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HAW and an alliance of radical academic/intellectual caucuses and organizations

The Radical Caucus of the Modern Language Association initiated a meeting on April 19, 2003 in NYC to discuss the possibility of an alliance of radical groupings of intellectuals in various academic fields. Nearly forty representatives of organizations in modern languages, political science, economics, sociology, philosophy, anthropology, film studies, history, and others attended, including HAW. A steering committee was chosen, and that SC has produced a provisional draft mission statement, with introductory letter, and a call for a founding meeting on October 4, 2003. These are appended here, fyi.

from: Steering Committee
to: Leftcaucuses list and others
draft of mission statement

We've worked long and hard, had various disagreements and compromised them, and brought forth this draft. We think it carries out what was intended by the April 19 meeting, but it can stand further discussion, polishing and fine tuning. (For a coherent general discussion, replies should be sent to the Leftcaucuses list.) We have scheduled a steering committee meeting for July 12, so please send all comments in before that. In the meantime, we assume it's ok to circulate the draft to constituent and candidate organizations, so long as it is clearly labeled as a draft.

Participants in drafting:
Barbara Foley
Patricia Keeton
Jesse Lemisch
Yusuf Nuruddin
Andor Skotnes

P.S. Special thanks goes to Pat Keeton for taking the lead in drafting the following statement.

Alliance of Radical Academic/Intellectual Organizations (working title)

Preliminary Work-in-Progress Draft of Mission Statement
Call for a Founding Meeting: October 4, 2003 (tentative)

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-intellectuals 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. The following is a preliminary draft mission statement and call for a founding meeting, prepared by a Steering Committee of volunteers attending that meeting and circulated to all attendees of that meeting for final review.


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 below--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 will be based on discussions leading up to the founding meeting and/or at the founding meeting itself.


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.