Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Strike UK

Posted: February 21, 2020 by zombieacademy in Academy, Politics, Research, Teaching
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We the undersigned, as deeply concerned members of the global academic community,

1. Condemn the use of disproportionate force and retaliatory brutality by the Hong Kong Police against students in university campuses in Hong Kong. In particular, we are outraged by the unauthorised entry, extensive deployment of tear gas and violent intimidation in the Chinese University of Hong Kong, City University of Hong Kong, Polytechnic University of Hong Kong and the University of Hong Kong on 11th and 12th November, 2019.

2. Condemn the use of unjustified violence against protesters across Hong Kong in all other contexts. Including, most recently, the firing of live rounds at point-blank range against protesters in Sai Wan Ho, and the repeated attempts by a motorcycle officer to run-over protesters in Kwai Fong on 11th November 2019, both of which are in clear violation of the Police General Orders Force Procedures Manual.

3. Condemn the continued use of hate speech by the Hong Kong Police, particularly the consistent reference to protesters and supporters of democracy as ‘cockroaches’, that contribute to furthering vitriolic hatred between all factions in the Hong Kong community.

4. Urge leaders of Hong Kong universities to release clear statements rejecting the entry of police into university campuses, supporting the freedom of assembly of students and staff, and reaffirming the sacrosanct responsibility of all universities to protect academic freedom and provide a safe space for all students to express their views.

5. Demand the Hong Kong Police to cease all acts of police brutality immediately, suspend officers who have committed disproportionate acts of violence with immediate effect, and initiate legal charges where necessary against officers who have violated the law.

6. Demand the Hong Kong government to set up an independent inquiry into the use of force in the protests since June 2019, chaired by an impartial judge. In particular, we believe the inquiry should have the power to summon witnesses, collect a coherent and representative body of evidence, and independently validate police accounts, above and beyond the restricted scope and power of the Independent Police Complaints Council.

We stand in solidarity with the Hong Kong people. We believe the defence of academic freedom, the freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and association, and the responsibility to protect the safety of our students are universal causes common to all.


1. 譴責香港警察對香港大學校園內的學生使用不相稱的武力和報復性殘暴行為。我們尤其對2019年11月11日至12日內警方在未經授權之下進入香港大學、香港中文大學、香港理工大學及香港城市大學,並於以上大學校園發射大量催淚彈和作暴力恐嚇等部署感到極度憤怒。

2. 譴責在其他情況下香港警察對香港示威者使用不合理的暴力行為,包括最近有警員在西灣河向示威者近距離以實彈射擊、以及於2019年11月11日在葵芳一交警駕駛電單車企圖高速撞向示威者。這兩項事件都明顯違反警察通例之《程序手冊》。

3. 譴責香港警察持續使用具煽動性的仇恨言論,特別是將示威者和民主支持者普遍統稱為「蟑螂」,在某些情況下還就學生示威者死亡高呼「開香檳慶祝」,加劇香港社會各派之間的極端仇恨。

4. 敦促香港各大學的領袖發表明確聲明,拒絕警察進入大學校園,支持學生和教職工的集會自由,並重申所有大學的神聖職責,即保護學術自由並為所有學生提供安全的空間發表意見。

5. 要求香港警方立即停止所有警察暴行,立即將實施暴力行為的人員停職,並在必要時對違反法律的人員提起法律訴訟。

6. 要求香港政府就自2019年6月起於多次抗議活動中使用之武力問題成立獨立調查委員會展開獨立調查,該調查委員會必須由一名公正的法官主持。我們特別認為,該獨立調查委員會必須有權召集證人、收集連貫且具有代表性的證據,並獨立驗證警察的記錄,比現時獨立監察警方處理投訴委員會(監警會)的權力限制及範圍更廣。


1. We will not publish any identifiable data collected in the petition.
2. On a regular basis, we will publish aggregated statistics of signatures collected, including:
-The number of lecturers, associate professors and professors signed
-The number of miscellaneous junior academic staff signed
-Top 5-10 institutions with the most number of signatures
3. We will seek explicit consent to publish your names and details before we associate them with the petition. This will be done in a separate follow email, your submission of this form does not automatically imply your consent for us to publish your name.

1. 我們不會公開任何簽署本請願書的人士的可識別的個人資料
2. 我們將定期發佈本請願書所收集的統計數據,包括:
– 簽署請願書的講師、副教授、教授的人數
– 簽署請願書的其他教學職員、相關人士的人數
– 主要簽署請願書的學者的大學
3. 如有需要公開任何簽署人的名字及資料,我們會通過您遞交的電郵地址聯絡您,以便得到您的同意。遞交本請願書并不代表您已經同意我們公開您的個人資料。

The petition is here.

