One-Two-Three-Four: Foot in the Door Syndrome

You believe the lies of the elite, of the media, of the Hollywood crocodile tear factories -- we are all the precarity

Interesting! National Adjunct Walkout Day. Sad and the same old. Same-same-same controlled opposition. Look at the tepidness of the movement, below – walking out and teaching in, at lunchtime –

Hello,

Because we believe the University of Arizona will support people who support education, we invite you to join adjuncts and Non-Tenure Track faculty as we reinvest in student learning and quality instruction. On February 25, 2015, in solidarity with National Adjunct Walkout Day, we will be walking out and teaching-in from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm, to raise awareness about the value of adjunct, contingent, and Non-Tenure Track labor. We invite all faculty, administration, staff, students, and community members to join us in this important endeavor.

In light of repeated budget cuts, rising tuition, and the increasing corporatization of the university, we are concerned about higher education in Arizona. Right now, only 24% of UA revenue is spent on instruction, which is an 8% decline since 2003. While 40% of UA’s faculty is Non-Tenure Track, we work for significantly less pay, with minimal resources and job security.

In the English Department, for example, instructors receive only semester or one-year contracts and earn—if full-time—just $33,000 a year pre-tax. Yet at our ABOR peer institutions, English Department adjuncts make 30% more and their class sizes are 20% smaller. Our English adjuncts and lecturers—many of whom are alumni of this very university—have not had a pay raise in over 10 years, not even a cost-of-living adjustment. In order to create working conditions that will allow us to meet the educational goals of this great university, UA Non-Tenure Track faculty need multi-year contracts, paths to promotion, reduced class sizes, and equitable pay in line with our ABOR peer institutions.

On a personal note, I would like to add that I love teaching and believe it is life changing work. I teach writing and critical thinking to students who are primarily first generation college students and/or whose first language is not English. I form lasting connections and contribute to retention. I prepare students not only for their other courses but also the job market. The teachers who work with the most vulnerable students are the ones who are the most affected by these unsustainable working conditions. Simply put, students and our educational goals suffer when working conditions are inadequate.

We will distribute more details about the Teach-In soon. In the meantime, please contact us with questions or comments about how to get involved. We look forward to working with you to restore investment in higher education!

To learn more, visit:  and follow @aznttfaculty

It’s really sad that the words above are sort of like mine – 1985! So, in 30 years, we get a Facebook and Blog inspired national walkout, where, hmm, a very-very small percentage of faculty walk around with picket signs, for a few hours.

This is the revolution – Facebook, a million blogs, stories, tons of conferences, non-profits, all sorts of hemming and hawing, over the poor pay, lack of benefits, no safety, the precarity of it all. And we are outraged because we have a master’s degree or two, some PhDs to our names?

We have been asleep at the wheel in education, in the environmental movement, in the media, in politics, planning, social services, the entire shooting match because we inherently are deluded into thinking capitalism, free markets, top-dog winner takes all, the One and 19 Percent amassing power and 92 percent of all economic wealth, well, we think that the system needs tweaking?

I have been fighting the system since day one of graduate school. Since undergraduate school. The pompous, inane, hyper-erudite, superfluous, obtuse, self-important, highly hierarchical, highly pomp and circumstance imbued, highly administered, entertaining themselves to death higher education has failed on so many fronts.

Every single day of my life teaching writing, journalism, literature, remedial thinking, all of it, I have fought tooth and nail my own kind. Stick in the muds. Back stabbers. True neoliberals, or angel huggers, crybabies, these people who would never rock their own systems, go way outside the box, foment real systemic change, a la revolutionary change, they are now, as a loose group, begging for more money?

For some equal pay for equal work? You have got to be kidding? What about the shitload of work I do now as an employment consultant, non-profit, working with adults living with disabilities? Think hard, with my two master’s degrees, a ton of experience unmatched by the whining professoriate, getting, how much money in this ageist, out-of-whack world where college presidents make messes and privatizing and hedge fund deals while pulling in a cool half a million a year, or $1.5 or even two hundred grand?

You can’t call yourself a precarious revolutionary and still teach the pap, the pablum, the same old PT Barnum lie that the systems was once good (When?) or that it needs fixing (not completely overhauled or imploded?). This is a country of privilege, corralled by a very narrow narrative coming from political circles, the IT world, the technocratic realm, the psychological pits, the retail sewers, the entire discourse, even info-tainment and the mainstream Willy Loman storyline on TV and in the movies, all of it stinks of a sad, self-loathing, elite and very curiously fixated group of people whose upbrinings and knee-jerk lives, all of them, those in power, have a strangely absurd but highly influential way of framing the world.

They are wrong, the elite, but they have keyed into mind addiction, the narrow view of privilege, a Zionist and anti-goy worldview. The conversations, the power dynamics, the movers and shakers and money changers are inordinately coming from a very skewed worldview, a cultish view, and it is one that is self-looping, self-fulfilling, self-destined.

