Acuña | Critique of neoliberalism in higher education

ts
La verdad sobre el neoliberalismo.

Credit: Portafolio Electroníco Historia II

Moderator’s Note: In his 2005 book, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, David Harvey offers this initial definition of the concept:

Neoliberalism is in the first instance a theory of political economic practices that proposes that human well-being can best be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills within an institutional framework characterized by strong private property rights, free markets, and free trade. The role of the state is to create and preserve an institutional framework appropriate to such practices

The universities and colleges play a major role in this process of creating the institutional framework for the reproduction of the dominant free market fundamentalist ideology. Neoliberalism is an ideology, and it is fundamentalist in form, because it negates other ways of knowing and being and is based on a religious-like blind faith in the superiority of the market as the best organizational form possible to produce and distribute the maximum social good. Selfishness leads to sociality. Trust the market; trust inequality; trust environmental destruction and ignore the facts on the ground of an economic system based on the ruthless commodification of everything – including knowledge in the entrepreneurial university.

No wonder Rudy Acuña is down on California’s public institutions of higher education, they are clearly committed to the neoliberal path and this represents a threat to academic freedom and working-class interests. In Tenoch, a Mexican science blog, an anonymous blogger had this to say about neoliberalism and higher education that resonates with this post by Acuña:

En suma, es posible que la vigencia del neoliberalismo esté en proporción directa de la confusión de todo tipo que sus opositores tienen y no por qué tenga algo válido que ofrecer salvo las riquezas de los capitalistas y las becas de sus investigadores que son también sus más enconados defensores en la academia y en la elaboración de las políticas económicas que tanta miseria y desesperación están sembrando por todo el mundo. [Trans. In sum, it is possible that the validity of neoliberalism is in direct proportion to the confusion the diverse opponents have and not because it has something valid to offer except for the wealth of the capitalists and the research grants to its investigators that are also its fiercest defenders in the academy and in the elaboration of the economic policies that are spreading so much misery and despair worldwide.] 

Let us also not forget the case of South Central Farm in which yet another Mexican-American elected official, in this case LA Mayor Antonio Ramón Villaraigosa betrayed the community’s creation of a world-renowned urban public space and sold out to the privateers driving the new enclosures. ¡Adelante, colegas!

Our Politicos Have sold us Out

Selling Public Space

THE CHICKENS WILL COME HOME TO ROOST
Rodolfo F. Acuña | Northridge, CA | May 24, 2014

On the one side is neoliberalism, with all its repressive power and its machinery of death; on the other side is the human being. There are those who resign themselves to being one more number in the huge exchange of power … But there are those who do not resign themselves … In any place in the world, anytime, any man or woman rebels to the point of tearing off the clothes resignation has woven for them and cynicism has died grey. Any man or woman, of whatever colour, in whatever tongue, speaks and says to himself or to herself: Enough is enough! ¡Ya basta!

Subcomandante Marcos       

El garrote. Image credit: Tenoch

The lambs have a problem hearing the sounds of the clarion because they lack long term memory. Because of this loss, the Zapatistas’ January 1, 1994 revolt in reaction to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) never sunk in. It could be that the word “neoliberal” was too foreign to the lambs that had a difficult time comprehending that the word takes different forms.

News that University of California President Janet Napolitano began two days of meetings in Mexico about expanding academic and research cooperation with Mexican universities and scientific and cultural organizations has raised fears among many of us.

The U.S. War on Drugs has ravaged Mexico to the point that few U.S. students want to study there. As a consequence, about 40 out of 233,000 UC students study in Mexico each year, while about 1,900 Mexicans attended UC schools in 2013. 

Ironically, Napolitano, the former secretary of Homeland Security was involved in making U.S. drug policy; her visit coincides with that of Secretary of State John Kerry.  According to the UC president this part of the, “UC’’s many and varied partnerships, exchanges and collaborations with Mexico are integral to bettering lives on both sides of our national border … I’m here to ensure we grow that relationship by establishing our new project to enhance the mutual exchange of students, faculty and ideas across the border.”

For over 50 years, the Mexican American community has encouraged exchange programs by lobbying for programs with Mexico. However, many of us have come to realize that just studying in Mexico, or studying in the United States, does not always have positive outcomes.

