November 2013


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"Romsted, Laurence" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 24 Nov 2013 23:30:15 +0000
text/plain (377 lines)

Seems like this should be discussed at the SftP conference in April.
Scientists are workers too.


On 11/24/13 4:30 PM, "Carrol Cox" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>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,
>condition of higher education in the U.S. Today and also of K-12
>and by yet further extension, of the condition of the working classes of
>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
>"caucus" of some sort involving all campus labor (and not just faculty);
>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
>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
>tenure track faculty, some of whom will be needed to keep Stanford, MIT,
>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
>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
>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
>	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
>universities have been herded into common standards, and other
>practices in the curriculum, which will mean that a 'ready made"
>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
>rate, F2F education.  I don't know where the line will be drawn between
>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 ,
>do her own photocopying on her own dime or whatever else is needed --
>a few hours boning  up on British romanticism so she can  customize a
>tutoring session for an especially generous (or promising?) student .
>really more like a brothel idea with the institution  pimping out the
>(formerly the adjunct), collecting a fee from the tutor for being
>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
>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,
>	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,
>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,
>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
>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
>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
>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
>		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
>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
>minimums that must be met, and plan state wide job actions (maybe 200 ccs
>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
>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
>(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
>		I'd be very interested in what others say about that. I've
>not been an adjunct long and have some to learn.
>		best,
>		r
>		On 9/18/2013 3:32 PM, Carrol Cox wrote:
>			Kamala Platt Wednesday, September 18, 2013 2:22 PM
>business for the rad
>			caucus
>			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
>			Romano.
>			Carrol
>		-- 
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>	-- 
>	******************************
>	Margaret Hanzimanolis, MFA, Ph.D.
>	415-516-7949
>	Southern African Travel Narratives
>	City College of San Francisco
>	[log in to unmask]
>	De Anza College, FHDACCD
>	Cupertino, CA
>	[log in to unmask]
>	Caņada College, SMCCD
>	Redwood City, CA
>	hanzimanolism@ <mailto:[log in to unmask]>
>	<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
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