Re: academia/organizing

Tue, 29 Jul 97 22:57:00 -0600

A relevant question! From 1979 to 1987, I taught in Project Adult College
Education (PACE), at Longview Community College--KC, MO Metro CC System. This
was a "little red school house" organized by Donald St. Clair, the person who
organized the "Foolkiller" group in KC. Don hired to leftists to teach in
Pace--the students were unionized workers. Through the force of his
personality and influence with the Pres. of the college, the Trustees and
union oriented politicians, Don kept the program and group together. It was a
place where you would want to work. But when he died, the usual academic
types, liberals and new age gurus took over and cut the class struggle heart
out of the program. Don ran PACE as a collective as much as possible. I the
humanities group we dropped, for example, F.S. Fitzgerald from the reading list
and added Jack Conroy and Meridel LeSueur. We showed flims like "Black
Britanica" and "Only a Man." Etc.

The point here is that for a while, a 60s group of new left people had control
of an institution, i.e., the Pace program at Longview. It was one of those
"fleeting moments" and I learned much from Don, the students, and my fellow
teachers in PACE. I wrote a short piece about the PACE experience: "From
Storefront Organizing to PACE," in "Within the Shell of the Old," Don Fitz
and D. Roediger, eds. Chicago: Charles Kerr, 1990; pp. 42-4.

Best to all,

Tom Page

The Wichita State University BBS (316)-978-3779 Wichita Ks