Introduction and Key Note Address
The Radical Caucus of the Modern Language Association held a virtual roundtable discussion in April, 2023 on the significance of and resistance to the assaults on education, exemplified by banning books and all discussion of critical race theory, LGBT issues, and any other working class, anti-imperialist history. The presentations are presented here and numbered one through five.
In his introduction, Caucus President Geordie Miller, who is an English professor at Mt. Allison University and a leader of the faculty union, explained that:
From its inception in 1968, the Rad Caucus has been a site of organizing and struggle on campuses as well as within and against the institution of the Modern Language Association—an institution that currently has 22,000-plus members representing approximately 145 countries. The Radical Caucus is devoted to organizing a Marxist response in the MLA to the racist offensive against Higher Education. In the fight against fascism and its many forms and faces in higher education, the stakes are ourselves (to amend a line from Diane di Prima). The future that the ruling class is busy securing for higher education workers—indeed, for the workers of the world—is a future fuller and fuller of immiseration and other deadly, systemic commitments. Union busting and the repression of academic freedom are only the beginning of the worst to come. We don’t mourn; we organize.
Organizing a Marxist Response to The Racist Offensive Against Higher Education
by Barbara Foley
I don’t know about you, but I am thrilled to be at this gathering today. I visited the picket line at Rutgers University-Newark earlier this week and was struck by the unity of students and workers, as well as their shared understanding that the union, which comprises everyone from grad students to TAs to lecturers to Part Time Lecturers (PTLs) to full time faculty, can advance only if its most exploited members take the lead: “the last shall be first!” I have been appreciating how our colleagues down in Florida have been placing antiracist and antisexist politics front and center in their opposition to Gov. Ron DeSantis’s attempts to destroy their unions, gut academic freedom, and smother the class-conscious teaching of US history. And these comrades are not alone: working-class rebellions are cropping up around the world as the rulers ratchet up their attempts to make the workers pay for the increasingly evident failures of capitalism.Continue reading “1. Fighting Fascist Attacks on Education”