Progressive Calendar 10.26.06
From: David Shove (
Date: Thu, 26 Oct 2006 04:32:03 -0700 (PDT)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R     10.26.06

1. Mesaba Union rally 10.26 11am
2. Thomas Melville    10.26 11:30am
3. MetroIBA/pizza     10.26 4pm
4. New Hope vigil     10.26 4pm
5. Eagan peace vigil  10.26 4:30pm
6. GP/Golden Valley   10.26 4:30pm
7. Northtown vigil    10.26 5pm
8. Rainbow families   10.26 6pm
9. Asylum seekers     10.26 6:30pm
10. CO status         10.26 6:30pm
11. Pentel/gov panel  10.26 7pm
12. Vote prep         10.26 7pm
13. Kevin Jennings    10.26 7pm
14. Graphic memoir    10.26 7:30pm
15. Peace/Chopra      10.26 7:45pm

16. Robert Jensen - Academic freedom on the rocks/failures of faculty
17. ed            - Yes sir boss  (poem)

--------1 of 17--------

From: Karen Schultz <schulars [at]>
Subject: Mesaba Union rally 10.26 11am

Mesaba Union Coalition RalliesTwin City Activists,

Rally to support Mesaba unions - THURSDAY 26 OCTOBER
11am at the Crowne Plaza Northstar Hotel downtown Minneapolis

11:00am-11:30am Speakers, lunch and directions from the hotel
11:30am Walk to courthouse picket and chant
11:45am-12:45pm Gather in front of the courthouse picket
12:45pm Walk back to hotel

NWA AFA Contacts:  Faye Faulkner   952-241-4107, Laurie Gandrud

--------2 of 17--------

To: David E Shove <shove001 [at]>
Subject: Thomas Melville 10.26 11:30am

[If hyou are interested in ANY of these please SAVE this notice -ed]

Melville Itinerary 2006

October 26th - Thursday:
11:30am - 12:00pm:      Luther Seminary-Lunch
                        Olson Campus Center (Hendon & Fulham Sts. - St. Paul)
12:00 - 1:30pm: Luther Seminary (Talk - Q & A)
                        Olson Campus Center - Board room (3rd floor)
                        (Hendon & Fulham Sts. - St. Paul)
3:25 - 5:00pm:  St. Thomas University (Talk - Q & A)
                        OEC Building - room 305 (3rd floor)
                        (Summit & Cretin Aves. - St. Paul)

October 27th - Friday:
2:30 - 3:20pm: Carleton College (Talk - Q & A) Topic:  Human Rights, U.S.
Intervention, and Cold War in Central America. 1 No. College St.,
Northfield - Leighton Hall--Room 402
 4:30pm:  Carleton College - General Session & Reception (Talk - Q & A)
Athenaeum, Gould Library Open to the Public

October 28th - Saturday:
10:00 - 11:30am: Resource Center of the Americas (coffee session, talk, Q
& A and book signing) 3019 Minnehaha Ave, Mpls

October 29th - Sunday:
9:00 & 11:00am: St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church for 15 minute homily @
each mass 4537 3rd Ave. So - Mpls

October 30th - Monday:
12:45 - 2:00pm: University of Minnesota - Humphrey Institute's (Talk - Q & A)
301 19th Ave So, Mpls - Wilkins room

Through A Glass Darkly is the story of an Iowa farmer who, after a stint
in the Korean War, returned home to discover that farming no longer held
the allure that it once did.  Ron Hennessey joined a Catholic missionary
society and after nine years of study was ordained a priest and sent to
Guatemala.  The essence of the story concerns Hennessey's conversion from
an unapologetic patriot from America's heartland to a staunch opponent of
Ronald Reagan's Central American policies that on several occasions almost
cost him his life.

Hennessey's story has a subtext and it's not a pretty picture.  The ideals
of freedom, democracy, progress with justice that the United States
preaches domestically, are violated abroad by one American president after
another.  Why?  Read Through A Glass Darkly and weep for your country.

The story that Through A Glass Darkly tells is not one that should make
Americans proud.  It is a story of lies and betrayal, activities initiated
and sustained by a series of U.S. administrations, motivated by
misbegotten conceptions of our vital interests, as well as the nature,
identity and capacities of our enemies.  But it is also a story of hope,
the story of one American's strength of character that allowed him to move
up closely to that Dark Glass, to peer through it, and see how the
American Dream can actually feed on evil abroad.  He is Ronald William
Hennessey, a Korean War veteran who became a Catholic missionary in
Central America, risking his >life time and again to save the lives of
those who, because of their ethnicity, had become the perceived enemies of
the United States.  His journey from Korea to seeing the United States
government as so many foreigners see it took him better than two decades
as he fought to maintain the ideals that so many Americans innocently
profess.  But reality finally won out and Ron Hennessey became a true
American hero, one who can inspire those who will read and understand his

The author, Thomas R. Melville, was also a Catholic missionary in Central
America, preceding Hennessey there by seven years.  When the two met in
1964, a friendship formed immediately, perhaps the attraction of
opposites?  Melville, a Bostonian, had already experienced a process of
radicalization based on his work with the Mayan indigenous peoples of
Guatemala, learning their history, listening to their life stories,
understanding their values, frustrations, and oppression.  He saw in
Hennessey a slow moving, slow talking Iowa farmer who seemed totally
devoid of any self interest, one who would take to heart the toils,
troubles, and tales of the Mayans' suffering.  And so it was!  In 1967,
while Hennessey was still learning what and who the Mayans were, Melville
was expelled from Guatemala for associating with and justifying the
activities of an incipient anti-government guerrilla movement. When he
returned to the United States, he and his newly wedded wife (Margarita
Bradford, also a former missionary expelled from Guatemala), joined some
Vietnam War protestors in burning draft files at Catonsville, Maryland in
May 1968.  Their motivation was to alert their fellow citizens to the
conflict in Guatemala, the United States' undeclared war on the Guatemalan
people, and to show the anti-war movement that the Vietnam War was not an
aberration, but that Guatemala was "Another Vietnam."  Melville served 18
months in the federal prison at Lewisburg for his Catonsville action,
while Bradford endured 12 months at Alderson Federal Penitentiary for
women. Both received doctorates in Sociocultural Anthropology from
American University after regaining their freedom.

