November 2013


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Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 24 Nov 2013 15:30:36 -0600
Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]>
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The post below was sent two months ago to the list of the Radical Caucus
(MLA). Along with the posts quoted, it provides an excellent snap shot, it
seems  to me, of the condition of college labor today and, by extension, the
condition of higher education in the U.S. Today and also of K-12 education,
and by yet further extension, of the condition of the working classes of the
day in this Age of Austerity, Repression, & Endless Wars.

There exist radical or left caucuses in a number of academic disciplines;
should not all such caucuses begin to consider the possibility of a national
"caucus" of some sort involving all campus labor (and not just faculty); not
a union (though that is needed) but focused on creating a channel for
information exchange among activist groups on various campuses and,
eventually, shared action. 


-----Original Message-----
From: [log in to unmask] [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of Richard Ohmann
Sent: Thursday, September 19, 2013 9:01 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [radcaucus] business for the rad caucus

Your dystopian imagination is terrific, Betsy.  Having tried and failed to
find some leverage on this issue for 4 years (on the MLA executive council),
I'm inclined to agree that the adjunct problem will become the new normal,
in something like the way you posit, plus the outsourcing of grading and
correcting to Bangladesh, etc.  This will not be a great development for the
tenure track faculty, some of whom will be needed to keep Stanford, MIT, and
Princeton at the top of the elite heap, and to star for MOOCs; but many of
whom will themselves become supernumeraries.  Unless . . . . 


On Sep 18, 2013, at 8:12 PM, Margaret Hanzimanolis wrote:

	Thank you for your comments, Kamala, Carol, and Rich. 

	Part time faculty make up 50.1 % of the instructional staff in US
colleges and Universities.  They receive about 1/3 the pay, 1/10 of the
benefits, and  have no academic freedoms and weak or missing job security.
A lifetime of adjunct work (I am a lifer) yields a loss of roughly 1 million
dollars (were equal pay for equal work the rule).  Since there are 761,990
PTF (and 761,660 FTF) , that means the students, the institution, the
taxpayer save about 33 billion a year on PTF labor--if you run that out to
wealth statistics, which find women way behind men (78-100 in pay
differential--but  men's lifetime earnings are 400% higher ) .. So the same
for African Americans, whose hourly pay lags 40 cents, but whose lifetime
earnings lag 8000%, (for women).  When we come to adjuncts, we have a 60
cent wage differential, which presumably amounts to about a 12,000 %
lifetime wealth loss. 

	We are really talking about trillions of dollars.  IN addition, FTF
have much more admin work, many more pressures, so you, as an emeritus,
Rich,  lived perhaps in the only golden era (1970-1985) for higher
education! --if we ever had one.   I think the structural inequities in
treatment of PTF labor nationally is way, way above (in importance) the
issue of concessions from unions. but locally that might well be the battle.

	But the time is past, I think, for useful PTf resistance ( I can't
really explain why this is so--maybe I am just tiring out on it>)--but now
that I have spent a couple months tracking how Lumina is controlling the
curriculum, controlling the accreditation, controlling the HE media (with
student loan profits of its parent corp:) , I am feeling like the adjunct
problem is actually not going to be a problem very soon, as the colleges and
universities have been herded into common standards, and other standardizing
practices in the curriculum, which will mean that a 'ready made" curriculum
can be foisted upon resource starved institutions, and the teachers in all
but the most elite schools will be relegated to para-professionals
monitoring classrooms with big screens.  In that sorry narrative, the
adjunct question will have disappeared, because corporations will be
desiging and selling all variety of canned curriculum which will, da da,:
match the canned standards that colleges and universities have been forced
to adopt. 

	 I give it 15  years and there will be no adjunct problem: everyone
will be an adjunct except for the 15%-30% elites--who will always have first
rate, F2F education.  I don't know where the line will be drawn between the
live curriculum and the canned:  maybe 40% will get the living education,
and 60% the dead and canned.  Not sure exactly how it will be staged in...
but in that scenario  the  761,000 FTF cohort will be about right... then
the others--those currently on the adjunct track-- will not be teachers,
actually,  they will be "classroom monitors" --a kind of glorified
paraprofessional, not functioning as "instructional"personnel--but rather
"support."  They will need only a AA in "instructional technology
management" a degree that does not exist yet, but will in about two years.
Tutors, educated in the field, will be available (as freelancers) to the
well off non elite should a student have the means and wish some face to
face tutoring.  The school will simply provide "space" --drafty halls with
banging shutters and burned out lightbulbs where these freelancers conduct
their tutoring.  The institution will not "pay" the tutor, instead, the
tutor will collect her tutoring fees individually, from each  student , and
do her own photocopying on her own dime or whatever else is needed -- spend
a few hours boning  up on British romanticism so she can  customize a
tutoring session for an especially generous (or promising?) student .  It's
really more like a brothel idea with the institution  pimping out the tutor
(formerly the adjunct), collecting a fee from the tutor for being "referred"
to students needing F2F (like how many hair salons are run--you rent a
"booth"),  providing space.  Hey maybe this is a movie. 

	I hope this is just my own personal nightmare .  But the foundation
control of everything in education goes really quite deep.  The final straw
for me was when I discovered how far  the accrediting take-over has
progressed already, by these "foundations" that are flush with grotesque
profits from yesteryear, and intent upon developing new "monetizing"
opportunities.  The ambitions and goals are quite naked: Privatization of
sectors, services, curriculum, testing, instructional materials, everything.

