Between the Ivory Tower and the Assembly Line

The tendency to describe intel­lec­tu­als as a single coherent group papers over these expe­ri­ences of exploitation, and conceals the very real struggles that con­di­tion intel­lec­tual pro­duc­tion. The antag­o­nisms of the insti­tu­tions of knowledge are resolved into a myth of unity, in which all knowledge workers – what­ever their labor con­di­tions, requirements of social repro­duc­tion, and so forth – are part of a com­mon com­mu­nity, one whose pur­suits are so pure they transcend all differences.

In a certain way, we have to return to the expe­ri­ences of the indus­tri­al­iz­ers. Their guiding  idea – that mil­i­tants, no matter how rad­i­cal, would be inef­fec­tive if they weren’t anchored to the real struggles of other workers – has to be taken seriously. But the question for us today is not how we can sup­port the struggles of the most “advanced workers,” or how we can best recruit them to our van­guard par­ties, but how we can link up with other struggles out­ide the uni­ver­sity in a way that pre­serves the dis­tinct­ness, rec­og­nizes the strategic value, and respects the specific needs of all these dif­fer­ent struggles, including our own.


About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
This entry was posted in Knowledge worker, Struggles, University and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.