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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

breaking? a sit-in?

Further proof that we now live in bizarroland: a conservative Editorial Exec at the Harvard Crimson, Drew Trombly, is promoting the idea of a sit-in at either the Faculty Club or Professor Judith Ryan's (an anti-Summers leader) office hours. He's posted the idea in our comments section and over at Summersville, and a few other active conservatives (Kavulla of the Crimson/Salient and Vivek Ramaswamy of the Harvard Political Union) are pubbing the idea on political email lists. Strangely I feel for their cause: while I'm not a big Summers fan the Faculty simply hasn't made an adequate public case for their revolt. That’s not to say that I don’t think it was warranted, but if the President of Harvard is resigning we should be able to point to an OpEd or a speech or something. Occassional quotes (anonymouse and otherwise) and random anecdotes are clearly not enough.

Even so, a sit-in would be hilarious and absurd, especially when the basis of the conservative critique of both lefties on campus and the faculty itself is an inability to deal "rationally" with serious issues. Part of me is rooting for it to happen, the other part of me is worried that only incredibly strong drugs would allow me to make it through the whole thing with my sanity intact.


At 5:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To clarify:

This is not necessarily a sit-in in support of President Summers. I happen to support Summers, but I'm willing to alter my position should somebody present a compelling case against Summers' leadership. The sit-in would be a demand for this sort of explanation. One of the Faculty's primary objections to Summers' leadership seems to be his purportedly arrogant management style. Aren't they guilty of the same shortcoming if they refuse to explain their grievances to Harvard students and alumni? I, for one, refuse to stand for it.

Also: the sit-in is not a definite yet. Other have proposed a large and organized protest at Tuesday's faculty meeting. I'm discussing the matter with some other individuals of the same persuasion; all that's certain right now is that, one way or another, we are going to demand a satisfactory explanation from the Faculty.

At 5:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

" sit-in would be hilarious and absurd,... [A]n [apparent admission of an ]inability to deal 'rationally' with serious issues."

Ahem! - since when did expression and protest become ipso fact "irrational"? I believe conservatives and libertarians would distinguish strong and appropriate expression from needless interferrence with other people's legitimate business.

The fact that such a civil distinction never occurs to you reveals more about your emotion-based genuflection than any defect or hypocrisy among righties.

At 5:47 PM, Blogger andrew golis said...

I put the word "rational" in quotes because it was reflecting their, not my, belief. I think non-violent protest is a perfectly rational way to express yourself, but that's not exactly the Right at Harvard's typical sentiment. The absurdity and hilarity would come in the form of watching the whole thing unfold, not in the form of protest itself.

At 9:51 PM, Blogger Chimaobi Amutah said...

This is definitely one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard of one campus since enrolling here. How are people willing to sit-in for an explanation about this, in a larger sense, trivial issue and look down on people that would do such a thing for issues like a living wage for Harvard's workers or the Coca-Cola company LITERALLY killing union leaders that organize for THEIR rights to be more than just slave labor so we can drink Coca-Cola, Odwalla, Dasani, Minute Maid, Sprite, etc.? Get real.

At 12:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrew and Chimaobi,

Both of your comments on this proposed sit-in are obnoxious, patronizing, and petulent.

Many self-identified conservatives hold protests, Andrew. For example, anti-abortion activists are known to sit on the doorsteps of abortion clinics in order to prevent anyone from entering them until they are forcibly removed. Pro-war [and anti-anti-war] rallies also come to mind. I can't think of any example of a conservative activist, at Harvard or elsewhere, disdaining the very practice of political protest divorced from its strategy or content. "Conservative critique," or any critique, including many leftists', of "lefty" political demonstrations at Harvard have focused on those demonstrations that display an irrational lack of purpose or even a desire for effectiveness, for example, when that guy made himself vomit at a CIA recruitment information session, rather than a fundamental adversion to the act of political protest. I don't recall anyone disdaining the Living Wage or Senior Gift Plus protestors for the very act of protesting - "conservative critique" critiqued the substance of their demands. There's no need for you to be petulant about how "absurd" it would be for your conservative nemeses to excercize the right to political protest.

Chimaobi, I regret to inform you that your position as Cambridge Common Blogger, though surely illustrious, does not yet include in its job benefits the duty to decide for others what issues, and in which situations, they should find worth spending a couple of hours protesting.

At 1:21 PM, Blogger Chimaobi Amutah said...

It is possible that I don't understand conservative protesting, true. It just seems like those on the left have a lot more to protest (and more will to do so) than those on the right. Related to this, slso, is the fact that since those on the right currently enjoy more political power than those on the left (in the U.S. at least) the right has more discretion to curb protests (by not granting permits, utilizing police power, etc.).

At 9:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe drew and his cronies wouldnt need to stage a sit in to understand what 250 faculty members are pissed off about (yeah, that really sounds like a small elite clique to me too) if he were reading the crimson for the past few years, rather than just waking up once the brewhaha started. my sympathy for arrogant harvard kids who have been at the campus for at most four years is incredibly limited at this point.

At 9:36 PM, Blogger andrew golis said...

To the 12:03 poster,

It is true that conservatives stage protests nationally, it is not true that they don't complain about the tactics of non-violent protest during everything from the sit-in for the Living Wage or Senior Gift Plus. In fact, that was one of the primary things that was heard, not simply from the "right" but from moderates who believe just asking is always sufficient to allow change to occur. In fact, Mr. Trombly's Ed Board (of which he, as a frosh had admittedly limited if any power) complained precisely about the act itself in the case of Senior Gift Plus, while supporting the cause. During the bizarre "puke-protest" conservatives complained that the student was rude and disruptive, not that he was wrong about the CIA.

At 1:37 AM, Blogger Vivek Ramaswamy said...

Correction on a point of fact: I was cited above as "pubbing" the idea of a sit-in at the Harvard Faculty Club. However, I have never endorsed the idea of a sit-in nor did I imply any endorsement of it.

That is all.

Vivek Ramaswamy


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