Reports and full presentations from COCAL XII, August 2016, Edmonton, Alberta, CAN:
COCAL is the Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor, a 20 year old network of contingent activists and their organizations that does a conference (now tri-national - USA, CAN (including QBC), and MEX) every other year, usually in August. It also sponsors a listserv, called ADJ-L, and has an International Advisory Committee, a website www.cocalinternational.org and Facebook page <https://www.facebook.com/COCALInternational>, as well as this news aggregator, COCAL UPDATES. See below at bottom for details on joining the listserv.
SPECIAL NOTICE REGARDING CAMPUS EQUITY WEEK, 2017
Do you find yourself missing national Campus Equity Week celebrations this year?
Looking ahead to October of 2017, a grassroots group of contingent artist-activists scattered across the U.S. have been working under the auspices of New Faculty Majority for several months to design a theme that captures our need to both conceal and reveal our complex identities as members of the precarious academic workforce: mAsk4campusEquity.
We are exploring three basic customizable options for unified Campus Equity messaging and activities in 2017 that capitalize on the change-making power of art:
1. Historical re-enactment of creative social justice protests;
2. Other modes of performance art such as mock funerals, carnival processions, etc;
3. Exhibits that illustrate the diversity of our workforce and the issues of contingent employment.
Over the next few months, we hope to
· build a large network of artist-activists and supporters;
· partner with a number of organizations related to the arts;
· engage participants with expertise in various art media from music and performance to photography, sculpture, graphic arts and new media, to flesh out plans for local actions that will resonate across the country.
If you want to join our campaign on the ground floor, please contact Anne Wiegard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor’s Privilege NOTE: The best thing I have seen so far on the meaning of the election result for President, by our former contingent colleague and labor educator, as well as many other things, Bill Fletcher.
The California Report ran this story today:
I was featured in an on-line video report on the problem at SFSU this week. It can be seen at:
On Thursday, my class delivered a petition signed by more than 600 students in a little more than a week to Pres. Wong of SFSU asking him to implement an emergency shelter program and set up a foodbank.
robert ovetz, ph.d.
+1 415 602 1585 (c + txt)
Separately, below is an essay by Bill Fletcher, Jr. and myself. (Bob Wing)
It could mean that companies employing such workers as electricians, care workers and sales reps could be in breach of EU working time regulations, if they chose to abandon a regional office, for example.
The ruling said: "The fact that the workers begin and finish the journeys at their homes stems directly from the decision of their employer to abolish offices and not from the desire of the workers themselves.
Time taken to travel to work ‘should count as work ...
Time taken to travel to and from work at the beginning and end of each day should count as working time under the law, according to the Europe’s highest court.
We are trying to organize UMUC, where adjuncts teach 95% of courses, online.
We have the opportunity to make a presentation on "Collective Bargaining" in an online Faculty Development conference. We will be able to speak and use power points and videos, but not to appear. The presentation will be recorded and made available to faculty who could not log on at the time we make our presentation. So a permanent record will be created.
Do any of you have animations or good YouTube videos that can supplement our formal presentation? We have the basic outlines of what collective bargaining is, and how it would benefit adjunct faculty at UMUC, but anything that might grab attention bring the topic and arguments alive would be appreciated.
Margaret L. Cohen, J.D., Ph.D.
[Steering Committee, UMUC Adjunct Professors United/SEIU Local 500]
Global Labor Studies
School of Labor and Employment Relations
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
703 967-7860 (cell)
21. Very weird article from, conservative American Spectator calling Trump team the revenge of adjunct professors
Sent from my iPhone
Dr. Reid Friedson
Professor & Consultant
The Member Leadership in Action (MLA)/Education Director will be responsible for building a program of sustained staff and member leader development across our Local. This will include traditional educational curriculum and material development, but will also include maximizing development opportunities in all facets of our work. The MLA/Education Director will work with Directors, and other staff, to build a culture and program dedicated to member development based on the iron rule of organizing: “Do not do for others what they can do themselves” and driven by a willingness to innovate, experiment, take risks, and work in a goals-driven and accountable environment.
