G-20 Protests: Let Leftist Profs Be Leftist Profs, Etc.

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in at 3/29/2009 09:50:00 AM
And so the world is awash with protests over the upcoming G-20 meeting. In London just yesterday, they were 35,000 strong--not a bad showing. I will soon post at greater length about the G-20's prospects--more hopeful than you'd probably expect--but for now let us cover the sideshow. A criticism many have had of the so-called anti-globalization movement has been its rather scattershot agenda, throwing together anarcho-syndicalists, deep ecologists, neo-primitivists, rioters, party animals, etc. into the mix. Same here. If you think this world is run pretty poorly by the axis of spending (Barack Obama, Gordon Brown, and someone TBA), you'd be pretty hard-pressed to see an improvement from these guys. As usual, their challenge is lame and unfocused.

Now, as I've learned, academia is certainly an interesting place filled with all sorts of characters you'd be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. Even by American standards, British academia is, well, downright weird. Where else can you find it common for unreconstructed Marxists to teach...in business schools? Pinko Business Management--now there's a course offering for you (full of the inherent contradictions of capitalism, no doubt). As the death place of Herr Marx, Britain has long been teeming with those convinced that the downfall of capitalism is right around the corner. Certainly, the current time is a fruitful one to strike a chord for change especially with the ham-fisted handling of the subprime crisis in the US and the UK.

I found it rather amusing when Professor Chris Knight of the University of East London--formerly a "polytechnic" akin to a community college in the States--got suspended for getting into the anti-globalization spirit. Here are some choice statements that got him into trouble:
"We are going to be hanging a lot of people like Fred the Shred [former RBS Chairman Fred Goodwin] from lampposts on April Fool's Day and I can only say let's hope they are just effigies...To be honest, if he winds us up any more I'm afraid there will be real bankers hanging from lampposts and let's hope that that doesn't actually have to happen.

"They should realise the amount of fury and hatred there is for them and act quickly, because quite honestly if it isn't humour it is going to be anger. I am trying to keep it humorous and let the anger come up in a creative and hopefully productive and peaceful way.

"If the other people don't join in the fun - I'm talking about the bankers and those rather pompous ministers - and come over and surrender their power obviously it's going to get us even more wound up and things could get nasty. Let's hope it doesn't."
Is Professor Knight trying to incite a mob riot? I really think not as he just got caught up in the spirit of the moment. As you'll gather from his website, his PhD thesis was on "Menstruation and the origins of culture. A reconsideration of [Claude] Levi-Strauss's work on symbolism and myth." From what I gather, it has something to do with lunar activity--hence the graphic on his website. Is this chap Carlos the Jackal II? No tampon jokes please, but I doubt it. It's more likely that he's just another timid academic in the ever-popular leftist, Noam Chomsky-wannabe mold.

This op-ed from the Sunday Herald asks the right question: if a million protesting Britain's imminent participation in the Iraq invasion did basically nothing, what more this march or even the larger one planned on April 1? The University of East London certainly has made more of this nonsense than warranted. Last I heard, Professor Knight was wandering around alone. So much for solidarity. If this guy is a troublemaker, then Paul Schaffer really leads the world's most dangerous band. I fear him far, far less than a real public menace like Boy George.