Monday, November 23, 2009

Whither BDS: A generation of giants—or delusions of grandeur?

The great moment has finally arrived. The gestation period is over.

Break out the cigars.

Just over nine months have passed since the BDS movement triumphantly announced its penetration of the power structures of Hampshire College. As we indicated at the outset and others soon realized, this was in fact idle and impotent boasting rather than date rape (though each scenario is unappetizing in its way; that should tell you something).

Still, let’s take them at their word. Assuming we really can accept paternity (a big "if"), just what did these cocky folks produce?

The elder external boosters were once again premature in shooting off the news of the colossal achievement: in this case, the birth of a mighty movement led by “A new generation of giants."

Well, okay, if you say so. But is there some yardstick by which we measure "giant"? Let's take a look at the prodigious progeny.

Much of the conference consisted (aside from a few pep-rally-type events) of, well, reports of various local efforts, without, well, any particular effects. It further consisted in promoting a mixture of Quixotic master goals (make universities and monster academic pension fund CREF divest; this, although the effort failed at Hampshire, which has practically no endowment at stake) and (more sub rosa) small-scale guerilla actions that fall somewhere between the juvenile and the illegal: e.g. “de-shelve” Israeli products ([1] [2]) in stores. Not exactly the stuff of which Che Guevara was made.

On second thought, the miserable little creature—weak, helpless, and crying out incoherently—really does resemble its putative parent.

From premature climax to anticlimax: that pretty much sums it up.


Dina said...

Did you actually attend any of the conference? Which workshops did you do to?

Dina said...