Agyeya’s proletarian reading of The Ramayana

जो पुल बनाएंगे

जो पुल बनाएंगे
वे अनिवार्यत:
पीछे रह जाएंगे

सेनाएं हो जाएगी पार
मारे जाएगे रावण
जयी होंगें राम,

जो निर्माता रहे
इतिहास में
बंदर कहलाएँगे।

Those who build bridges
Will certainly
Be left behind

The armies will cross
Ravan will be slain
Rama will be victorious,

But the architects
will be remembered in history
As monkeys.

We should always boycott apartheid

Ordinary people throughout the world must press harder and harder for a movement for Boycott, Divest and Sanctions against Israel
Snehal Shingavi , Saturday 26 Jul 2014

The most recent events in Gaza have shocked the conscience of the world so deeply that we have seen the largest pro-Palestinian demonstrations across the world that we have ever seen. From London, to Sydney, to South Africa, to Chicago, thousands have come out to demand a cessation to the bombing. Even fifteen years ago, during the Second Intifada, the global protest movement was not nearly as large. Something profound has occurred that has altered Israel’s ability to present its case to the world and have it be accepted as gospel.

First, the bombings of Gaza have produced a concentrated spectacle of what daily life in Gaza is like: bombing from Israeli Defense Forces, indiscriminate round-ups of Palestinians, collective punishment, inadequate access to food, water, and medicine, and the absolute disregard for civilian life. The bombing of hospitals, schools, UN refugee camps, apartment complexes, killing entire families, and even children playing on the beach are not “accidents” but the direct outcome of Israeli policies which have turned Gaza into one of the most densely populated places on the earth and then deprived that population of basic necessities, including the freedom to move. The fact that Israel does the same things it is doing now even when there are no Hamas rockets on which to deflect attention gives lie to the claim that this has anything to do with self-defense. As Noura Erekat, the legal scholar, has convincingly argued, Israel, like every other occupying power, has no right to self-defense. It has, rather, an obligation to preserve the lives of those it occupies, and it has flouted that obligation repeatedly.

Second, the rhetoric from inside Israel has shifted very decisively towards the far-right. The anecdotes reported in the media are chilling enough: the burning alive of an innocent Palestinian boy by an Israeli lynch mob; soccer fans shouting “death to Arabs!”; Israeli youth patrolling the streets with Kahanist t-shirts; the repeated accusations that one is not a citizen of Israel if one is not loyal to its military campaigns; and on and on. But even worse have been the reports of what has been said by the political establishment. Ayelet Shaked, member of Israel Beiteinu, called for the deaths of Palestinian mothers since they give birth to “more little snakes.” Despite knowing that the three teenage Israeli youth who had been feared to be kidnapped were actually dead, Prime Minister Netanyahu whipped up racist hysteria and did nothing to stop the mobs from attacking Palestinians in the streets. The once popular belief that Israel represented the leading force for democracy and social justice in the Middle East has been betrayed by the rampant racism, chauvinism, and xenophobia.

Finally, as these lines are being written, new protests have emerged in the West Bank. A march from Ramallah to Jerusalem, one of the largest in a decade, has unleashed the spirit of the third Intifada. Pictures of protesters tearing down the separation (also known as the “apartheid”) wall that Israel used to annex unlawfully more of the West Bank. The spirit of unity that was only formally represented in the alliance announced between Hamas and Fatah a few months ago has become transformed into a truly popular and nationally unity against the horrors that Israel is committing in Palestine. Two years after the revolutionary movements of the Arab Spring, it seems that the spirit of popular rebellion has come to Palestine as well.

These new processes have altered the narrative of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict substantially, even as they have not yet fully been able to transform the political commitments of the most powerful nations in the world. The US Senate voted unanimously to support Israel. The French government declared a ban on protests in support of Israel. The European Union even balked at the opportunity to condemn Israel for killing citizens of the EU, Ibrahim al-Kilani, his wife, and five children. Despite the shift in global public opinion decisively towards support for the Palestinian cause, the leadership of the most powerful countries in the world remains decisively committed to Israeli apartheid and occupation.

This is the context in which the calls for boycott, divestment, and sanctions have to be understood and the reasons why ordinary people throughout the world must press harder and harder for a movement for BDS. It was as a consequence of the struggles of black South Africans that global civil society was inspired to isolate apartheid South Africa through a campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions in the 1980s. The parallels to today could not be clearer. The refusal of Israel to stop its criminal war on Gaza and the refusal of the world powers to act mean that the job falls to the only two actors capable of making social change: the Palestinians and global civil society. The former has already acted and sacrificed—lives, health, dignity, and freedom. It falls on the rest of us to heed their call.