 1. The use of language as education and/or brainwashing: how do we define
'insurgency/counterinsurgency'; 'invasion/resistance'; 'terrorists/freedom
fighters'; 'torture/human rights'?
 2. What role does religion play in our search for justice, peace,
dominance, power, empire?
 3. There is a basic contradiction between a foreign-imposed "regime
change" and the development of democracy, pace G.W.B.  Why?  Lessons from
Iran, Guatemala and Chile
 4. There is a basic contradiction between counterinsurgency and human
rights.  Why?
 5. Does the "war on terror" make sense if we ourselves employ terror?
 6. Does it make sense to ignore the stated motivations of the terrorists
who oppose us?
 7. Why do we fail to debate openly the main cause of the crisis in the
Middle East?

October 31st - Tuesday:
1:00 - 2:30pm: Macalester College (Talk - Q & A) 1600 Grand Ave, St. Paul
(Grand & Snelling) - Olin Rice room 350 (south end of campus)

8:00 - 9:30pm: Hamline University (Talk - Q & A) Snelling & Hewitt Aves.,
St. Paul - Giddens Learning Center

November 1st - Wednesday:
7:30 - 9:15pm:  St. John's University/College of St. Benedict (Talk - Q & A)
St. John's Campus, Collegeville - Quad bldg room 264

November 2nd - Thursday:
11:00 - 12:00pm: Augsburg College Chapel for 15 minute homily 22nd Ave So
& Riverside, Mpls - Foss Bldg

--------3 of 17--------

From: Tim Dykstal <tim [at]>
Subject: MetroIBA/pizza 10.26 4pm

Pizza Project 2006: A MetroIBA Celebration of Supporting Local
Businesses in the Metro Area
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Snap! Pizza and Ice Cream, 2851 Johnson St. NE, Mpls, MN 55418

This is the event that four stellar graduate students from the Humphrey
Institute at the U of M have planned to mark Unchain America Week, promote
Stacy Mitchell's visit, and just generally celebrate locally owned,
independent businesses.  There, they will announce the results of their
research attempting to prove that you can get a pizza delivered by an
independent anywhere in the Metro area.

The students will be there.  Members of the MetroIBA Board will be there.
The press will be there.  (One or two days before, press releases touting
the event will be delivered with pizzas to area media outlets.)  We want
you to be there as well.

Seriously, we need a hefty turnout to show the press and public that our
cause is important.  Snap! Pizza is family friendly--you are welcome to
bring your friends and families.  Who knows?--there might even be a pizza
or two.  It will be a lot of fun.

So head on down to Snap! on October 26th!

Tim Dykstal
Executive Director, MetroIBA

--------4 of 17--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: New Hope vigil 10.26 4pm

NW Neighbors for Peace, Carole Rydberg, carydberg [at]

Weekly demonstration at the corner of 42nd Avenue N. (Cty. Rd. 9) and
Winnetka in New Hope.  Many signs available ... just bring yourself.
Come and go when you please.

--------5 of 17--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <skograce [at]>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 10.26 4:30pm

CANDLELIGHT PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest
corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs
and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends
south of the river speaking out against war.

--------6 of 17--------

From: Jonathan Fluck <jonathanfluck [at]>
Subject: GP/Golden Valley 10.26 4:30pm

All Green Party candidates and volunteers are welcome to join us this
Thursday for lit dropping, door knocking and sidewalk chalking in Golden

Thursday, October 26th 4:30 pm Where: Meet at Einstein's Bagel, 7752 Olson
Memorial Hwy, (Corner of Hwy 55 and Winnetka)

--------7 of 17--------

From: EKalamboki [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 10.26 5pm

NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy
10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine.

Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View,
New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park,
Fridley, and Coon Rapids.  We'll have extra signs.

For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or
email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at]

--------8 of 17--------

From: David Strand <mncivil [at]>
Subject: Rainbow families 10.26 6pm

Here's a great opportunity to sample some great wines and help support
programs for glbtiq parents and their children. - David Strand

Wine tasting to benefit Rainbow Families
At Zipps Liquors.
2618 East Franklin Avenue Minneapolis - 55406
treats from the Birchwood Café
Thursday, October 26th 6-9:30

$25 per person, early registration; $30 at the door Early Registration:
Call Zipps Liquors at 612-333-8686 to sign-up

Come to a tasting and explore many interesting, distinctive, and truly
great wines - including old favorites or new obsessions. More than 80
different wines will be available to try, as well as some cool artisan
beers and spirits, just to change things up a bit! Thank you Zipps for
hosting this great benefit!

Leigh Combs Program Coordinator GLBT KIDS: Abuse Intervention Family &
Children's Service 4123 East Lake Street Minneapolis, MN 55406 phone -
612-728-2079 FAX - 612-729-2616 lcombs [at]

--------9 of 17--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Asylum seekers 10.26 6:30pm

Thursday, 10/26, 6:30 pm, MN Advocates for Human Rights attorney Michele
Garnett McKenzie speaks on "Who are Minnesota's Asylum Seekers?,"
International Institute of MN, 1694 Como Ave, St Paul.  RSVP to
aschwanz [at] or 651-647-0191 ext 23.

--------10 of 17--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: CO status 10.26 6:30pm

Thursday, 10/26, 6:30 to 8 pm, Vets for Peace classes to prepare families
for conscientious objector status, basement of St Stephens school building,
2123 Clinton Ave S, Mpls.  $10/family.  RSVP Kim at 612-721-6908.

--------11 of 17--------

From: Ken Pentel <kenpentel [at]>
Subject: Pentel/gov panel 10.26 7pm

Ken Pentel on Insight News Gubernatorial Panel
Shiloh Temple-1201 W. Broadway, Minneapolis

--------12 of 17--------

From: erin [at]
Subject: Vote prep 10.26 7pm

Thursday, October 26: League of Women Voters of Minneapolis and Minneapolis
Adult Community Education Become an Informed Voter by registering for an
Adult Community Education class. Covered topics: Why Vote; What is the
"Voting Rights Act"; What will be on the ballot?; How do I choose a
candidate?; How do I learn more about the issues? Northeast Middle School.
7-8:30 PM. 612/668-1515 ask for Civic Education, class code 06CENEF.