So, how do these conversations, these emancipations happen, in education, a world of deadly acculturation, of a flaccid belief that somehow this or that little or big cause is enough to push over the One Percent, the Transnational Capitalists, the Military Complex, the Entire Project of Zio-Evangelist thinking?

What have the faculty been researching, teaching, doing? This is madness to continue teaching. Madness.

This is a society of great class divides, of massive wealth to the minority, and yet, somehow, teachers think they are in some neutral zone? Where is that zone, really? Pushing buttons, mouses, digits? Rah-rah. The mess is right there, individualized but the same lock-step thinking, or belief that slow change, that incrementalism, that the controlled opposite is somehow going to defeat the rotten-to-the-core political-psychological-pharmaceutical-warring-punishing-digital class? Those masters have lobotomized and spayed and neutered the middling class, the follow-the-constitution class, the believers in angels and exceptionalism, believers in the greatness of red, white and blue.

So, we get a lunchtime teach-in, as a walkout day. In a culture that does what? 11.57 million people filled out a bracket on ESPN’s 2014-15 Bracket Challenge.

Whoops, I meant – Wealth, Income, and Power by G. William Domhoff

In terms of types of financial wealth, the top one percent of households have 35% of all privately held stock, 64.4% of financial securities, and 62.4% of business equity. The top ten percent have 81% to 94% of stocks, bonds, trust funds, and business equity, and almost 80% of non-home real estate. Since financial wealth is what counts as far as the control of income-producing assets, we can say that just 10% of the people own the United States of America; see Table 3 and Figure 2 for the details.

A remarkable study (Norton & Ariely, 2010) reveals that Americans have no idea that the wealth distribution (defined for them in terms of “net worth”) is as concentrated as it is. When shown three pie charts representing possible wealth distributions, 90% or more of the 5,522 respondents — whatever their gender, age, income level, or party affiliation — thought that the American wealth distribution most resembled one in which the top 20% has about 60% of the wealth. In fact, of course, the top 20% control about 85% of the wealth (refer back to Table 2 and Figure 1 in this document for a more detailed breakdown of the numbers).

Even more striking, they did not come close on the amount of wealth held by the bottom 40% of the population. It’s a number I haven’t even mentioned so far, and it’s shocking: the lowest two quintiles hold just 0.3% of the wealth in the United States. Most people in the survey guessed the figure to be between 8% and 10%, and two dozen academic economists got it wrong too, by guessing about 2% — seven times too high. Those surveyed did have it about right for what the 20% in the middle have; it’s at the top and the bottom that they don’t have any idea of what’s going on.

Americans from all walks of life were also united in their vision of what the “ideal” wealth distribution would be, which may come as an even bigger surprise than their shared misinformation on the actual wealth distribution. They said that the ideal wealth distribution would be one in which the top 20% owned between 30 and 40 percent of the privately held wealth, which is a far cry from the 85 percent that the top 20% actually own. They also said that the bottom 40% — that’s 120 million Americans — should have between 25% and 30%, not the mere 8% to 10% they thought this group had, and far above the 0.3% they actually had. In fact, there’s no country in the world that has a wealth distribution close to what Americans think is ideal when it comes to fairness. So maybe Americans are much more egalitarian than most of them realize about each other, at least in principle and before the rat race begins.

Another way that income can be used as a power indicator is by comparing average CEO annual pay to average factory worker pay, something that has been done for many years by Business Week and, later, the Associated Press. The ratio of CEO pay to factory worker pay rose from 42:1 in 1960 to as high as 531:1 in 2000, at the height of the stock market bubble, when CEOs were cashing in big stock options. It was at 411:1 in 2005 and 344:1 in 2007, according to research by United for a Fair Economy. By way of comparison, the same ratio is about 25:1 in Europe. The changes in the American ratio from 1960 to 2007 are displayed in Figure 9, which is based on data from several hundred of the largest corporations.

Oh, heck, these goofy, endless droning people championing the most upsidedown causes! Education should be stopped in its tracks. The entire mess should be halted. Mass uprisings against the renter class, the debt class, the taxation and levy class, the punishers and the psychological lobotomizing class.

Can we imagine the National Adjunct Walkout Day as anything but an aberration, in this football-loving, TV-consuming, iPhone addicted, distracted society of controlled folk who just want a little bit more of the pie to consumer.

I hear it daily from the sustainabilty folks, the climate change freak-outs, all those folk who fail to put all the causes together, and to finally say – End Game.

Done.

