together a womens history day too, which will be open to everyone irrespective of age or gender etc, anyone who is interested really. so im thinking a lot about alternative learning spaces, hence my interest in why anarchists choose uni and what alternatives there could be..

Yes, I think that's a really good idea - it'd be nice to see more of it, especially if it taught practical skills as well as theory.

Of course, you do see these kinds of things all the time (book groups, for instance) but they're never organised with those explicit aims in mind.

Quote:
thats how im feeling about revol. neutral

I take it I'm not the only one who can't stand them, then?

Nick Durie
Offline
Joined: 12-09-04
Oct 14 2005 19:10
Quote:
Nick Durie, now Anarch's gone I think you must win the libcom prize for middle class guilt!

Nick wrote:

as if someone bourgeois fuckface from suburb-land has any fucking idea what the working class movement even is.

Firstly if someone from a suburb's bourgeois then you get your class analysis out of CrimethInc., and secondly a massive proportion of the working class (what 50 or 60%?) comes from the suburbs. We don't all work in spark factories with big hammers any more matey.

There is always that potential (re guilt comment).

At any rate I wasn't using bourgeois in an economic sense - just in a kind of sneering leftist sense, akin to 'depraved' or 'base'.

I also don't believe that comment about suburbs.

I think of a suburb as being a place like Bearsden in Glasgow where about 50% of the cars on the road are either SUVs, sports cars, or mercedes/BMWs, and where there is almost nil rented accomodation, and where most houses have 4 bedrooms or upwards; almost everyone who lives there is middle class. That's a suburb to me - unless you're going to make some argument about middle class people being proletarian, and hence 'working class' (in an economic sense) - which while true does not advance the argument any because common parlance refers to something else..

Lazlo_Woodbine
Offline
Joined: 26-09-03
Oct 14 2005 19:15
Nick Durie wrote:
I think of a suburb as being a place like Bearsden in Glasgow where about 50% of the cars on the road are either SUVs, sports cars, or mercedes/BMWs

IMO 'suburb' simply means the ares around the inner city, which are usually less densely populated. The term 'working class suburb' was often used to refer to the creation of areas like the faubourg saint-[summat] of Paris, which periodically rose up to assault the commercial, governmental, centre.