--------13 of 17--------

From: Sarah Caflisch <scaflisch [at]>
Subject: Kevin Jennings 10.26 7pm

Thursday, October 26, 7 p.m.
Mama's Boy, Preacher's Son

By age six, Kevin Jennings knew he was going straight to hell. His father,
an evangelist preacher, as much as told him so. During the 1960s, Kevin's
family moved from one trailer park in the South to another as his dad
fought to hold on to a pulpit. Then, on Kevin's eighth birthday, his
father suffered a fatal heart attack as Kevin stood, helpless, at his
side. When he cried at the funeral, Kevin's older brothers admonished him,
"Don't be a faggot." The warning was a key lesson. In school, "faggot"
became more familiar to Kevin than his own name. Nobody watching the
regular torture of Kevin's schooldays could have anticipated that he would
ever want to return to the classroom. Kevin's father may have preached
damnation, but his mother showed him the road to salvation. Forced to drop
out of school at the age of nine, Alice Verna Johnson Jennings fervently
believed in the power education held for her children. While working a
series of blue-collar jobs to support her family, she struggled with her
conservative Appalachian roots when her oldest son married a black woman
and her youngest came out. Alice's story is powerful account of a woman's
triumph over huge obstacles, including her own prejudices. When he earned
a scholarship to Harvard, Kevin finally found acceptance. His decision to
become a teacher, however, forced him back into the closet. In the
classroom, reliving the anguish of school bigotry, Kevin realized his true
vocation. When his students rallied to his defense-and thereby to their
own-Kevin worked with them to form the first gay/straight alliance, and he
went on to found GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Educational Network,
now a national education organization with a presence in all fifty states.

Mama's Boy, Preacher's Son is that rare memoir that is both a riveting
personal story and an inside account of a critical chapter in our recent
history. Creating safe schools for teenagers is now a central part of the
progressive agenda in American education. Like Paul Monette's landmark
Becoming a Man, Dorothy Allison's Bastard Out of Carolina, and Rick
Bragg's All Over but the Shoutin', Kevin Jennings's poignant,razor-sharp
memoir will change the way we see our contemporary world. --Beacon Press

--------14 of 17--------

From: david unowsky <david.unowsky [at]>
Subject: Graphic memoir 10.26 7:30pm

Magers And Quinn Booksellers
3038 Hennepin Avenue South
Minneapolis Mn 55408

Iranian Graphic Novelist Marjane Satrapi Discusses Her Work 7:30 Pm
Thursday October 26 At Lyndale United Church Of Christ
810 W. 31st Street, Minneapolis
Co-Sponsored By Magers And Quinn And Rain Taxi Review Of Books

Join us as the internationally acclaimed Iranian cartoonist Marjane
Satrapi speaks about her latest graphic memoir, Chicken With Plums,
newly published in the United States by Pantheon Books. Ms. Satrapi
will only be in the United States for a short time to celebrate the
publication of her new book, and Minneapolis is one of the few cities
she will be visiting. We feel fortunate and proud to present this
special event with one of the boldest, most politically astute, and
most honored cartoonists at work in the world today!

Marjane Satrapi is the author of an internationally best-selling and
award-winning comic book autobiography in two parts, Persepolis and
Persepolis 2, as well as the graphic novel Embroideries and several
children's books. Born in 1969 in Rasht, Iran, Satrapi grew up in
Tehran and now lives in Paris, where she is a regular contributor to
magazines and newspapers throughout the world, including The New
Yorker and The New York Times. Persepolis is currently being made into
an animated feature film, co-written and co-directed by Satrapi, which
will be distributed by Sony Picture Classics in 2007.

In her Persepolis books and in Embroideries, Marjane Satrapi has
rendered the events of her life and times in a uniquely captivating
and powerful voice. In Chicken With Plums she turns that same keen eye
and ear to the heartrending story of her great-uncle, a celebrated
Iranian musician who gave up his life for music and love. She brings
her signature skills to this emotional tale of life and death; the
poignant story of one man, it is also a story of stunning

"The question of what makes a life worth living has rarely been posed
with as much poignancy and ambition as it is in Satrapi's dazzling new
effort." --Starred Review, Publishers Weekly

Marjane Satrapi's work has been universally praised for its humor,
insight, and generosity. The Los Angeles Times called Persepolis "one of
the freshest and most original memoirs of our day... a voice calling out
to the rest of us, reminding us to embrace this child's fervent desire
that human dignity reign supreme." Of her body of work Newsweek aptly
commented, "It is our good fortune that Satrapi has never stopped
visiting Iran in her mind."

Satrapi will sign books during a reception after the reading. Book sales
will be provided by Magers and Quinn Booksellers, an independently owned
bookstore located in the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis; Satrapi's
titles will be for sale at special prices.

Ticket information: Tickets for this special event cost $5, with
proceeds going to benefit Rain Taxi, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit
literary organization dedicated to promoting interest in contemporary
literature. Tickets are available in advance at Magers and Quinn
Booksellers, located at 3038 Hennepin Ave. South in Minneapolis (just
south of the intersection of Lake Street and Hennepin Ave.), and at the
door starting at 7pm

Contact: David Unowsky 612-822-4611

--------15 of 17--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Peace/Chopra 10.26 7:45pm

Thursday, 10/26 (and every 4th Thursday), 7:45 to 9 pm, Dialogue about Peace
and listening to Deepok Chopra's set, pre-register at Body Prayers Yoga,
9201 Lexington Ave N, #5C, Circle Pines.  IndigaArt [at] or 

--------16 of 17--------

The Failures of Faculty in Tough Times
Academic Freedom on the Rocks
October 25, 2006

This essay was commissioned by the guest editors of a special issue of
the academic journal Social Text but rejected by the journal's editorial
collective on the grounds it was theoretically unsophisticated that
included a "cheap shot" at professors.

