Sabbaticals for everyone? Absolutely, says Adolph Reed in part 2 of our interview. “We’re all workers,” Reed explains. “We all want the same things.” Now that everyone works in the service economy, the blue-collar/white-collar distinctions make very little sense. And recognizing that all intellectuals are workers is a step toward realizing that all workers are intellectuals.
Today the birthday of Martin Luther King is observed. He was shot almost 40 years ago on April 4, 1968 while supporting an AFSCME job action, the “illegal” strike of Memphis sanitation workers. These labor intellectuals were part of the wave of schoolteachers, civil servants, firefighters and other public employee unionization in the 60s. Their leadership eventually inspired the more reluctant professoriate into the wave of unionization that characterized higher ed faculty during the 1970s.
Today’s tenured faculty–and their unions–still have a lot to learn from the people who carry their trash, organize their files, teach their children, and put out their fires.
As always, more video is available at the youtube channel. Total views of the “How the University Works” videos are over 10,000. Special thanks for kind mentions by Baudrillard’s Bastard, High, Low & In Between, the Global Sociologist, the Open Anthropology Project, and our old friend Bruce Simon, who has a provocative series on funding public higher ed.
Also see this U Minnesota conference announcement: Rethinking the University: Labor, Knowledge, Value.
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