Review: “Transforming Universities in the Midst of Global Crisis” – Urgent Action Now

“Transforming Universities in the Midst of Global Crisis: A University for the Common Good” by Professor Richard Hil, Professor Kristen Lyons, and Fern Thompsett calls for a radical transformation of our universities  in the face of worsening global crises. From a scientific perspective this book has great merit because it demands such radical change at time when neoliberal and Trumpist lying has hampered  responses to the worsening existential threat from man-made climate change.

The publisher has succinctly summarized the essence of “Transforming Universities in the Midst of Global Crisis” [1] thus: “This book calls into question the colonial and neoliberal university, presenting alternative models of higher education that can more effectively respond to today’s intersecting social, economic, environmental and political crises. The authors argue that universities should be driven by a different set of core values – one that promotes the common good over private or commercial interests, individualism and market fundamentalism. Presenting a broad range of educational initiatives from around the world that reflect life-affirming regenerative and relational practices, Indigenous intellectual sovereignty, and principles of social and ecological justice, the authors contend that pathways toward transforming higher education already exist within and without the university. This task, say the authors, is urgent and necessary if universities and other institutions are to hold relevance in a rapidly changing global environment”.

universitiesThe authors have an extremely  useful and serious message about the need for radical reform of universities at a time of multiple extremely serious crises but their book  can be criticized  for repetition, lack of input from the biological and physical sciences, and use of social sciences jargon. The authors could all be described as sociologists but the book would have greatly benefited from having a scientist as a fourth co-author to bring brevity, statistics, clarity, urgency and pragmatism to the discussion. Universities have always been associated with a cultural duality – the 2 cultures of Science and Humanities – but the sciences were essentially ignored  in this book except for repeated (and thoroughly warranted) hand-wringing about the worsening environmental crisis. Indeed I should state here that Richard Hil is a good friend of mine, and as a sociologist and scientist, respectively, we tussled with the 2 Cultures problem in co-authoring  a hard-hitting  quantitative article on global inequity in the COVID-19 Pandemic [2]. Further, as an academic scientist and teacher for 4 decades I have reviewed Richard Hil’s excellent critiques of Australian universities, namely “Whackademia” [3, 4] and “Selling Students Short” [5, 6].

(1). A humanitarian scientist’s succinct view of the problem of universities in a time of acute crises.

Universities or related institutions  of learning date back to the earliest urban civilizations arising from the Agrarian Revolution, and had dual functions as (a) cultural, philosophical and religious centres of learning, and (b) centres of scientific inquiry crucial for security and economic progress. The power of the priests (academics) derived from their vital technical proficiency (e.g. in astronomy, mathematics, predicting floods and setting planting schedules). However the eventual  imbalance of (a) dogmatism over (b) science was substantially overcome by the Enlightenment that enabled freedom of thought and a consequent scientific revolution. However the Enlightenment had a deadly downside of libertarian excesses in exploitation of labour, genocidal colonialism impacting Indigenous people, high technology wars, the nuclear threat, and ever worsening environmental destruction.

Today the world is dominated by neoliberalism that demands maximal  freedom for the smart and advantaged to exploit Humanity and the Biosphere for maximal private profit. Greed has now taken  us to a dangerous pass in which Humanity and the Biosphere are now existentially threatened by nuclear weapons and climate change – a post-nuclear exchange nuclear winter would wipe out most of Humanity and the Biosphere, and in the absence of requisite action, a worsening Climate Genocide will kill 10 billion people this century en route to a sustainable population in 2100 of only 1 billion. The species extinction rate in our present Anthropocene era is 100-1,000 times greater than normal; an American life-style for all means we need 7 planets  but we are already exploiting on a 2-planet basis; and we are approaching or have exceeded key irreversible tipping points [7-14]. The terms speciescide, ecocide, omnicide and terracide that I and other concerned scientists  have used for decades are now becoming part of the Mainstream lexicon.