Threats to academic freedom - direct and indirect, subtle and not so
subtle - come from a variety of sources: Politicians, the general
public, news media, administrators, corporations, and students. In my
academic career, I have been criticized from all of those quarters.
Though these attacks have been relatively easy to fend off in my
particular case, the threats are real and should trouble us; they
require of us sharper analysis and a strategic plan to fend off attempts
to constrain inquiry. But, even with that understanding of the
seriousness of these external threats, I will argue that the most
important aspect of the current controversies is how they mark the
complacency and timidity of faculty members themselves.

[And, at large, the complacency and timidity of millions of lesser-evil
progressives, who, if they found courage, could rout BushCorpCo.  The
balance of victory is in our hands, but so far we lack the resolve and
heart to act. -ed]

I will focus on two specific incidents in my career - one involving
administrators and the other students - that illustrate these threats.
From there, I will examine the responses of faculty members on my campus
to the events, and offer suggestions for analysis and action. Throughout
I will remain rooted in my own experience at the University of Texas at
Austin. While Texas may in some ways be idiosyncratic, I do not believe
my experience at that university is radically different from others
around the United States.

My concern with this issue is not rooted in optimism for the short term.
While I would like to see U.S. academics, as a class, take a leading
role in movements to assert radical humanistic values that have the
possibility of transforming society, I don't believe it is likely, or
even possible, in the near future. In fact, I assume that in the short
term there is very little progressive political change likely in the
United States, with or without the assistance of university-based
academics. Instead, I will argue we should work to hold onto what
protections for academic freedom exist to provide some space for
critical thinking in an otherwise paved-over intellectual culture, with
an eye on the long term. Toward that goal, I will suggest ways to
approach these threats to academic freedom and attempt to assess
realistically the conditions under which such defenses go forward.

                      History and context

Although threats to academic freedom, and freedom of expression more
generally, can come rooted in many political projects, it is in times of
war and national crisis (real or manufactured) that such threats
intensify and have the potential to undermine democracy most severely.
Such is the case in the post-9/11 world. In this sense, the "war on
terrorism" serves a similar function to the "cold war" as a way both to
obscure the fundamental motivations behind U.S. foreign policy (to
extend and deepen U.S. domination over the strategically crucial areas
of the world through a combination of diplomatic, military, and economic
control mechanisms) and focus public attention on threats that, while
not completely illusory, are overdramatized. In each case, politicians
also hype the threat to make it easier to marginalize any domestic
dissent to that project of control and domination. One can see echoes of
the late 1940s/1950s in the post-9/11 United States. In such situations,
dissident intellectuals and their academic freedom become easy targets.

Despite these similarities, it is crucial to recognize that the
repression of the cold war dwarfs anything we've seen in recent years.
The Supreme Court upheld the criminalization of political discourse in
what became known as the Communist conspiracy cases prosecuted under the
Smith Act of 1940. The law made it a crime to discuss the "duty,
necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying the
government," an odd statute in a country created by a revolution against
the legal government of that day. It was not until 1957 that the Supreme
Court reversed the trend in those cases, overturning convictions under
the act. In that repressive social climate, principles of academic
freedom and administrative protections around tenure meant little, as
universities routinely ignored both principles and rules, with no
objection from the courts.

Both the general public and academics live with far more expansive
freedoms today, primarily as a result of the popular movements of the
1960s and '70s, which pressured elites to expand free speech and
association rights. We should recognize that since 9/11, for example,
many people critical of U.S. foreign and military policy have written
and spoken in ways that would have without question landed us in jail in
previous eras (and would land us in jail, or worse, in many other
nations today). Of course, it is crucial to note that such protection is
still incomplete and is most available to those who are from the
dominant sectors of society. I am white and American-born, with a
"normal" sounding American name (meaning, one that indicates northern
European roots), and while I have been the target of much hostility, I
have never felt that my safety or job were threatened in any serious
way. The hostility toward some faculty members has not stayed within
such civil boundaries, most notably toward Sami Al-Arian, the tenured
Palestinian computer science professor at the University of South
Florida who was vilified in the mass media and fired in December 2001
for his political views, and then subject to federal prosecution. Being
a white boy with tenure offers added protection.

So, much of the discussion about academic freedom these days is not
about direct attempts to remove or punish faculty members for their
ideas (with some notable exceptions, such as the cases of Ward Churchill
at the University of Colorado-Boulder and Joseph Massad at Columbia
University). Instead, we are struggling with issues about the climate,
on campuses and in society more generally. These questions are no less
important, but we should keep in mind the relative level of the threat
as we strategize.

     From administrators: "An undiluted fountain of foolishness"

About mid-afternoon on September 11, 2001, I began writing an essay that
argued the United States should not use the attacks to justify
aggressive war, one of several similar pieces that quickly circulated in
left/progressive circles. At the end of the evening, I sent it to Common
Dreams and other such political websites under the headline "Stop the
insanity here." Just as I was shutting down the computer for the
evening, on a whim I decided also to send the piece to several Texas
newspapers for which I had occasionally written, though I did not expect
that any would publish it given the emotional/political realities right
after the attacks. Surprisingly, the Houston Chronicle ran the piece at
the end of the week, under the headline, "U.S. just as guilty of
committing own violent acts." By mid-morning, right-wing talk show hosts
in Houston had read the piece on the air and encouraged people to call
and write University of Texas officials to demand my firing. The deluge
of mail, to me and my various bosses, continued for weeks. On September
18, UT President Larry Faulkner began circulating an official response,
which was published the next day in the Chronicle:

In his Sept. 14 Outlook article "U.S. just as guilty of committing own
violent acts," Robert Jensen was identified as holding a faculty
appointment at the University of Texas at Austin. Jensen made his
remarks entirely in his capacity as a free citizen of the United States,
writing and speaking under the protection of the First Amendment of the
U.S. Constitution. No aspect of his remarks is supported, condoned or
officially recognized by The University of Texas at Austin. He does not
speak in the University's name and may not speak in its name. Using the
same liberty, I convey my personal judgment that Jensen is not only
misguided, but has become a fountain of undiluted foolishness on issues
of public policy. Students must learn that there is a good deal of
foolish opinion in the popular media and they must become skilled at
recognizing and discounting it. I, too, was disgusted by Jensen's
article, but I also must defend his freedom to state his opinion. The
First Amendment is the bedrock of American liberty.

