Date: December 8, 2014, 9 AM
I understand that you have met with Dayna Scott about your thesis. As a result (and from my own meeting with Dayna), I wanted to share my own views with you.
I have no problem with your topic or your overall philosophical stance; it is important that graduate students feel free to pursue their own intellectual agendas and inclinations. However, that said, I want to reiterate my view that, in its present state and style, I will not be able to certify it as ‘examinable’. As you well know, the style and tone of the piece is not suitable for a doctoral thesis – at times, it reads as an outright rant. I do not say this as a matter of academic nicety, but because it contains personal attacks on individuals and berates Osgoode in a vicious way.
Please let me know how you want to proceed in order to move the thesis forward (or not).
|Allan C. Hutchinson
Distinguished Research Professor
Osgoode Hall Law School
T 416 736 5048
December 8, 2014, Toronto, 4 PM – December 10, 2014, Toronto, 12 PM
Dear Professor Allan Hutchinson,
I thank you very much for this email, which is, at least, more detailed and argumented than the last one, or any other one! Could this seem that a professor or a lawyer scarcely writes or talks in a detailed way, except when there are some academic or economic rewards by the markets? I shall thus defend my position with the following long and detailed arguments and questions, through expressing honestly while enjoying maybe the freedom of speech – is this only democratic power that I have in our society submerged in vertical authority symbiosized with hypocrisy? –, if it has not been buried in or incinerated by academia yet! Amen! Let me also congratulate you for Human Rights Day in which I could fully enjoy my rights and liberties, including the freedom of speech and democracy as well.
1) I am not really here to fight personally or irrationally, but to argue academically through my knowledge and experience, even though this could hurt or call into questions your authority and other great academicians’, including my Great Majesties (i.e. Osgoode Professors). Do I commit lèse majesté if I do it? Even if you could imply that I am “angry” or even “frustrated”, I have some arguments needing to be evaluated and criticized, but not simply rejected as “not suitable for a doctoral thesis”, which is unfair.
2) I have really criticized the systematic hierarchy, despotism, and corruption of academia (mostly because of inexistent democracy and transparency, especially in the law school, including Osgoode, in which they are curiously preaching democracy, transparency, and critical thinking to us!), rather than personally attacking some scholars who have really no originality in science or society, but mostly arrogance, self-confidence, or self-guard against any critique and change. I criticize them as “systematic Gods”, not as “mortal individuals”, who are struggling to govern us in the name of professorship, deanship, democracy, plurality, or diversity. I attack, if you please that I use this term instead of criticism, the system and not individual so that my individual examples are useful as long as they show the flaws of system rather than attacking private personality; I am not really busybody about the privacy of people as are the society and the journalists. In order to critically analyze any system, not just by some philosophical or abstract concepts but by certain concrete examples, I need to give some names of the leaders and governors strengthening my argumentation. You would like to judge it as “personal attacks on individuals” “in a vicious way”, this is up to you because you are free, but your judgement could likewise be personal and not necessarily objective or even academic. You could accuse me of what lacks you also: objectivity. When your name is explicitly or implicitly among those names, you could hardly remain independent or impartial as a supervisor. The same issue would appear regarding Osgoode and York University.
3) I do not really think that I am so personal in my criticizing the system, as you have almost totally discredited my thesis as unexaminable. I do not believe that this is a fair attitude or judgement. Am I, like all human beings, a “rational animal” so that I have presented and detailed my arguments against Osgoode as a “system” not as an “individual”, unlike what you have maybe struggled to show by some few words politely stigmatizing me as an angry or crazy man. It is frankly hard to see that you do not just like my “style” and “tone” because you regard them as “not suitable for a doctoral thesis”. I could do the same when it comes to your own judgement and writings, and almost to other scholars! In this case, I could also say, even hard to say or believe, you teach and write about “legal ethics” and “democracy”, when I need to send you almost always more than one emails to see your reply if I am lucky to see! There are several years that you do not really care about replying to my emails, questions, or demands, since you seem to be too busy with your business. I was consequently able to meet you only for few times with just few minutes during nearly 6 years of your supervisory. You have not actually shown any interest to read my writings during these years. I have honestly tried to show them to you and to discuss about them with you, but you have really been an “invisible supervisor”, as I am ironically a member of the “visible minority”! You have not given almost any detailed feedback that I could use in my thesis and other writings as well.