A Facebook friend, Vicente Ramírez says about these exchanges,

They’re [the UC and CSU] not going to recruit the working class – it’s a class war… They’re recruiting Mexico’s elite students so that they can then go back and apply neoliberal policies. All of Mexico’s secretaries of Economy (Secretario de Economía) and Finance (Secretario de Hacienda y Crédito Público) have gotten their Ph.D.’s from American universities since the mid-1980s. Mexico’s current Secretario de Hacienda, Luis Videgarray, who successfully pushed for the privatization of PEMEX, got his Ph.D. from MIT. Ex-Mexican president Carlos Salinas de Gortari, arguably the intellectual godfather of Mexican neoliberalism, received his MA and PhD in economics from Harvard.

Upon hearing about Napolitano’s Mexican junket UC Irvine Professor Rodolfo Torres wrote.

I read this morning that Janet Napolitano is in Mexico exploring academic and research cooperation with Mexican universities. Do you think there is a proactive role UC Chicano Studies and progressive Latin American Studies faculty can play to prevent this initiative from becoming a total market-driven and neoliberal project? My Dean (Social Ecology) also announced at a school-wide faculty meeting that she will be meeting with selected faculty to discuss this US-Mexico initiative.

UC Professor Jorge Mariscal wrote on FB:

UC is recruiting the Mexican ruling class and a token number of working-class mexicanos/as who identify with the ruling class. This process will intensify in coming years as Napolitano struggles to erase her record as DHS/Deportation Czar. One (un)intended consequence will be the slow-motion strangulation of Chicano/a programs in the UC system that refuse to subordinate the local (albeit transnational) to the ‘global’.

 

The revolution will be privatized. Image credit: Google Images/R. Acuña
It should be made clear that this initiative is not about diversity or cultural enrichment. The recruitment is global and it is about profit. When the UC or CSU turns away students the for-profit university sector in both countries thrive.

Neoliberalism at its worse will recruit wealthy Mexican students to displace U.S. minority students charging them out of state and foreign student fees. Not too many, if any, working class Mexican students will be able to afford the tuition and dorm costs.

The current exchanges have had little scrutiny from progressives in this country. Mexico has set a goal of sending 100,000 Mexican students a year to the U.S. by 2018. In addition, the UC and CSU system have recruiters in China, the Middle East, Asia and the U.S. Let’s be clear, large numbers of international students impact minorities and working class students many of whom have already been priced out of the market.

Today, first year students from outside California comprise almost 30 percent of freshmen at UC Berkeley and UCLA, a growth of just over 10 percent in four years. The Mercury News reports, UC Berkley’s “revenue from out-of-state and international students has grown to about $160 million, about 7 percent of its annual operating budget and more than half of its state subsidy.” 

Meanwhile, at UCLA just under 28 percent of the incoming freshmen are out of state students while just over 3 percent are African American. Inside Higher Ed writes that

The number of foreign and out-of-state students admitted to the University of California’s 10 campuses soared by 43 percent this year, while the overall number of would-be freshmen admitted from within the state’s borders grew by just 3.6 percent, the university system … Out-of-state and foreign students made up nearly one in five students admitted for next fall, 18,846 of a total of 80,289.

In the meantime, the Cal State Universities are following the same neoliberal model. Pathetically desperate, the CSU has embarked on a policy of growth. The problem is that it is shifting the cost of this growth almost exclusively to students who pay over three-quarters of instructional costs and almost a hundred percent of new construction. 

This leads to an insidious policy that limits space for low-income students and justifies higher fees and tuition. It gives students who are turned away no alternative but to go to for-profit universities. Recently, a scheme by the community colleges to enter into a contract with the University of Kaplan to offer classes online to community college students (at a substantial fee) was derailed because of public outcry. (Until recently Kaplan was a tutorial center mainly for foreign students).

Education is not a business. Image credit: Google Images/R. Acuña


Meanwhile, California politicos are encouraging an insidious policy of divide and conquer, pitting the Asian community against the Latino and other minority communities. This has led to some Asian American leaders thinking affirmative action will discriminate against them.

I use the phrase “The Chickens are Coming Home to Roost” because the commodification of public spaces has been occurring for some time. The Zapatista revolt should have been a wake-up call; however, our elected officials have sold us out. They seem more concerned with photo-ops and getting elected than they are in preserving public spaces. 

I cannot remember a Latino elected official since the late Marco Firebaugh who was concerned with the state of Latinos in higher education. However, the lambs have to bear responsibility for not keeping the politicos in check and allowing themselves and their public spaces to be sold on the open market. 