This was the first time in anyone's memory that a high-ranking
university official had publicly condemned a faculty member by name for
a political or intellectual position. In addition to this public rebuke,
some other administrators circulated notes privately with similar views.
For example, UT Provost Sheldon Ekland-Olson wrote, in a note he copied
to me: "What came to my mind when reading his column was a statement, at
the moment I do not recall who said it, that the price of freedom of
speech and the press is that we must put up with a good deal of
offensive rubbish. For me, Professor Jensen's comments fall deeply into
this category."

I had previously crossed paths with Faulkner and the UT administration
during campus organizing efforts around affirmative action and the
wages/working conditions for non-teaching staff. I had met Faulkner once
during the former campaign, and I was aware that I was not on his list
of favorite faculty members. But at the time of this incident I assumed
(and nothing since then has changed my assumption) that his letter
denouncing me had little or nothing to do with me and was simply a
reaction to pressure from various key constituencies: alumni, donors,
legislators, and the general public. I didn't take Faulkner's rebuke
personally, because it clearly wasn't about me.

For some weeks after that, I was asked how I felt about Faulkner's
statement and what effect it had on my behavior. I stated repeatedly in
public that I didn't feel anything in particular; administrators'
opinions about my writing had never been of great importance to me. Nor
was I affected by the denunciation; I continued my political work
without interruption and taught my classes as I would have if there had
been no controversy. When people asked me if I thought my academic
freedom had been compromised, I was tempted to laugh. I am a tenured
professor at a moment in history in which tenure is honored in all but a
handful of extremely controversial cases. My academic freedom was, at
that moment, not in jeopardy. But I did critique Faulkner for his
comments, on two points.

First, Faulkner's statement modeled bad intellectual practice. He
engaged in an ad hominem attack, condemning me for my views without
attempting to explain what substantive disagreements he had with my
position. As far as I know, he has never made such an explanation in a
public forum, though I know of one case in which he turned down the
chance to engage me directly (on an NPR radio show). While refusing such
an engagement was strategically sensible given his objectives, it was
intellectually and morally cowardly.

More important, of course, was the possible chilling effect of
Faulkner's broadside on others, especially junior professors and
students. Whatever Faulkner's strategy - whether he was simply trying to
placate important constituencies or actually intended to create a
climate on campus hostile to dissent - I heard directly from one
untenured professor and several graduate students that they had modified
or ended political activities when they read the statement. I assume
many others made similar choices.

Was any of this an attack on academic freedom? Not in direct fashion; no
one's rights were abridged. But it was not the kind of practice one
would hope for from the leader of a major university.

 From students: "The guise of teaching potential journalists to 'think'"

In 2004 a conservative student group at the University of Texas
published a "professor watch list" of instructors who "push an
ideological viewpoint on their students through oftentimes subtle but
sometimes abrasive methods of indoctrination." After a lifetime of being
second-tier, I was finally number one in something, albeit a list of
allegedly deficient professors.

I have long held that one of the most serious problems on my campus -
which is among the largest in the country, with 50,000 students - has
been that the student body is largely depoliticized. Given that lack of
political engagement, I was grateful for anything that gets students
talking about politics, especially the role of politics in the
university. So, when my name ended up on this list of the alleged
indoctrinators (with no clear indication whether I am subtle or
abrasive), I wasn't upset, even though the group's description of my
"Critical Issues in Journalism" course didn't quite square with my
experience in the classroom:

In a survey course about Journalism, one might expect to learn about the
industry, some basics about reporting and layout, the history of
journalism, the values of a free press and what careers make the news
machine function. Instead, Jensen introduces the unsuspecting student to
a crash course in socialism, white privilege, the "truth" about the
Persian Gulf War and the role of America as the world's prominent
sponsor of terrorism. Jensen half-heartedly attempts to tie his rants to
"critical issues" in journalism, insisting his lessons are valid under
the guise of teaching potential journalists to "think" about the world
around them. Jensen is also renowned for using class time when he
teaches Media Law and Ethics to "come out" and analogize gay rights with
the civil rights movement. Ostensibly, this relates somehow to his
course material.

It's possible that this watch-list strategy sprang fresh from the minds
of the Young Conservatives of Texas, but it's more likely they were
influenced by the national group Students for Academic Freedom and
leftist-turned-right-wing-activist David Horowitz. The strategy is
simple: Rather than attack specific professors for holding views
critical of the dominant culture and its institutions, better to claim
that the universities are dominated by these critical intellectuals who
are crowding out other perspectives. Instead of calling for the firing
of lefties, the group calls for promoting greater balance, out of its
dedication to "restoring academic freedom and educational values to
America's institutions of higher learning" through pursuit of four key

1. To promote intellectual diversity on campus 2. To defend the right of
students to be treated with respect by faculty and administrators,
regardless of their political or religious beliefs 3. To promote
fairness, civility and inclusion in student affairs 4. To secure the
adoption of the "Academic Bill of Rights" as official university policy

Especially brilliant is the cooptation of the concept of diversity to
argue that conservative forces (forget, for a moment, that
conservatives, and fairly reactionary conservatives at that, just happen
to run most of the world these days) are barely surviving under the
jackboot of Stalinist intellectuals. The strategy of the right seems
fairly clear: To avoid looking fascistic, these groups cloak themselves
in an odd combination of core Enlightenment values (the importance of
the university as an open intellectual space) and a caricatured
postmodern relativism (everybody's truth is valid, so the goal is simply
balance because no definitive judgments are possible).

In such a world, it seems to me that one of the main tasks is to
challenge a key assumption of the right-wing project: Professors can,
and should, eliminate their own politics from the classroom. For
example, the UT professor watch list valorizes one professor who "so
well hides his own beliefs from the classroom that one is forced to
wonder if he has any political leaning at all." These illusions of
neutrality only confuse students about the nature of inquiry into human
society and behavior.

