Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Little Churchills

In the sort of semi-literate Counterpunch essay we have come to expect from the man himself, Emma Perez, the new chair of the Ethnic Studies department at CU, outlines the strategery of "neo-cons" in attacking Ward Churchill:

Ward is a prime target. He is vulnerable and, at the same time, has extremely high strategic value. In terms of his vulnerability: he can be isolated from support forces who would traditionally make it hard to attack a tenured faculty. There are faculty who have problems with his being American Indian or who have something against Ethnic Studies, etc etc-these faculty will be reluctant or refuse to defend him (until it's too late). As a revolutionary, he can be counted on to have a significant number of colleagues who strongly dislike him and will be reluctant or refuse to defend him (until it's too late). On top of all this, in the post-911 climate, moderates who would normally disagree with his views but then go on to defend his free speech rights and academic freedom, will hesitate because they are afraid of being cast in with his 'anti-americanism' (much like the McCarthy period) [my emphases].

One graf, one charge of racism, one charge of McCarthyism. C'mon Perez, you're slacking. Most of your colleagues could get that into a single sentence, and work in class and gender too. And "something against Ethnic Studies etc etc?" There's a scholarly formulation.

Perez goes on to point out parallels to other widely publicized cases of academic malfeasance:

The general strategy in forcing and then manipulating this "investigation" of Ward's scholarship shares key tactics with the neocon sinking of Emory historian Bellesiles in 2001 There are also likely to be parallels with the campaign against Linda Brodkey at UT in 1991 as well as other campaigns through which they have been testing and developing their methods and tactics.

"Testing and developing their methods and tactics." Like requiring that historians adhere to basic standards of sourcing, statistical analysis, and record-keeping, maybe? Fascists! But Perez nails the landing:

We have to be as clear as possible about the big picture. This is much, much bigger than an individual attack on Ward. What we're looking at is a carefully developed, pre-existing national strategy that has been searching for exactly the right breakthrough "test case." It has found extremely favorable conditions in Ward's situation and in the post-911 climate. As they've been doing already in other areas they want to dismantle the structural footholds (academic freedom/tenure, ethnic studies) that social movements gained for people of color and liberal and progressive intellectuals inside academe during the 60s & 70s.
Sometimes I almost feel sorry for the left. To be saddled with 60s detritus like Emma Perez, let alone Ward Churchill, seems unfair. But that, of course, is what their philosophy requires--that they become "little Churchills" themselves. My sympathy doesn't go very deep because the rot in the left goes to the bone.

(via Instapundit)

No comments: