Last night I finished reading Bertrand Russell’s Proposed Roads To Freedom. A terrific, short, and easily digestible book in which you’re invited to think about the ways in which work, both physical and intellectual, might be better organized. As the title suggests, the book also plots out a number of routes to get from here to there, paying special attention to how each solution would impact the more delicate, intangible parts of life that make it worth living. For those concerned with what art, science, and intellectual life at the university might look like in a better world, there are few better texts out there.
Working / studying / living at McGill, you are no doubt deluged with proposed “roads to freedom,” unclear about tactics and timelines, and more often than not saying little about what university life would be like in the aftermath.
If you find yourself choosing to turn your mind to more immediate concerns you are not doing something ignorant. Likewise, if you choose to suspend your judgement about the wide range of issues you’re asked to decide on, you are probably acting quite rationally. Most of us have a very sincere sense that we would need to absorb an encyclopedia of facts before landing on anything resembling a justified belief about a topic.
But much like that neglected pile of dishes in the sink that would take much less time to wash than it seems at first blush, understanding the basic facts about what makes our university run is not as involved as it might seem.
The motivations of the people who manage McGill are not deep counter-intuitive laws of nature like the non-mechanical motion of the planets, but are the of the sort common to us all. We all understand what it means to have an interest and to act in accordance with it. We are all familiar with how piles of wealth cultivate cliques that resemble aggressive fungi.
So in the interest of demystification, we entered the studio yesterday to produce a series of short films that will bring forward the personal stories of workers at McGill University who want $15 and Fairness. They will be anglophone and francophone, women and men, your colleagues and your chums. They will mention facts and data, but mostly they will be speaking from their diverse experiences accumulated as a product of being McGill’s eyes, hands, muscle, and brain.
Stay tuned for these stories to begin launching in May.
This blog is a new initiative of the 15 and Fair McGill Coalition. Curated by MM and MB. This post written by MB and edited by MM.