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From Antioch's "Well-Trained Activist" Blog

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  • steve_chase.eaop
    A Washington Post Plug and a National Review Slam Over the winter break, Antioch University s Environmental Advocacy and Organizing Program got some free media
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 4, 2008
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      A Washington Post Plug and a National Review Slam

      Over the winter break, Antioch University's Environmental Advocacy and
      Organizing Program got some free media attention. In a January 1, 2008
      news story on the "first in the nation" primary, a Washington Post
      journalist quoted EAOP instructor Abi Abrash Walton on the political
      situation here in New Hampshire and went on to report that she
      "teaches advocacy and organizing at Antioch University in Keene." It's
      small mention, but this kind of earned media attention helps us get
      the word out about our one-of-a-kind environmental studies program in
      activist training.

      Abi and I had to chuckle, however, when we learned that the EAOP was
      also featured in a December 27 story on the website of the extremely
      rightwing National Review magazine. In the National Review Online
      article, the author starts out by complaining that Antioch
      administrators and alumni are now working together to try to keep the
      College alive and kicking—and they might succeed! The article then
      falsely claims that during the recent effort to save the College,
      Antioch also started six other adult campuses across the country
      operating under the name of Antioch University. In fact, rather than
      being founded in 2007, Antioch University has been around since the
      early 1970's and it has been offering an expanding number of cutting
      edge master's and doctoral programs at its five other campuses across
      the country for nearly four decades. I guess the news is even worse
      than the poor readers of the National Review knew!

      The really big whoppers only started rolling, however, when the
      National Review piece made the Environmental Advocacy and Organizing
      Program the centerpiece of its fiercest criticism of Antioch. The
      biggest lie they told was their claim that the EAOP "does not require
      any knowledge of markets" and that, "in fact, knowledge of market
      processes is actively discouraged" within the EAOP. The only evidence
      that the author offered for his claim was the opening paragraph on our
      EAOP website:

      "Do you want to build a well-organized social movement that can
      challenge the downsizing of democracy and promote the common good? If
      so, check out our master's program in Environmental Advocacy and
      Organizing where we train students for activist careers as public
      interest advocates and grassroots organizers working for ecological
      sustainability, social justice, and the democratic control of
      corporations."

      It would appear that the National Review author believes that any
      university that runs a graduate program designed for people who want
      to work in the advocacy and organizing field--at least those in
      support of participatory democracy, the common good, ecological
      sustainability, social justice, and corporate accountability--must be
      committed to keeping its students from gaining "any knowledge of
      markets" and will actively discourage any consideration "of market
      processes." This is a huge leap of illogic and, in our case, it is
      patently false.

      The study of both the strengths and weaknesses of markets and market
      processes--and the debate over how they might best be augmented and
      influenced by consumers, workers, socially-responsible investors,
      entrepreneurs, NGOs, and democratically-run governments--is built
      right into the heart of several EAOP and other Environmental Studies
      Department courses and, I might add, in Antioch New England's brand
      new Green MBA program. We believe that such key issues of political
      economy are absolutely vital for concerned people to consider if they
      want to create more a more just, democratic, and sustainable society
      in the 21st century.

      From the National Review's lens, the EAOP's real crime seems to be
      that we refuse to indoctrinate our students into the National Review's
      narrow ideological agenda like some business schools do--and that our
      students seek out, and are given, an opportunity to explore and debate
      several different alternatives to the neoliberal agenda for corporate
      rule, including ideas and proposals by the likes of Adam Smith, Thomas
      Jefferson, modern pro-market environmental economists like Herman
      Daly, and global justice activists like Vandana Shiva.

      Now that we've been added to the National Review's rolling list of
      "nutty professors," I guess we should expect a call from FOX News
      soon. Perhaps they will want Abi and me to appear on air so Bill
      O'Reilly can yell at us to "Shut up!"

      If you can think of anyone, or any listserves, who might appreciate
      this post, please forward it to on to them--as well as the link to the
      EAOP's "The Well-Trained Activist" blog at http://eaop-blog.blogspot.com

      * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
      Steve Chase
      Director, Environmental Advocacy and Organizing Program
      Department of Environmental Studies
      Antioch University New England
      40 Avon Street, Keene, NH 03431
      603-283-2336; 603-357-0618 (fax); Steven_Chase@...

      * EAOP's Main Website: http://www.antiochne.edu/es/eao/default.cfm
      * EAOP's "The Well-Trained Activist" Blog: http://eaop-blog.blogspot.com
      * EAOP Radio Interview: http://www.antiochne.edu/es/eao/radio.cfm
      * EAOP's Online Bookstore: http://www.antiochne.edu/es/eao/bookstore.cfm
      (7.5% of your purchase price will be donated to the EAOP Scholarship
      Fund at not extra cost to you.)
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