The acute seriousness of our dilemma cannot be sugar-coated. As a humanitarian student and thence practitioner of science I have worried about sustainability for over 60 years. In my view the continuing and remorseless climate inaction means that a catastrophic plus 2C temperature rise is effectively  unavoidable, but we are all obliged to do everything we can to make the future “less bad” for our children and future generations [7]. Blind neoliberal greed has destroyed species,  ecosystems and  environment -protecting Indigenous cultures, to the point that we are now on a precipice. Decent humanity must reject suicidal neoliberalism, and instead demand  social humanism (socialism, eco-socialism, democratic socialism,  human rights-cognizant communism, the welfare state, universal basic income) that aims to sustainably  maximize human happiness, opportunity and dignity for everyone  through culturally-cognizant and evolving international and intra-national social contracts [13, 15]. Indeed this is cogently argued by Thomas Piketty in his book “Time for Socialism. Dispatches from a world on fire, 2106-2012” [16].

Universities have been  and remain key institutions for scholarship, research, teaching, learning and  provision of an educated workforce. Accordingly, universities have been  inextricably involved in the post-Enlightenment might-is-right  abuses from  ruthless and unfettered exploitation of Humanity and the Biosphere. Universities typically require public funding, have hierarchies closely associated with the political Establishments, and remain innately conservative. Academic scientists are notorious for  avoiding public comment, but   notable exceptions today are ecologists and climate scientists speaking out forthrightly and with increasing desperation in the face of the worsening existential threat from man-made climate change and Biosphere devastation.

Over  2 decades ago,  Professor John Scott, a much-admired former vice-chancellor of a big Australian university, commented: “The prime roles of a university are threefold: to teach, to conduct research and to provide service, including constructive criticism, to the community. The teaching role has been severely threatened. Fundamental research is now difficult to conduct. Critical comments by university staff have been censored. It is time that governments recognised that universities are not just an expensive luxury, but a highly important part of our national activity” [17]. Universities have subsequently suffered from several decades of worsening managerialism, corporatization, neoliberal perversion, and censorship through Codes of Conduct [17, 18]. Indeed the anti-science, anti-intellectual, anti-academic, corrupt, mendacious, war criminal, climate criminal, and  fervently neoliberal  Australian Coalition Government used the COVID-19 Pandemic to sack 40,000 university staff [19], and has unveiled plans to commit Australian universities even more stringently to a neoliberal agenda of commercialisations rather than citations [20]. Our long-suffering universities have a key role to play in a last-ditch societal transformation in the climate crisis by transforming themselves and committing to free speech, academic freedom, diversity, Indigenous cultural survival and flowering,  new forms of engagement, free education, accredited remote learning, the common good, and indeed the very survival of Humanity and the Biosphere (as discussed further at the end of this Review).

(2). A concise chapter-by-chapter summary and critique of “Transforming Universities in the Midst of Global Crisis”.

Colonialism, devastation of Indigenous peoples, neoliberalism, environmental devastation, and university complicity in these matters are all matters of repeated concern in the book. In my view,  the solutions  to academic insufficiency in the face of worsening threats and crises include increased support for scholars, increased academic freedom and independence, more effective free speech for academics, and  additional novel ways of effecting academic research, teaching and informing society. In particular, in this time of both increasing existential threat and massive Trumpist lying there must be a much greater effective public voice for untrammelled scholarly experts committed to  truth seeking and truth telling.

Part I, Context and challenges.

Chapter 1, “The colonial roots and neoliberal takeover of higher education”, deals with the close  connection  of Anglosphere universities  with imperialism,  colonialism, genocide of Indigenous people, neoliberalism and current globalisation.

