On 26 April 2010, the management of Middlesex University in London, England announced that it was cutting all its philosophy programs and shutting down the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, the top-rated research department at Middlesex. The statement below offers solidarity from Zagreb, Croatia to the campaigners to Save Middlesex Philosophy. — Ed.
A spectre is haunting the universities of Europe, east and west. It is not of the sort that seize the masses, but nevertheless presents a formidable material force. It has captured institutions and those who govern them, subordinating both to its logic. It speaks a peculiar, stark language, in which arguments take the privileged form of numbers. It has only one lesson to offer, but this lesson it offers relentlessly. Whenever it speaks of ‘efficiency’, ‘rationality’ or ‘necessity’, it means one thing only: the efficiency and rationality of the market, the necessity of capitulation before its imperatives. Through the mouths of pundits, deans and managers, it never tires of celebrating itself as the agent of a great and overdue cleansing. Its great task is to cut and get rid of, sever and shut down, everything that cannot or will not be subsumed under the profit calculus. This is its sole vision and purpose, the purity it is pursuing and devoted to. It tolerates no other logic besides its own, no purpose other than that of the merchant and the usurer. Where it enters, it becomes master. Where it is denied welcome, it enters by force. Like any other conqueror, it establishes new laws and demands tributary payments. Whoever has been visited by it knows that beneath the dry bureaucratic idiom of its declarations lies a violent essence. It is only right to resist it!
We have had our share of it, in Croatia. And just like you now, we decided to fight it. We will not make the mistake to assume that we are in any position to advise you or lecture you on what you should or should not be doing. Each struggle is specific, even if the enemy is the same. There is no greater authority in resistence than the immediate experience of resistence itself. We are confident that you will know how to conduct your fight and chosse your weapons wisely.
Yet, it has to be noted that your situation seems even more absurd than the one we are facing. Here, we are told that the introduction of tuition fees is a necessary guarantee of future excellence and high standards of competence. The fewer of us get the chance to enter higher education, the greater the supposed benefit for all! It is a standard neoliberal mantra. You, on the other hand, are expected to agree to the abolishion of a department deemed excellent even by the narrow standards imposed by those who wish to abolish it!
You will have to dig to the root of that contradiction yourselves and deal with it any way you can. We can only offer our solidarity. A greeting to comrades, both in arms and purpose.
The Plenum of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb
For more information about the campaign to save Middlesex Philosophy, visit <savemdxphil.com>. For more information about the higher education struggle in Zagreb, Croatia, visit <slobodnifilozofski.org> and <www.slobodnifilozofski.com>.