All teaching - especially in the humanities and the social sciences -
has a political dimension, and we shouldn't fear that. The question
isn't whether professors should leave their politics at the door (they
can't) but whether professors are responsible in the way they present
their politics and can defend their pedagogical decisions. It's clear
that every decision a professor makes - choice of topics, textbook
selection, how material is presented - has an underlying politics. If
the professor's views are safely within the conventional wisdom of the
dominant sectors of society, it might appear the class is apolitical.
Only when professors challenge that conventional wisdom do we hear talk
about "politicized" classrooms.

But just because the classroom always is politicized in courses that
deal with how we organize ourselves politically, economically, and
socially, we should not suggest that it's all politics. Because there's
a politics to teaching doesn't mean teaching is nothing but politics;
indeed, professors shouldn't proselytize for their positions in the
classroom. Instead, when it's appropriate - and in the courses I teach,
it often is - professors should highlight the inevitable political
judgments that underlie teaching. Students - especially those who
disagree with a professor's views - will come to see that the professor
has opinions, which is a good thing. Professors should be modeling how
to present and defend an argument with evidence and logic.

For example, in both my introductory and law-and-ethics classes, I offer
a critique of corporations in capitalism. For most students,
corporations and capitalism have been naturalized, accepted as the only
possible way to organize an economy. I suggest to them a fairly obvious
point: The modern corporation - a fairly recent invention - should be
examined critically, not taken as a naturally occurring object. Given
the phenomenal power of corporations, including media corporations, in
contemporary America, how could one teach about journalism and law
without a critical examination of not only the occasional high-profile
corporate scandals but the core nature of the institution?

The conservative group claimed its goal is "a fair and balanced delivery
of information" in the classroom. If that really were their concern, of
course, the first place they would train their attention is the business
school. I've heard scandalous reports that some faculty members there
teach courses in marketing, management, finance, and accounting that
rarely, if ever, raise fundamental questions about capitalism.
Highlighting the selective way in which accusations of politicized
classrooms are identified and faculty are targeted for sanction is

         Faculty responses to the watch list: Chicken Little

Rather than focus on the threats posed by administrator condemnations or
student campaigns aimed at left/liberal biases, I want to focus on the
responses I have seen and heard from faculty members on my campus.
Again, I don't pretend that the University of Texas is representative.
Rather than claim this is the way most faculty in the United States act,
I want to highlight what I consider to be the problems in some faculty
members' reactions where I work. I'll begin with the watch list.

In informal conversations as these political campaigns have gained
prominence, I have heard far too many of what I believed to be overly
dramatic responses, including references to these student efforts as
McCarthyism or a suppression of academic freedom. Yes, these student
initiatives are part of a broader goal of shutting down some of the
remaining institutional spaces left for critical, independent inquiry.
But it is inaccurate and counterproductive to compare a
student-initiated endeavor (even if the inspiration for it comes from
right-wing political operatives) to the use of state power to fire
professors and destroy people's lives on a large scale. Could we someday
return to the suppression of the two major Red Scares of the 20th
century? Of course it's possible, but it's not happening now. And to
talk in those terms is to invite being labeled by the public as
over-reactive, whiny, self-indulgent intellectuals who are cut off from
the day-to-day reality of most people's struggles in the employment
world, where job protection on the order of academic tenure is the stuff
of dreams. The public is quick to label us that way, in part because it
is so often an apt description of so many faculty members. Professorial
rhetoric that bolsters the perception is not strategically helpful.

For example, one of my UT colleagues said in a television news story
about the watch list: "I feel like they [students observing his class
for potential inclusion on the watch list] were put there to watch me.
And this watch list or my position on this watch list is a result of
that. So, do I feel like I'm under surveillance? I am under

First, is it accurate and/or strategic to describe the presence of a
student in your class, even one there to keep tabs on any hint of
professional failure, as being under surveillance, given that the term
carries a connotation of being shadowed by law enforcement? Second, why
is it a bad thing for students to be paying close attention to our
teaching? In my large classes, where there is physical space available
for visitors and their presence would not disrupt the flow of the class,
I invite anyone to sit in. In fact, I would be happy to have a team of
right-wing ideologues sit through my classes, for two simple reasons.
One is that knowing they were present likely would make me strive to be
more precise in my use of language; knowing someone from a dissenting
position is in the audience tends to make me more conscious of what I'm
saying, which is good. Another is that I am confident that I can defend
the content of my course and my teaching methods, and I would invite a
debate in which I could defend myself.

In short: The sky is not falling because of a student-generated
professor watch list. Yes, we are in a period of backlash and
reactionary right-wing domination of all the society's major
institutions. Yes, we struggle to cope with how to handle students in a
modern liberal university who are often resistant to considering any
critique that goes against their preconceived notions of the political
and moral order. There are more than enough serious issues to grapple
with, and taken together these concerns suggest this society is on a
dangerous course. But we should talk about the danger in that context,
not episodically and overly dramatically. The sky is clouding but it is
not falling.

  Faculty responses to administration condemnations: little chickens

After 15 years in academic life, I have concluded that the vast majority
of faculty members are like the vast majority of any comfortable
professionals in a corporate capitalist empire: Morally lazy, usually
cowardly, and unwilling and/or unable to engage with critics. I say that
with no sense of superiority; I can look at my own life and see examples
of such laziness and cowardice.