Comment. Warren Hastings (the first governor general of British-conquered India, and through adultery the father of Jane Austen’s lively cousin Eliza as cleverly referenced in “Sense and Sensibility”)  was unsuccessfully impeached by the British Parliament  in the 1790s  for war crimes, and became a hero of British imperialism. When he visited Oxford University  the academics and students threw their caps and mortar boards in the air in praise of this genocidal war criminal and generous donor to university education [21]. Now  in the 2020s  Oxford students are having second thoughts about genocidal racist Cecil Rhodes of British imperialism and Rhodes Scholarships fame. Anglosphere universities were variously  created on the wealth from the  genocidal colonization of the Americas, Africa, Asia , Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific. Thus deaths from violence, deprivation and disease (notably introduced disease in the Americas, Australasia and the Pacific) totalled 90 million (16th century onwards Amerindian Genocide), 6 million (15th -19th century African Holocaust associated with the slave trade from Africa to the Americas), 1,800 million ( 1757-1947 Indian Holocaust under the British ), 2 million (1788 onwards Australian Aboriginal Genocide and Aboriginal Ethnocide), 2 million (the WW1 onwards UK- and Zionist-imposed Palestinian Genocide), 40 million (Asian deaths in post-1950 US Asian wars), and over 30 million ( post-9/11 Muslim Holocaust and Muslim Genocide of the US War on Terror) [15, 21-28]. Britain stole $45 trillion from India and thence 1.8 billion Indians died from deprivation [24].

Chapter 2, “The case for transgressive alternatives”, argues for universities being more responsive to moral issues by considering “transgressive alternatives” i.e. alternative positionings that violate “conventional” social and moral boundaries emplaced historically in Anglo universities by the imperialist, colonialist, genocidally racist and ruthlessly neoliberal agenda outlined in Chapter 1.

Comment. Academics should be protected from current rampant institutional and societal censorship, and have a much more  effective voice in our present  neoliberal societies dominated by Big Money that crudely purchases public perception of reality, votes, more political power and more private profit. Conversely, lying by commission and omission by Anglo imperial historiographers should be called out (perhaps a yellow decal could be added to the covers of university library books involved in genocide ignoring  and genocide minimization) [21]. Some examples can be given to illustrate the magnitude of institutional and societal censorship in the Anglosphere. (i) In the 1942-1945  WW2 Bengali Holocaust 6-7 million Indians were starved to death for strategic reasons in Bengal, Odisha, Bihar and Assam by the British with Australian complicity (Australia withheld food from its huge wartime grain stores from its starving ally India). Yet this immense atrocity has been deleted from public perception by several generations of mendacious Anglosphere historians. Indeed Winston Churchill (who was primarily responsible) made no mention of this atrocity in his 6-volume The “Second World War” that contributed to his Nobel Prize for Literature [21, 24-28]. (ii) The WW2 Jewish Holocaust (5-6 million Jews killed by Nazi Germany) is referred to as The Holocaust to the exclusion of (deaths from violence and deprivation in brackets) the WW2 European Holocaust (30 million Slavs, Jews and Roma killed by Nazi Germany), the WW2 Polish Holocaust (6 million killed by the Nazi Germany),  the WW2 Bengali Holocaust (6-7 million Indians killed in British -ruled India) and the WW2 Chinese Holocaust (35-40 million Chinese killed under Japanese occupation in 1937-1945) [15, 21, 22]. (iii) As of mid-March 2022 Google Searches for the following terms yield these results (given in brackets): “The Holocaust” (22.2 million), “Jewish Holocaust”  (838,000), “Polish Holocaust” (30,900), “European Holocaust” (101,000), “Bengali Holocaust” (3,160), “Indian Holocaust” (34,600; this including results for the American Indian Holocaust), and “Chinese Holocaust” (30,100). (iv) Google Searches “hide” articles from “left” sources that are otherwise  readily found by Bing Searches – ergo, “Bing it!” [29-36].  There is massive censorship and self-censorship in Australian universities [18].

Chapter 3, “Reimagining the university”,  loosely discusses possibilities of minor reforms (e.g. academics within existing structure being made more responsive  to the crises) to major reforms (e.g. informal, unfunded  and localized “community university” collectives or “free universities”).

Comment. For all their innate political conservatism, universities  are peopled by scholars who “reimagine” all the time to generate novel insights into reality. If it is not novel (even in a butterfly collecting sense) it won’t get published. Thus science in the Popperian  view  involves the critical testing  of potentially falsifiable  hypotheses  to obtain progressively better models of reality. The very best of science involves radical reimagining  to generate radically different and testable views of reality (e.g. quantum mechanics) [37]. Of course all disciplines should be responsive  to the current crises (and indeed are, notably in the sciences) but several formal lectures or seminars  on the matter might suffice in a chemistry, physics, engineering, mathematics, or medicine course, or indeed in a literature, economics, history, linguistics or philosophy course. Alternative  academic structures are quite feasible, and indeed are presently implemented on a big scale e.g. free Accredited Remote Learning (ARL), free education in general, and the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) from top US universities [8, 17, 38, 39]. Unfunded “free universities” might make a useful statement about the commodification of learning and Mainstream censorship but in reality have a negligible impact on the core global university activities of research, teaching and advocacy.