Salary & Benefits:
Salary is competitive and flexible based on prior labor or relevant experience
Full benefits package including health insurance, pension plan, car allowance and paid vacation
The full job description is posted on our Job Board at http://www.uale.org/resources-list/job-board/628-member-leadership-in-action-education-dir...
The group, Students Against Duke Unionization, said in their letter that students who have expressed concern about the union "have observed and/or experienced harassment, bullying, and vandalism by students who support unionization." The students also said they were not "certain" they should have been classified as employees.
The NLRB decided in August that graduate student workers could be both students and employees, paving the way for grad students at private universities to organize.The students asked the regional director "invalidate" SEIU's efforts to unionize the grads. The letter, published in the Duke Chronicle, is here.
27. Why so many teachers need a second job
Subject: The Labor Center is Back!
To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Alumni and Supporters,
By the end of the spring 2016 semester, the future was looking dire for the Labor Center. The Dean had suspended admissions to our full-time Labor Studies degree program; we were informed that our Teaching Assistant (TA) positions would be eliminated and externships would not continue to provide tuition waivers; and our part-time faculty budget had been eliminated.
As this news became public, our alums and allies stepped up and mounted a campaign of a scale that UMass Amherst has never seen. You built a website, held conference calls, used social media and the press, and organized over 5,000 signatures to a petition to ask the administration to restore the cuts to the Labor Center.
As a result of your efforts and other expressions of support for the Labor Center, including a letter of support from the Sociology Department, the UMass Chancellor met with Steve Tollman, President of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO and Frank Callahan, President of the Massachusetts Building Trades along with other labor leaders in September and publicly affirmed his support for our Labor Center. In October he met with over two dozen Labor Center stakeholders and agreed to make a proposal to address our concerns about the Labor Center within 30 days. Subsequently the Chancellor and his staff met with Interim Director Tom Juravich and we would like to outline what the Chancellor has guaranteed.
The top priority of the Labor Center faculty, the labor leaders and stakeholders was to fight for support for our graduate students so that they would not be required to pay full tuition. We are pleased that the Chancellor has restored all 6 of our 10-hour TA positions that provide both a tuition waiver and a stipend as negotiated by their union, GEO/UAW.
Additionally, the Chancellor agreed to waive tuition for up to 12 externships, now renamed internships. He agreed to convert these externships -- where unions paid students directly -- to internships -- where unions or other organizations would pay the University. Under the new internship system up to 12 new students will now be GEO members. Furthermore, as a result of our meeting, the Dean will now convert all externships to internships in the College. We are confident that the labor movement will step up and support the Labor Center by hiring our students as interns.
The Chancellor has agreed to fund these positions for three years with funds from his office, which speaks to his commitment to the Labor Center. We would have liked to have had a longer commitment, however, with this kind of student support coupled with the support of the labor movement, we feel that three years from now we will be able to make a strong case for the continuation of support moving forward.
We have also resolved the process for selecting the next Director of the Labor Center. Labor Center faculty will play a key role in selecting who will lead the Labor Center. This search process will begin shortly.
While we are pleased about the large commitment the Chancellor has made to our students, we didn’t get everything that we asked for. We had requested a new faculty position, which the Chancellor did not support. We were also not able to secure any additional staff support for the Labor Center. In the short term, the Labor Center will use its own reserve funds to hire the part-time faculty necessary to cover required courses and to fill out staff needs.
A number of issues remain about the University’s priorities and budget models. As part of this process the Chancellor has recognized that not all graduate programs are the same, and that some graduate programs, such as the Labor Center, require additional resources. But there is still much work to be done.
In the final analysis, while we didn’t get everything we asked for, we got a commitment from the university about the importance of the Labor Center to the mission of the university, and significant support for our graduate students to build a new foundation for the Labor Center. No doubt there is a lot of hard work ahead but we hope we can count on you to be part of that process moving forward. We will be convening a new advisory board for the Center, and discussing ways that our alumni and community allies can be more involved in the life of the Labor Center.