	I hope I am wrong. 

	On Wed, Sep 18, 2013 at 4:26 PM, Rich Gibson <[log in to unmask]>

		Having been a full prof, then emeritus, and now an
adjunct---for fun---it's pretty easy to see how people are being played, not
only by their bosses, but by their union(s) and by themselves.
		Having been an organizer for the empire's unions, on the
road, for about 1/2 my life, I know how the unions play too.
		And no one working for any of the teacher/prof/schoolworker
unions wants much of anything to do with faculty in colleges and
		Why? Individualism, arrogance, hubris, racism, opportunism,
nationalism, and sheer stupidity. It is much, much, easier to organize, and
then trick if necessary, k12 workers. And the k12 world draws a lot more
		On my campus, the union (an NEA affiliate) which represents
full time and adjunct profs in the same unit (custodial staff in another
union, secretaries in another---US unions divide people more than unite
them) negotiated a 5% pay cut, concessions, after the bosses had taken a 5%
raise (bosses then took a 3% cut and promoted that as sacrifice).
		The union then said concessions would save jobs--when any
idiot should know concessions do not save jobs but like giving blood to a
shark, makes bosses want more. Labor history since around 1970 shows that as
a fact.
		The day after the contract was ratified, one of the union's
chief bargainers became a dean and about 700 classes were cut, meaning a few
adjuncts I know lost their homes. It was an utterly corrupt and dishonest
deal, promoted effectively by elected leaders and very well paid NEA staff
(among others, those who helped destroy the Occupy and anti-tuition
movements, for Obama).
		But faculty cannot bring themselves to say: corrupt and
dishonest. Why? The treacle that passes off for collegiality and tolerance.
		When I informed the union bosses they should declare that
employees and bosses have contradictory interests (they like partner in
production bargaining and most of the faculty did too) and that they should
organize a committee which united the faculty, other staff, and students
(they being the target of schools, their minds and bodies) working easily
beyond the bounds of the restrictive union contract (labor peace sold for
dues) , set up a multiple area bargaining organization to create bargaining
minimums that must be met, and plan state wide job actions (maybe 200 ccs in
CA?), my union bosses went to the campus police complaining that I was a
		Fortunately, the police rejected that claim, as did human
resources (knees shot, I can't terrorize anyone anymore) .
		But the union is, I think, about to propose another
concession package and, having done nothing to organize anyone for the last
year, it may well be passed.
		"a fight extending well beyond the academy" is right on.
		Everything is in place for a dramatic change in the empire's
corporate state : distrust of govt and capital, some dissent in the military
(2/3 of those polled opposed the Syria attack--that is new) and a Lot of
anger among vets, etc.
		Of course, the array of enemies, physical and ideological,
is vast.
		The core issue of our time is the reality of the promise of
perpetual imperialist war and booming inequality met by the potential of
mass, integrated, class conscious resistance.
		But, with such small numbers on the radical or revolutionary
left: where to begin--outside and inside the academy? Who are the prime
canaries in the mine that will actually do something, put their bodies out
there? Soldiers. Vets. Students. Immigrants. Dedicated anti-racists of all
		I really like and respect the adjuncts who, like me, work so
hard for so little (I have other earned income and don't have to worry too
much at the moment). But I do not think they would be first in my line as an
		I'd be very interested in what others say about that. I've
not been an adjunct long and have some to learn.

		On 9/18/2013 3:32 PM, Carrol Cox wrote:

			Kamala Platt Wednesday, September 18, 2013 2:22 PM
business for the rad
			The way I see it, adjuncts are "canaries in the
mine" for many academic
			issues. If people paid attn. to more of the
abuse/exploitation against
			contingent faculty, more things would get nipped in
the bud/butt...
			Probably not, at least not without lengthy struggle,
extending well beyond
			the academy --for you are absolutely correct in
seeing this issue in a wider
			context when you go on to write:
			"That said, I think  academics of all persuasions
might do well to note how
			closely adjunct struggles
			resonate with other temporary and part time workers
and workers outside of
			protective legislation in US.
			Lets not remain in the Ivory Tower and those on the
fringes/ borders of
			academia may connect most with
			the "real world" I realize if we are talking about
resolutions, we need to
			focus on academia, but we can
			utilize that argument to bring along issues in
tandem, in other places."
			Not just with :" other temporary and part time
workers" however but with the
			entire work force, including retired workers, and
not just the U.S. but
			globally. And this is why I responded as I did to
your first sentence. (I
			would suggest that an excellent empirical account of
current global
			actuality is to be found in _Our Mutual Friend_ and
_Little Doritt_ -- more
			accurate than the NYT at least on the day's events.)
			Capital is still triumphing in the great war that
began with Carter's
			appointment of Volcker & his implicit approval of
the murder of Bishop

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	Margaret Hanzimanolis, MFA, Ph.D.
	Southern African Travel Narratives
	City College of San Francisco
	[log in to unmask]

	De Anza College, FHDACCD
	Cupertino, CA
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	Caņada College, SMCCD
	Redwood City, CA
	hanzimanolism@ <mailto:[log in to unmask]>

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