Part II, Values and practices.

Chapter 4, “Decolonising higher education”, commences “The neoliberalism of contemporary universities entrenches ongoing forms of colonialism on multiple fronts” (page 79 [1]) and considers “what it would mean to transform universities into spaces congruent with the “common good”” (page 92 [1]).

Comment. Academics are presently heavily silenced due to  great pressure from the hierarchy, from funding considerations, from free speech-restricting Codes of Conduct, and from fanatical lobbyists. Thus colonialism and neo-colonialism are  deadly  realities today with 7.4 million people dying avoidably from deprivation  each year and overwhelmingly in the colonialism- and neo-colonialism-impacted global South [15]. Nevertheless Anglosphere academics criticizing Zionist settler colonialism and ethnic cleansing in Palestine  are variously subject to censorship, threat and dismissal [40-45]. The Western Mainstream media, politicians and academics rightly condemn the horrendous and  war criminal Russian invasion  of Ukraine but they hypocritically  ignore US, US Alliance and Apartheid Israeli invasions of numerous countries in living memory, and there is silence  over the occupation and ethnic cleansing  of Palestine [46]. In vain one cries “All men are created equal” and that “Black, brown, non-European and Palestinian lives matter”. There must be zero tolerance for censorship of academics. Indeed I concluded a detailed analysis of censorship and self-censorship in Australian universities with the recommendation that: “Finally, we should publicly insist that universities that constrain free speech are not fit for our children” [18].

Chapter 5, “Decentralisation, equity and democratisation”, trenchantly criticizes  the corporatization of universities: “We contest claims that top-down governance is the most efficient and effective means of managing institutional  affairs” (page 98 [1]), referring to “Bullshit governance: the stifling effects of managerialism” (page 99 [1]), and the profit-making and business enterprise approach (the authors suggesting other forms of governance).

Comment.  The neoliberal, fundamentalist  Christian Zionist, anti-science, climate criminal and anti-academic Coalition PM of Australia, Scott “Scomo” Morrison (aka Scum-o, Scheme-o, Scam-o,  Skim-o and Smirk-o), wants to put already corporatized Australian universities on an even more business-like basis – he sacked 40,000 university staff during the Covid  pandemic, denied them the financial support offered to other impacted workers, and demanded that academics deliver “commercialization not citation”.  I am old-fashioned and pragmatic enough to recognize hierarchies of academic excellence (in a dangerous  age of Trumpist lying and corporate spin it is very useful for society to recognize the top scientists, the top scientific journals and the top scientific bodies and institutions) – but this regard should not extend to purely  managerial university presidents and vice-chancellors.  Indeed my late father, Dr John Bela Polya (an academic scholar who had fled fascist Hungary and was strongly committed to academic freedom [47, 48]) referred to the new breed of money-driven vice chancellors and management academics as “refugees from scholarship”. Unfortunately the barbarians are not just without and within the walls, they are entrenched in power, and are making common suit with greedy, anti-intellectual and neoliberal  politicians.

Chapter 6, “Free universities”, puts in a romantic plug for unfunded “free universities” with an alternative, anti-neoliberalism, radical and  feel-good agenda.  Such “free universities” would represent a tiny contribution to the overall system, and would be non-applicable to the sciences. The authors see “free universities” in an “alternative”,  self-realization,  social emancipatory and woke sense (i.e. being concerned  with injustice in society, especially racism and other discrimination), in addition to the absence of tuition fees (the big issue in my view).

Comment. Changes in social philosophy and hence curriculum in our universities are certainly needed but to be realistic should happen (and are happening) within faculties in existing universities. The wider “national interest” criteria for  award of research grants  should be expanded beyond “commercial interest” to  include the “common good” and societal health in a social humanist sense. However I have argued for decades that all education, including  university education and life-long learning, should be free and regarded as a fundamental human right. Every country needs a complement of scholarly, scientific, technological and medical experts for obvious prestige, economic and health reasons – but why should impoverished young people have to pay for it?  Empirically, over 2 dozen countries have free tertiary education. I advocate the options of free, non-campus Reading Only Tertiary Education (ROTE) and Accredited Remote Learning (ARL) that would be game-changers for poor, disabled, and remotely-located students, as well as for overseas students and students involved in full time work. The lack of student-student and student-teacher personal interactions would disturb some, but technical  solutions are available (e.g. Zoom).  A cheap and high quality option would be  academics examining students on their understanding of MOOCs already provided for free  by top US universities. The COVID-19 Pandemic restriction realities  revealed the sheer fraudulence of charging millions of local and international students  huge fees of tens of thousands of dollars for courses that were necessarily provided on-line and could have been provided for free [8, 17, 38, 39].

Chapter 7, “New horizons. Regenerative and relational universities”, imagines “green universities” that are concerned with sustainability as a response to the worsening climate crisis. The authors point to the inevitable contradictions of   universities claiming green credentials while still being committed to endless economic growth.

Comment. The non-scientist authors may not be aware of this, but  science faculties in  existing  institutions are rapidly made aware of the latest in relation to problems of climate change and sustainability. Thus as a chemistry and zoology university student in Tasmania in the early 1960s I read Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” and was made aware of investigations into  the possible survival  of the marsupial Tasmanian tiger. My last bits of university teaching half a century later  were concerned with the chemistry of climate change  and extinction threats to Australian animals. Indeed for decades high school students in Australia have been made well aware by their teachers of worsening sustainability, climate change and species extinction. The real issue is getting politicians to act in a dangerous  environment of political corruption and Trumpist lies. Even the extremely well-informed and articulate Greta Thunberg was reduced to a sibilant “How dare you!” to the climate criminals, and more recently  accusing them of  “Blah, blah , blah”.

Chapter 8, “Conclusion”, is a  focussed  summary of numerous practical suggestions for transforming universities  in this time of dangerous crises, and summarizes 7 key arguments and propositions  in the book  as reproduced below (my numbering) [my comments in square brackets]:

(1). That education is and should remain a public and not a private enterprise. [Agreed].

(2). That education is publicly funded and therefore free (as occurs around many parts of the world). [Agreed].

(3). That the market imperative should not govern the tertiary education sector – it has done enough damage already. [Profit-driven, fee-based  education systems are incompatible with (1). Innovative research in collaboration with industry is potentially economically and socially useful but should not damage “blue sky” basic research. Lavish funding by foreign governments should not be allowed damage scholarship in the Humanities. Military co-research with human rights-abusing  countries like Apartheid Israel should be discontinued .]

(4).  That university governance should be democratized and pay differentials of all university staff narrowed as a matter of urgency – and decency. [Australian universities badly  exploit the circa 50% of academics who are casual employees, and there is a significant problem of university wage theft from casuals while VCs earn circa $1 million per annum. Vice-chancellors should earn no more than professors and should be cut down to size as servants to the academy  rather than  being neoliberal bosses. ]

(5). That university councils should be truly representative bodies that reflect the interests of their local communities, academics and students – that is , business and commercial interests should not dominate. [However some commercial and industrial interests are useful  additions to councils in relation to innovation, vocational training  and experience. ]

(6). That university campuses should become spaces for cooperative communities engaged in collaborative, regenerative learning. [It is not clear what precisely this would involve. However much greater community engagement  is desirable in general as succinctly amplified below. Sustainability, climate change, and retention of ecosystems and biodiversity are already important areas of teaching and research in our universities, notably in areas such as biology, chemistry , physics, engineering and agricultural science. ]

