Worthy Victims? Two Professors Fired in Texas…..mostly crickets

cross-posted from Afflict the Comfortable

Outrage over Nathan Robinson is fine….but others need help too.

To begin, I have no issues with Nathan Robinson, have never met him, and think that The Guardian’s cancellation of his column over a sarcastic comment about U.S. support of Israel is an outrage--and he deserves support from the Left and from anyone who believes in free expression.

And he’s getting that–lots of it. Since the episode blew up last week, I’ve seen countless social media posts about it, from some of the biggest names in the lefty media pundit celebrity world, and articles about it in various media internationally. I’m glad. People who criticize Israel have been the targets of smear campaigns for too long (I have my own personal experience with that–from the allegedly radical Pacifica Network no less). So, Nathan Robinson is a worthy victim–as Herman and Chomsky wrote about long ago….no doubt.

But while the Left is publicizing the cancellation of Robinson, another episode, one with a much worse outcome in fact, has been taking place at Collin College, a community college a bit north of Dallas. Two Professors there, Suzanne Jones and Audra Heaslip, HAVE BEEN FIRED for questioning the school’s COVID reopening, asking for a COVID dashboard, and for simply being union members. I wrote an article about this, “Profs Fired for COVID Concerns,” and Scott Parkin and I interviewed the two professors on the Green and Red Podcast, “Professors Fired from Collin College, Retaliation in Texas.”

These two women are also worthy victims. In fact, they price they have paid–getting fired means you have no paycheck and no healthcare, along with the intense levels of stress and anxiety and potentially career-destroying attacks on your reputation–has been far greater than Robinson’s. While the context of being sacked by The Guardian, punishing any type of criticism of Israel, should appall us all and motivate action, Robinson should be fine–he’s the Editor-in-Chief of Current Affairs Magazine, he has a J.D. from Yale and is working on a Ph.D. from Harvard, and he’s already published several books. And he’s a luminary on the Left whose own reputation from this unfair debacle has been elevated.

Jones and Heaslip….not so much. Not much at all. When Scott and I wrote about and interviewed them, we put it out all over social media, with over 150 names specifically tagged. We asked, by name, people who are known Leftist media experts, faculty and others involved in the Academic or just education world, and activists. I made it clear that I was tagging people with whom I’ve had issues in the past and I acknowledged that they might not support me or the Green and Red Podcast, but the issue of two profs being fired superseded all that, and Audra and Suzanne deserved our support, with no reservations.

With all those efforts, we got maybe a couple dozen people to share the article and podcast–more activists than any other group, and more profs from small Texas colleges than elsewhere. How many left media pundits and Brooklyn radicals came to the support of these two profs from a small community college outside Dallas? Near as Scott and I can tell, zero

If you’ve read my blog or listened to our podcast, we clearly let people know how we feel about Jacobin, Chapo, Jimmy Dore, Krystal Ball, and other lefty media celebrities.

Well, this proves our point.

We do realize that we are mini-Davids, specks of dust,virtually unknowns, on the left media scene, but the issue at hand is a huge one. And two profs being terminated, losing it all, in the hinterlands of Texas doesn’t register on the radar in Brooklyn and its media-Lefty satellites.

If Jacobin believes it’s more important to publish an embarrassing, cringe-inducing, onanistic ode by Micah Uetricht to celebrate Bernie Sanders zinger during a debate with Clinton five years ago–“Henry Kissinger is not my friend”–and suggest that a single soundbite made it “all worth it”–that “all worth it” would be $180 million raised, millions and millions of human labor hours volunteered, immense psychological investment and often depression–but can’t even share a call for support for two female profs who were fired for simply criticizing COVID policies, what purpose does it serve, other than self-promotion and reveling in its media-recognized status as the voice of the Left? Maybe Jimmy Dore could give a shout out to a couple profs being crushed by the new McCarthyism instead of canoodling with the Boogaloo Bois?

Nathan Robinson should be defended….he’s a worthy victim. And he has been.

Suzanne Jones and Audra Heaslip are worthy victims; they have impeccable teaching and service credentials, are popular with and respected by their student, and held in the highest regard by their colleagues. They should be defended too, even if they’re “just” community college profs in Texas and not a well-known columnist an an internationally-famous newspaper.

In fact, it would be awesome if someone could tell Nathan Robinson about them and get a statement of support from him. He seems to understand the importance of solidarity, and I bet he’d do it.

So help out. To start, you can send a message to the Collin College Board of Trustees, click here

Or you can email them individually:

Author: Sparki

Scott Parkin is a Senior Campaigner with Rainforest Action Network and organizes with Rising Tide North America. He has worked on a variety of campaigns around climate change, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, mountaintop removal, labor issues and anti-corporate globalization. Originally from Texas, he now lives in San Francisco.

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