*Snehal Shingavi is an Assistant Professor, English, University of Texas Austin

Open Letter in support of student protesters who were arrested at UT Austin on April 23

(to sign, please tweet me at @sshingavi)

To the University of Texas, Austin administration:

We, the undersigned, members of the UT community are troubled by the arrest of peaceful protesters at the Office of the President on April 23, 2014. Non-violent student protest ought to be met not with criminalization but with negotiations and dialogue.

Students were sitting-in to protest the University of Texas’s decision to proceed with the implementation of Shared Services, a proposal that would restructure the operations of the University of Texas by eliminating 500 departmental staff positions. Not only has such a proposal been subject to serious debate and misgivings on the part of members of the campus community, it has been met with opposition in all of the other universities where it has been implemented. The elimination of departmental staff positions not only means that the university will be able to provide fewer services to students and faculty at UT, it also means that the services that are provided will be offered by people doing the work of those who have been laid off. Such a restructuring of the university not only threatens the educational mission of the university but it also undermines some of the university’s best resources and talents.

The criminalization of non-violent student protest has a long history at UT Austin, including the arrests of the UT-10 in 1999, the arrests of anti-war protesters in 2003, and the arrest of anti-sweatshop activists in 2012. This pattern of criminalizing dissent unnecessarily creates a climate in which students are unable to raise their own concerns about changes taking place at the university and in the broader community.

We think that it is time for this pattern of responding to protest with police to stop in favor of a policy of active engagement with student concerns. We encourage the University of Texas and the Travis County Attorney to drop the charges against the students arrested yesterday. We encourage the University to revise its policies in dealing with student protesters. But most importantly, we encourage the University of Texas to rethink its commitment to the staff who work tirelessly to make UT Austin the flagship university of Texas and to reconsider its implementation of Shared Services.

 

Sincerely,

Sincerely,

A. Naomi Paik, Asst. Professor, American Studies, UT Austin

Aaron Bady, Postdoctoral Fellow, English, UT Austin

Amanda Gray, Graduate Student, American Studies, UT Austin

Ana Minian, Harrington Faculty Fellow, Center for Mexican American Studies, UT Austin

Anam Bangash, undergraduate, UT Austin

Anindya Dey, Graduate Student, Physics, UT Austin

Anne Lewis, Sr. Lecture, Radio Television Film, UT Austin

Ashlyn Davis, graduate student, American Studies, UT Austin

Barbara Harlow, Professor, English, UT Austin

Ben Carrington, Associate Professor, Sociology and African and African Diaspora Studies, UT Austin

Bernth Lindfors, Professor Emeritus of English, UT Austin

Brian Doherty, Senior Lecturer, English, UT Austin

Cary Cordova, Assistant Professor, Department of American Studies, UT Austin

Cole Wehrle, Graduate Student, English, UT Austin

Cynthia Talbot, Associate Professor, History & Asian Studies, UT Austin

Dana Cloud, Professor, Communication Studies, UT Austin

Deb Palmer, Associate Professor, Bilingual/Bicultural Education, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, UT Austin

Don Howard, Associate Professor, Radio/Television/Film, UT Austin

Elisa Underwood, Graduate Student, American Studies, UT Austin

Ellen Spiro, Professor, Radio Television Film, UT Austin

Emily Lederman, Graduate Student and AI, English, UT Austin

Eric Covey, Assistant Instructor, American Studies, UT Austin

Eric Schenk, Former Academic English Program Instructor, retired, ESL Services, International Office, UT Austin

Eric Tang, Assistant Professor, Department of African and African Diaspora Studies, UT Austin

Gretchen Murphy, Professor, English, UT Austin

Heather Hindman, Associate Professor, Department of Asian Studies, UT Austin

Heather Houser, Asst. Professor, English, UT Austin

Helene Quanquin, visiting professor, Sorbonne-Nouvelle (Paris III)

Ian Woolford, PhD, Alumnus, UT Austin

Jaime Puente, Doctoral Student, American Studies, UT Austin

Jason Brownlee, Assoc. Professor, Department of Government, UT Austin

Jauzey Imam, undergraduate, class of 2015, UT Austin

Jennifer Kelly, PhD Candidate, Department of American Studies, UT Austin

Jennifer Wilks, Associate Professor, English, UT Austin

John Schaefer, UT alumnus

Josephine Lawson, UT Student, class of 2017

Jossianna Arroyo-Martínez, Professor, Spanish and Portuguese, African and African American Studies, UT Austin

