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List Harrego Cleavera ws. Rafała Jakubowicza

Harry Cleaver
Harry Cleaver

Publikujemy list Harrego Cleavera, emerytowanego profesora Uniwersytetu Teksańskiego w Austin i autora m.in. książki "Polityczne czytanie Kapitału" (Poznań, Poznań 2011), kierowany do JM prof. Wojciecha Hory, rektora Uniwersytetu Artystycznego im. Magdaleny Abakanowicz, wspierający Rafała Jakubowicza, prof. UAP i działacza OZZ Inicjatywa Pracownicza, któremu rzecznik dyscyplinarny ds. nauczycieli akademickich UAP, prof. Kazimierz Raba, postawił, na wniosek rektora, szereg zarzutów, w tym m.in. zarzut udostępniania studentom artykułu Harrego Cleavera pt. "Praca w szkole i praca przeciwko pracy w szkole" opublikowanego w 13 numerze "Przeglądu Anarchistycznego" (2011).

I would like to express my support for Professor Rafał Jakubowicz, a member of the OZZ Workers' Initiative, teaching in The Magdalena Abakanowicz University of the Arts in Poznań. I understand that disciplinary proceedings are currently underway against Professor Jakubowicz. Apparently, one of the complaints against him is that he made available to students in the Art Studio an article that I wrote titled “Schoolwork and the Struggle Against it”. In general, it seems to me that universities, especially art colleges, serve society best by being places of unfettered debate and a free exchange of ideas, a place of freedom both for conducting scientific research and for artistic creation. Isn’t it only by subjecting existing educational practices to critical reflection that we can expect to improve them?

In this spirit, it seems to me that Kant’s defense of critical thinking in his essay The Conflict of the Faculties (1798) is as relevant today as it was then. His critique of the dogma of his time finds an echo in the contemporary need to critique the now long-standing tendency to subordinate education to job training. Why? Because doing so tends to reduce the imagination and creativity of both students and professors – a tendency in contradiction with recent changes in the economy. My article – based on twenty-five years as a student and forty years of teaching – points to the contradictions in the methods of contemporary education and how they result in conflict rather than creative innovation. This contradiction has become acute in recent years, because the tendency to organize the university in the manner of a business, complete with the application of the principles of scientific management, first spelled out in the early 20th Century is increasingly at odds with the rapidly changing nature of work in society. Whereas for many decades it may have made sense for schools to mimic the methods of mass production industry, the increasing subordination of manufacturing to the service sector, especially to those parts of it devoted to crafting culture (TV, film, art, music) requires the reverse of past practices. Instead of discouraging creativity and innovation, those qualities are now at a premium and schools across the world are now trying to figure out how to restructure their educational practices to favor rather than repress imagination and innovation. Under these conditions, to object to making articles critical of contemporary educational practices available to students strikes me as ill-advised. They are needed now, more than ever. Having now read a long essay by Professor Jakubowicz, I can see both how his critiques may be unsettling but also how they may – if taken seriously rather than being dismissed – contribute to helping your university find its way to new and better practices. Having also once lectured at The Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań and enjoyed a lively interaction with my audience, I’d hate to see that liveliness quelled by misguided restrictions on free speech and critical thought. I therefore suggest that you reconsider and withdraw this complaint against Professor Jakubowicz.

Sincerely,

Harry Cleaver

OZZ Inicjatywa Pracownicza
Komisja Krajowa

ul. Kościelna 4/1a, 60-538 Poznań
530 377 534
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In english

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