I could still remember well, when you were the Dean of FGS, I had an appointment with you, after waiting for nearly one hour, you did not be there at all, and even you did not articulate any apologize at all. I would like really to know how you could apply your own “conviction”, “teaching”, and “publication” of “democracy” and “ethics” to your own attitude with your students or those who are hierarchically inferior to you. In this case, either we should redefine legal ethics, or you should have a specific version of legal ethics based on personal, academic, lawyering, or political superiority or perception. If I was much less radical, activist, or anarchist (as some love to call me now) in France, but my French supervisor, Professor Bernard Bouloc, was much more accessible and open to discussion than you. Unlike you, he is not famous for teaching and preaching legal ethics, democracy, and plural interpretation to the law students at Sorbonne. As a result, I wish that you could apply to yourself what you teach: “ethical democracy”!
You are not unfortunately alone in this case, since some other Osgoode and York University graduate students have said me the same thing, absolutely the same. Not just me but many of students as well as professors know that your system embraces deeply certain ethical and academic problems, such as the supervisor-student relationship and the marginalization of the dissidents by denying them any workshop, conference, or publication. Nobody is however bold enough to say this, all are scared of your authority and power to deny or to reject a thesis, academic publication, application, professorship, etc. Your system has formerly scared any critical thinker by either imposing some academic sanctions or buying the silence (such as scholarship, fellowship, and the certification of “examinable”). Is not a form of “academic genocide” aiming at destroying all critical minds while producing only the academic slaves? My thesis has just tried to emphasize some of these problems, certainly connected to political authority which is the core of my questions. Does this imply “the Emperor’s New Clothes”? Could this let us laugh again at the academic Gods, including Osgoodian ones, because they could not be sacred as they struggle to prove?
Please, at least once in our life, think about the supervisor-student relationship at Osgoode and York University as well, this could not continue in this way if you are so worried about your both competitiveness and prestige in the scholastic markets in the neoliberal world. A look at the international ranking of these institutions maybe shows the mediocre place and structural dysfunction of what they are academically producing or cooking for us!
4) I have written many things about legal anarchism in my thesis that could be original, but they apparently have no value or are valueless to lead you to read my thesis in another way. It seems that you would like not to certify my thesis, just because of small parts analyzing critically Osgoode. In reality, my thesis contains nearly 450,000 words in the context and nearly 200,000 words in the footnotes, in which Osgoode has a small part. It seems to me that you would not really care about all my thesis arguments as well as six years of hardworking. I have really worked so hard on it, its huge bibliography and footnotes could only prove this, for instance. Your attitude could remind me of my experience in French scholastic system in which there exists an academic syndrome that I would like to call “not to read carefully all the context, but to fully criticize the form”! The form accordingly concerns the table of contents (a scared thing for the French professors) as well as the style and tone of writing, regardless of the length and the merits of a thesis. Those professors are mostly acculturated to reading (if they want to read or have time to do it!) only the abstracts and conclusions of a thesis in order to talk enthusiastically and to judge personally a thesis! For instance, during my thesis defense in Paris in 2005, I could realize that only professor Bouloc, my nice supervisor, had read my entire thesis! As far as you are concerned, I am not really sure that you have thoroughly read my thesis, especially the Chapter 4 that has almost nothing to do with Osgoode community or any other law school. All in all, you want to prevent my thesis defense as a whole because of a part of critiques addressing Osgoode! Is Your Glass Half Empty or Half Full?
5) Despite all Osgoode talk about democracy, diversity, plurality, and critical thinking, why would not actually you like that I criticize your system so deeply by many arguments and proofs? If Osgoode could supposedly be “democratic” and “liberal”, what is wrong with my so-called “radicalism” or “activism”? Can my thesis ideas destroy Osgoode system? Is this what you could not appreciate? Am I just “angry” but Osgoode community is absolutely “democratic”, “nice”, “irreproachable”, and therefore without any problem? Could your prevention of my thesis defense show a gigantic and capitalist system, i.e. Osgoode, taking arms against a powerless and poor individual only reading “an outright rant”? Could this strengthen, once more again, my arguments against this system? Do not I just remind you of your own lessons about freedom, democracy, diversity, justice, and ethics? Does it bother when a student returns his lessons to his own professor?
6) Le me please be myself, and not what Osgoode expects me to be: to be or not to be oneself, that is the problem! If I had been born in a Western country or in a wealthy family elsewhere, I would not most probably have come to this law school and such a cold country, in which they rarely recognize any degree or experience more than US or British one, and to beg my doctoral thesis from Osgoode who thinks that it is our God or too good because it is Osgoode (i.e. “as good as God”)! I would not have come here to see the stigmatization of my ideas through personal attacks in a cruel way, while forcing me to accept my social, economic, academic, and political marginality, and to kiss poverty’s eyes in every minute of my life. You could know well, academia and particularly the law schools are relying on discrimination and the destruction of genius individuals, maybe including me. This is the fate of my thesis in this discriminative and destructive environment in a neoliberal world governed by the so-called invisible hand of the market. I call this “the force of nature”: paying the price of poverty and birthplace.