Acuña | Critique of neoliberalism in higher education

ts
La verdad sobre el neoliberalismo.

Credit: Portafolio Electroníco Historia II

Moderator’s Note: In his 2005 book, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, David Harvey offers this initial definition of the concept:

Neoliberalism is in the first instance a theory of political economic practices that proposes that human well-being can best be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills within an institutional framework characterized by strong private property rights, free markets, and free trade. The role of the state is to create and preserve an institutional framework appropriate to such practices

The universities and colleges play a major role in this process of creating the institutional framework for the reproduction of the dominant free market fundamentalist ideology. Neoliberalism is an ideology, and it is fundamentalist in form, because it negates other ways of knowing and being and is based on a religious-like blind faith in the superiority of the market as the best organizational form possible to produce and distribute the maximum social good. Selfishness leads to sociality. Trust the market; trust inequality; trust environmental destruction and ignore the facts on the ground of an economic system based on the ruthless commodification of everything – including knowledge in the entrepreneurial university.

No wonder Rudy Acuña is down on California’s public institutions of higher education, they are clearly committed to the neoliberal path and this represents a threat to academic freedom and working-class interests. In Tenoch, a Mexican science blog, an anonymous blogger had this to say about neoliberalism and higher education that resonates with this post by Acuña:

En suma, es posible que la vigencia del neoliberalismo esté en proporción directa de la confusión de todo tipo que sus opositores tienen y no por qué tenga algo válido que ofrecer salvo las riquezas de los capitalistas y las becas de sus investigadores que son también sus más enconados defensores en la academia y en la elaboración de las políticas económicas que tanta miseria y desesperación están sembrando por todo el mundo. [Trans. In sum, it is possible that the validity of neoliberalism is in direct proportion to the confusion the diverse opponents have and not because it has something valid to offer except for the wealth of the capitalists and the research grants to its investigators that are also its fiercest defenders in the academy and in the elaboration of the economic policies that are spreading so much misery and despair worldwide.] 

Let us also not forget the case of South Central Farm in which yet another Mexican-American elected official, in this case LA Mayor Antonio Ramón Villaraigosa betrayed the community’s creation of a world-renowned urban public space and sold out to the privateers driving the new enclosures. ¡Adelante, colegas!

Our Politicos Have sold us Out

Selling Public Space

THE CHICKENS WILL COME HOME TO ROOST
Rodolfo F. Acuña | Northridge, CA | May 24, 2014

On the one side is neoliberalism, with all its repressive power and its machinery of death; on the other side is the human being. There are those who resign themselves to being one more number in the huge exchange of power … But there are those who do not resign themselves … In any place in the world, anytime, any man or woman rebels to the point of tearing off the clothes resignation has woven for them and cynicism has died grey. Any man or woman, of whatever colour, in whatever tongue, speaks and says to himself or to herself: Enough is enough! ¡Ya basta!

Subcomandante Marcos       

El garrote. Image credit: Tenoch

The lambs have a problem hearing the sounds of the clarion because they lack long term memory. Because of this loss, the Zapatistas’ January 1, 1994 revolt in reaction to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) never sunk in. It could be that the word “neoliberal” was too foreign to the lambs that had a difficult time comprehending that the word takes different forms.

News that University of California President Janet Napolitano began two days of meetings in Mexico about expanding academic and research cooperation with Mexican universities and scientific and cultural organizations has raised fears among many of us.

The U.S. War on Drugs has ravaged Mexico to the point that few U.S. students want to study there. As a consequence, about 40 out of 233,000 UC students study in Mexico each year, while about 1,900 Mexicans attended UC schools in 2013. 

Ironically, Napolitano, the former secretary of Homeland Security was involved in making U.S. drug policy; her visit coincides with that of Secretary of State John Kerry.  According to the UC president this part of the, “UC’’s many and varied partnerships, exchanges and collaborations with Mexico are integral to bettering lives on both sides of our national border … I’m here to ensure we grow that relationship by establishing our new project to enhance the mutual exchange of students, faculty and ideas across the border.”

For over 50 years, the Mexican American community has encouraged exchange programs by lobbying for programs with Mexico. However, many of us have come to realize that just studying in Mexico, or studying in the United States, does not always have positive outcomes.

