For the first time ever, we’re not really celebrating US thanksgiving in a formal way. This term has had lots of travel already and we’ve been sprinting nonstop (metaphor!) so didn’t feel like taking the time off right now to go somewhere. We did celebrate Canadian thanksgiving (“it’s slightly different”) so it’s not like we’re rootless cosmopolitans without a holiday, but at the very least it will be weird to know that there is football on in the middle of my workday.
But there are many things I’m thankful for today:
Carrie, my family, my friends, my cat.
My heath (duh), my doctors, socialized medicine.
My students, my colleagues, my teachers, and the many people I know from traveling around the world for my work.
The immense privilege I have to do the job I do.
The comfort in which I live as a result of being paid to do said job.
Of course, all that’s the same as every year (well, health is perhaps more forward in my mind).
Stuff that’s special for this year:
I am thankful to my staff colleagues in MUNACA who are doing the hard (and getting harder) work of being on strike. It is not just about fair wages and working conditions for them. It is also important to remember that since profs share a pension plan with staff, they are fighting for us as well (especially since MAUT has shown itself to be unable or unwilling to advocate for faculty in any meaningful way).
I am thankful for the opportunity to meet all the cool people in MFLAG, to learn about progressive colleagues I didn’t know I had in other departments, and to have a sense that there are so many other interested in seeing real change at this university (not that we always agree on strategy or tactics, or couldn’t be more organized, but it is a group of professors. . . )
I am thankful for all the activists students on campus, who have put themselves on the line, who have paid for it by being subjected to physical violence from riot police or symbolic violence in the form of threats of frivolous discipline from university administrators (which I am shocked to see are continuing), and for all the students who turned out to denounce riot police violence on our campus, and for everyone that is keeping the thing going.
Finally, I am thankful to all those at the university who, when asked to do things to undermine the strike, have not done what they were told, and perhaps especially those in positions of authority who have chosen to do the right thing instead of what they were told to do, or who stayed to the letter of their directives and undermined their spirit.