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4118Re: Labor History - Bob Gould's response to Peter Boyle about my critique of Jim McIlroy's pamphlet 'Australia's First Socialists'

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  • ozleft
    Jan 17, 2004
      Academics: A response to Nick Fredman and Alan Bradley

      By Bob Gould

      Nick Fredman wrote:

      >>in his last blast Bob Gould was very dismissive of the evidence
      provided by article numbers via web searches.>>

      I wasn't being dismissive of web searches. I've found them very
      useful. My slightly dismissive tone was really directed at the way
      some people use a bit of a web search to divert attention from the
      main thrust of an argument.

      I also didn't compare Green Left Weekly with Socialist Worker. From a
      practical point of view, GLW is the only game in town these days, as
      far as serious socialist newspapers are concerned. The other papers,
      including Socialist Worker, don't appear regularly enough to matter
      much, which is one of the reasons why I take the DSP deadly
      seriously, and argue with it so much.

      Nevertheless, Nick Fredman's web search's result of 40 references to
      labour history over 13 years confirms my general point about the
      DSP's cavalier attitude to labour history, in spades. Over 13 years,
      that amounts to about three references a year, in which there are
      usually about 45 issues of GLW. That's one reference every 15 issues.

      As to Alan Bradley's proposition that the DSP has a tendency to
      heroism because it discourages academic careerism in its members, I
      have no way of knowing if that's true or not. What I do know is that
      we all live in capitalist society and that teaching in capitalist
      society, either in schools or universities, is a key way of
      disseminating ideas to the next generation. It was very much the
      tradition of the old CPA to encourage likely student types to get
      staff jobs in universities, particularly in the social sciences, to
      influence the next generation in the direction of socialism.

      Having staff jobs in universities in the social sciences both solves
      the problem of needing to earn a living under capitalism, and has a
      considerable ideological utility. To reduce it to the question of
      possible careerism is narrow-minded, peurile and politically very
      short-sighted. Careerism can be a problem for socialists in most
      spheres of life, but it's not particularly pronounced in the social
      sciences in academe these days, compared with the private sector and
      the big end of town. Alan Bradley and Peter Boyle may just have
      noticed the fierce ideological offensive by the right wing of the
      bourgeoisie, on the universities, particularly on the social
      sciences, which focuses on the very point that academics in the
      social sciences come under a kind of general fatwa from the right
      wing in society ideologically, for allegedly corrupting the youth by
      teaching them anti-capitalist ideas.

      Despite my well-known polemical assaults on the ephemeral post-
      modernist ideological fashion in universities, I don't believe that
      the most pressing danger is Boyle's fantasy of "petit-bourgeois
      intellectuals" corrupting the Marxist movement.
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