A Facebook friend, Vicente Ramírez says about these exchanges,

They’re [the UC and CSU] not going to recruit the working class – it’s a class war… They’re recruiting Mexico’s elite students so that they can then go back and apply neoliberal policies. All of Mexico’s secretaries of Economy (Secretario de Economía) and Finance (Secretario de Hacienda y Crédito Público) have gotten their Ph.D.’s from American universities since the mid-1980s. Mexico’s current Secretario de Hacienda, Luis Videgarray, who successfully pushed for the privatization of PEMEX, got his Ph.D. from MIT. Ex-Mexican president Carlos Salinas de Gortari, arguably the intellectual godfather of Mexican neoliberalism, received his MA and PhD in economics from Harvard.

Upon hearing about Napolitano’s Mexican junket UC Irvine Professor Rodolfo Torres wrote.

I read this morning that Janet Napolitano is in Mexico exploring academic and research cooperation with Mexican universities. Do you think there is a proactive role UC Chicano Studies and progressive Latin American Studies faculty can play to prevent this initiative from becoming a total market-driven and neoliberal project? My Dean (Social Ecology) also announced at a school-wide faculty meeting that she will be meeting with selected faculty to discuss this US-Mexico initiative.

UC Professor Jorge Mariscal wrote on FB:

UC is recruiting the Mexican ruling class and a token number of working-class mexicanos/as who identify with the ruling class. This process will intensify in coming years as Napolitano struggles to erase her record as DHS/Deportation Czar. One (un)intended consequence will be the slow-motion strangulation of Chicano/a programs in the UC system that refuse to subordinate the local (albeit transnational) to the ‘global’.

 

The revolution will be privatized. Image credit: Google Images/R. Acuña
It should be made clear that this initiative is not about diversity or cultural enrichment. The recruitment is global and it is about profit. When the UC or CSU turns away students the for-profit university sector in both countries thrive.

Neoliberalism at its worse will recruit wealthy Mexican students to displace U.S. minority students charging them out of state and foreign student fees. Not too many, if any, working class Mexican students will be able to afford the tuition and dorm costs.

The current exchanges have had little scrutiny from progressives in this country. Mexico has set a goal of sending 100,000 Mexican students a year to the U.S. by 2018. In addition, the UC and CSU system have recruiters in China, the Middle East, Asia and the U.S. Let’s be clear, large numbers of international students impact minorities and working class students many of whom have already been priced out of the market.

Today, first year students from outside California comprise almost 30 percent of freshmen at UC Berkeley and UCLA, a growth of just over 10 percent in four years. The Mercury News reports, UC Berkley’s “revenue from out-of-state and international students has grown to about $160 million, about 7 percent of its annual operating budget and more than half of its state subsidy.” 

Meanwhile, at UCLA just under 28 percent of the incoming freshmen are out of state students while just over 3 percent are African American. Inside Higher Ed writes that

The number of foreign and out-of-state students admitted to the University of California’s 10 campuses soared by 43 percent this year, while the overall number of would-be freshmen admitted from within the state’s borders grew by just 3.6 percent, the university system … Out-of-state and foreign students made up nearly one in five students admitted for next fall, 18,846 of a total of 80,289.

In the meantime, the Cal State Universities are following the same neoliberal model. Pathetically desperate, the CSU has embarked on a policy of growth. The problem is that it is shifting the cost of this growth almost exclusively to students who pay over three-quarters of instructional costs and almost a hundred percent of new construction. 

This leads to an insidious policy that limits space for low-income students and justifies higher fees and tuition. It gives students who are turned away no alternative but to go to for-profit universities. Recently, a scheme by the community colleges to enter into a contract with the University of Kaplan to offer classes online to community college students (at a substantial fee) was derailed because of public outcry. (Until recently Kaplan was a tutorial center mainly for foreign students).

Education is not a business. Image credit: Google Images/R. Acuña


Meanwhile, California politicos are encouraging an insidious policy of divide and conquer, pitting the Asian community against the Latino and other minority communities. This has led to some Asian American leaders thinking affirmative action will discriminate against them.

I use the phrase “The Chickens are Coming Home to Roost” because the commodification of public spaces has been occurring for some time. The Zapatista revolt should have been a wake-up call; however, our elected officials have sold us out. They seem more concerned with photo-ops and getting elected than they are in preserving public spaces. 

I cannot remember a Latino elected official since the late Marco Firebaugh who was concerned with the state of Latinos in higher education. However, the lambs have to bear responsibility for not keeping the politicos in check and allowing themselves and their public spaces to be sold on the open market.