August 18, 2012

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Killing the American University Excerpt from "How the American University Was Killed, in Five Easy Steps" by the Homeless Adjunct. Read the whole thing. Let’s go back to post World War II, 1950s when the GI bill, and the affordability – and sometimes free access – to universities created an upsurge of college students across the country. This surge continued through the ’60s, when universities were the very heart of intense public discourse, passionate learning, and vocal citizen involvement in the issues of the times. It was during this time, too, when colleges had a thriving professoriate, and when students were given access to a variety of subject areas, and the possibility of broad learning. The Liberal Arts stood at the center of a college education, and students were exposed to philosophy, anthropology, literature, history, sociology, world religions, foreign languages and cultures. Of course, something else happened, beginning in the late fifties into the sixties — the uprisings and growing numbers of citizens taking part in popular dissent — against the Vietnam War, against racism, against destruction of the environment in a growing corporatized culture, against misogyny, against homophobia. Where did much of that revolt incubate? Where did large numbers of well-educated, intellectual, and vocal people congregate? On college campuses. Who didn’t like the outcome of the 60s? The corporations, the war-mongers, those in our society who would keep us divided based on our race, our gender, our sexual orientation. I suspect that, given the opportunity, those groups would have liked nothing more than...
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Chicago's Quiet Home-Liberation Front You have to understand that this isn’t just about finding a place to live; it’s about fixing up the neighborhood, making jobs, changing the whole idea of housing. And then you have to pass the knowledge on: another house, another family. In short, you have to join. A housing liberation movement is brewing in Chicago. The idea is simple: Tens of thousands — possibly hundreds of thousands — of vacant, bank-owned homes are a large part of what is making the poorest neighborhoods of Chicago into semi-forsaken tracts ridden with crime and blight. These houses are so bad that Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently announced that he’d spend $4 million just to tear some down. Meanwhile, there are more than 20,000 homeless adults and tens of thousands of additional homeless youth in the city fighting through life as capitalism’s refugees. (They aren’t receiving any additional mayoral funding.) The supposed truism of supply and demand seems to have gone haywire. Many no longer recognize the banks’ claim to ownership. The only definition of these so-called assets that makes sense is their immediate capacity to serve as homes for families. Domino effect “This is how we can house the city of Chicago,” said Thomas Turner, who has worked with Occupy Chicago and was homeless before he liberated and renovated four homes since the summer began. When a local property owner saw what Turner was during, she donated three more. “You know this economic situation isn’t getting any better,” he continued. “So just like...

Jodi Dean

Jodi Dean is a political theorist.

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