From Michael Schwartz:
Below, queries from Dick Flacks raising what he
thinks (and I agree) are key issues that people
have about the war, and about the prospect of
American withdrawal in particular. With the
Baker Commission coming out against withdrawal,
these arguments are particularly relevant now.
Below his queries are my first best effort to
Michael: I think we need to strengthen antiwar
arguments on two fundamental points:
1. Complete US withdrawal will lead to full scale
bloodletting and disaster; our troop presence (
whether ‘more’ or not) provides some buffering to
stave off the worst. How do we argue against
this? I know you’ve said some things about this,
but it remains the basic Democrat reservation
2. Not stated but I think the strongest reality:
US withdrawal leaves Iraqi oil in the hands
of…Islamic fundamentalists, Iran, terrorists,
etc. Or perhaps even more fundamental: wouldn’t
US withdrawal really turn the Middle East over to
anti-western control? And what will the world
look like then? Should we try to answer this and
how? I think this is the sort of fear that
unites the policy elite against full withdrawal.
It seems that they can’t bring themselves to make
a public case that the whole thing IS about oil (
and geopolitics) and therefore the US should
stay. What do you say to these points? Who has
addressed them? I know that there is an argument
that US withdrawal, with Arab state engagement in
Iraq, will lead to more stability. Note that
George Packer in New Yorker dismisses this line
of thought as fantasy. Comments? best, Dick
Very apt queries, and very important to answer.
The biggest issue is #1, and I have tried to
address it in many different ways, because it is
the key reason why people are reluctant to call
for withdrawal. Their reluctance is based on a
genuine concern for what might happen in Iraq,
and even on the realization that the Americans
have caused this horrible civil war.
But this image, as plausible as it appears, is
simply wrong. I have argued this point at some
length in my recent commentary, “The Myth of
More,” and the rebuttal can be stated very
succinctly: our troops are creating the
slaughter, not limiting it. We are creating it
with our offensives that plow through cities,
using air strikes and artillery and tanks to blow
away homes and neighborhoods, and systematically
invading houses and killing or arresting the men
in them. (This has probably, by itself, accounted
for more than half of the 600,000 deaths so far).
We are creating it by driving the militias who
protect cities from criminals and outside
invaders underground, and making the cities
vulnerable to invasion by suicide bombers (Shia
cities) and death squads (Sunni cities). And we
are creating it by creating lawlessness that
encourages both criminals and motivates residents
to seek revenge, which they then undertake with
desperate acts like death squads (Shia against
Sunni) and suicide bombs (Sunni against Shia).
George Packer, in an otherwise excellent article
in the New Yorker falls for the beguiling logic
that the US must stay to limit the damage. After
skewering all of the half measures advocated by
Democrats and other Washington critics of the
war, he backs off of advocating withdrawal with
“But it is also true that wherever American troop
levels have been reduced-in Falluja and Mosul in
2004, in Tal Afar in 2005, in Baghdad in
2006-security has deteriorated. In the absence of
adequate and impartial Iraqi forces, Sunni
insurgents or Shiite militias have filled the
power vacuum with a reign of terror. An American
withdrawal could produce the same result on a
The simple refutation of his argument is that he
is exactly wrong: in each and every one of these
cities there was dramatically less violence
before the US came, went way up when the US tried
to conquer the town (often successfully) and
dropped again after it left and the insurgents
took over again (when it has left). The horrible
violence took place exactly while the US was
For the situation in Falluja, see Nir Rosen’s
brilliant articles based on his living there
while the insurgency dominated the town between
the April and November attacks by the US. It was
the most peaceful time since the fall of Saddam,
for a very simple reason. The insurgent militia
was the police force, under the control of local
(fundamentalist) Sunni religious leaders. While
they imposed a very oppressive form of religion,
there was almost no dissent against this regime,
and certainly no violent resistance. This is not
a regime I can get excited about, but it
certainly was not a reign of terror for the vast
majority, since they supported it. And the
oppressed minority did not mount any significant
resistance. When the US arrived in November,
they destroyed the town completely. Since then
they have run it as a prison with checkpoints to
get in and out, and identity cards with retinal
scans needed to enter the city. Despite this
severe repression, fighting has renewed as people
have returned. Residents of the city have
registered 300 claims against the American army
for shooting civilians, and there are daily
battles. These will certainly continue until the
US leaves, and the insurgents once again
demobilize or expel the Iraqi army and police
that have been part of the occupation.