None of this would have been possible without the huge outpouring of support from our alumni and friends and we are especially grateful to Steve Tollman and Frank Callahan for their efforts. We are proud to call you our sisters and brothers.
Members of the Labor Center Committee
The Chancellor’s Press Release can be found at: http://www.umass.edu/newsoffice/article/chancellor-kumble-subbaswamy-announces
Professor of Labor Studies and Sociology
Interim Director Labor Center
634 Thompson Hall
200 Hicks Way
Amherst, MA 01003
Greetings Part-Time Faculty Professionals.
We encourage you to attend this event. Please forward as appropriate.
Jonathan Lightman, CAE
Faculty Association of California Community Colleges
Faculty Association of California Community Colleges Education Institute
1823 11th Street
Sacramento, CA 95811
(916) 712-5827 (mobile)
(916) 447-0726 (fax)
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Fighting Back Against the White Revolt of 2016
Published by Verso Press
By Bill Fletcher, Jr. & Bob Wing
On the left and within progressive movements there were two immediate responses to Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential elections. First, shock, frequently accompanied by despair. How could an openly racist, misogynist authoritarian — personally unstable to boot — be elected president? Second, anger with the Democrats for the sort of campaign that they waged. At that point, however, a division emerged around a third point: what, we asked, was the source of Trump’s victory? And, even more important, what are the strategic implications?
It is important to approach any examination of the November election with a degree of nuance. As widely noted, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by what now appears to be at least two million votes. The Libertarian and Green Parties received far more votes than the margin of victory in no less than eleven states, including Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.
This election was decided by a razor-thin margin due to the undemocratic Electoral College.
Approximately 55% of eligible voters went to the polls, down from both 2008 (61.6%) and 2012 (58.6%). Trump, then, actually received around 25% of eligible votes. This figure of 25% is quite significant because it appears to be that percentage of the electorate that has, for at least a decade, been fairly consistently reactionary.
Senator Bernie Sanders and several other commentators have attributed most of Trump’s success to the fact that he played to allegedly legitimate concerns of the masses. We disagree quite strongly. The vast majority of the Trump vote was the Republican base. These are the voters who have long adamantly opposed the Obama agenda from a staunchly rightwing perspective and, for that matter oppose almost all progressive causes. In various opinion polls what is notable is that for this segment of the electorate, terrorism and immigration are a top concern. It is also worth noting that, at least during the primaries, Trump’s base had a median income above both the national median and the median for both Sanders and Clinton voters.
So, while it is true that Trump received 14% more votes from white people with less than a college education than did Romney, and 10% fewer from whites with a college degree, Trump voters were not mainly poor and unemployed. As Mike Davis points out in a recent blog post, there was no massive defection of white working class voters to Trump. [http://www.versobooks.com/blogs/2948-not-a-revolution-yet] In fact, Clinton won the majority of voters earning under $30,000 (53% to 41%) and voters under $50,000 (51% to 42%). These figures are critical to keep in mind when commentators describe the Trump victory as a working class vote. How are they defining “working class”?
Moreover, it is never to be forgotten that Hitler and Mussolini had large support in the working class. The full Nazi party name was the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. Mussolini was previously a top leader of the powerful left wing of the massive Italian Socialist Party. Even had November 8th been a working class revolt—which it was NOT—that could not be looked at in isolation from its politics and color.
Yet, Trump voters as a whole were overwhelmingly white, and herein lies the discussion that truly needs to happen.
Trump’s real triumph was his ability to shift Republican politics to straight racism, misogyny and xenophobia with a potent authoritarian tone, yet still create a winning voting coalition —time will tell how stable — that brought together the core Republican electorate, including right-wing evangelicals, as well as some disaffected former Democratic voters. While many Trump voters interviewed after the election said they made their choice despite concerns about his character, what is remarkable is how many “returned home” to the Republican Party in the face of the continuous string of revelations about the Republican candidate, including his boasts about sexual assault and his obviously erratic behavior. A huge effort to win white evangelicals, for instance, centered on Trump’s promise to create a lasting anti-abortion majority on the Supreme Court. Thus, it would be wrong to suggest that this was something of a protest vote or a “lesser of two evils” choice by Republicans. Trump, as many of them suggested, articulated what was on their minds.
