Daily Archives: May 19, 2010

No, no, no, no, no, no, Mr. Suit! (More on the Middlesex Philosophy Closure)

Sarah Amsler, “Saving Philosophy from the Suits”:

However, the anaesthetized method of this closure is also a purifying and perhaps transformative revelation: the emperor has finally admitted there are no clothes. It is not about education or research or knowledge after all. The decision did not need to be convincing in academic, professional or pedagogical terms. It was, as the dean said, ‘simply financial’. We knew it all along, but now it is confirmed: no philosophy, no matter how good, can be evaluated according to what Max Weber once called the ‘sheer market principle’. And in a world of capitalist realism, nothing that is beyond the value of profit can have recognisable public value at all. There. Perhaps now we can liberate ourselves from the temptation to valorise intellectual work by squeezing it into the narrow, instrumentalist criteria of what Alex Callinicos has called the ‘Orwellian’ inspired Research Excellence Framework, in the hope that we will find spaces there to create critical possibilities. Perhaps we will finally realise that there are — as yet — no ears to receive arguments about the importance of humanizing education, the power of ideas and research to transform the world, or the necessity of critical capacity in a frighteningly possibility-limiting social system. These should not be revelations at this very late stage in the long march of capital through our cultural institutions. Yet we remain incredulous.

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Filed under critical thought, student movements

“In the Middle of a Reactionary Crowd”: Attacks on Journalists in the Moscow Region

Better late than never, we guess: the New York Times on the wave of assaults on opposition and muckracking journalists in the Moscow Region, including Mikhail Beketov and Yuri Grachev, in 2008–2009, and the “failure” of law enforcement officials to make headway in the investigations of these crimes. Especially touching is the story of Pyotr Lipatov:

Farther up the M-10 Highway is Klin, where an opposition rally was held in March 2009 to protest corruption and increases in utility rates.

As Pyotr Lipatov, editor of an opposition newspaper called Consensus and Truth, was leaving the rally, three men pushed him to the ground and punched him repeatedly on the head. “Even when I was unconscious, they didn’t let me go,” Mr. Lipatov said.

This beating was recorded on video by protesters. Mr. Lipatov’s colleagues used the video to track down the men who beat him. They were police officers.

While Mr. Lipatov, 28, was recovering in the hospital, he said two other police officers visited and urged him to sign a statement saying that he had provoked the attack. He refused. The police then issued a statement.

“According to Lipatov, filming the meeting with his camera, he found himself in the middle of a reactionary crowd, was pushed and fell to the ground,” the statement said. Two videos of the demonstration show a different sequence of events.

Officials later acknowledged that police officers had been involved in the attack, but they still brought no charges. Instead, they raided Mr. Lipatov’s offices, seized computers and brought a criminal extremism suit against him. They asserted that he had sought to foment “negative stereotypes and negative images of members of the security forces.”

Fearing for his safety and more criminal charges, he quit.

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Filed under censorship, political repression, Russian society