Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven Award
The Labor Center was the 2011 recipient of the Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven Award given by the New Political Science Section of the American Political Science Association!
Why? Because we successfully resisted an attack (2008-2010) by the anti-labor Landmark Legal Foundation when the Center was located at the Evergreen State College. Landmark is waging a concerted campaign to undermine labor education programs throughout the country as one part of its attack against organized labor, particularly within the public education system. They claim that support for labor education programs within colleges and universities is a mis-use of public funding! Notably, they do not level that same criticism at the massive public funding of business education.
Here in Washington State the mandate for the Labor Center and its mission was approved by the legislature in 1987; the Washington State Auditor refused to comply with Landmark’s requests to audit the Center – twice! Unfortunately, Evergreen chose to conduct the audit. This audit was never primarily about whether the Labor Center was complying with the rules and regulations governing the use of public funds (the usual and appropriate use of audits) but was a baldly ideologically attempt by a right-wing organization to dictate what elected officials and higher education leaders see as appropriate educational practice in service of the public interest. In resisting the attack by Landmark the Labor Center mobilized a broad coalition of allies to fight both for theCenter, and the broader issue of academic freedom; we see this award as a recognition of all those who stood with us. This award is also to the credit of the Seattle Community College District, and the South campus in particular which has chosen to embrace the Labor Center and its mission in the aftermath of the struggle with Landmark.
The New Political Science Section within the APSA was formed in order to help make the study of politics relevant to the struggle for a better world and the $2,000 Cloward-Fox Piven Award is given to an activist group in the region where the annual meeting of the APSA is being held that puts the ideals of the New Political Science Section into practice. The award was presented to the Center at the APSA meeting in Seattle on September 3rd, 2011.