The election results must also be understood as Clinton’s failure to fully mobilize the so-called Obama coalition to her side. As we have noted elsewhere, Clinton was not the candidate to lead an anti-corporate and progressive populist insurgency, which is precisely what is needed at this moment.
According to the national exit poll sponsored by all the main news organizations, Blacks, Latinos, Asians, unmarried women, young voters, union households — the core of the Obama Coalition — all voted for Clinton, but in somewhat smaller percentages than they had voted for Obama in 2012. The Black Democratic vote fell from 93% in 2012 to 88%, including only 80% of Black men. The Democrats’ winning percentage among Latinos fell from 73% to 65% (although a poll conducted by Latino Decisions concluded the real number was 79% for Clinton.*); Asians from 76% for Obama to 65% for Clinton (another poll says 75%); unmarried women from 67% to 62%; young voters’ Democratic support declined by 5%; and union households fell to 51% from 58%. The only strongly progressive voter group that increased its vote for Clinton, according to the national exit poll, were lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender folk. And the hoped for surge of Latino voter participation apparently did not materialize.
Trump did not address the concerns of most voters. He addressed the fears of many white voters. Those fears, again documented in various polls, are both economic and racial. The economic fears focus largely on the potential for economic disaster. The great majority of Trump voters were not hammered by the economy. What scares them is that the American Dream is no longer theirs for the taking. They are no longer convinced that their children’s lives will mark an improvement over their own. Linked to this fear is that of the changing racial demographics. In a post-election report by Toronto Globe & Mail columnist Doug Saunders, what is most interesting is the concern among Trump voters about the changing face of the US. [http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/us-election/the-real-reason-donald-trump-got-ele... Immigration, especially in regions where there were previously few, if any, immigrants, became an inflammatory issue. In short, the white middle class and its upward mobility — the traditional white version of the American Dream — are feared lost forever.
Terrorism needs to be added to this list because, as a category, it, too, was long ago racialized. When the word terrorism is used, the assumption is that it refers to actions carried out by a Muslim, Arab, or some other brown or black person. The reality is that a person in this country is less likely to be killed by terrorism than to be struck by lightning; and, if they are so unlucky, far more likely to be killed by a white supremacist than a Muslim.
November 8th was a revolt by 58% of white voters. It was a revolt spearheaded by a significant, but not very large, segment of the electorate that had been energized by the appeal of white nationalism and right-wing populism. The nature of the appeal is the call for a return to the past; actually the return to a mythical past, in the face of a complex and changing world.
November 8th also represented a slight but electorally crucial demobilization of an important segment of the so-called Obama Coalition, partly by multiple efforts at voter suppression, e.g., the elimination of polling locations in the South, and the removal of voters from registration rolls.
While there is no question but that neoliberal globalization has contributed to the growth of right-wing populism through its destruction of segments of the economy and its concentration of wealth, that alone does not explain what happened on November 8th when one realizes that African American and Latino workers have been disproportionately hurt by neoliberal globalization yet there is nothing approaching the sort of Trumpist reaction among those sectors.
The right-wing populism of the Trump campaign also rests, in part, on the notion of the American Dream. Trump, as a successful businessman and media celebrity, is an iconic figure. His success, while not derived from his work alone (he was born wealthy), is something that appeals to the largely white sentiment that the average person can make it good, even though Trump is not the average person.
Yet the deeper and darker feature to right-wing populism in general and Trump specifically is that what neoliberal globalization has done has been to limit and capture the world’s resources and place them in the hands of the global elite. To the extent to which these resources are not available for the billions of souls on this planet there is an immediate question: how should one divide up what is left over? The answer provided by right-wing populism is found in identifying so-called legitimate and illegitimate populations. The allegedly legitimate populations should have access to Medicare, education grants, and the like (at least until Congressman Paul Ryan gets his hands on them), and the so-called illegitimate or undeserving populations should be cordoned off, jailed, or excluded entirely from society. This is what one could call either “global apartheid” or the genocidal impulse that exists within capitalism generally and right-wing populism in particular.