(7). That universities must become accountable to Indigenous people with whom their histories and current operations are entangled, and work meaningfully towards decolonization through agendas that genuinely respect, uphold and centre Indigenous sovereignty. [Agreed. However such accountability should not be tokenistic, must be honest and universal,  and must involve  well-funded and expert teaching, research and public advocacy in the key areas of truth-telling in contemporary and long past  history (e.g. the 15 million Indigenous Palestinians and the ongoing Palestinian Genocide remorselessly ignored by the West),  and the  recording, study and retention  of Indigenous languages and cultures, and of  surviving  and resurrected pre-invasion ecosystems  with special reference  to Indigenous involvement and cultures. ]

To these propositions (and my amendments) I would add the following 7 key suggestions (with brief amplification in brackets in relation to “liberal democracies” like  Australia) that are of  especial importance  in the context of the worsening existential threat to Humanity and the Biosphere from nuclear weapons and climate change.

(i). That universities are extremely well-funded as vital societal institutions and free as is practicably possible from government and other political interference (e.g. in Australia the government prohibits with dire penalties communication in proscribed areas, threatens free speech, exercises veto over expertly determined research funding, limits student numbers, discriminates against university workers,  permits university subversion by foreign nuclear terrorist rogue states, permits military co-research with serial war criminal rogue states, and has arbitrarily doubled fees for Humanities to encourage enrolment in Science).

(ii). That universities have zero tolerance for lying, falsehood and censorship because science-informed  rational risk management crucial for societal safety successively involves (a) accurate data, (b) scientific analysis involving the critical testing of potentially falsifiable hypotheses, and (c) science-informed systemic change to minimize harm when accidents and disasters inevitably happen (e.g. in Australia there is massive constraint on academic free speech through government threat, lobbyists for foreign powers notably the US and Apartheid Israel, pragmatic self-censorship, and insidious Codes of Conduct that restrict public comment).

(iii). That the academic staff and research, teaching and advocacy offerings be greatly expanded through  honorary adjunct appointments to expert Indigenous, industry, cultural and activist achievers (while some of this sensibly happens in Australia – I would enthusiastically propose   former Australian of the Year and human rights activist Grace Tame for famously advocating fearless exposure of wrongs by saying “Let’s make some NOISE, Australia!” – there is also massive abuse of the system by universities rewarding neoliberal  Mainstream politician war criminals and climate criminals, and enabling mendacious Mainstream media and commentariat presstitutes with non-adjunct and adjunct academic positions, university Council positions and honorary doctorates ).

(iv). That access to university courses  and life-long learning be greatly expanded through absolutely free Accredited Remote Learning (ARL) and Reading Only Tertiary Education (ROTE) as outlined in comments to  Chapter 6 above (remember the days when one “read” philosophy at Oxford; top quality ARL for free could involve expert accrediting examination of students for their understanding of MOOCs provided free to all by top US universities; the reading and learning material provided online for all  university courses should be freely accessible to all people who could also submit themselves for free and accrediting examination).

(v). That universities greatly expand their community engagement through schools,  adjunct appointments (iii), free access to all  on-line courses with the option of free accrediting examination (iv), free public access to university library resources (possibly in collaboration with local, state, specialist  and  national libraries), and freely accessible on-line keynote lectures (presently in Australia over 40 universities  for a 26 million population jealously guard their assumed “intellectual property rights” over on-line lectures and other teaching materials, and thus greedily obstruct the ideal of free accredited education for everyone).

(vi). That by being  extremely well-funded and offering free accredited learning, universities are able to reject the profoundly dishonest and corrupt “business model” involving exorbitant fees for local and overseas students, exclusion of students from professional courses they wish to access, and insidious obligation to governments, local donors and  foreign donors (before the COVID-19 Pandemic “education exports” earned A$40 billion for Australian universities – yet the travel and other restrictions of the Pandemic meant that most offerings were on-line and hence potentially free  but were nevertheless dishonestly offered subject to the same exorbitant fees for on-campus courses).

(vii).  That democracy and rational risk management require a properly informed public, and to that end  truth-telling by properly funded,  ethical and uncompromised universities must take back the public space from mendacious Mainstream journalist, editor, politician, academic and commentariat presstitutes (Australia once led the world  for universal suffrage democracy but has become a neoliberal kleptocracy, plutocracy, Murdochracy, lobbyocracy,  corporatocracy and dollarocracy in which Big Money purchases people, politicians, parties, policies, public perception of reality, votes, more political power and hence more private profit – indeed  several billionaires and mendacious, oligopoly Mainstream media presstitutes may determine that a mendacious, corrupt, war criminal, climate criminal and disastrously incompetent Coalition Australian Government is re-elected  in the forthcoming 2022 Federal Elections).

