Beginning October 2, a few tweets went round the twitterverse calling for adjuncts to stage a national walkout on February 25, 2015.
Since then, quite a bit of buzz surrounding the idea has circulated, including a short piece in the Quick Takes section at Inside Higher Ed asking, “What would academe look like without adjuncts?” IHE quotes an anonymous adjunct regarding the walkout:
The adjunct said the walkout day doesn’t have a central organizing committee, and that it will look different on different campuses. Groups might highlight the “educational or administrative issues impacting adjuncts within that particular campus, across the country, or [the] plights of individual adjuncts,” she said. But the central idea of the movement is that “no adjunct or campus must face these shared issues alone.”
Yes, a national call to overt action is long overdue. Calling for organizing not at the national but at the campus or district level is a good idea, too. This keeps thing on a grass roots level.
Even so, we need to think about the various ways this thing can be accomplished so that the maximum amount of people feel comfortable joining in. In addition, since this affects students, it seems only natural to include their voices. All this suggests that the walkout be either literal or metaphorical, as determined by each local group or individual choice. A metaphorical walkout could be manifested as protest rallies including supportive non-adjuncts: educators and others who are affected by the casualization of labor.
There are those who feel the need to know who is behind the national call to action. This is understandable as humans are curious beings. But the idea to maintain anonymity as to who is behind the call may be essential to making ourselves heard. Think in terms of why The Economist, famous for anonymous attribution, prefers to maintain its tradition: “The main reason for anonymity…is a belief that what is written is more important than who writes it.” From this perspective, placing content above attribution allows for more people to have a voice and an impact.
And after all, isn’t what’s wanted is that we be heard?