Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Back to the Past

Some McGill students have occupied the administration building again.  The administration is doing a far better job this time not confronting these folks (much easier when there are not thousands of students and other folks marching around).  The issues this time are different.  Instead of tuition, it is about various campus organizations and how they are funded.  It seems that the administration is thwarting the will of the students who voted somehow.  I have not been paying attention.  But I just found out who is behind the occupation apparently:

MAOISTS.  Really.  No, I am serious.  I just wonder if they are.  If you check out their site "the only source for proleterian information," it reads as if it is a parody of a marxist student website.  My department used to have a faculty member who was a big fan of North Korea, but I didn't realize that there was a Maoist organization around here.

Sure, I remember the good old days of the 1980's where there was a group at Oberlin, partially students and partially other folks, who were avowed Trotskyites.  But stuff happened since then--the fall of the wall, the de-legitimation of Communism in Europe and the former Soviet space, the reforms in China that facilitate capitalism while still denying democracy, and so on.  Yet there are Maoists on campus?  I guess they didn't follow the usual cool trend of 21st century idealist rebelling students and fall for Chomsky.

I really have no position on the current set of grievances, but I will always be skeptical of "proletarians" who are college students and have probably not experienced the life of the working class all that much and are not destined to be working class after they graduate.

On the other hand, it can all be a joke.  Maybe my readers can check out the site and tell me whether these modern day Maoists are the real thing.

Update: Ok, so this is a satirical blog (I don't follow their tweets but one of my commenters does).  So, I was right to think it was a joke, yes?

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Either these people have no idea who Mao was and what he did (or else they might as well call themselves Stalinists) or it is all a joke and they just want attention very, very badly, I suspect the latter.

Coree said...

Oh gosh, Maoists? It reminds me of that indie film, "The Trotsky" where the high schooler decided he was the reincarnation of Trotsky.

Anonymous said...

The Milton Avenue Revolutionary Press (or MARP as its sometimes know as) is a satirical blog as they said so themselves on their twitter account (@miltrevpress) - see below.

@miltrevpress
ONLY YOU CAN PREVENT DELIBERATE MISREADINGS!!! OFFICIAL #6PARTY HOTLINE IS @6PARTYLIVE — WE ARE MERELY THE MARP — A "SATIRE" "BLOG"

Anonymous said...

Huh? So is the whole occupation a joke or just the website?

Steve Saideman said...

Good question. No clue.

Anonymous said...

it *IS* a "parody of a marxist student website" --- the partyers/occupiers are actually trying to present a more unified voice at the @6partylive twitter account.

Anonymous said...

While the MARP is a satire blog, the only satirical part is the manner in which they write, the actual content is in fact representative of their views. It's confusing I know. Similarly, the occupation is also being done in a satirical manner (hence why they're calling it a "party") but their demands are very serious. Many of the partiers and the MARP bloggers are the same people

Anonymous said...

hopefully this is winding down soon...but im curious to know how you think this will end? dragged out kicking and screaming? hopefully no riot police...but it also doesn't seem like they'll be leaving of their own accord...

Elie said...

"I have not been paying attention." I know that we are sometimes frustratingly imbedded in internet culture. The tone of recent political action can be hard to interpret. "As a joke," and "for attention" mean different things to us than they do to you, I think. It is a joke because fun is politically powerful. Having a light tone in political engagement is a way to criticize and resist the way the power structure at school is assumed to work. People assume the administration runs well and makes good decisions for the university as a whole. That is why they have disciplinary and legal authority on campus. We trust them to make decisions. Having a party for Mendelson's resignation means that we don't seek the overthrow of that structure. It means we're resisting uses of authority we think are disrespectful to the McGill community. The party is to show that we don't pretend to be a replacement authority. We're not terrorists. We're not maoists or trotskyists or anarchists (there may be an individual anarchist).

So it is a joke. It is also for attention. The students doing this have gotten attention. There are antics and missteps, but they are earnest political activists. They want attention because they want people to know what's going on with the oversight of student groups and their relationship with McGill. They want students to pay attention to how the structure of power changes McGill. I think everyone loves McGill, so it's worth paying attention to.

What they're doing is very controversial. In an email an administrator called it "unacceptable". It's dividing the student body and bringing out hate-- wishes that these kids die. You are one of our Professors. Please be responsible and informed if you're going to write about these events, because people outside McGill, and people forming their opinion, will look to you for a balanced account. Saying the kids are Maoists and retracting it in an addendum doesn't really help the dialogue on campus.

But thank you for paying attention. I hope none of your students are expelled.

Anonymous said...

It's only sort of a Joke. The "tone" is a joke. But the occupiers and writers of the MARP believe int he content.