Julie Kantor, Graduate Student in American Studies, AI in Rhetoric, UT Austin

Julie Minich, Asst. Professor, English, UT Austin

Juliet Hooker, Associate Professor of Government and African and African Diaspora Studies, UT Austin

Kamala Visweswaran, Associate Professor, Anthropology, UT Austin

Karen Gustafson, Research Associate, Radio Television Film, UT Austin

Katya Kolesova, graduate student, Communication Studies, UT Austin

Kristen Brustad, Associate professor, MES, UT Austin

Laura Davila, alumna, UT Austin

Laura Lyons, UT Alumna

Luis E. Cárcamo-Huechante, Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese, UT Austin

Luis Marentes, Associate Prof. Of Spanish (dept. Languages, Literatures & Cultures) U of Massachusetts Amherst, UT alumnus

Mahmoud Al-Batal, Professor, Middle Eastern Studies, UT Austin

Mariana Mora, UT Alumna

Mia Carter, Associate Professor, Department of English, UT Austin

Michelle Monk, Department Administrator, Radio-Television-Film, UT Austin

Mona Mehdy, Assoc. Professor, Molecular Biosciences, UT Austin

Monica Muñoz Martinez, Carlos E. Castañeda Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Mexican American Studies, UT Austin

Neville Hoad, Associate Professor, English, UT Austin

Noah De Lissovoy, Asst. Professor, Curriculum and Instruction, UT Austin

Pablo Gonzalez, alumnus, UT Austin

Purnima Bose, UT Alumna

R. Scott Garbacz, PhD Candidate, English, UT Austin

Rachel Jennings, PhD, English, UT Austin

Ramey Ko, Lecturer, Center for Asian American Studies, UT Austin

Rasha Diab, Asst. Professor, Rhetoric and Writing, UT Austin

Regina Mills, Graduate Student, English, UT Austin

Rhiannon Goad, Graduate Student and Assistant Instructor, Department of English, UT Austin

Robert Jensen, Professor, Communications, UT Austin

Robert Oppenheim, Associate Professor, Asian Studies, UT Austin

Robert Oxford, graduate student, American Studies, UT Austin

Rocio Villalobos, Coordinator, Multicultural Engagement Center, UT Austin

S. Shankar, UT Alumnus, Professor, Department of English, University of Hawai’i at Manoa

Saif Kazim, UT Alumnus, class of 2013

Sarah Frank, graduate student, English, UT Austin

Sarah Tuttle, Research Associate, McDonald Observatory

Shannon Speed, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Director, Native American and Indigenous Studies, UT Austin

Sheela Jane Menon, graduate student, English, UT Austin

Shiyam Galyon, alumnus, UT Austin

Snehal Shingavi, Asst. Professor, English, UT Austin

Sona A. Shah, Assistant Director, Center for Asian American Studies, UT Austin

Syed Akbar Hyder, Assoc. Professor, Asian Studies, UT Austin

Tarek El-Ariss, Assoc. Professor, Department of Middle Eastern Studies, UT Austin

Taryn Stoneking, undergraduate, UT Austin, class of 2015

Teri Adams, UT Alumna

Victoria Vlach, Administrative Associate, Dept. of Asian Studies, UT Austin

 

 

Faculty letter in support of divestment from Israel at University of Washington

April 14, 2014

To whom it may concern:

We, the undersigned faculty from universities around the country, salute and commend the efforts of Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights at the University of Washington, Seattle, to get the UW Student Senate to pass a measured and thoughtful motion to divest from corporations that profit from the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

We agree with the motion in its recognition that the Israeli occupation is both illegal under international law and involves extensive and ongoing violations of human rights and international law that are systemic in nature and thoroughly documented by a range of internationally respected organizations. Corporations that collaborate with and profit from the occupation are themselves therefore complicit in the perpetration of human rights violations. Furthermore, we endorse the statement that a decision to divest from corporations that profit from these fundamental violations is and should be in keeping with the commitment to respect for human rights, non-discrimination and ethical values that is a cornerstone of any university’s moral and intellectual mission. It is clearly in keeping with the University of Washington’s own stated commitment to “the active pursuit of global engagement and connectedness” and to fostering “engaged and responsible citizenship”.

We therefore urge the Student Senate at the University of Washington, Seattle, to live up to these ethical principles and to pass the divestment resolution.

Sincerely,

Joel Beinin, Stanford University

Eduardo Cadava, Princeton University

Mary Yu Danico, California State University, Pomona

Colin Dayan, Vanderbilt University

Erica Edwards, University of California Riverside

Alessandro Fornazzari, University of California, Riverside

Cynthia Franklin, University of Hawai’i

Jess Ghannam, University of California, San Francisco

Terri Ginsberg, International Council for Middle East Studies

Macarena Gomez-Barrís, University of Southern California

Barbara Harlow, University of Texas, Austin

Linda Hess, Stanford University

Cheryl Higashida , University of Colorado, Boulder

Nasser Hussain, Amherst College

Robin D. Kelley, University of California Los Angeles

J. Kehaulani Kauanui, Wesleyan University

Jodi Kim, University of California Riverside

David Klein, California State University, Northridge

Dennis Kortheuer, California State University, Long Beach

Mariam Lam, University of California Riverside

David Lloyd, University of California Riverside

Alex Lubin, University of New Mexico

Sunanina Maira, University of California, Davis

Frederick C. Moten, University of California, Riverside

Bill Mullen, Purdue University

Nadine Suleiman Naber, University of Illinois, Chicago

David Palumbo-Liu, Stanford University

Laura Pulido, University of Southern California

Dylan Rodriguez, University of California Riverside

Jeff Sacks, University of California Riverside

Steven Salaita, Virginia Tech

Sarita See, University of California Riverside

Freya Schiwy, University of California, Riverside

Malini Johar Schueller, University of Florida, Gainesville

Snehal Shingavi, University of Texas, Austin

Rajini Srikanth, University of Massachusetts Boston

Neferti Tadiar, Barnard College

Faculty Letter Against Shared Services at UT Austin

Dear President Powers,

We are deeply concerned about the Business Productivity Initiative and its impact on the university community and on our ability to teach and engage in meaningful research. We are dismayed that the Initiative has already invested more than $4 million paid to Accenture Corporation in order to “sell” the University on the Plan — money that could have been used to meet our core missions and enhance staff services and staff support. We question the Plan’s potential for cost saving; we have been given inaccurate statistics and graphs throughout the campus discussion period.

Implementation of the proposed shared services plan, whether touted as a series of “pilot” experiments or done wholesale, will inevitably endanger one of the foundations of this university’s greatness—the sense of community that joins together faculty, staff, and students. Our multitalented, abundantly generous, highly skilled, deeply committed and invested staff is an essential element of our community.

People choose to work at The University of Texas at Austin because they believe in its educational and social missions. Adoption of a shared services model will weaken departments’ commitment to those missions by devaluing bonds between faculty and staff that develop from working toward common goals. We oppose any plan that removes dedicated staff from departments and consolidates the specialized services offered both students and faculty at the departmental level. The stability and coherence of staff at the departmental level ensures effective and productive intradepartmental communications, and ideally facilitates relations between faculty, staff, and our students. We are already short staffed and should hire more departmental support, not less. We oppose the use of attrition and forced retirement as money saving ventures.

We who work at the university know our staff as generous and deeply committed professionals, as parents and caretakers, community volunteers, as fellow citizens of Austin, Travis County, and the state of Texas. These are people who help make our campus the compassionate, intelligent, diverse, vibrant, and enviable place that attracts visitors to the Forty Acres; their support of faculty and students forge the lifelong bonds of attachment to and affection for the university that are its very lifeblood. We should choose to invest in our campus community as a whole because that investment strengthens our city, its families, and our common spirit.

For many of us, it is very difficult not to see the university’s embrace of the Business Productivity Initiative as part of the overly zealous, profit-motivated corporatist mandate, which is likely to erode public institutions and public services across this country. The greatest tragedy of these privatization schemes is that they destroy the democratic spirit by calculatedly de-valuing our common wealth and the very notions of collective endeavor, mutual support, and the common good.

These are inestimable values; they matter to us, greatly. We implore you to withdraw your support of the Shared Services Plan.

Letter authored by,

Mia Carter, Associate Professor of English, University Distinguished Teaching Associate Professor; University of Texas System Regents’ Outstanding Teacher; 2014 Alcalde “Texas Ten”; Member of TSEU-CWA 6186

Julius G. Getman, Earl E. Sheffield Regents Chair; Professor, School of Law; Member of TSEU-CWA 6186

Anne Lewis, Sr. Lecturer Radio-Television-Film; 2010 University of Texas System Regents’ Outstanding Teacher; Executive Board Member TSEU-CWA 6186

Faculty Signatories:

Michael Adams, Interim Director, James A. Michener Center for Writers; Director, Dobie Paisano Fellowship Program; Associate Professor, Department of English

Kamran Asdar Ali, Fellow of Marlene and Morton Meyerson Centennial Chair; Associate Professor, Director, Academic Program, Department of Anthropology, Department of Asian Studies, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Department of Middle Eastern Studies, South Asia Institute

Lynn A. Baker, Frederick M. Baron Chair in Law

Samuel Baker, Associate Professor of English

Phillip Barrish, Associate Professor; Director, Lower-Division Literature Program, Department of English

Mary Beltrán, Associate Professor, Dept. of Radio-Television-Film; Affiliate, Women’s & Gender Studies, Center for Mexican American Studies

Daniela Bini, Professor of Italian and Comparative Literature; recipient of President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Award; Harry H. Ransom Teaching Award; Liberal Arts Council Teaching Award; Cavaliere (Ordine della Stella della Solidarietà Italiana) conferred by the President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano.

