An Appeal to support a new school, The Global Center for Advanced Studies

In 2013 over one hundred leading intellectual-activists came together and organized an historic school: Together we created The Global Center for Advanced Studies, the first degree granting institution of higher education in modern academic history founded, organized and run by intellectuals. The need for an independent alternative run and guided by intellectual-activists and not by corporate for-profit models is absolutely crucial in this age of emerging forms of authoritarianism in which educational modes of resistance have been systematically sabotaged. Public education has been undermined and underfunded while academic freedom faces assault while students are reduced to customer-commodities peddled by the billionaire class - by the likes of Betsy DeVos who was appointed by the US President to be the secretary of Education earlier this year.

This is an appeal to you, my friends who have assisted GCAS. It is obvious that such a project needs funding to operate. We have received numerous offers for funding, but in each case, these funds are promised with “strings attached” and more often then not, the pressure is to turn us from a non-profit to a for-profit. We also have turned down loans to avoid obvious issues associated with debt. As a consequence, we are reaching out to you for assistance. The idea is to be micro-funded by a lot of supporters who desire to create a needed alternative space in which students can receive truthful instruction without having to go into debt. If we raise enough funds we will provide a free education for all qualified.

Teaching

The age of teaching inside the traditional academy in the US, Canada, the UK and elsewhere as an act of resistance has become so increasingly difficult that a new model is needed. GCAS has recently incorporated as a school of higher-education in Ireland (GCAS Research Institute, Ireland) with 20 top-PhD students/researchers that come from such schools as Columbia University, New York University, University of Chicago, the London School of Economics, Johns Hopkins, St. John’s College,  and others.

If we can unite together and pool our resources we can continue making this historic research institute possible.

In each of the four years since GCAS started we have organized and continue to organize many international events from Paris to New York, from Havana to Athens, and from Santiago, Chile to Dublin, Ireland. We have done this for free or at very low costs reaching out to participants in over 120 countries world-wide. In 2015, our conference “Democracy Rising” attracted thousands from all over the world, for example.

This solidified the reality that people from all over the planet crave an alternative to neoliberalism, the dangerous trends of an emerging fascism and the crushing effects of the financial industry controlled by the few and not the many. The effect neoliberalism has had on democracy is unacceptable and untenable; traditional modes of struggle and opposition are being undermined through the creation of anti-resistance fronts deployed by the elite class bent on privatizing everything, including knowledge acquisition and critical thinking skills.

These fronts include:

(a) the militarization of local and state police forces

(b) the implementation of punitive dependency through debt-traps on both the consumer and student-loan level

(c) the neutralization of free-speech through peaceful assembly and constructive dissenting protests

(d) the exacerbation of social tensions along racial and economic lines

(e) the rise of the surveillance State and the State's collusion with Silicon Valley (Google, Facebook, Twitter etc.) that has undermined privacy and rights such as academic freedom

(f) the blacklisting of progressive academics by conservative interest groups

(g) the shifting of the focus from serious academic work in the academy to the entertainment industry including the commercialization of the college sport industry, especially in the USA

(h) the implementation of austerity measures by cutting public funding to education, culture and the arts including outsourcing jobs that create zones of un- or underemployment thus crippling opportunities for the younger debt-strapped generation

(I) the creation of legal apparatuses such as the Patriot Act that further deteriorate a strong democratic society by controlling people through a culture of fear and war

(J) the collusion of Wall Street with Washington DC, which has reached an unprecedented level whereby the common will of the citizenry is no longer represented and yet our taxes are disproportionate vis-a-vis the percentage the wealthy pay.    

There are many more fronts of the war the wealthy are waging on democracy and the rest of us but these above enumerated 10, when combined and implemented over the past four decades since the Reagan era, have severely neutralized any form of democratic peaceful resistance. 

In light of the fact that we are engaged in protracted cultural, economic, educational, political and social wars with the owners of the means of production, we are calling upon academics, intellectuals and those in solidarity with our mission to take a stand now while we're still able to organize--before it's too late.