Final comments and conclusions.

The world is existentially threatened by nuclear weapons and man-made climate change. Indeed eminent physicist Stephen Hawking has succinctly stated the problem: “We see great peril if governments and societies do not take action now to render nuclear weapons obsolete and to prevent further climate change” [49]. There is massive biodiversity loss and Indigenous cultures that were at one with Nature are being destroyed by genocide and ethnocide. Universities are complicit in this disaster through accommodation with the prevailing neoliberal order that has now  brought Humanity and the Biosphere to the edge of the Anthropocene precipice.

“Transforming Universities in the Midst of Global Crisis: A University for the Common Good” can be criticized for lack of scientific input, social science  jargon, and  concentration (albeit justified) on  concerns about racism, colonialism and Indigenous peoples, but it has the great merit of  demanding  transformation of our universities  to meet these worsening existential challenges. We are badly running out of time to act.


[1]. Richard Hil, Kristen Lyons, and Fern Thompsett, “Transforming Universities in the Midst of Global Crisis: A University for the Common Good”, Routledge, 2021.

[2]. Gideon Polya and Richard Hil , “Covid-19-inspired Western altruism ignores the World’s unpeople”,  Arena, 5 May 2020: .

[3]. Richard Hil, “Whackademia”, University of New South Wales Press, 2012.

[4].  Gideon Polya, “Book Review: “Whackademia” reveals parlous state of Australia ‘s censored, under-funded & dumbing-down universities”, Countercurrents, 14 December 2012:  .

[5]. Richard Hil, “Selling students short. Why you won’t get the university education you deserve”, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 2015.

[6]. Gideon Polya, “Book Review: “Selling Students Short” By Richard Hil – Neoliberal Corruption Of Corporatised Australian Universities”, Countercurrents, 29 May, 2015:  .

[7]. Gideon Polya, “Climate Crisis, Climate Genocide & Solutions”, Korsgaard Publishing, Germany, 2021.

[8]. Gideon Polya, “50 Reasons For Free University Education As We Bequeath The Young A Dying Planet”, Countercurrents, 19 March 2017: .

[9]. Gideon Polya, “Extrapolating 11,000 scientists’ climate emergency warning to 2030 catastrophe”, Countercurrents, 14 November 2019: .

[10]. “Climate Genocide”: .

[11]. “Nuclear weapons ban , end poverty & reverse climate change”: .

[12]. “Too late to avoid global warming catastrophe”: .

[13]. Gideon Polya,  Post-Covid-19 Needs-based Economy, Zero Emissions, UBI, Green New Deal & Free University Education”, Countercurrents, May 3, 2020: .

[14]. Gideon Polya, “How much negative carbon emissions, negative population growth & negative economic growth is needed to save planet?”, Countercurrents, 28 November 2018: .

[15]. Gideon Polya, “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950”, Second Edition, Korsgaard Publishing, Germany, 2022.

[16]. Thomas Piketty, “Time for Socialism. Dispatches from a world on fire, 2106-2012”, Yale University Press, 2021.

[17]. Gideon Polya, “Crisis in our universities”, ABC Radio National, Ockham’s Razor, 19 August 2001: .

[18]. “Current academic censorship and self-censorship in Australian universities”, Public University Journal, volume 1, Conference Supplement, “Transforming the Australia University ”, Melbourne , 9-10 December 2001:  .

[19]. Juliet Fuller, “Savage jobs cuts in SA – University of Adelaide”, NTEU, 12 October 2021:—University-of-Adelaide-23008 .

[20]. Michelle Grattan, “Morrison says universities should shift focus from “publish or perish” towards commercialising research”, The Conversation, 24 November 2021: .

[21]. Gideon Polya, “Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History. Colonial rapacity, holocaust denial and the crisis in biological sustainability”, G.M. Polya, Melbourne, 1998, 2008, and now available for free perusal on the Web: .