The white voter revolt of November 8th occurred under the banner of restoration of the “white republic”; the national “humiliation” — in the words of one author — of the Obama presidency must be removed and what the mayor of a West Virginia town alluded to as “the ape in heels” vanquished as First Lady; the undeserving must be excluded; and the USA must be allowed to do whatever it chooses around the world.
To lead this process, there must be a “Great Man.” And while it would be premature to describe this as fascism, it is not too early to remind the reader that fascism is a subset of right-wing populism and that, contained within the Trump movement have been very open and vocal neo-fascists and secessionists who believe that the time is fast approaching for a racial and ethnic cleansing of the US and the restoration of the natural (white) order.
This leads to a final point inherent in the election results. A backdrop to the campaign has been the emergence of the Movement for Black Lives, largely in response to the police killings of unarmed African Americans. This movement shook the U.S., and Trump took advantage of it in order to play to the deep-seated fear within white America of a supposedly ever-present threat of Black violence. Much like Richard Nixon, the appeal to law and order, reiterated throughout the campaign, was a call to put further restraints on African Americans in particular. No one could miss the coded and not-so-coded language.
Where do we go from here?
After the initial shock, spontaneous anti-Trump protests began to spread as despair turned to anger. While this has been understandable and positive, it is far from sufficient. This is precisely why an accurate analysis of the election is essential in order to develop longer-term strategy. Our suggestions are as follows:
1. The top of our agenda must be to defeat Trump and Trumpism. We need to make him a one-term president, and build the forces over a longer period of time to decisively defeat the far right in all branches of the federal government, most states, and in workplaces, neighborhoods, and the streets. Defending communities that Trump attacks and building progressive power are crucial to defending our peoples and defeating Trump. But, barring extreme circumstances, he will ultimately need to be taken down at the polls.
2. Even with the technical defeat of Clinton, what is clear is that there is a “new majority” inexorably coming into existence. This progressive new majority crosses racial and ethnic boundaries and needs to be galvanized into a major force in the streets, schools, workplaces, neighborhoods — and in the Democratic Party and elections.
3. Freedom and justice will not spontaneously emerge, however, from demographic shifts in the United States. One need only identify apartheid and apartheid-like societies to see that demographics alone are not enough. In 2016 far too many racial justice forces and organizations sat passive during the presidential election and we have too few in the field that can truly reach hundreds of thousands, let alone millions of people. We need to step up big time if we are going to get the huge movement at the polls, and throughout the society among people of color (and whites) that will be needed to defeat the plans of the incoming Trump administration.
4. Race neutral economic populism alone will not win back those whites (workers and others) who turned to Trump allegedly because of the economy. If, for them, economics was the key, they would have voted for Jill Stein or, in the primary, Bernie Sanders in their millions. The fact that they did not, but instead turned to a rich, white, misogynistic, racist, xenophobe, tells us that something else was at play. We must try to break off the section of the Trump base that cares about economics, the environment, misogyny, peace, and anything else available: but if we ignore racism, such concerns are likely to remain tinged by the frameworks offered by Trump and right-wing populism. Given their big victory, this is not likely to show quick results. A key starting point will be to amplify the organization and influence of whites who already reject Trumpism. Unions will be one of the key forces in this effort. While they pretty much universally threw down against Trump, voters from union households chose Clinton by only 51% to 43%.
5. The sort of left populism that we need is one that truly takes on neoliberal globalization, including but not limited to trade deals. It must actively oppose privatization, deregulation, casualization, and anti-unionism, not to mention the impact of an increasingly automated society.
6. That same left populism must challenge the racial differential that permeates all facets of society. Unity against neoliberal globalization will not come from ignoring race and gender disparities, but instead by working together to overcome them. This was the weakness of the Sanders campaign and many other populist and semi-populist initiatives.