In 2004 Mosul was occupied by the Americans and
there was steady warfare. Then, in November, the
US transferred its troops to fight in Falluja,
and the insurgents quickly overthrew the
government the Americans had imposed. There was
with almost no fighting because the virtually all
the Iraqi soldiers application handed over their
guns, voluntarily left, or joined the insurgents.
The only times there has been fighting since then
is when the Americans have periodically tried to
re-impose an outside regime.
Tal Afar was run by the insurgency almost from
the beginning and was a peaceful town except for
a short period in 2004 when the Americans
invaded, briefly held the city, and then left,
leaving devastation in its wake. The insurgents
immediately re-established control and it was
peaceful against until the US came again in 2005.
This time, the ordered everyone to leave except
military age men, who were all suspected of being
insurgents (an assumption that was either correct
or a self fulfilling prophecy). In the ensuring
battle US air power and artillery and tanks
annihilated parts of the city (much like
Falluja), and Shia troops fighting with the
Americans distinguished themselves with their
bloodthirsty brutality. Since then, the US has
occupied Tal Afar with a ferocity that echoes
Falluja and includes an unemployment rate that
approaches 70%, though the control system is not
as rigorous. Fighting has continued and, with
large numbers of American troops there, the
violence is most often US troops triggered when
American soldiers invade homes to arrest or kill
suspected guerrillas and their sympathizers.
For Baghdad in 2006, see my “The Myth of More”
article. The brief story is that there was
plenty of violence in Baghdad, and then the US
came in with full force early this year. Since
then the number of deaths have quadrupled! The
number of insurgent attacks has tripled. The
number of car bombs and IEDs has doubled.
See “The Myth of More” to see why US presence
pours gasoline on the fire, and does not buffer
it at all. In fact, a reduction of US troops
should bring about a reduction of internecine
violence, as well as removing the main source of
violence. I am attaching it, as well as another
commentary that also addresses this question in a
less direct way. If you see ways to add to
either of them, let me know, because I agree with
you that this is the nub of a lot of people’s
doubts about withdrawal.
Now, #2. The answer to this is a complex yes.
The oil is located in the Kurdish north and the
Shia south. So if the country gave these regions
autonomy, the Kurds would be secular and almost
pro American. But the Shia would be indubitably
fundamentalist. If the country stayed together,
we could expect it to be dominated by
fundamentalist Shia who are likely also to be
pro-Iran. But we have lived with Iran
controlled by fundamentalist Islamists for 25
years, and no catastrophe has befallen the supply
of oil. The same would also be true in Iraq.
As the American leadership has been saying right
along (in denying that oil is at the heart of
this war), we can always buy their oil on the
open market. That would not change. And the
alternative…slaughtering hundreds or thousands of
Iraqis in an attempt to control their oil, is
actually the expression of an imperial desire to
steal someone else’s resources, and then use that
control to impose on those people a set of
policies that they detest. In the end this
effort will fail and it will also destroy the
American economy in a much quicker and more
efficient way than buying oil from
Would withdrawal “turn the Middle East over to
anti-western control.” Again the answer is
“yes.” It didn’t have to be “yes,” but now we
have made it so by trying to impose a US client
regime on Iraq. And, in all likelihood, the new
regime would forge an alliance with Iran and
might effectively dominate the Middle East
politics. So the US could face a hostile region.
(Ironically, the US invaded Iraq to bring down
the two regimes that were truly hostile to the
US, and may have created a new reality in which
the whole region is hostile to the US) The fact
is that this is almost certainly inevitable now.
Either the US will accept this result now, or the
US will fight on and achieve exactly the same
result after sacrificing thousands of American
lives, slaughtering hundreds of thousands of
Iraqis, and wrecking the American economy.
And, ironically, the American people should be in
favor of the US facing a hostile Middle East.
We need a multipolar world in which they is no
dominant power. As we have seen since 1990, a
unipolar world gives so much power to the hegemon
that it can use either military or economic
measures to impose policies on the world that
sacrifice precious resources in order to preserve
its own power. The process of imposing these
policies always involves resistance and friction
that ultimately wastes the power and resources of
the hegemon and therefore sacrifices the lives
and the welfare of its citizens. We are already
seeing exactly the process.
A balance of power is the best defense against
such rapacious dominance. Even a balance of
terror would be better than the unipolar world
the Bush Administration is seeking to establish.
Why So Many Black Women Are Behind Bars
By Earl Ofari Hutchinson
AlterNet – Posted on December 5, 2006
Some years ago I briefly worked as a social worker.
Occasionally I would visit clients in jail to determine
their eligibility for continued benefits. They were all
men — with one exception. She was a young black woman
serving time for theft. She had two small children.