[22]. Gideon Polya, “US-imposed post-9/11 Muslim Holocaust & Muslim Genocide”, Korsgaard Publishing, Germany, 2020.

[23]. “Aboriginal Genocide”: .

[24]. Gideon Polya, “Britain Robbed India Of $45 Trillion & Thence 1.8 Billion Indians Died From Deprivation”, Countercurrents, 18 December 2018: .

[25]. Gideon Polya, “Economist Mahima Khanna,   Cambridge Stevenson Prize And Dire Indian Poverty”,  Countercurrents, 20 November, 2011: .

[26]. Gideon Polya , “Australia And Britain Killed 6-7 Million Indians In WW2 Bengal Famine”,  Countercurrents, 29 September 2011: .

[27].“Bengali Holocaust (WW2 Bengal Famine) writings of Gideon Polya”, Gideon Polya: .

[28].  Gideon Polya, “Review: “The Cambridge History Of Australia” ignores Australian involvement in 30 genocides”, Countercurrents, 14 October 2013: .

[29]. Gideon Polya, “Google censorship & Zionist constraints on free speech threaten planet”, Countercurrents, 9 August 2017: .

[30]. WSWS, “Google’s new search protocol is restricting access to 13 leading socialist, progressive and anti-war sites”, WSWS, 2 August 2017: .

[31]. “Mainstream media censorship”:  .

[32]. “Mainstream media lying”:  .

[33]. Gideon Polya, “Zionist subversion, Mainstream media censorship”, Countercurrents, 9 March 2018: .

[34]. Gideon Polya, “Australian ABC and UK BBC fake news through lying by omission”, Countercurrents, 2 May 2017: .

[35]. Gideon Polya, “Fake news: “Fake realities” and “lying by omission””, Global Research, 18 April 2018: .

[36]. Gideon Polya, “Google censors anti-racist Jews opposing Apartheid Israeli state terrorism & Palestinian Genocide”, Countercurrents, 14 December 2018: .

[37]. Thomas S. Kuhn, “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”, University of Chicago Press, 1962.

[38]. “Free university education”: .

[39]. Gideon Polya, “Free University Education Via Accredited Remote Learning – All Education Should Be Free For All”, Countercurrents, 31 January, 2016: .

[40]. “Norman G.  Finkelstein”: .

[41]. “Norman Finkelstein”, Wikipedia: .

[42]. Gideon Polya, “Zionist-subverted Oberlin College trashes academic free speech and suspends Professor Joy Karega”, Countercurrents, 10 August 2016: .

[43]. Jake Lynch, “Coalition plans to punish those who boycott Israel”, The Drum, ABC, 25 June 2013:—bds/4778144 .

[44]. Gideon Polya, “Academic Free Speech Under Zionist Attack At Notre Dame Australia And LSE, UK”, Countercurrents, 16 December 2015: .

[45]. Gideon Polya, “Censorship By Australian Taxpayer-Funded The Conversation And The ABC ( Australia ‘s BBC)”,  Countercurrents, 29 October 2012: .

[46]. Gideon Polya, “Empathy Exercise: What If The Zionists Invaded, Devastated, And Ethnically Cleansed Australia Too?”, Countercurrents, 12 March 2022: .

[47]. W.H.C, Eddy, “Orr”, Jacaranda Publishers, 1961.

[48]. John Polya and Robert6 Solomon, “Dreyfus in Australia”, Fast Books, 1966.

[49].  Stephen Hawking, “Brief Answers to the Big Questions”, John Murray, 2018, Chapter 7.

Dr Gideon Polya taught science students at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia over 4 decades. He published some 130 works in a 5 decade scientific career, notably a huge pharmacological reference text “Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds”. He has also published “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950” (2007, 2022) and “Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History” (1998, 2008). He has recently published “US-imposed Post-9-11 Muslim Holocaust & Muslim Genocide” (2020), and “Climate Crisis, Climate Genocide & Solutions” (2021). For images of Gideon Polya’s huge paintings for the Planet, Peace, Mother and Child see:  .

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