The Motion is Passed: The AAA on SOUTHCOM and Florida International University

Posted on November 23, 2010 by


In our recent alert, “Further Militarization of the Academy: Florida International University, SOUTHCOM, and Strategic Culture,” we directed attention to the important work of Adrienne Pine in uncovering, analyzing, and criticizing the relationship between the Pentagon’s Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) and Florida International University (FIU). Adrienne’s extensive coverage has continued (see for example her very recent posts: “Guatemala:”50/50 chance of becoming a failed State” -FIU-SOUTHCOM; El Salvador: Funes a leader for recognizing Lobo as legitimate Honduras president (FMLN fiery radical Chavistas) –FIU-SOUTHCOM; Cuba: Offensive. -FIU-SOUTHCOM; Colombia: Happiness a Product of Fear –FIU-SOUTHCOM). This is critically important work that Adrienne has taken on, when many others have been silent or oblivious to the ways that academic work is being appropriated as one of the techniques of a global occupation regime that effectively militarizes research.

The recent good news from Adrienne is that she introduced the following motion at the recent business meeting of the American Anthropological Association, and it passed with a large majority, which now means that the AAA’s Executive Board will have to decide what to do with the matter. The motion read more or less as follows:

Motion condemning the FIU-SOUTHCOM “Strategic Culture” alliance

Whereas the AAA has condemned the U.S. Military’s Human Terrain System; and

Whereas the militarization of the academy threatens academic integrity and independence; and

Whereas the occupation by the U.S. Military Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) of foreign sovereign nations in Latin America and the Caribbean has resulted in grievous harm to our colleagues and interlocutors in those countries, and has denied them the right to self-determination;

(I move that)

The AAA condemns the Florida International University-SOUTHCOM alliance created to elaborate “strategic culture” reports for Latin American and Caribbean countries.

(I loved Adrienne’s side note, that those abstaining from the motion tended to be “lumpy middle-aged to old white men,” offered as a bit of ethnographic data, which really confirms and conforms to what I see as the consistent opposition from a certain quarter of American conservative anthropologists who, thankfully, populate the comments sections of other blogs and not this one. Interestingly, they were not prepared to directly challenge Adrienne, and opted for mere abstention.)