Month: February 2004

Who creates Jayson Blairs?

Jayson Blair is the latest disgrace. But the unparalleled publicity he is getting is beyond reason. And the breeding ground for such a claim to defame is incidentally my college. What should not come as surprising is that we breed journalists to be truthful, and credible, instead of socially relevant and useful. Hence with much stress on these unattainable traits as truthfulness (unattainable since nowhere does a single truth exist anyway) the first casualty is honesty. And of course if Blair and his types only understood that journalism has a mission to serve the society rather than their own interests as career professionals, things would be different. The social responsibility explains the conducts of people in a way that self-growth syndrome cannot. Secondly, the schools expecting huge amount of money and commitment from students of course function as big business houses. And they instill a sense of arrogance (like Maryland says “Fear the Turtle”) than a sense of duty. They lead the students to use education for a personal career rise using competitive yardsticks instead …

Deacons for Defense review

For sure, always a relevant review. Dustin Langley in Workers reviews Deacons for Defense: “My name is Charles Sims. I’m 43 years old and I fear no man. Some of you may leave disappointed. I’m a fighter, not a speechmaker.” These are the real words that the founder of Deacons of Defense used to introduce himself in 1964 as he spoke about the struggle in Bogalusa, La. These words, backed by weapons and the determination of the African American community to defend themselves against racist attacks, won a powerful victory over the status quo of the Jim Crow South in the mid- 1960s. As part of a series of film showings honoring Black History Month, the People’s Video Network sponsored a Feb. 14 screening of the made-for-TV movie “Deacons for Defense” in New York City. This film, starring Forest Whitaker and Ossie Davis, chronicles the rise of the Deacons for Defense and Justice, who stood up against the violence of the Klan. The movie is set in Bogalusa in 1964. Relative to the population, the …

Socialist Scholars Conference

Now in its 22nd year, the Socialist Scholar’s Conference is the largest annual gathering of the US left. Two days of more than sixty panels will feature leading activists and thinkers discussing the quagmire in Iraq, the future of the global justice movement, the drive to unseat George W. Bush and a raft of crucial political and economic issues. Program details are as follows: March 12-14, Cooper Union fo the Advancement of Science and Art 7 East 7th Street, New York City For ticket information, schedules and directions, please call 212-817-7868 or click here. Speakers this year include The Nation’s Naomi Klein, William Greider, Doug Henwood, Liza Featherstone and Ian Williams as well as Laura Flanders, Manning Marable, Marshall Berman, Hilary Wainwright, Christian Parenti, Dilip Hiro, Frances Fox Piven, Greg Palast and Micah Sifry, among many others. Check out the full line-up here.

Students authorize a strike

James M. O’Neill writes on how Penn grad students authorize a strike Graduate students at the University of Pennsylvania, seeking recognition to unionize, last night voted to hold a strike on the Ivy League campus on Thursday and Friday. Union organizers said last night that 83 percent of more than 200 students attending voted to go ahead with a strike. “It’s a measure of the frustration we have with the university’s legal obstruction,” said graduate student spokesman Dillon Brown. “It also shows that graduate students are eager to demonstrate how much they want their votes to be counted.”