Daniel Birkholz, Director, English Department Honors Program; Associate Professor of English; Recipient, President’s Associates Teaching Award

Lynn E. Blais, Leroy G. Denman, Jr. Regents Professor in Real Property Law

Hans C. Boas, Raymond Dickson, Alton C. Allen, and Dillon Anderson Centennial Professor; Director, Linguistics Research Center, Department of Linguistics; Department of Germanic Studies

 Brian A. Bremen, Associate Professor of English; Provost’s Teaching Fellow

 Barry Brummett, Charles Sapp Centennial Professor in Communication; Department of Communication Studies Chair

Erika Bsumek, Associate Professor of History

 Thomas Buckley, Specialist, Rhetoric and Writing; Member of TSEU-CWA 6186

Ben Carrington, Associate Professor of Sociology and African and African Diaspora Studies; Member of TSEU-CWA 6186

 Evan Carton, Joan Negley Kelleher Centennial Professor in Rhetoric and Composition; Professor, Dept. of English

Oscar Cásares
, Fellow of Susan Taylor McDaniel Regents Associate Professorship in Creative Writing; Associate Professor of English

Dana Cloud, Associate Professor; Director of Graduate Studies; Fellow to Everett Collier Chair in Communication Studies

 Cary Cordova, Assistant Professor, Department of American Studies; Faculty Affiliate, Center for Mexican American Studies

Ann Cvetkovich, Ellen Clayton Garwood Centennial Professor of English; Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies

 Diane Davis, Director, Digital Writing and Research Lab; Professor of Rhetoric & Writing

Janet M. Davis, Associate Professor; American Studies, History, Women’s and Gender Studies

Lesley Dean-Jones, Associate Professor of Classics

 Noah De Lissovoy, Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Instruction

James Denbow, Professor of Anthropology

Rasha Diab, Assistant Professor, Department of Rhetoric and Writing. Affiliate: Departments of English and Middle Eastern Studies

 Brian Doherty, Senior Lecturer, English; Member TSEU-CWA 6186

Ariel Dulitzky, Clinical Professor of Law and Director, Human Rights Clinic; Director, KBH Center for Latin American Law, University of Texas School of Law

 Tarek El-Ariss, Associate Professor of Arabic Studies and Comparative Literature, Department of Middle Eastern Studies

Susan B. Empson, Professor, STEM Education, Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Karen Engle, Minerva House Drysdale Regents Chair in Law, Co-Director and Founder Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice

 Lester Faigley, Robert Adger Law and Thos. H. Law Professor in Humanities, English/Rhetoric and Writing

Toyin Falola, Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities; Distinguished Teaching Professor; Professor, Department of History

Linda Ferreira-Buckley, Lillian and Tom B. Rhodes Centennial Teaching Fellow; Associate Professor of English, Rhetoric & Writing

William E. Forbath, Lloyd M. Bentsen Chair in Law

Steve Friesen, Professor, Department of Religious Studies; President¹s Associates Teaching Excellence Award (2011)

Karl Galinsky, Floyd A. Cailloux Centennial Professor of Classics; University Distinguished Teaching Professor; Max-Planck International Research Award 2009

Joshua Gunn, Associate Professor, Communication Studies

 Frank A. Guridy, Associate Professor of History

Barbara Harlow, Louann and Larry Temple Centennial Professor of English Literature with courtesy appointments in Comparative Literature, Middle Eastern Studies, and affiliations with Women’s and Gender Studies, South Asia Institute, and the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice (UT Law School); Member of TSEU-CWA 6186

Jim Hankinson, Professor of Philosophy and Classics

John Hartigan, Director, Américo Paredes Center for Cultural Studies; Professor, Department of Anthropology

Edeltraud Harzer, Senior Lecturer, Asian Studies

Kurt Heinzelman, Professor of Poetry and Poetics, Department of English; Editor-in-Chief, TSLL; Editor-at-Large, Bat City Review

 Susan Heinzelman, Director, Center for Women and Gender Studies; Associate Professor of English

 Lars Hinrichs, Fellow of J. R. Millikan Centennial Associate Professorship in English Literature; Associate Professor of English Language and Linguistics

