[URBANTH-L]more responses to the atlanta move

bvergara at sfsu.edu bvergara at sfsu.edu
Sat Oct 23 01:19:33 EDT 2004


Date: Sat, 23 Oct 2004 01:41:11 -0400
From: Shea Michael Anderson <imonik at temple.edu>
Subject: Re: [URBANTH-L]Feedback On the Move to Atlanta


The above is a blog to discuss holding alternative meetings 
in San Jose. 

I might remind everyone that many of us who were originally 
planning on going to SF are graduate students, paying our own 
way in order to attend this incredibly important professional 
conference. We not only have non-refundable plane tickets 
(with change fees of $100), we also have non-refundable 
hotel/hostel reservations. 

Many of us (in fact, nearly all of us) cannot afford to 
suddenly change horses midstream and move our travel plans to 
Atlanta. Furthermore, holding alternative meetings at the 
Atlanta Hilton from Dec 15-19, beyond its noxious odors of 
being "scabs" and running the picket line in a very 
roundabout fashion, also coincides directly with Winter Break 
at most, if not all, universities in the United States. Plans 
have already been made for most of us to travel home to see 
our families in the time that this period allows. 

Holding the conference in San Jose in some fashion (and the 
City of San Jose has extended a welcoming hand) is the best 
option, under the circumstances. Furthermore, San Jose is 
easily accessible from San Francisco hotel rooms by car, 
Caltrain (til 1:30 AM) or BART light-rail and express bus via 

Finally, San Jose is certainly more in need of income that 
such a conference could provide than San Francisco. While I 
certainly do not advocate that cities look to professional 
conferences as a means of securing vital income, I think that 
we would make more of an impact on the local San Jose economy 
than the hyper-active economic climate of San Francisco. 

I urge everyone to consider the good alternative that holding 
a conference in San Jose provides. 

Thank you, 

Shea Michael Anderson
Temple University
Department of Anthropology
Philadelphia, PA


Date: Sat, 23 Oct 2004 09:11:03 +0200
Subject: Re: The 2004 Annual Meeting (Please Circulate) 
 urbanth-l at lists.ysu.edu,
  <chermer at pipeline.com>,
 Harald Prins <prins at ksu.edu>
To: "AAA" <rthomas at aaanet.org>
From: Allison Jablonko <jablonko at tin.it>

Dear Members of the Executive Board,

I am SHOCKED at the decision to move the 2004 Meeting to the Atlanta 

The poll you sent out gave us three choices:  cancel the meeting; move 
it to San Jose; keep it in S.F.  It did NOT give us a chance to express 
our opinion on moving the meeting to another non-union Hilton Hotel on 
the other side of the continent at a future date. Many of us would have 
responded to that option with a resounding "NO!"

Keeping the meetings in San Francisco would have involved considerable 
creative action  -  the meetings could not have "gone on as usual" 
because many of us,  including myself,  would have refused to cross the 
picket lines. Though we would not have been able to present and listen 
to papers in the neatly cubicled rooms of one of our usual conference 
hotels, we would have had to come face-to-face with the labor/union 
realities which have come to a head there at this moment.  Of course,  
many members would not have shown up,  but many would have in order to 
take part in a situation involving our civic and democratic 

Though San Jose apparently came up with an offer (even though it 
involved another Hilton hotel),  which would to some extent have 
mitigated the considerable logistical problems of relocating the 
meetings, though it would not have addressed the problem of crossing 
the picket line any more than does the decision to move to Atlanta.  
San Jose is in the same geographic area to which we would have been 
traveling,  and the dates remained the same. What percentage of 
attendees are free to juggle their dates around so cavalierly?  
Important as our meetings are,  we are not individuals with no other 
responsibilities to other people or institutions!

Whereas I appreciate the enormous pressure upon staff and officers of 
the AAA to deal with this situation, I am more than disappointed at the 
outcome of your teleconference.  Unfortunately,  the decision you have 
just taken is entirely unacceptable to me (and probably to many other 
members of AAA).  If this is the final decision,  I will forego 
attending the 2004 meeting.

This situation has,  at least, forced us all to come face-to-face with 
the economic, political, and spatial realities of organizing a meeting 
of thousands of participants within the current political-economic 
context of the USA . I am pleased to read below that:

> A committee appointed by the Executive Board last spring is developing 
> a policy to favor living wage municipalities and unionized hotels in 
> choosing future meeting venues.  We will also seek a strike 
> cancellation clause in future contracts with meeting hotels.

For many years,  many of us wished that the meetings could be held in 
venues more in keeping with our values - yet it is plain that no campus 
is large enough for such a meeting,  especially during semester time. I 
look forward to having regular updates from this committee.  By the 
way,  what is the title of the committee?

You give information as to cancellation and refund for housing from the 
hotels.  What about refunds of our registration fee for the meeting?


Allison Jablonko, Ph.D
Via della Ginestra, 12
06069 Tuoro sul Trasimeno (PG)


From: "Paul" <paulanthropus at cox.net>
Subject: Re: [URBANTH-L]Feedback On the Move to Atlanta
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 2004 23:26:50 -0700


I support Robert T. O'Brien's suggestion of holding a counter-conference in
San Jose. In fact, this might be a grand opportunity to start a second
anthropological association.

The AAA  executive has proven by its actions to be an accessory to Hilton's
union-busting policies and to be unmindful of the hardships it has created
for those who had already arranged travel to San Francisco--and don't have
the big bucks the executive membership seems to have. We should,
individually and collectively, withdraw our financial support for this

I suggest colleagues disgusted by the AAA decisions do, among other possible
actions, the following:

--Demand an immediate refund of the registration fees.
--For those near the greater DC region (including Maryland and Virginia and
neighboring states), conduct a sit-in until the AAA reverses its decision
--For those scheduled to present papers or sessions, make immediate
--Initiate procedures for recalling the AAA executive from office
--Cancel or refrain from renewing membership in the AAA if the executive
persists in its misdeeds
--Consider forming an alternative Anthropological Association
--Consider the feasibility of holding an alternative conference, either in
San Jose or another nearby urban center, such as Oakland, Berkeley, or Palo

These suggestions are offered for what they're worth. In any event, whatever
we do, I think it important to realize that verbal protests, abrasive
e-mails and phone calls, and even nonviolent direct action can go only so
far. We need to set up an alternative that will decisively eliminate the
ossfied bureaucracy that AAA has become.

If we do nothing, the AAA executive will only widen its abusive policies.

Yours sincerely,

Paul McDowell
Ph.D. and Part-Timer

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