7) I indeed left Iran and immigrated to Canada to enjoy the liberty of being free and criticizing the authorities, especially political and scholastic ones, as I could and wish, but I have currently realized Osgoode’s prevention or even threat of this liberty by making its professors as divine as Ali Hosseini Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran. They kill, torture, and punish the opponents of leadership there, and they would threaten me by preventing my thesis defense and consequently my PhD title here. To criticize the Supreme Leader is equivalent to moharebeh (i.e. “enemy of God”) punished by torture and eventually death in Islamic Iran, while to criticize your system is comparable to “personal attacks on individuals” punished by, among others, lacking the certification of examinablity. What is eventually difference between their theocratic democracy and your liberal democracy? Could these systems be really different from each other when it comes to criticizing the system itself?
As the Mullahs are deciding about all aspects of existence, the academicians are doing the same thing, thanks to their power of certification or accreditation. As a result, we have no right, as mentioned in my thesis, to say anything that would violate the sacredness of academicians, because they have such a right of deciding about or vetoing a piece of writing. In this sense, a Professor looks like a Mullah, maybe gentle one but perhaps dictatorial one!
8) I may not be a good, conventional, or innocent student to satisfy your “academic”, “legalist”, or “scientific” “requirements” for defending my thesis, but you are not a perfect professor either. Everybody has her/his own disadvantages, if I voluntarily accept mines, I do not really think you would accept yours, due to your academic and lawyering position and power. In this case, you are supposedly and legitimately so objective professor to judge me as a subjective student who has dared to write with “as an outright rant”. I am not certainly a distinguished professor as you are, but, as a student, I cannot accept injustice imposed by whomever and whenever. At least I hope that I could well analyze and prove the harmful effects of power and authority on existence, including at Osgoode. They are some good news however. On the one hand, we, i.e. all non-academic or vicious individuals according to the conventional academic system or judgement, have our own power of revolting, even useless revolts at the beginning! History is full of useless revolts that would finally find some effects on the improvement of existence, such as animal movements and anti-racist movements. Our physical aspects of existence will undoubtedly die (e.g., my thesis defence), but our ideas will perhaps exist forever. On the other hand, if only a few percent of my critiques addressing your academic and lawyering systems were true, these systems would be in bankruptcy en chute libre, except if they really want to change drastically in order to embrace democracy, equality, liberty, morality, and transparency.
“All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” As far as I am concerned, I, as a very modest TA, would always accept the students’ critiques of my teaching and ideas, because I believe that everybody is right to say eye-to-eye her/his opinions and feelings as well, and if this hurts me, this is most probably my problem with ethics and democracy together, which you are teaching with great skills and experience everywhere. I’m hopefully neither God nor sacred!
9) I have read or, at least, scanned some of your writings that would seem to attack almost “personally” certain Gods, “in a vicious way”, as noticed already by not only some scholars but also your students! If you would like, I would have the pleasure to send you their opinions on your style and tone of writing, or just look please at Hutchinson, Allan – RateMyProfessors.com (http://www.ratemyprofessors.com/ShowRatings.jsp?tid=381387). In this case, let me please give two examples implying that you have formerly violated a sacred form of authority in our society: “Heydon’ Seek: Looking for Law in all the Wrong Places,” Monash University Law Review, Vol. 29, No. 1, 2003, pp. 85-103; “Laughing at the Gods: Great Judges and How They Made the Common Law,” New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012.
