“There is no one but yourself who knows whether you are cowardly and cruel, or loyal and devout. Others do not see you, they guess at you by uncertain conjectures; they see not so much your nature as your art. Therefore do not cling to their judgment; cling to your own. You must use your own judgment…With regard to virtues and vices, your own conscience has great weight; take that away, and everything falls [Cicero].”
Michel de Montaigne, “Of Repentance,” Essays (trans. Donald Frame)
A brilliant observation by Theodor Adorno, German social critic, specifically on folk music, but also an important reminder that we must always think realistically and critically about the relationships and dynamics that structure the social order (brought to my attention by Ric Brown, UFCT grievance team member).
“There is, above all, the display of an aggressive spirit of
community as an end in itself, played up artificially so as not to
allow any questioning of its real meaning. The idea of collectivity
is made a fetish, glorified as such, and only loosely connected with
real social contents which may easily be changed with every turn of
/Realpolitik/. This last element is perhaps the most important
one. It bears witness to the calculated, synthetic nature of this
supposed folk music. The more it pretends to be the expression of
“we the people,” the more certain we may be that it is actually
dictated by very particularistic clique interests, intolerant,
aggressive and greedy for power.”
Adorno “National Socialism and the Arts” (1944-45)
Huge protests took place across the nation yesterday, including in New York State, with barely any coverage in the mainstream media. Here is a link to Democracy Now’s coverage.
I ran across this 9 year old editorial from the New York Times that is still relevant today. The author, Ellen Willis (at the time a professor at NYU) argues that the Yeshiva decision is essentially moot in today’s climate, characterized by the corporatization of the university, the burgeoning of the use of part-time faculty, the assault on tenure, and the centralization of power in administrations and Boards of Trustees. Unfortunately, although “common sense” indicates that Yeshiva may be moot, it is still the law of the land, a delightful legacy of the early years of Reagan’s assault on unionization in the United States.
NYSUT is asking you to support a campaign launched by our higher education
affiliate at SUNY, United University Professions, to “Save SUNY” from
devastating cuts and a tiered tuition plan that would make it even harder
for New York families to afford public higher education for their
children. Support UUP’s campaign by sending a letter at www.savesuny.org.
Make sure you’ve also weighed in by sending the letters of support for
public higher ed at NYSUT’s Action Center, part of the union’s broad-based
campaign in support of UUP at SUNY; the Professional Staff Congress at
CUNY; and our community college locals. As our higher education affiliates
advocate in Albany this week and next, we all need to speak up. New York’s
students deserve the opportunity to attend a public college in New York
Take action for SUNY
TAKE action for CUNY and Community Colleges