7. The fight for power will necessitate a renewed effort for voting rights. 2016 was the first presidential election since the weakening of the Voting Rights Act. As noted, more than 800 polling places were closed in the South prior to the election, sites that overwhelmingly served communities of color. This may help to explain at least some of the voter drop-off. Surely legalizing voter ID and other voter suppression rules will be at the top of the Trump/Republican agenda once they get hold of the Supreme Court.
8. State-by-state, we will need to build progressive united fronts based in the constituencies of the “new majority” and expand from there. Such united fronts will have both an offensive and defensive set of tasks, with the aim of defending communities and democracy, defeating the Republicans and gaining of power for populations that have been historically excluded and those under threat of new exclusions by an increasingly authoritarian society.
The first steps in our journey begin with accurately assessing what actually happened on November 8th and realizing that this election result is part of a growing right-wing populist trend that has been churning in our soil since the 1960s, with roots that go back to the arrival of the first European settlers. This fight will likely take center stage for years to come, and is being fought out throughout Europe as well. Literally, the future of the people of the world is at stake.
*Latino Decisions was founded by veteran political scientists Gary Segura and Matt Barreto. They argue that their survey included a much larger number of Latino voters than did the national exit poll and the sample was specifically designed to take account of the many different Latino nationalities. In addition, they say a much larger percentage of the Latino Decisions survey interviews were conducted in Spanish than in the national exit poll.
Bill Fletcher, Jr. is a talk show host, writer and activist. He can be followed on Twitter, Facebook andwww.billfletcherjr.com. He is the co-author, with Dr. Fernando Gapasin, of Solidarity Divided, and the author of “They’re Bankrupting Us!” – And Twenty Other Myths about Unions.
Bob Wing has been a racial justice and peace activist since 1968. He was the founding editor of ColorLines magazine and War Times/Tiempo de Guerras newspaper. He is the author of The Battle Lines are Drawn: Neo-Secession or a Third Reconstruction and Notes Toward a Social Justice Electoral Strategy.
Frank Barajas is a professor at CSU Channel Islands. Frank encouraged
concerned students to write to state legislators about the impact of higher
tuition. Rodolfo Acuna, a professor at CSU Northridge, simply stated that
Chicano people in the U.S. have experienced oppression. For these actions,
they were reported to “Professor Watchlist,” a post-election website that
claims to monitor “liberal bias” in college classrooms.
Hundreds of our colleagues have been reported to and listed on “Professor
Watchlist,” in an effort to chill discussion and curb academic freedom in
our colleges and universities.
Challenging assumptions, asking students to think critically, to openly
debate issues, and to participate in democracy—this is what we do! This is
the exercise of academic freedom, to seek truth in our teaching and
research, for the common good.
So, I’ve got an idea. Let us all report ourselves. Click here to add your
name to the “Professor Watchlist.”
We must stand together, in support of academic freedom and in solidarity
with our colleagues who are doing the hard work of higher education. By
reporting ourselves, we will reveal the madness of this enterprise, and
render the watch list null and void.
Take action now. Click here, and we’ll give you step-by-step instructions
to add your name to the list.
President, National Council for Higher Education
21 San Mateo Road,
Berkeley, CA 94707
"Reclaiming the Ivory Tower: Organizing Adjuncts to Change Higher Education". by Joe Berry, from Monthly Review Press, 2005. Look at <http://www.reclaimingtheivorytower.org> for full information, individual sales, bulk ordering discounts, or to invite me to speak at an event.
To receive the periodic news aggregator, COCAL Updates, Email <email@example.com> It is archivedathttp://precaritydispatches.tumblr.com/COCAL-Updates-Archive
To join international COCAL listserve email <http://adj-l.org/mailman/listinfo/adj-l_adj-l.org> If this presents problems, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or, send "Subscribe" to <email@example.com>
Join the national membership organization for contingent faculty and their allies, New Faculty Majority (NFM). Support, resources,and strategies for all things related to precarious faculty. <www.Newfacultymajority.info>
Plan to attend COCAL XIII in Queretaro, Mexico, at the Autonomous University of Queretaro, August 2018.
See www.cocalinternational.org for reports of COCAL XII Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) and plans for COCAL XIII.