… There was an acceptance amongst managers of the inevitability that education would increasingly be modelled on business. Some managers would typically introduce new procedures by explicitly saying that they didn’t themselves think they were a good idea, but what could you do? This was how things were to be done now, and the easiest option all round would be for us to go through the motions. We didn’t have to believe it, we only had to act as if we believed it. The idea that our ‘inner beliefs’ mattered more than what we were publicly professing at work was crucial to capitalist realism. We could have left-wing convictions, and a left-wing self-image, provided these didn’t impinge on work in any significant way! This was ideology in the old Althusserian sense – we were required to use a certain language and engage in particular ritualised behaviours, but none of this mattered because we didn’t ‘really’ believe in any of it. But of course the very privileging of ‘inner’ subjective states over the public was itself an ideological move …

one manager would cheerily present us with each new initiative, openly saying that he didn’t think it was of much value, but that we should do it to make our lives easier. He once told our team that we weren’t sufficiently critical of ourselves in one of our performance reviews – but not to worry because nothing would happen on the basis of any criticisms that we made. I don’t know what was more demoralising here: the fact that we were required to denigrate ourselves as part of our job, or the fact that the criticisms we made were a purely empty exercise. Some of the affective consequences of this self-surveillance regime are amply demonstrated here: anxiety, accompanied by a sense of the meaninglessness of the activity about which one is anxious. The word ‘Kafkaesque’ is enormously over-used, but it fits this existential situation perfectly. So, bureaucracy becomes immanent to the fabric of work in general, not something performed by a special kind of worker.

… neoliberal bureaucracy is quintessentially ideological. It not only naturalises and normalises the language and practices of business; it makes the ritualised performance of this naturalisation a condition of workers retaining their jobs. The second role that managerialist bureaucracy plays for neoliberalism is a disciplinary function: it subdues and pacifies workers. The anxiety that neoliberal bureaucracy so often produces should not be seen as an accidental side-effect of these measures; rather, the anxiety is something that is in itself highly desirable from the perspective of the neoliberal project. The erosion of confidence, the sense of being alone, in competition with others: this weakens the worker’s resolve, undermines their capacity for solidarity, and forestalls militancy.

So it seems to me that the politicizing of managerialist bureaucracy could be extremely fruitful from the point of view of the struggle against neoliberalism.


Mark Fisher

Posted: October 21, 2019 by zombieacademy in Academy, News, Politics, Research, Teaching

The International Australian Studies Association (InASA) is writing in response to recent press reports of the discontinuation of the Chair of Australian Literature at University of Sydney unless philanthropic funding is forthcoming (SMH 15/10/2019; The Australian 16/10/19). InASA urges immediate reconsideration of this course of action on numerous grounds.

At a time when tensions are particularly acute between national interests and global politics—particularly on University campuses in teaching and research—in-depth and specialised expertise of Australian culture in both its distinctiveness and its global connections is essential to provide knowledge and leadership to the public, students, and government. Australian literature, understood as part of an expanded public sphere and cultural industry, makes an enormous contribution to Australia’s self-image and to our international profile. Leading writers all contribute to a range of topical issues and debates through different perspectives and from different positions. The study of Australian literature amplifies such writers’ voices and provides a stage for their contribution to intellectual thought. Professor Robert Dixon’s leadership in the Sydney Studies in Australian Literature book series, enabled by his role as the University Chair, is an excellent example of this.

There are now thirty-eight “Australian Studies Centres” in China, and many Chinese academics have trained in Australian literature and participate in Australia’s extension of influence and “soft power” in the Asia- Pacific region. This is also evident in the Australia-Japan Foundation Chair in Australian Studies at the University of Tokyo (regularly held by Australian literature specialists).

Humanities and Social Sciences in Australian universities face new challenges, with philanthropic funding being marketed as a panacea for disinvestment by university administrations and federal governments led by ill-informed and instrumentalist agendas. It is particularly disappointing to see the University of Sydney proposing to outsource its core business in this way, given the strong stance taken by many academics there questioning the potential for philanthropic funding to infringe upon academic freedom.

Finally, the announcement of the disinvestment in Australian Literature comes only months after the Parliament of Australia called an “Inquiry into nationhood, national identity and democracy”. The Chair of Australian Literature at the University of Sydney has long played a national role in precisely the issues raised as under threat by the Senate’s inquiry, and it is extremely unfortunate that the University of Sydney does not consider literature to have a future role in such critical concerns.

We strongly urge the University of Sydney to reconsider its position and to support the ongoing funding of the University of Sydney Chair in Australian Literature.




Posted: July 4, 2019 by zombieacademy in News, Politics

Hungarian Academy of Sciences stripped of its research network

Posted: December 11, 2017 by zombieacademy in Academy, Brains, Politics, Research
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Posted: April 21, 2017 by zombieacademy in Academy, Politics
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… one implication of this analysis is the need to continue to politicise and activate struggles against managerialism, and not always to subordinate those struggles to the more traditional ones of defending jobs, pay and pensions. I realise this might sound glib, when those traditional economic supports are under attack in so many places. but I think it is actually a crucial point: for the most part, labour struggles in most of the world have paid very little attention to the problem of managerialism except when this has become bound up with and subordinated to a struggle against austerity measures; and in almost all cases, struggles against managerialism have taken the form of defences of traditional professional privileges. This will not suffice. Managerialism must be opposed because it is one of the key strategies through which capital seeks to intensify exploitation of all members of a particular social field, not just public-service professionals, and it is on these terms that it should be opposed by explicit demands for more collaborative and co-operative modes of work. We should not be afraid to revisit the moment of autogestion, workers self-management and industrial democracy, of student demands for reforms more radical than a mere expansion of consumer choice in the curriculum: we’ve been told for long enough that these are anachronistic ideas which cannot work. It’s surely clear by now that these are the only ideas which might work.


Jeremy Gilbert, here.