Alliance of Radical Academic/Intellectual Organizations: Draft of Mission Statement and Call for a Founding Meeting: October 4, 2003
We are radical scholars and intellectuals. Many of us are activist-academics who work in, around, and in spite of institutions of higher education. Many of us are activist-scholars and activist-intel- lectuals who work in non-academic settings. Some of us are veterans of the sixties, and some of us are younger; all of us are active participants in today’s new movements. In 2002-2003, we came together in the streets, the teach-ins, the academic associations and elsewhere in opposition to the war in Iraq; we oppose the governmental lies that brought the U.S. into the war, and we oppose U.S. Imperialism and the emerging U.S. empire. We are deeply concerned about growing repression and, in particular, its impact on critical thought and expression.
An initial meeting was held on April 19, 2003, at the City University of New York Graduate Center. Participants included members of the following groups:
— Radical Caucus of the Modern Language Association
— Radical Philosophy Association
— Radical History Review
— Historians Against the War
— New Political Science
— Brecht Forum
— Research Group on Socialism and Democracy
— Latin American Studies Association
— North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA) collective and journal
— New Caucus of the Professional Staff Congress union of CUNY
— Union of Radical Political Economics
— Working Class special interest group, Conference on College Composition and Communication
— Caucus on Class of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies
The following draft mission statement and call for a “founding meeting” was prepared by a Steering Committee of the undersigned volunteers and was circulated to all attendees of the April 19 meeting.
Mission Statement (draft)
The Alliance of Radical Academic/Intellectual Organizations is a network of educational collectives and caucuses-brought together by the conjuncture of the war in Iraq; the degradation of the economy exacerbated by, but not totally attributable to, the war; growing repression; and privatization and defunding of higher education. The goals of the Alliance are to support the work of individual caucuses and organizations through the establishment of a national and possibly international organization and, through this, to facilitate and coordinate activities on a larger regional, national, and international basis in response to these developments. The types of scholarly and intellectual groupings in the Alliance are diverse, including radical caucuses in academic disciplinary and professional organizations; organizations publishing radical scholarly academic journals; radical caucuses of faculty, professionals, and graduate students both organizing and already within unions. The Alliance invites such organizations as well as those who would like to organize new groups to join this network. While member groups are diverse in type, all affirm the following two principles:
First, members of the Alliance-as members of scholarly and intellectual groups organized around radical principles-recognize that social and economic inequalities are built into the structure of capitalist society. In addition to being anti-capitalist, we also believe that inequalities of power come in many other forms: racism, sexism, ethnocentrism, xenophobia, bigotry, and discrimination based on age, ethnicity, physical ability, sexual orientation, creed, and native language. Alliance members seek to address vigorously all these forms of oppression and exploitation.
Second, members of the Alliance commit themselves to the principle of activism, with priority to activism within the educational sector because this is where Alliance members are concentrated. We are all activists, and we also affirm the dignity and value of intellectual work. We seek to build a better society, free of the bigotries and inequalities mentioned above, in which thought of all kinds will flourish. We believe that activism, as well as teaching, research, and writing have an important role to play in bringing about a just and humane society. We want to establish institutional and societal conditions that will encourage analytic and critical thought as well as fostering the full development of human potential and creativity. To these ends we seek to build and be part of a re-born left.
— Betsy Bowman, Radical Philosophy Association
— Barbara Foley, Radical Caucus of the Modern Language Association
— Pat Keeton, Radical Caucus of the Modern Language Association
— Jesse Lemisch, Historians Against the War
— Yusuf Nuruddin, Brecht Forum, Research Group on Socialism and Democracy
— Andor Skotnes, Radical History Review and Historians Against the War
Call for Membership and Founding Meeting
The Alliance of Radical Academic/Intellectual Organizations invites all collectives, caucuses, and organizations, i.e., all groups working in, around, and in spite of institutions of higher education-and whose members are in agreement with the principles in the draft Mission Statement-to join the Alliance and to participate in a founding meeting, tentatively scheduled for October 4, 2003, in New York City, at a location to be announced. Final decisions regarding the mission, name, and activities of the organization-including whether the organization is to be a loose alliance to communicate and coordinate activities or an organization that will initiate projects and actions on its own-will be based on discussions at the founding meeting itself.
Goals of the Founding Meeting
To create an organizational structure to facilitate coordination and communication among member organizations for action around the following themes:
— The Empire
— The fiscal crisis
— Repression of civil liberties
To discuss and propose strategies for the following:
— Action in the academic arena
— Support of research bodies and think tanks to present new alternatives for public debate, with an impact on policy and public opinion
— Participants Invited to Attend
— Delegates chosen by academic collectives, caucuses, and organizations in and around higher education, to represent their group formally, including groups publishing radical scholarly academic journals and radical caucuses organizing and already within unions, radical caucuses within academic disciplinary and professional organizations, and other sites where political/intellectual work takes place.
— Individuals from such groups interested in bringing proposals back to their organizations
.– Individuals interested in organizing such groups in their academic/intellectual areas