Let me offer an anecdote to illustrate. During fall semester 2005, I was
leaving a meeting of the University of Texas's faculty Committee of
Counsel on Academic Freedom and Responsibility. By some fluke, I had
been elected to this university-wide committee, which is charged by the
Faculty Council with the task of monitoring these issues on campus. (All
of this is window-dressing; at the University of Texas, there is no
faculty governance and all committees are merely consultative. )

As a fellow committee member and I walked back to our offices, he asked
what action this committee took in 2001, after Faulkner had condemned
me. (That's an indication of the importance of the committee and its
pronouncements; virtually no one remembers what it says, or even that it
exists.) I told him that the committee had passed a weak resolution that
reasserted the basics of academic freedom and asked people to be nice to
each other, but made no reference to the controversy and rendered no
judgment about the UT president's actions:

Given current national and global events and the importance of members
of the University community discussing these matters on campus and
extramurally, the Committee of Counsel on Academic Freedom and
Responsibility submits the following Resolution. Resolved:

1) That all members of the University community - students, faculty,
staff, and administrators - be reminded of the principles involving
Academic Freedom and Responsibility as stated by the American
Association of University Professors in the 1940 Statement of Principles
on Academic Freedom and Tenure, including:

a) "The common good depends upon the free search for truth and its free

b) "College and university teachers are citizens, members of a learned
profession, and officers of an educational institution. When they speak
and write as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship
or discipline, but their special position in the community imposes
special obligations. As scholars and educational officers, they should
remember that the public may judge their profession and their
institution by their utterances. Hence they should at all times be
accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for
the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that
they are not speaking for the institution."

2) That these principles of Academic Freedom and Responsibility be
widely disseminated to the University community via e-mail and in the
Daily Texan [campus student newspaper] so that all students, faculty,
staff, and administrators have these statements as guiding principles
for discourse on campus and extramurally.

3) That the members of the academic community treat one another with
dignity in both their words and actions during the days ahead.

Shortly after that resolution was passed, I asked the chair of that
committee why something more forceful wasn't presented to the faculty
council - something that at least raised the actual question instead of
reproducing boilerplate. The chair explained that any resolution of that
kind would not have received support from the committee. The implication
was that there was no significant support for me, my political position,
or the notion that a faculty member with such positions should be
defended on principle.

I reported this to my faculty colleague on the current committee, and he
expressed outrage. How could the committee not have taken a more
forceful position? Whatever the disagreements with my politics, didn't
they see the issue about creating a supportive climate for free
expression and scholarship? he asked.

I offered no judgment of the committee, but instead asked this colleague
what action he had taken at the time if he felt so strongly about the
principle? He hesitated. I pressed: We are faculty members in the same
department. Did anyone in our department circulate a letter of support?
Did anyone on the faculty generate a petition critical of the president?
He froze and didn't respond, but the answer is, no. I know of only one
UT professor who, in a letter to the campus paper, publicly criticized
the president's actions. On a progressive listserv there was discussion
of a petition drive that never materialized. I was busy in those weeks
and may have missed it, but to the best of my knowledge there was no
public faculty action to rebuke a university president who had singled
out a faculty member for ridicule in the largest newspaper in the state.
Some professors told me later that they weighed in privately with the
president, but such private interventions clearly were not going to
result in any change in the president's public stance and, hence, were
politically irrelevant. Beyond that, such private action did nothing to
resist the narrowing of discussion in public.

So, on one of the largest university campus in the United States with
about 2,500 faculty members, the committee charged with protecting
academic freedom was silent on the most prominent attack on a faculty
member for political reasons in recent memory. But, more striking, a
faculty member who had done nothing to support academic freedom in that
crucial moment seemed to have rewritten history in his own mind to
forget that he, like virtually all the others, had remained silent in

It is one thing for members of a privileged class to decide they will
avoid confrontations with power in order to protect there privilege.
Depending on the context, we may deem that to be cowardly or expedient.
But for such people to then twist reality to allow them to valorize
themselves is, in any context, pathetic. It shows, I think, the degree
to which some (perhaps a majority) of faculty are ill-equipped to assess
threats to academic freedom or present an effective defense.

          The corporate challenge to academic freedom

Meanwhile, as direct attacks on faculty members for their intellectual
and/or political positions continue to pose a threat to academic
freedom, other institutional rules and procedures can also compromise
that freedom in ways that are quieter and slower. These concern the
rules for tenure and promotion and the distribution of resources, and in
my experience the majority of faculty members are timid in confronting
these issues as well.

An example: A few years ago the dean of my college informed us during a
faculty meeting that from that point forward, a record of securing grant
funding would be expected for tenure and promotion cases. The ability to
raise money, up to that point, had never been explicitly listed as a
requirement, and many of us who had been tenured in past years had not
been expected to raise money. But as public universities have been
increasingly pushed to find more private funding, the pressure to raise
money has filtered down to the faculty level. In some fields, especially
the natural sciences, the expectation that faculty members would attract
grant funding has long been in place, as have funding agencies for those
disciplines, such as the National Science Foundation. And, although
there are political forces that shape the funding in the sciences, there
is money available for research that is not overtly tied to ideological

In other fields, especially certain disciplines in the humanities and
social sciences, funding is harder to come by and more overtly
ideological in character. In my field, journalism, the major funders are
connected to the industry, either in the form of the media corporations
themselves or the non-profit foundations they sometimes establish. These
entities have never funded critical research that might lead to
conclusions in conflict with their interests. In short, in a field such
as journalism, grant funding flows to those researchers who do not
challenge the fundamental structure of the commercial media system.

When the dean announced this shift, it was put forth as a neutral rule:
Everyone who goes up for tenure or promotion faces the same
expectations. One might dispute whether or not the change in policy was
wise, but on the surface it appeared to be applied fairly across the
board. But such an analysis at the surface is predictably superficial. I
raised my hand to offer a different perspective.

Given that the sources of funding for scholars doing critical research
are considerably fewer than for those doing research that accepts the
existing system, isn't this demand on faculty, in fact, going to result
in less critical research? I asked. I pointed out that I had pursued
such critical work during my own tenure period and had never even
applied for a grant. Luckily for me, I had been granted tenure based on
my scholarly work, not my contribution to the university balance sheet.
Did this new rule mean, in essence, that if I were going up for tenure
today I would be denied? If that's the case, it seems likely that
faculty members with similar interests can choose to either (1) pursue
critical research interests and take the risk of being denied permanent
employment, or (2) abandon such work and take up topics that are safely
within the parameters acceptable to the industry. No matter what an
individual professor chooses, the result is that there will be fewer
professors pursuing critical ideas and, therefore, far less critical
research. So, in fact, this allegedly neutral rule could have a dramatic
effect on the intellectual content of our program, given that curriculum
is largely faculty driven.

