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Fighting Academic Repression and Neoliberal Education

Resistance, Reclaiming, Organizing, and Black Lives Matter in Education

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Edited By Anthony J. Nocella II and Erik Juergensmeyer

Fighting Academic Repression and Neoliberal Education is a cutting-edge investigation of the alarming state of education today. This practical how-to handbook gives readers tactics and strategies to organize and challenge forces that threaten liberatory critical education. Drawn from scholars and activists from across the world, the fifteen chapters guide readers through a strategic method of understanding the academic industrial complex and corporate education in the twenty-first century. Education is being hijacked by banks and corporations that are tearing apart the foundational fabric of academic freedom, resulting in mass standardized education and debt for all students and furthering racial inequity. This is a must-read for anyone interested in democracy, education, social justice, critical pedagogy, and Black Lives Matter.

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12. On Strike in the Ivory Tower: Academic Repression of Labor Organizing (Emil Marmol / Mary Jean Hande / Raluca Bejan)

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CHAPTER  TWELVE

On Strike in the Ivory Tower: Academic Repression of Labor Organizing

EMIL MARMOL, MARY JEAN HANDE, AND RALUCA BEJAN

 

INTRODUCTION

As graduate students at the University of Toronto (Uof T), we spend much of our time juggling several teaching and research assistantships, taking part in publishing projects, and academic conferences, oftentimes with little time left over to work on our own research. Many of us also struggle to financially survive on funding packages that are far below the poverty line. We are acutely aware of the narrow line of academic freedom we must walk: creative and original enough to stand out from the crowd, but never too critical of the institutions that fund us—“Do not bite the hand that feeds!” as the old saying goes. And certainly, do not engage in any direct action that could undermine the dominant relations of privatization and corporatization of the university. Historically, change has always been effected through direct action. And, although being a graduate student often feels far removed from the experience of direct forms of struggle, we have learned very quickly, through participating in a strike, that to wage a successful action, we needed to do more than simply theorize about forms of oppression or capitalism—we needed to stop our work and directly bite that hand that feeds. Doing so allowed us to see the university in a different light, which revealed concrete and...

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