[URBANTH-L]AAA and the strike
phwu at cryptio.net
Fri Oct 22 00:37:17 EDT 2004
Thank you all for the great thoughts so far!
1. Whether AAA is hypocritical or not, don't we still have to decide what
to do, given AAA's position *as* a professional organization? That
positioning could be powerful.
I think those committed to a more just world need to make that effort to
use what already is present and not step away from every space that has
been "tainted" by hypocrisy-- why does the right-wing have so much swing
over the functions and meanings of the concepts of family values, nation,
religion, patriotism, etc.? Can those concepts be practiced in more
ethical ways, and why aren't more people working harder at contesting
those meanings? (hm, went off on a little tangent there...)
2. I too am a grad student who refuses to advance her career if that
career is alienated from those in struggle for health care benefits and
fair labor practices. This isn't about "justice" writ large in the sky.
This is about survival, lives in struggle; that's right, I also refuse to
cross picket lines. If our personal and professional lives do not shift
in response to people struggling for survival, *what* kind of lives are we
Whose voices and concerns do we prioritize in our lives and careers, and
why? And given anthropology's complex history with colonization, these
are very important questions to reflect upon, no?
3. I understand that breaking the contract with the Hilton cannot be used
as a financial leverage toward ending the lockout. But we're talking
about the political impact of such an action; breaking the contract may
give the workers greater moral capital toward ending the lockout, and
inspire other professional and academic organizations to (re)think their
relationship with those in struggle as well, which I would welcome quite
...also, I'm luckier than most; i can possibly convince my roundtable to
move to another space near the Hilton (I'm a local). I know others don't
have this possibility, and if the lockout doesn't end soon, we're only
going to get a few choices, one more awful than the other, most of which
are not likely to make any difference in the labor struggle. What can we
do to avoid a situation where every choice is awful? What other choices
can we create as anthropologists, academics, professionals, etc.?
4. So AAA has been financially straitjacketed by the contract. Does the
conference bring the Hilton enough business that the threat of boycott in
future years is enough to end the lockout?
Were there discussions on what options AAA would have toward pressuring
the Hilton to end the lockout NOW and force them to discuss the workers'
concerns? Because that's the fourth option i was looking for on that
survey, so that we're not left with the other three less-than-appealing
I would join 4500+ people in a sit-in in the lobby, if Local 2 thought
that would be helpful-- communication and negotiation with the workers are
key here to inform any action on our (AAA conference attendees') parts.
We have four weeks. Anthropology for workers' health benefits and fair
labor practices! Proletariats unite, and bourgeois professional
organizations can stand steadfast at their side as well. Let's
interrogate the moralities that keep closing off spaces for alliances and
actions... from each according to one's capabilities, no?
And though the above sit-in may be a fantasy (it looks so beautiful in my
mind, it does!), hopefully we on this list can think together on other
political practices, not just for now, but in future situations as
Social and Cultural Anthropology
California Institute of Integral Studies
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