Could you do it but I cannot do it? Am I wrong? Could any scholar dare to call you “angry” because of expressing your tough opinions on some judges or scholars (e.g., Ronald Myles Dworkin)? Could you do this because they were not your supervisors? Is this a “double standard” insomuch as it would be good for you as a supervisor but bad for me as a student? Your ideas are nonetheless academically, democratically, and warmly accepted and published or even worshipped by the mass media, while I have, as you have said, simply attacked personally individuals and berated “Osgoode in a vicious way” with “an outright rant”. Have you actually made Osgoode Professors my Gods? I have no right to criticize them? Why would you have an objective right to criticize any scholar that you please or dislike, when you would like to see my critiques as “personal attacks”? Would you think this is fair and just? Would you like merely to defend your colleagues against my heavily detailed and argumented analysis, proofs, and criticisms? Have the Professors become Gods or sacred so that I have no right to laugh at them as you entitled your book? Is my style and tone simply “vicious” or “unexaminable”? Would you simply call my thesis as an unacceptable piece because of my style? Could it however be a “specific style” that would not necessarily please your mind? Would you like to reduce all my analysis, proofs, and critiques to certain simple “personal problems”? Would you like to reduce the systematic problems to my individual problems? If I could not criticize those Godlike people (e.g., Our Very Honourable Dean Sossin, the King of all Kings who has never been selected in a democratic and transparent way), this could not mean the dictatorship of academia? Why could not you be apparently worried about my critiques of other scholars from other universities? May I ask you to say me please what would be wrong with your democratic and critical teaching when it comes to my style and tone? If you could carefully read my thesis, you would, most probably, realize that I have said almost nothing without arguments or proofs. Would you like therefore to discredit them as “personal attacks on individuals and berates Osgoode in a vicious way” yet? Is everybody very good and OK in Osgoode community, but I am only the source of problems? Could I prevent myself from criticizing Osgoode because it feeds poorly and sometimes discriminatively me?
10) Dear distinguished professor Hutchinson, I understand you and your colleagues very well, since you have taken part in and governed a big economic organization called Osgoode Hall Law School, certainly the biggest law school in Canada as always honourably defended by Osgoode community itself, for a long time. Could I dare to say “This is My Time”, which has currently become another York University’s tool of propaganda and advertising to be competitive and wealthy in the universal market, to criticize your system? In other words, you would struggle to preserve the status quo, because of your interests, when others, like me, want to question the results of this status bringing us more poverty and exploitation legally, academically, politically, economically, and culturally as well. Would it be a class struggle? In this sense, what would you like to do more than prohibiting my thesis defence by not certifying “it as ‘examinable’”? I think, you have a lot of power and authority in this case, but my ideas will survive to show an academic system seriously suffered from injustice and conservatism, despite all censorship, force, prohibition, prevention, or veto. It would reach the public around the world, as I hope, to observe how a system is deeply submerged in dysfunction and corruption, certainly strengthened by some political and economic elites with their invisible hands. What you are teaching at Osgoode and other law schools all over the world relies on a simple rule: Obey absolutely the rule, if not we will stigmatize, marginalize, or reject you by calling you an angry and vicious person. This is certainly a big tool to make any outsider or revolted student so quiet, but it doesn’t hopefully work always. The same goes for others who become “terrorists” for the governors and their journalists; these are politically terrorists and we are academically angry! History has shown us many examples of the revolted individuals who have escaped from this authoritarian rule for good as well as bad reasons!
11) You and I are from different generations and conditions of life; I suppose that you know just English, the common law, and some English countries, when I have struggled to live, study, and work in several cultures to realize how much existence treats and judges us differently as a result. You are a very well-established professor with a very good position and almost a defensive attitude toward any change or revolution. On the contrary, I am a so marginal and powerless individual who must suffer from a Canadian society that still regards legally me as a man from “non-white race”, which is exactly what they are teaching at Osgoode: the Employment Equity Act of 1995 opposing ironically the so-called UN norms of equality and equity! Who cares about this legal racism? Osgoode professors do not apparently care, because this is absolutely law! Amen! But I deeply care and protest as a result! You have huge power and authority in this society, so why should you agree with what I am saying? I understand – or at least I try to do my best in this case – the authority, hierarchy, power, and wealth of you and Osgoode community, because I understand your language, history, and culture, but if you want to understand what I write and say, you would live and learn in other countries, languages, and cultures so different from yours. This would not certainly be an easy task, but at least you would realize how much I have struggled to learn, to communicate, and to adapt in a high level called “PhD program” among the people who are traditionally and arrogantly regarding themselves as the “absolute source of knowledge and legal practice”. In this case, to become a radical, angry, or vicious person could come mostly from the force of nature, rather from a personal choice. I think that I have largely been touched by this force to deeply touch the system in turn! It could be as mortal as Icarus.
12) Due to the fact that you are known for admitting we have different interpretations regarding the law and history, you have your own ideas about my thesis that would not be necessarily shared by others. As a result, please let other people, such as professors Giudice and Stringham, say and decide about my thesis. You are just one person, even as my supervisor, with your own judgement. I criticize Osgoode and other law schools throughout my long observation and experience, so how you and Osgoode could be fair and independent when my analysis and criticisms concern directly your authority and job as well? How could you properly judge my thesis? It seems like an accused criticize the “jury” and “judge” as well, but how they can judge him yet? Could this be a form of conflict of interest?
