Friday, December 6, 2013

“These decisions are largely made by the faculty”

Corey Robin has a great, hilarious piece about a University of Chicago professor’s reactionary response to graduate student unionization (the article he discusses is also indispensable). It’s a perfect illustration of the authoritarian mindset:
…I found your co-signed letter to be naive, unconvincing, and, quite frankly, kind of offensive. It is naive in that you seem to really think a union would not change relationships between graduate students and the faculty. I don’t know if either of you have ever been members of a union or worked in a unionized environment, but unions inevitably alter the relationships between union members and the people the interact with, be they management, clients, customers, or what not. The formalization of such relationships is, in fact, the central goal of a union. Your letter says “Our goal is simply to gain a voice in the decisions that affect our working conditions.” Well, these decisions are largely made by the faculty. Thus, if you want a collectivized voice in these decisions, you will be unavoidably shaping your relationships to faculty members.
We make all the decisions around here. Check.
We also submit meekly to the administration, and if you don’t it will call attention to our feudal obedience.

Jacques Monod makes for an illuminating comparison…

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