 John Hoberman, Professor of Germanic Studies; Member of TSEU-CWA 6186

 Neville Hoad, Associate Professor of English

 Juliet Hooker, Associate Director for Scholarly Programs, Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies; Associate Professor of Government and African and African Diaspora Studies

Heather Houser, Katherine Ross Richards Centennial Teaching Fellow in English; Assistant Professor of English; Member TSEU-CWA 6186

 Don Howard, Associate Professor, Radio-Television-Film, UT3D Director

Madeline Hsu, Associate Professor, History

 Thomas K. Hubbard, Professor of Classics; Fellow of the Mary Helen Thompson Centennial Professorship in the Humanities

John Huehnergard, Professor, Department of Middle Eastern Studies

Robert Jensen, Professor of Journalism

Martin Kevorkian, Associate Professor and Associate Chair, English

Terri LeClercq, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer, retired and Norman Black Professorship in Ethical Communication in Law School of Law

 Richard M Lewis, Associate Professor and Area Head for Screenwriting, Radio Television and Film

 Tatjana Lichtenstein, Assistant Professor, Department of History

 Allen MacDuffie, Fellow of Jane and Roland Blumberg Centennial Assistant Professorship in English; Assistant Professor of English

Geoff Marslett, Senior Lecturer, Radio Television Film; Board of Regents’ Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award; Member of TSEU-CWA 6186

Alberto A. Martínez, Associate Professor, Department of History

Anne M. Martinez, Assistant Professor, Department of History

Tracie Matysik, Associate Professor, Raymond S. Dickson Teaching Awardee, Department of History

 Mona Mehdy, Associate Professor, Department of Molecular Biosciences

 Jeffrey L. Meikle, Stiles Professor in American Studies, Professor of Art and Art History

Sofian Merabet, Assistant Professor of Anthropology; Department of Middle Eastern Studies

Mark Metzler, Associate Professor of History

Karl Hagstrom Miller, Fellow of George W. Littlefield Associate Professorship in American History; Associate Professor, American Studies and History

Julie Avril Minich, Leslie Waggener, Sr. Centennial Teaching Fellow; Assistant Professor, Department of English

Michelle Monk, Department Administrator, Radio-Television-Film; Member of CWA-TSEU 6168

Lisa L. Moore, Interim Director, The Center for Women’s and Gender Studies; Professor of English

Steven A. Moore, PhD, RA, Bartlett Cocke Regents Professor of Architecture and Planning; Director, Graduate Program in Sustainable Design, School of Architecture

Monica Muñoz Martinez, PhD, Carlos E. Castañeda Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Mexican American Studies

 Patrick Olivelle, Professor, Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair Emeritus in the Humanities

Antonella D. Olson, Distinguished Senior Lecturer in Italian, 2012 University of Texas System Regents’ Outstanding Teacher, 2009 Texas Exes Teaching Award, 2001 Harry H. Ransom Award

 Angela Naomi Paik, Fellow of Mary Helen Thompson Centennial; Assistant Professorship in the Humanities, Department of American Studies, Center for Asian American Studies, Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, Department of African and African American Studies, Rapoport Center for Law and Human Rights; Member TSEU-CWA

 Tom Palaima, Robert M. Armstrong Centennial Professor; Director PASP Classics; UT Alumni/ae Association’s Jean Holloway Award for Excellence in Teaching 2003-4; Plan II Chad Oliver Teaching Award 2004-5; MacArthur fellow 1985-90; Member of CWA-TSEU 6168

Deborah Palmer, Associate Professor, Bilingual/Bicultural Education Department of Curriculum and Instruction; faculty affiliate Center for Mexican American Studies; Member TSEU-CWA

 Deborah Paredez, Katherine Ross Richards Centennial Teaching Fellow in English, Associate Professor of English

Carla Petievich, Visiting Professor, South Asia Institute

Lucas A. Powe Jr., Anne Green Regents Chair in Law; Professor of Government

Megan Raby, Assistant Professor, Department of History

 Guy P. Raffa, Associate Professor of Italian; Member of CWA-TSEU 6186

PJ Raval, Assistant Professor, Department of Radio-Television-Film

 Ann Reynolds, Associate Professor, Art History

 Matt Richardson, Fellow of Chair in African and African Diaspora Studies; Associate Professor African and African Diaspora Studies and English

Sharmila Rudrappa, Associate Professor, (Future) Director Academic Program, Department of Sociology

John Rumrich, Arthur J. Thaman and Wilhelmina Dore’ Thaman Endowed Professor in English

