I doubt there is any professional endeavor free of "politics and politicking." Universities are large bureaucracies, and come with all of the institutional morass present in other organizations of such scale.
I wouldn't necessarily agree this is true as long as you never have a mentor, never take money from anyone who wants voting shares and only work by yourself.
All environments have politics. It's inherent in collaborative human interaction. What changes is the extent and the style.
I much better understand university politics than I do office politics. University politics is glacially slow and almost always run democratically; if you want something to change, you need plenty of closed door discussions with as much faculty as possible to get them on-side when the time comes to push.
My exposure to office politics was always power struggles between people with titles, and who can get the right handful of ears to listen. Sometimes you needed to step on the throats of other people internal or external to the company. I could never find the right pace, people or aggression to get it right.