At that point, the dean gave me a look that seemed to contain about
equal amounts of amusement and exasperation, and said, simply, "I'm just
telling you about the policy from the Tower (central administration)."
So, the lead administrator from the college, who is in charge of the
academic programs of five departments, admitted she would not defend the
principle of free and open inquiry and would do what she was told.
Perhaps that's not surprising - deans are not known for bucking the
system, which tends to slow career advancement. What was more disturbing
was the reaction of my faculty colleagues, which was no reaction. Not a
single faculty member joined my critique, nor offered any comment. I can
certainly understand why the junior faculty, those still not secure in
their positions, might have chosen to remain quiet in front of the
administrator who would have considerable power in their tenure case.
But even senior faculty - full professors, some with endowed chairs and
professorships - chose to remain silent.

That's a well-disciplined intellectual class. The members of it who have
risen to administrative positions and are charged with formulating and
executing policy know which master they serve. The more secure members
keep quiet to make sure their privilege is not disturbed. And the less
secure members shut up in the hope that they will be allowed to move up
a notch. In such a setting, elites cannot guarantee complete conformity
from intellectuals, but the system works well enough to keep things
running relatively smoothly these days. It is a system that is
increasingly corporate in internal organization and character, and more
corporate-friendly in its external relations.

                   What I am not saying, politely

I am not arguing that all faculty members must commit themselves to my
politics or my style of public political engagement.

I am not bitter. Given the contemporary political landscape, I do not
expect support from faculty members for my political activities.

I am not disappointed. As a class, faculty members act in ways that one
would expect a privileged class to act.

I am not overly optimistic that these conditions - either in the
political culture generally or in academia specifically - will change
in the short term. The struggle is best understood as a long-term effort
on all fronts.

I am not spending a lot of time worrying about this, given the myriad
other ways I can spend my time and energy in political engagement in the
world. Academic freedom matters, but not to the exclusion of other
pressing issues.

And, I am not trying to paint with too broad a brush. I am aware that
throughout the United States there are faculty members who take academic
freedom seriously and are diligent in attempts to defend it.

                    What I am saying, bluntly

The AAUP's 1915 Declaration of Principles - freedom of (1) inquiry and
research, (2) teaching within the university, and (3) extramural
utterance or action - is worth defending, but not because most faculty
members can be expected to make serious use of these privileges to
challenge power, and not because at this moment in history the
university is a space where most faculty members pursue truly critical,
independent inquiry. I find much of the university with which I am
familiar (the humanities and the social sciences) to be populated with
self-important and self-indulgent caricatures. Much of the intellectual
work is trivial, irrelevant, and/or flabby. Most components of the
contemporary U.S. university have been bought off, and bought off fairly
cheaply. As a result it is, in the words of my friend Abe Osheroff, the
institution is generally "a fucking dead rock."

Osheroff is a radical activist who more than anyone I have ever met
exemplifies an organic intellectual. In a 2005 interview in which we
discussed a wide range of contemporary intellectual and political
issues, I asked Osheroff - then 89 years old - about his experience with
universities and faculty members:

You can take this as a criticism, an indictment, of your profession, but
most academics aren't worth shit as activists. You're overpaid, and you
still all complain about the workload. I was lucky. I got out of the
academic game early. What saved my ass was becoming a carpenter. The
fact is that I have contempt for most of academia. Not just criticism,
but contempt for it as an institution. I know there are some wonderful
teachers here and there, but to me the universities are mostly fucking
dead rocks. There are some diamonds and some gold that you can discover,
but basically it's a fucking dead rock. I have a professor friend who
tells me about his investment in his career. Yea, well while academics
are doing their thing, some guys were down in a hole in the ground
digging coal and making concrete and building your houses. Let's think
about those people. Don't talk to me about your fucking investment.
Academia was not too difficult a road. There are things worse than
having to sit up at night and read books. Try 'em. Go out and dig a hole
in the ground every fucking day, eight hours a day, and then you come
back and we'll talk about it. I'm a little extreme, I must admit, but
just the word academia makes me growl.

Those of us who have the privilege of making a living as academics would
do well to take Osheroff's words to heart. Osheroff is not
anti-intellectual. He has taught in a university as an adjunct and is a
serious student of history, recognizing the relevance of history and
theory to political activism. Osheroff is not simplistically glorifying
manual labor but instead suggesting that an extremely privileged group
of people should reflect on that privilege toward the goal of avoiding
self-indulgence. His target is not the increasingly large number of
low-paid apprentice and itinerant academics (graduate teaching
assistants and permanent adjuncts, routinely exploited by universities
to lower labor costs) but the tenured and tenure-track faculty members
who make a comfortable living doing generally enjoyable work with more
autonomy than most workers.

While Osheroff may be a bit harsh in his condemnation of professional
academics, the spirit of his remarks seem fair to me. It is a reminder
that we all - even those of us who try to commit significant amounts of
our time and energy to our obligations as citizens and human beings, and
who attempt to leverage some of our institutional resources for
progressive public activity - should always be asking a simple
question: Are we doing enough? I know no one, including myself, for whom
the answer is a definitive yes.

The impetus to protect academic freedom should be seen in this context,
as part of a long-term strategy of protecting a saving remnant of
intellectual integrity that at some point in the future may provide the
core of a politically activated group that can be part of a meaningful
shift in values in this society. There are no guarantees. But we can be
reasonably sure that the common faculty reactions today - (1)
duck-and-cover when things get edgy, or (2) whine when there really is
little at stake - guarantee failure.

Robert Jensen is a journalism professor at the University of Texas at
Austin and a member of the board of the Third Coast Activist Resource
Center. He is the author of The Heart of Whiteness: Race, Racism, and
White Privilege and Citizens of the Empire: The Struggle to Claim Our
Humanity. He can be reached at rjensen [at]

--------17 of 17--------

 Yes sir boss I'll do
 it right away. (Bury my
 heart at bended knee).


   - David Shove             shove001 [at]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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