Elizabeth Scala, Associate Professor of English

Nancy Schiesari, Professor, Radio-Television-Film

 Megan Seaholm, Senior Lecturer, Department of History

Martha Ann Selby, Professor of South Asian Studies; Member of CWA-TSEU 6186

Dina Sherzer, Professor Emeritus, Department of French and Italian

Joel Sherzer, Professor Emeritus, Department of Anthropology

 Snehal Shingavi, Fellow of Jane and Roland Blumberg Centennial Assistant Professorship in English; Assistant Professor, Department of English

Christen Smith, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology; Department of African and African Diaspora Studies

Shannon Speed, Associate Professor of Anthropology; Director, Native American and Indigenous Studies

 James Spindler, The Sylvan Lang Professor; Professor, UT McCombs School of Business

Ellen Spiro, Professor, Department of Radio Television Film

Janet Staiger, William P. Hobby Centennial Professor Emeritus in Communication and Professor Emeritus of Women’s and Gender Studies; Chair of Faculty Council, 2009-10

Kathleen Stewart, Professor, Anthropology

Pauline Strong, Professor of Anthropology; Director, Humanities Institute

Circe Sturm, Fellow of Dallas TACA Centennial Associate Professorship in the Liberal Arts; Associate Professor of Anthropology; Native American and Indigenous Studies Faculty

Cynthia Talbot, Associate Professor of History and Asian Studies; Member TSEU-CWA 6186

 Kim TallBear, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology

Eric Tang, Assistant Professor, African & African Diaspora Studies; Member of TSEU-CWA 6186

Rabun Taylor, Associate Professor of Classics

Shirley Thompson, Fellow of Stiles Associate Professorship in American Studies; Fellow of Chair in African and African Diaspora Studies; Associate Professor of American Studies and African and African Diaspora Studies; Member of TSEU-CWA 6186

Luis Urrieta, Jr., Associate Professor; Curriculum & Instruction, Mexican American Studies;
Native American & Indigenous Studies; Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies

Angela Valenzuela, Professor, Department of Educational Administration; Center for Mexican American Studies; Department of Curriculum and Instruction; Director of TCEP and Associate Vice President for School Partnerships

Kamala Visweswaran, Associate Professor of Anthropology, South Asian Studies, Asian American Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies; Member of TSEU-CWA 6186

Jennifer Wilks, Associate Professor of English & African and African Diaspora Studies; 2011 Alcalde “Texas Ten”

Hannah C. Wojciehowski, Professor of English

Helena Woodard, Associate Professor, Department of English; Faculty Affiliate, J. Warfield Center for African and African Diaspora Studies

Jo Worthy, Professor, Language and Literacy Studies, Curriculum and Instruction

 

 

 

 

 

A Response to the Renewal Faction on Events in Austin

Since so much has been made of Austin by the Renewal Faction, I would like to respond (especially since I’m singled out, again).

Here is the “crisis” to which the Renewal Faction refers in Austin.  I’ve redacted the names because they are unimportant, but if anyone would like to do the accounting, we will happily talk about them.

  • Comrade 1 and 2: political/personal differences
  • Comrade 3: Paternity
  • Comrade 4: long term health issue
  • Comrade 5: returned after custody battle
  • Comrade 6: on leave to finish a book
  • Comrade 7: undeclared personal reasons with a note to rejoin in a few months
  • Comrade 8: returned (irregularly to branch meetings)
  • Comrade 9: returned (reappeared at the Day School)
  • Comrade 10: long-term financial issues (reappeared at the Day School)
  • Comrade 11: difficult work schedule (reappeared at the Day School)
  • Comrade 12: time conflict (still doing fraction work)

There are two ways to interpret this data, but the Austin branch committee (while I was on it) was of the belief that we ought to take comrades at their word for their rationales for leaving rather than impute political debates on them.  We at least hold to the belief that our comrades are not lying to us.

So when the Renewal Faction writes the following

Now comrades may take leave for entirely legitimate reasons involving health, family, employment, and so on. But if ten people go “on leave” more or less simultaneously–at the same time as two others formally resign–then it is foolish to pretend as if the reason is not fundamentally political and indicative of a political crisis.

I can only respond: Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

In a branch that was 35-8 comrades, this is high but not unusual, especially given three things which the Renewal Faction overlooks: 1) The way that neoliberalism actually affects our members in ways that are not only political (i.e. job loss, family crises, etc.) 2)      The sheer exhaustion the branch faced after the most exciting summer that we have ever participated in politically (The War on Texas Women), arguably as large a protest as anything in DC or Chicago, but without the number of nearby branches to help with the organizational challenges. 3)The complicated back and forth we have been trying to navigate around the question of the size of the branch, student/community, and the development of cadre which have created some organizational bumpiness that are not the same thing as political disagreements.