13) As far as moving my thesis forward is concerned, I could see that you have proved that you have neither time nor desire to see my defense thesis, except when I would drastically change my writing and take all critiques of Osgoode off, which is certainly unacceptable for me because of the freedom of speech and other arguments developed here and in my thesis as well. If all individuals or groups must follow your fixed ideas, we will have a community of slaves, rather than free thinkers. It could also seem that you (“in order to move the thesis forward (or not)” (emphasized by me)), Osgoode, or even York University would be happy if I abandon either my thesis or my radicalism to keep your prestige and fame go forever, because you feel that your existence is in danger even by a powerless student in the lowest level of your hierarchy. If you would really like that I submit my thesis to your personal opinion, I would not like to do what you like; I can either resist or revolt. Why would not your system (i.e. Osgoode and York University) like to think about changing the way you govern the students? How many years would you like to or could resist new ideas by making them simply unacceptable? Is this not eventually a form of dictatorship? Why should I change when your system would not change itself at all?
14) I would like to think that my ideas are so deep or bold for your immature and undemocratic system, since they seem to be so radical. I would not unfortunately be either the first individual or the last one who has been prevented from defending his thesis or publishing his writings because of his critical thesis or not being able to move it forward: La Boétie’s Discourse on Voluntary Servitude, and so on. For instance, I read that a student was prevented from defending her thesis in an American university few decades ago, because she was openly a lesbian who defended the rights of homosexuals. What a shame! You would eventually prevent me from my second PhD title, but I prefer liberty even in its very precarious existence. You would want to force me to change my radicalism, but I resist, even the cost of my resistance is so high in terms of sociality, economics, politics, and academia: marginality and poverty, among others. In an unjust society and dead academia because of despotism and conservatism, we, marginalized individuals and students, have scarcely any option better than either revolting or resisting, not becoming slaves. As far as I am concerned, I love both, as showed by my thesis and other writings!
Almost all our so-called rights and liberties have been started by or indebted toward those who have fought against the status quo, especially against the law schools because of their extreme injustice, inequality, conservatism, sexism, discrimination, and even racism. For instance, the photos decorating the walls of Osgoode Hall Law School could modestly show some parts of these problems: white male people are mostly dominant. Could not I criticize this school yet because of being stigmatized by “angriness” and “personal attacks”? Does it really make sense for Osgoode? Osgoodian conservatism, as a system, has honestly made our world a real hell in which it defends any side that is strong enough to pay it well: war, sexism, capitalism, and so on. It could be better my thesis does not move forward through your supervisory, if my critique of professorship has already embraced your stigmatization so clearly but shortly. Without your certification, I would still remain a radical and activist human being firstly, and a doctor in law from Sorbonne (mention: very honorable with congratulations from the jury and publication prize) secondly, which could honestly be more prestigious than Osgoode that you would like to defend to the detriment of all my criticisms in a highly worked thesis and of destroying my second doctoral title.
15) I am going to finish a few remaining pages of thesis, and to know how Osgoode and York University will eventually want to treat me. If you would prevent my thesis or it could not move forward, I would only put it online in order to see others read and decide about some parts of truth and problems in academia related to the political and economic authorities. My thesis will either perish or find its merits and critiques as well. Let the next generations think about what you have done toward my thesis, and what I have done in our unjust society, in spite of my mediocre economic condition. Let them dream or decide about establishing a world much better than us because of more dignity, liberties, rights, equality, peace, and green ecology, since ours is too fixed and statist to accept change in this direction, as I have tried to defend in my thesis, in order to keep human and natural dignities alive as a result, all alive. Let my thesis help, even so modestly, the next generations to have more dignity, equality, democracy, and a clean environment that are terribly lacking my generation. Could my thesis generate a form of “Arab Spring” in academia as the death of a misfortunate but brave man, called Mohamed Bouazizi, put a nation into anger and revolution? Let see how history moves forward!
16) In the name of Justice, Liberty, Human and Natural Dignities, and defending those who have mercilessly been rejected, raped, tortured, humiliated, sent to prison, to gallows, draped into wage slavery and misery, enslaved, exploited, beaten, eaten, and polluted, partly or mostly because of the professors’ teaching and defense of the sacred law in all law schools around the world, I have become Radical in thought as well as in action. I was not honestly so radical when I started Osgoode PhD program, but my observation and knowledge mingled with the force of nature and society pushed me toward this direction!
Long live liberty and Existential Dignity!
I would finally thank you very much for your patience and comprehension. With my best wishes, and Have a Happy New Year,
Sirus Kashefi, your modest supervised student
PhD student at Osgoode
PhD in law from Sorbonne