Imagine driving in gridlock trying to get to that sub-standard, labor stealing job, and listening to folks like Bill McKibben or any number of published fools on the radio, like NPR or Democracy Now, lecture us on how to live smaller, exist lower on the carbon tree, stop driving, eat organic? Imagine the audacity, the elitism, the entire premise of their existence as we slog to work, driving miles and miles, while these creeps lecture us on living closer to our jobs, biking to work? This is that class, those people in the 20 percent, plied with the wrong education, the same Yale that gave Bush a degree or the same Harvard that gave Obama his. These people are in a project of economically killing the lower classes, killing us, burdening us with pain, sickness, premature death, suicide, the entire murder incorporated through their bug splat collateral damage shit, economic eugenics. On top of it, we have to hear their prattle. What is it about taking care of bed-ridden folk, or teaching folk, or medical caring folk, or working on helping folks with DD or ID, what is it that we have to do to go green? How does that happen? Right, publish a book or prattle on in the digital dungeon of Counterpunch. Yep, problems solved!

But would any liberal or counter-capitalist call for their own culling? Or actually ask to cull the murderers? How many in the One Percent, in the Point One Percent, how many are murderers, baby killers, exploiters? How many have raped mother earth, raped father seas, and do we call for their extinction? Is that what we teach? Incremental change? Rule of law? Change through consensus? Is that what these adjuncts have been doing? Is that what they are fighting for?

Sometimes these picket events are enough to make a grown dying person laugh himself to death.

We fight for wages when the entire mess of education, higher education, is going to the dogs. It that worth fighting for, dying for?

Nuance, baby, nuance —

It is possible that tenured professors, realizing that their numbers and power are dwindling, will eventually see that it is in their best interests to join contingent faculty members, fight to professionalize the working conditions of their colleagues, and abolish the two-track system. But in the meantime, organizations like the American Association of University Professors, the American Federation of Teachers, and the National Education Association must come out in favor of truly equal pay, benefits, and job security.

No national union, including the Service Employees International Union, which is organizing adjuncts in the private sector, has done so. This represents a profound failure of political vision, a capitulation to the corporate model, and a denial of “the duty of fair representation” required of all unions in return for being granted the right to serve as the exclusive bargaining agents for all the faculty. There can be no genuine solidarity wherever a separate but unequal two-tier wage system exists.

If adjuncts have any hope of substantial gains, they must have the goal of equality. They may have to turn to legislators and state and federal agencies to insist on equal treatment. The Accreditation Group of the U.S. Education Department has thus far ignored repeated complaints of violations of academic freedom and standards, so adjuncts may have to appeal to Congress to see that the agency fulfills its mission.

If union models do not fundamentally change, contingents will have to create independent organizations to advocate for equality, which means a single salary schedule, a single raise scale, and a single set of procedures for job security and grievances. It is my hope that National Adjunct Walkout Day signals a significant step in that direction.

Keith Hoeller, an adjunct professor of philosophy at Green River Community College, in Auburn, Wash., is co-founder of the Washington Part-Time Faculty Association and editor of Equality for Contingent Faculty: Overcoming the Two-Tier System (Vanderbilt University Press, 2014).

He was a colleague of mine, and I organized with him, and, alas, I got sacked at that school. Really, the nuancing is terrible.

Cornel West praises Occupy Seattle movement at Green River Community College

November 23rd, 2011
Princeton professor, author and activist Cornel West urged the 300 people who gathered for his Nov. 16 talk at Green River Community College to go beyond getting credentialed and pursue a “deep education.”

It would not be easy, he warned his audience, about half of them students: “In the process of being educated you have to learn how to die in order to live.”

Drawing on Plato and Malcolm X, West said the death process is part of real education — paideia — a concept developed by Socrates that means deep, critical thinking.

It is the antithesis of contemporary culture: “The problem in American society is we are a culture of death-denying, death-dodging… a joyless culture where pleasure-seeking replaces what it means to be human.”

Fresh from a trip to Occupy Seattle earlier in the day, West praised the movement, which he said represents “a deep democratic awakening where people are finding the courage to find their voice.”

Greed has corroded society, he said.

“Market moralities and mentalities — fueled by economic imperatives to make a profit at nearly any cost — yield unprecedented levels of loneliness, isolation and sadness. Our public life lies in shambles, shot through with icy cynicism and paralyzing pessimism. To put it bluntly, beneath the record-breaking stock markets on Wall Street and bipartisan budget-balancing deals in the White House, lurk ominous clouds of despair across this nation.”

West said that in this age of fear, economic instability and employment challenges, young people must learn “to have a love of wisdom, love of your neighbors and love of justice.”

Such love, embedded in our cultural and social justice traditions, is powerful, he said.

“That Coltrane love, that subversive love. It’s there in the Occupy Wall Street movement. … When it’s organized and mobilized, love is a threat.”

Paul Haeder's new bio is about suspending all those credentials, all those titles, all those in-the-trench experiences he's acquired and worked hard on in his 64 years (2021): Novelist, essayist, journalist, social worker, college and K12 educator, environmental warrior. Terms and avocations more meaningless as cancel culture rises and rises from left and right insanity. Paul's book, Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber (2016), looks at 10 years (now going on 16 years) of his writing at Dissident Voice. Read his musings at LA Progressive. Read his short story collection, Wide Open Eyes: Surfacing from Vietnam now out, published by Cirque Journal. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.