She entered the visiting room handcuffed to another
woman and dressed in drab prison garb. We talked
through a reinforced glass window. The guards stared
hard and barked out gruff commands to the women.
The idea of a woman in prison then was a novelty. It
isn’t anymore. According to a recent Justice Department
report on America’s jail population, women make up
about 10 percent of the America’s inmates. There are
now more women than ever serving time, and black women
make up a disproportionate number of those women. They
are twice more likely than Hispanic, and over three
times more likely than white women, to be jailed.
In fact, black women have almost single-handedly
expanded the women’s prison-industrial complex. From
1930 to 1950 five women’s prisons were built
nationally. During the 1980s and 1990s dozens more
prisons were built, and a growing number of them are
maximum-security women’s prisons. But the prison-
building splurge hasn’t kept pace with the swelling
number of women prisoners. Women’s prisons are
understaffed, overcrowded, lack recreation facilities,
serve poor quality food, suffer chronic shortages of
family planning counselors and services, and
gynecological specialists, drug treatment and child
care facilities, and transportation funds for family
Female prisoners face the added peril of rape, and
insensitive treatment during pregnancy. A United
Nations report in 1997 found that more than two dozen
states permitted pregnant women to be shackled while
being transported to hospitals for treatment. A report
by the National Corrections Information Center revealed
that the U.S. is one of only a handful of countries
that allow men to guard women, often unsupervised.
Author Donna Ann-Smith Marshall, who served several
years at Central California Women’s Facility,
California’s top maximum security prison, in her new
book, Time on the Inside, tells in shocking and graphic
detail the callous, often brutal treatment many women
are subjected to in women’s maximum security jails.
Unfortunately, the tepid public debate over the
consequence of locking up so many women is riddled with
misconceptions. One is that women commit violent crimes
for the same reasons that men do. They don’t. Women are
less likely than men to assault or murder strangers
while committing crimes. Two-thirds of the women jailed
assaulted or killed relatives or intimates. Their
victims were often spouses, lovers, or boyfriends. In
many cases they committed violence defending themselves
against sexual or physical abuse. Women’s groups and
even the more enlightened governors have recognized
that women that kill abusive husbands or lovers have
acted out of fear and have loosened parole standards.
The governors have granted some women earlier release
from their sentences.
More women, and especially black women, are behind bars
as much because of hard punishment than their actual
crimes. One out of three crimes committed by women are
drug related. Many state and federal sentencing laws
mandate minimum sentences for all drug offenders. This
virtually eliminates the option of referring non-
violent first time offenders to increasingly scarce,
financially strapped drug treatment, counseling and
education programs. Stiffer punishment for crack
cocaine use also has landed more black women in prison,
and for longer sentences than white women (and men).
Then there’s the feminization of poverty and racial
stereotyping. More than one out of three black women
jailed did not complete high school, were unemployed,
or had incomes below the poverty level at the time of
their arrest. More than half of them were single
While black men are typed as violent, drug dealing
“gangstas,” black women are typed as sexually loose,
conniving, untrustworthy, welfare queens. Many of the
mostly middle-class judges and jurors believe that
black women offenders are menaces to society too.
The quantum leap in black women behind bars has had
devastating impact on families and the quality of life
in many poor black communities. Thousands of children
of incarcerated women are raised by grandparents, or
warehoused in foster homes and institutions. The
children are frequently denied visits because the
mothers are deemed unfit. This prevents mothers from
developing parenting and nurturing skills and deeply
disrupts the parent-child bond. Many children of
imprisoned women drift into delinquency, gangs and drug
use. This perpetuates the vicious cycle of poverty,
crime and violence. There are many cases where parents
and even grandparents are jailed.
There is little sign that this will change. The public
and policy makers are deeply rapped in the damaging
cycle of myths, misconceptions and crime fear hysteria
about crime-on-the-loose women. They are loath to ramp
up funds and programs for job and skills training, drug
treatment, education, childcare and health, and
parenting skills. Yet, this is still the best way to
keep more women from winding up behind bars.
[Earl Ofari Hutchinson is a political analyst and
social issues commentator, and the author of the
forthcoming book The Emerging Black GOP Majority
(Middle Passage Press, September 2006), a hard-hitting
look at Bush and The GOP's court of black voters.]
Nearly 16,000 Goodyear employees are facing the holidays without paychecks. For two and a half months, the United Steelworkers (USW) members have been on strike in a brutal fight for job security and a fair deal on retiree health care. They are sacrificing and fighting the fight for good jobs for all of us—and they need our support.