I think that it is a fair question to call this a crisis in the branch, or rather, one reading of the evidence could reasonably lead a comrade to that conclusion.  But such an interpretation is so out of synch with the local evidence, so quick to use data to support its own alarmist conclusions, that it fails to explain the specifics.  Did we in Austin also overestimate the period?  Here is our assessment from the summer work:

At the same time, this movement has a time limit on it.  As soon as the bills pass, the Democratic Party and its ancillary organizations will begin to channel all of that frustration into electoral politics.  It is also clear that the Democrats are not willing to defeat the Republicans.  In order to defeat the bills, we would need to do something on the order of what was done in Madison, WI, namely occupy the Capitol with so many people and for long enough that they cannot pass the bills.  The left does not have the forces or the credibility to do something like this on its own – it would need the mainstream organizations (unions, feminist groups) to be on board as well.  It would require, in other words, a much larger “people’s filibuster.”  Anything short of running out the special session means that the Republicans will be able to use their stacked deck to push through whatever they want.  (Austin District Notes, July 2013)

Later we were even sharper about the limits posed by this movement:

We should also understand that the fight around abortion rights was more or less derailed by the abstention of the Democratic Party (if not by outright orders by Party leaders to pull the plug on an issue that would hurt their chances in the polls).  We continue to build as much as we can around this fight, but it is substantially harder to do so without a clear target and without the kind of mobilizing capacity that the liberal organizations possess.  We take no pleasure in having been right about this: it can only be disorienting for a number of activists who were told that this was the fight of their lives and that “we won’t back down” only to see the Democrats licking their wounds and waiting until 2014.  Some of those people can be brought to socialist politics; most of them will be disoriented or confused or will begin to repeat the shibboleths of Democratic Party sound bites about realism and pragmatism. (Austin District Notes, August 2013)

We did take a slightly over-optimistic turn in September, where I clearly erred in thinking that there was a larger periphery than there was.  Here is what I wrote:

This month the notes will be making the argument for an outward push for ISO events and tablings.  We have already argued that the mood in Austin, while angry at the general nature of the economy and oppression in general, does not still constitute fertile ground for agitational work (i.e. it is possible to call for relatively small rallies, but these do not bring out substantial, organized forces), our most important work will be propagandistic (i.e. informational tablings, meetings, teach-ins, etc.) in order to seed the ground for a revival in struggle.  The raw numbers just in terms of our activity over the past three week bear this out:

·        8/22: 200 people at town hall against APD violence

·        8/24: 80 people out at rally for jobs and justice

·        8/27: 96 contacts at Freshman activities fair

·        8/28: 200 people at rally against bleach balloons

·        8/29: 2-300 people at fight for 15 rally

·        8/29: 400 people at Huston-Tillotson Trayvon event

·        8/31: 100 people at No War on Syria rally

·        8/31:  80-100 people at Planned Parenthood fundraiser

·        9/1: 50-60 people at the “march for civil rights”

·        9/4: 65 people at Why You Should Join the Socialists

·        9/5: 13 people at Graduate Student organizing meeting

·        9/6: 8 people at People’s Task Force meeting

·        9/10: 40-50 people at bleach balloon protest

·        9/12: 15 people at Graduate Student Employees Association meeting

·        9/12: 275 people at Islamophobia event

(If you subtract out our members, we have a periphery of something like 1000-1500 people in the last three weeks alone)

Clearly, not all of these people are socialists or even left of the democrats, but they together represent a sizable chunk of people with whom we can engage in politics and political discussion.  The thing that has been missing has not been political issues that are drawing people out and engaging them in some kind of activity. (Austin District Notes, September 2013)

This was overclaimed, but it seemed right at the time to focus on meeting new political activists and talking to them about politics.  Still, this excited perspective was corrected by October once it was clear that these numbers were aberrational.  What is left out of the Renewal Faction’s assessment are two things.  1) the local character of our perspectives (which were much more conservative than even the national perspectives in some places) which underwent a lot of revision and debate and 2) the fact that even by the logic of the Renewal Faction, the “crisis” happened before September (when it was clear that we didn’t have the membership numbers to respond to all of the interest in the ISO).

In the interest of proving there is a crisis in the organization, the Renewal Faction mischievously misreads what is happening in Austin.   There may very well be an organizational crisis in the ISO.  We do not know because we do not have a full accounting of what happened all over the country.  But I can say with full confidence that what is happening in Austin, while not ideal, does not match the crisis that Shaun J is describing.

Snehal S