Alice Walker uninvited

Why did the University of Michigan withdraw an invitation to Alice Walker?images

Apparently wealthy donors pressured the university to do so.

As InsideHigher Ed, reported today, “Walker is an author best known for The Color Purple, which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1983. That work and others by her are widely taught at many colleges. Walker is also a political activist and her criticism of Israel has been condemned by many groups supportive of Israel. She supports the boycott of Israel and the Anti-Defamation League said her book published this year, The Cushion in the Road, contained an “80-page screed against Israel and Jews” in which she repeatedly compared Israel and Nazi Germany.

“The University of Michigan apparently invited Walker because of her literary reputation, but she says she was disinvited because her politics offended donors. She had been invited to speak at an event marking the 50th anniversary of the university’s Center for the Education of Women. On her blog, Walker posted an e-mail from her agent telling her that the university had rescinded the invitation.

“The agent’s e-mail said: “I’m saddened to write this because I’m a proponent of free speech and have been brought up to allow everyone to have their say. But I also realize that there are other considerations that institutions are faced with. This afternoon I was contacted by the University of Michigan instructing me to withdraw their invitation due to the removal of funding from the donors, because of their interpretation of Ms. Walker’s comments regarding Israel. They are not willing to fund this program and the university/Women’s center do not have the resources to finance this on their own.” Continue reading “Alice Walker uninvited”

Why “right to work” means anti-union

“Right to work” laws argue that they insure workers the “freedom” to sell their labor, without interference from meddling entities like, for instance, labor unions.

This week, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed such a law. As Slate, further explains, conservatives “have been pressing for so-called “right to work” laws across the Midwest. Major labor groups almost uniformly oppose these bills, so why do we call them “right to work” laws?

Because they allow you to work through a strike. Commentator and lexicographer William Safire chronicled the origins of the phrase “right to work” in his Political Dictionary. A 1912 Bernard Partridge cartoon depicted an employer telling a striking worker, “I can’t make you Continue reading “Why “right to work” means anti-union”