Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

FW: Ward Churchill Case a Neocon Test for Academic Purges

Expand Messages
  • karaka@medscape.com
    ... -0800 From: Craven, Jim Subject: Ward Churchill Case a Neocon Test for Academic Purges Ward Churchill is Neocon Test Case for
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1, 2005
    • 0 Attachment
      ---------- Forwarded message ---------- Date: Sun, 27 Feb 2005 09:35:44
      -0800 From: "Craven, Jim" <JCraven@...> Subject: Ward Churchill Case a
      Neocon Test for Academic Purges

      Ward Churchill is Neocon Test Case for Academic Purges

      (Emma Perez, Chair of Ethnic Studies, U of Colorado, Feb. 15, 2005)

      We've done some preliminary research and analysis and it's become clear
      exactly what's at stake and what we're up against. CU-Boulder has been made
      the national frontline of the neocon battle for dominance in academe.

      CU-Boulder has likely been made their "test case," their break-the-mould
      moment in a national strategy. Their local resources and troops (thinktanks,
      legislative, rank-and-file followers) are already fully mobilized and their
      national resources are mobilizing in our direction (if not already
      mobilized), and the infrastructure they already have here is formidable. On
      Ward's specific case, they are already *at least* 3 weeks ahead of us in
      organizing, and they are using tactics they have been testing since the 90s.

      Some details from preliminary research:

      * The CO governor, Governor Bill Owens, is no ordinary Republican governor.
      He is an activist leader in their battle for higher education through his
      role in ACTA (American Council of Trustees and Alumni).

      ACTA is Lynn Cheney's organization, which hit the headlines a few years ago
      for creating the rightwing National Assoc of Scholars (NAS) and for
      proposing post-911 to monitor faculty nationwide for ideological
      (liberal/left) bias. Gov. Owens is especially active in ACTA's "Governors
      Project". He has already hosted an ACTA-led conference in CO for state
      trustees, probably for training them (wouldn't be surprised if some of our
      regents aren't in this same loop). He is already implementing the Governors
      Project strategy at less visible institutions. For example, last month the
      trustee structure at Mesa State College was revised and he appointed 3 new
      trustees, one of whom is "the intermountain coordinator for the American
      Council of Trustees and Alumni for teacher preparation reform."


      Also leading in this "Governors Project" is Pataki in NY-no doubt connected
      with the Hamilton College incident that started all of this.

      * The general strategy in forcing and then manipulating this "investigation"
      of Ward's scholarship shares key tactics with the neocon sinking of Emory
      historian Bellesiles in 2001 www.oah.org/pubs. There are also likely to be
      parallels with the campaign against Linda Brodkey at UT in 1991 as well as
      other campaigns through which they have been testing and developing their
      methods and tactics.

      * Besides suggesting "treason" on the part of Ward and calling for his
      firing, Governor Owens has already requested Ethnic Studies' budget, one of
      the most important neocon institutional targets. In a parallel de-funding
      move, see their successful campaign to pass H.R. 3077


      Further, by going after Ward's tenure, they are essentially targeting the
      scholarly legitimacy of the entire field that, through external and internal
      review, granted Ward tenure. If Ward's tenure (and his promotion to Full,
      and his successful post-tenure review) was a "mistake," the next question is
      "who gave it to him?" Ultimately, by undermining the integrity of tenure in
      one national field, the neocon Right will pave the way to an attack on the
      very legitimacy of tenure as an institution. CU Regent Lucero did not mince
      words in his public statement at the emergency meeting where the 30-day
      investigation of Ward was announced:

      "My displeasure with Mr. Churchill's essay should be abundantly clear,
      however, the issues regarding faculty responsibilities are still my focus.
      While the language in the Laws and Policies is in place, setting the
      standards for faculty expectations and the grounds for discipline, I would
      argue that they are subjective and dependent on the faculty for
      interpretation as to whether a professor has crossed a line. I would suggest
      that the time has come for a revision to the Policies that allows for other
      forms of adjudication that are not reliant on the faculty for determining
      subjectively the fate of one of their own. (Feb 3, 2005)"

      * Neocon students at CU-B (College Republicans) are likely connected with
      CampusWatch and/or AVOT (Americans for Victory against Terrorism); they are
      already connected with a very hostile right-wing talk radio talk show host
      in Denver (that is then feeding to the national level) and they have been
      using tried-and-true CampusWatch/AVOT-type tactics to create the steady
      stream of racist, violent hatemail that not only Ward, but ES faculty and
      students are receiving.

