Sunday, July 14, 2013

Bastille Day!

July 14 seems an auspicious date to plan, lay the groundwork and, if not start a revolution, then at the very least, initiate change (expressing the same in a more genteel and less threatening manner). Storm a Bastille today...personal, academic, professional, career or societal.

More than a national holiday, Bastille Day marks a deeply symbolic historical moment of solidarity and revolt against injustice, Bastille Day is commemorated world-wide, especially in Francophone countries (ironic considering French colonial history). Even in south Louisiana where conservative attitudes, social and political, are deeply ingrained, Bastille Day is a big deal. Had it fallen during the school year, it would have been a school holiday. Now I'm thinking it would make a dandy holiday for the academic precariat.

These days, there's rather a lot to make us want to take to the streets and storm symbols of authority. Some but not all are higher ed and academic labor related. Shall we make a list, call it a Watch List or something more urgent? Anything but Talking Points...

Convergence is catching up with all of us as threads cross. Most items on the list are related. Don't be so naive as to think that big data, education management analytics mined by computer tracking students and faculty are unrelated to the surveillance state. That is as unlikely as corporate interest in edu-business and de-funding public education being coincidental.

Speaking of themed convergences, since starting this post, a CCSF search lead me here via Danny Weil's series on the privatization of California CCs. Suzanne Hudson posted Caprice Lawless' op-ed about teachers modeling poverty at community colleges to the adj-l list just as I was reading Sarah Kendzior explain why complaining is a good thing.
The surest way to keep a problem from being solved is to deny that problem exists. Telling people not to complain is a way of keeping social issues from being addressed. It trivialises the grievances of the vulnerable, making the burdened feel like burdens. Telling people not to complain is an act of power, a way of asserting that one’s position is more important than another one’s pain. People who say “stop complaining” always have the right to stop listening. But those who complain have often been denied the right to speak.
Don't model denial. I started my list to post another time but want it to include your suggestions too: look for a call to submit items (or a list name for that matter). I've got a few other precariat-appropriate holidays in mind ~ recommendations welcome there too. In the meantime, sing "La Marseillaise."
    Allons enfants de la patrie,
    Le jour de gloire est arrivé.
    Contre nous de la tyrannie
    L'étendard sanglant est levé.
(complete lyrics and video)

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