[iDC] for Mr. Tan

Danny Butt db at dannybutt.net
Mon Oct 10 06:35:50 UTC 2011

Hi Leon

As I am without doubt the 'opportunistic' staff member you're talking about - seeing as you are repeating these "unnamed" assertions you posted on my partner's wall on Facebook, and I am (AFAIK) the only Uni of Auckland staff member to recently post on iDC - perhaps it would be a good idea if you got your facts straight. 

Far from being offered a pay rise by the Vice Chancellor of the University of Auckland, my short-term .2 FTE contract running from July to November this semester finishes in a few weeks, at which time I return to unemployment for two months, before I have agreed to another "lucrative" six weeks of .3 FTE  employment in summer school that will pay me a little more than the rent on my house. At which time I will then return to helping my brother's business and hope that I receive a call in March if there's some work going. On a part-time teaching contract that no longer allows me to do research. This is why I have supported the occupation movements at UoA, and other forms of collective organisation within the university.

So, the information you have on my employment conditions is incorrect (perhaps unsurprising given your sources), and frankly, I think your attempt to paint me as some kind of hypocrite in this forum is pretty tacky and a waste of people's time. 

I look forward though to any actual contribution you have to make to this list, which I usually count as one of the most intellectually stimulating forums of the last decade. As your first "action", this post has indeed spoken loudly.



On 10/10/2011, at 5:30 AM, Leon Tan wrote:

> Thank you Brian for the interesting discussion! It provides  an occasion to reflect on a current situation at the University of Auckland, in which opportunist staff (I shall not name names) blithely write public articles to support 'resistance' (I suppose what you call purported leftists) when in private they have chosen to accept the Vice Chancellor's offer of a pay rise on condition of not joining the Union and the resistance it poses to blatantly neoliberal and predatory management strategies. These get worse and worse by the day, and ultimately I think in a sense (however cliché), actions - e.g. refusing the pay rise to preserve minimal conditions of dignity at the university - speak much louder than words.
> Leon
> On 2 Oct 2011, at 22:54, Brian Holmes wrote:
>> Here's what I think. Academics who have no intellectual capital had 
>> better build it right now through ethical-political struggles within 
>> their own hypercompetitive, corrupt, and radically inegalitarian fields. 
>> Which means changing the ways they work so that the products are not 
>> self-referential, self-interested and therefore aligned with predatory 
>> neoliberal management strategies. Those who have built it up already 
>> through such struggles had better spend it right now, critiquing and 
>> opposing the sudden and violent power grab that money capital has been 
>> carrying out since 2008 on the entire public sphere and on the majority 
>> of humanity, or "bare life" as Agamben says. I have been told that 
>> Cornell West is camping out in Zuccotti Park in New York City. Until I 
>> see great numbers of purportedly leftist academics following suit, 
>> either in that movement or in other, better, more potent ones, I shall 
>> go on trying to help you by producing concepts and agitational forms, 
>> and (in all friendliness) by goading you from those extradisciplinary 
>> and extra-institutional positions that I occupy and which are 
>> dialectically related to the public institutions, as civil society is 
>> dialectically related to the state. One of the concepts I'll continue to 
>> use is that of the "total corruption" which in my considered analysis is 
>> threatening the public university and all public institutions.
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