While many in GWS have signed onto the statement circulating in support of furloughed workers, as a program GWS would like to make a statement of principled solidarity with furloughed workers, in support of their timely return to full pay, in alignment with feminist principles that see precaritization as an issue magnified and framed by race, gender and class access. Staff and faculty should be allies in transparent governance processes.
We further see the struggle for worker and staff justice as related to the current work of the Movement for Black Lives and offer in its full this statement from Scholars for Social Justice. In alignment with our previous statement in solidarity with Black Lives Matter many of us will be seeking to continue to align our classes with the stated principles of the Movement for Black Lives to deepen that commitment:
Scholars for Social Justice on #ScholarStrike September 8-9th
Two of our colleagues, Anthea Butler and Steve Gannon have called for a national Scholar Strike for Racial Justice on September 8 and 9. Thousands of scholars across the country have responded to the call. We encourage all who are able to join and stand against racism in the Academy and society on September 8 and 9. More info on their Facebook page.
This is a moment of upheaval and unprecedented protest against racism and white supremacy. From the streets of Portland, Kenosha and Rochester to the NBA, WNBA and even Nascar, there are breaks with business as usual in order to register outrage and opposition to the persistent scourge of racist police violence.
We applaud the Scholar Strike as an important step in the right direction. Too often academics write, research and teach about themes related to justice, democracy, freedom and diversity, however we don’t step up enough to register where we stand on the large moral and ethical questions. Relatedly, academics are reluctant to see themselves as workers who can stand in solidarity with working people and leverage labor action in service of wider aims of equality and justice.
Across the country, graduate workers and non-tenure track faculty, who constitute the majority of academics, have led the fight for the recognition of academic labor, organizing unions, engaging in strikes and other actions, in the face of intimidation and repression. We stand with these ongoing efforts to recognize the rights of academic workers.
We also support the concrete actions being taken by our colleagues in the University of California system and at the University of Chicago where faculty have joined with students, staff and community partners to make demands that universities move away from policing and toward more just and humane strategies for keeping campuses safe and secure.
We are also mindful that tenure-track faculty are some of the most privileged members of the campus community. Campus staff, some of them working for contracted vendors, are the most “diverse” sector of the workforce, and some of the most exploited and vulnerable. We stand with them as fellow workers who deserve a living wage and the right to bargain over the terms of their work.
These initial actions are dress rehearsals for what is yet to come. The Movement for Black Lives has called for a season of strikes. SSJ will amplify, showcase, convene and support principled struggles and campaigns on and off campus in the months and years ahead.