There is a valuable warning here for students, and I think the Chonicle articles are worth taking a look at. Yet criticisms that Pannapacker and others simply throw up their hands in despair when we need to do something about the problem are also worth making, and these arguments have certainly been made. Of late, by Adam Kotsko and Roland Boer (here and here).
Anyone who reads clavi non defixi knows that I'm not really much of a radical as far as calls for revolution and organizing go. But I must say that in the case of the structures at work in academia today, the Kotskos and the Boers are the only ones that I see saying anything very substantive about what the problem is and how to move forward in resolving it. They may be right or wrong (and Adam is quite clear that he's just trying to figure out what's best, and he's open to suggestions), but they certainly seem to be heading in the right direction of actually engaging with what's at stake rather than denying it or simply writing woeful articles about how terrible the situation is.
I realize that we're inundated with these state-of-the-academy reports, so I'm not trying to overburden everyone with them. But it does seem that... if this is really a problem... it would make sense to start thinking about a solution rather than continue to spin our wheels putting together the perfect CV. I made the point on An und für sich that I'm sympathetic but I don't know how much graduate students can do compared to faculty, and it may be that we need to wait for faculty senates and administrative staff to make changes with regard to budget and hiring (any faculty readers can feel free to pipe in on their thoughts here).
My only point, I suppose, is that those who see organizing and radical changes to the structure of the university as going too far (and believe me, I'm uncomfortable with it too) should at least be able to acknowledge the fact that precious little has been proposed in terms of viable alternatives. That in itself should be reason enough to take these calls seriously. From there I'd be happy to hear from others why these are not viable solutions and what a viable solution might look like. Until then, we should thank the peddlers of revolution for getting a conversation started.