We take seriously the obligation and responsibility of what it means to be a professor--to "profess" truths and to speak them accurately and honestly to power, to our students, and to the public. As professors, it is our principle responsibility to ensure that truths are articulated and passed on to the next generation in a space of open dialogue, disagreement, and dialectical constructive articulation based on scientific research findings and through the context of respect for disagreements. In the current educational environment determined by profits and a privatization ethos, the ability of professors to speak truths both simple and inconvenient, as those regarding climate change or threats to democracy, are so seriously challenged that if not neutralized, our basic responsibility faces profound illegitimacy by the matrix of political power and corporate journalism whose aim is profits and propaganda above knowledge and truths.

Thus we are presented with the need to create a space, a school in which our responsibility to speak and communicate truths as professors and students can take place.

We are making this happen and we need your help. 

Thus, we are calling on you and other academics to help support our efforts. The chance is here and now for us, but if we miss this widow of opportunity our very profession and the meaning of truth itself is compromised.

Many of you have already helped us by lecturing to our GCAS community, and for this we thank you so much. We look to you for inspiration, truths and support. If you can please consider supporting GCAS financially too that would not only be very helpful. But you can also help by putting your name on this letter, which we plan to publish as an open appeal to intellectuals and all who believe resistance is necessary. 

Donate via this link: https://thegcas.org/gcas-affiliates/

Lewis Gordon's video: https://vimeo.com/236569037

GCAS Promotional Video: https://vimeo.com/235372756

We say, "Yes": https://vimeo.com/231616196

 

In solidarity,

 

Lewis Gordon, PhD Honorary President

Azfar Hussain, PhD Honorary Vice-President

Creston Davis, PhD Founding Director

Alain Badiou, PhD Honorary President, 2015

Antonio Negri, PhD (Affiliate Faculty)

Michael Hardt, PhD (Affiliate Faculty)

Drucilla Cornell (Core Faculty)

Henry Giroux, PhD

Kevin Boileau, PhD

Rebecca Rose (GCAS PhD Researcher)

Katarina Peovic Vukovic, PhD

Ward Blanton, PhD

Anthony Clemons (GCAS PhD Researcher)

Clayton Crockett, PhD

Cory Johnson (GCAS PhD Researcher)

Rocco Gangle, PhD

Petra Paulic (GCAS PhD Researcher)

Jeffery W. Robbins, PhD

Walter South (GCAS PhD Researcher)

Srecko Horvat

Guilherme Foscolo, PhD

Mina Ilhan (GCAS PhD Researcher)

Lorenzo Marsili (European Alternatives)

Tonina Alomar (GCAS PhD Researcher)

Cleo Kearns, PhD (GCAS Core Faculty)

Luce Irigaray, PhD (GCAS Core Faculty)

Samantha Kostmayer, (GCAS PhD Researcher)

Rev. Malcolm Byrd

Michael Grimshaw, PhD

Luanne McKinnon, PhD (GCAS Core faculty)

Joshua Ramey, PhD

John Milbank, PhD

Saul Newman, PhD

Nathan Wiley (GCAS PhD Researcher)

Gianni Vattimo, PhD (Affiliate Faculty)

Jane Gordon, PhD (GCAS Core Faculty)

Daniel Tutt, PhD

Julie Reshe, PhD (GCAS Core Faculty)

Giovanni Tusa, PhD

Tod Sloan, PhD

Petar Jandric, PhD

Houzan Mahmoud (GCAS Affiliate Faculty)

Jan Jagodzinski, PhD

Catherine Malabou, PhD

Lenard Skof, PhD

Francisco Gonzalez, PhD

David Hale, PhD

Michael Peters, PhD

Forrest Cole (GCAS PhD Researcher)

Graham Priest, PhD

Kenneth Reinhard, PhD

Susannah Livingston (GCAS PhD Researcher)

Rosangela Barcaro, PhD

Tracy K. McNulty, PhD

Dejan Lukic, PhD

Tere Vaden, PhD

Adrian Parr, PhD

Warren Goldstein, PhD

Catherine Keller, PhD

Shon Meckfessel, PhD

James Smith, PhD

Erin Yerby, PHD

 

 

Comment