07 April 2011

On Wisconsin

Well, it appears that the controversy surrounding Dr Cronon and the open-records request of the state Republican Party has subsided, for the moment at least. The public statement issued by the University’s Chancellor Biddy Martin, though probably not as tough in terms of action as I would have liked, was probably nevertheless a politically savvy move that could assuage the fears expressed by Dr Cronon and his supporters about the threat to academic freedom and confidentiality (while still giving the Republicans some of the emails they wanted). I’m glad to see that the academy still sees that it carries, to some extent, a sacred trust (though many academics would not be caught dead using such language), and that their participatory ethos between student and professor is a part of that trust.

Meanwhile, on the threat of immanent shutdown of the federal government… John Quiggin has a good take on the matter over at Crooked Timber, though I am sceptical any truly substantive popular worker-rights movement (such as that taking place in Wisconsin – some truly impressive petition-driving for the recall of Dan Kapanke having been done already) will come of it. To some extent, I feel that the extension of such movements to the national stage has a diluting effect that makes elite capture much more likely.

That’s all for now – choir awaits.

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