      * While we are confused and disoriented by the barrage of attacks, the state
      legislature is already moving to get tenure changes written into the books.
      The tactic is for Owens to make radical demands and push the envelope to the
      right, opening up space for a conservative Democrat to propose a more
      "moderate"-looking bill (Senate Bill 85, which includes tenure law changes)
      that should, if they're smart, pass quickly and easily, possibly even before
      the next Regents meeting. Reported in the Colorado Daily on Friday Feb 11,
      the tenure changes appear minor but will be used as footholds for the next
      deeper round(s) of legislative actions.

      * The CU-Boulder administration seems well-intentioned but to have misjudged
      the stakes and their opposition. They may have believed they could keep
      control of the investigation by doing it in-house but the Right is already
      outflanking them by using this investigation to launch an ideological
      show-trial; it's a war of public opinion in which the administration has
      already been outmaneuvered. By the end of 30 days, they could easily be
      backed into a corner, unable to resist the Right's larger agenda. The
      Admin's investigation can find whatever it wants (it could even decide to
      make no move against Ward), but by that point, it won't matter because all
      the legislative momentum/power will be out of their hands. Ultimately, the
      neocon agenda doesn't even have to succeed in getting Ward's tenure revoked;
      the attack on Ward is only one key piece of a larger campaign with several
      objectives beyond the firing of Ward.

      * Ward is a prime target. He is vulnerable and, at the same time, has
      extremely high strategic value. In terms of his vulnerability: he can be
      isolated from support forces who would traditionally make it hard to attack
      a tenured faculty. There are faculty who have problems with his being
      American Indian or who have something against Ethnic Studies, etc etc-these
      faculty will be reluctant or refuse to defend him (until it's too late). As
      a revolutionary, he can be counted on to have a significant number of
      colleagues who strongly dislike him and will be reluctant or refuse to
      defend him (until it's too late). On top of all this, in the post-911
      climate, moderates who would normally disagree with his views but then go on
      to defend his free speech rights and academic freedom, will hesitate because
      they are afraid of being cast in with his "anti-americanism" (much like the
      McCarthy period). In terms of his high value as a target (David Horowitz has
      already written on this): he's not only tenured, but he's a full prof; he's
      not only inside ethnic studies but he was chair; he's not in just any
      university in CO, he's at the institutional flagship of "liberalism" in the
      middle of a red state.

      We have to be as clear as possible about the big picture. This is much, much
      bigger than an individual attack on Ward. What we're looking at is a
      carefully developed, pre-existing national strategy that has been searching
      for exactly the right breakthrough "test case." It has found extremely
      favorable conditions in Ward's situation and in the post-911 climate. As
      they've been doing already in other areas they want to dismantle the
      structural footholds (academic freedom/tenure, ethnic studies) that social
      movements gained for people of color and liberal and progressive
      intellectuals inside academe during the 60s & 70s. If they are successful in
      Colorado, it could set a precedent like Bakke. Raising the stakes even
      higher, Governor Owens has ambitions that reach as far as the White House.
      The next phases of his career hang on this crucial campaign that will give
      definitive proof of his leadership ability. If he pulls it off, it's a
      glorious triple coup-de-grace: undermine the legal foundation of tenure/free
      speech, hurt/ruin Ethnic Studies...and at no less than the strongest
      "liberal" campus in the state. His personal investment in this campaign is
      very high and he is likely to throw his whole weight behind it.

      This is a fight to make history.


      James M. Craven
      Blackfoot Name: Omahkohkiaayo-i'poyi
      Professor/Consultant,Economics;Business Division Chair
      Clark College, 1800 E. McLoughlin Blvd.
      Vancouver, WA. USA 98663
      Tel: (360) 992-2283; Fax: (360) 992-2863
      "The people who cast the votes decide nothing.
      The people who count the votes decide everything."
      Josef Stalin
      Employer has no association with private/protected opinion
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.