When Goodyear was on the verge of bankruptcy three years ago, USW members and retirees accepted wage, health care and pension cuts and the closing of a plant to save the company. It worked—today Goodyear is highly profitable and able to lavish big bonuses on its executives. But the company wants still more sacrifices from workers.
Goodyear executives can buy their children all the gifts they want—while the striking USW members are struggling just to make it through.
To help, go to https://secure.ga6.org/08/uswstrikefund/n571sZbF1bqFt?.
In situation of serious economic inequality, new evidence proves corporate America–and the Labor Relations Board–have it in for the labor movement
This from the (usually conservative) LA Times:
No friend of labor
Thanks in part to the National Labor Relations Board, most American workers haven’t seen their share of the booming economy
By Dmitri Iglitzin and Steven Hill
DMITRI IGLITZIN is a labor law attorney in Seattle. STEVEN HILL is a director at the New America Foundation.
December 9, 2006
WHILE President Bush points to low unemployment and a resurgent stock market as signs of a strong economy, most Americans don’t feel so bullish. Median incomes are flat, healthcare costs are soaring, pensions are being de-funded and corporate employers are threatening to shred the social contract with their employees that has prevailed for 60 years.
The balance of economic power has become increasingly one-sided, and one reason is that a key institution — the National Labor Relations Board, the country’s chief arbiter of labor disputes — remains solidly in anti-worker hands. Although a quasi-judicial entity appointed by the president and empowered to adjudicate labor disputes, the NLRB actually sets the rules that govern those disputes and thereby exerts an enormous influence over who prevails. In case after case, the Republican-dominated board has taken positions that have hurt American workers.
In one recent case, the Oakwood Healthcare decision, the board found (by its usual 3-2 Republican majority) that a group of Michigan nurses are excluded from the protection of the nation’s most important labor laws on the spurious grounds that they are “supervisors,” not employees. In one stroke, these workers — and potentially tens of thousands of others — lost the right to be in a union and to advocate collectively for workplace improvements.
The same day as the Oakwood decision in late September, the board also cut back on the right of employees to wear union buttons at work. That case arose out of a dispute in San Diego at the W Hotel, which, according to its owner, the Starwood Hotels & Resorts chain, seeks to give its guests a “wonderland” hotel experience where they get “whatever they want, whenever they want it.” For its employees, however — mostly low-paid Latino laborers — the hotel is no wonderland. Some wore buttons bearing four words — “Justice Now! Justicia Ahora!” — and the name of their union. The W demanded workers take them off.
The NLRB sided with the W because the buttons were “controversial.” W guests now need not worry about having their wonderland experience marred by seeing employees exercise their 1st Amendment rights. That rule is now precedent and can be applied to workers in labor disputes across the country.
But what happened in San Diego is nothing compared to what happened to workers in Jacksonville, Texas, just the day before. Back in 2000, the employees of a small meat-cutting department at a Jacksonville Wal-Mart voted to unionize. A week later, Wal-Mart announced that it was phasing out in-store meat-cutting departments nationwide. It took six years for the NLRB to conclude that Wal-Mart had unlawfully retaliated against workers trying to unionize. Even then, the board disregarded the ruling of its own administrative law judge and decided that, even though Wal-Mart violated the law, it can’t be ordered to restore the unionized meat department.
These are just the latest among dozens of anti-worker NLRB decisions in recent years. The cumulative effect has been devastating, particularly in a global economy in which workers’ rights are being eroded in the face of lowest-common-denominator labor conditions in places such as China and India.
A nationwide study by the University of Illinois at Chicago found that:
• 30% of employers fire pro-union workers.
• 49% threaten to close a work site when workers try to unionize.
• 82% hire consultants to fight union-organizing drives.
• 91% force employees to attend anti-union meetings with supervisors.
“Our research clearly shows that firings, bribes and threats are pervasive,” said Nik Theodore, director of the university’s Center for Urban Economic Development. “These actions greatly impede workers’ ability to form unions.”
In 1935, when Congress enacted the National Labor Relations Act, it held the philosophy that protecting the right to organize helped to restore “equality of bargaining power between employers and employees” and even to remove “sources of industrial strife” and to “safeguard commerce” from injury. Congress clearly saw workers’ rights as good for the overall economy. Today, however, the Republican-dominated and anti-worker NLRB is motivated by a much different philosophy.
Congress could begin rectifying the situation by passing the Employee Free Choice Act, which already has 215 co-sponsors in the House and 43 in the Senate, perhaps more once Democrats take control of Congress in January. The act would make it less difficult to form a union and authorize stronger penalties for retaliation against workers seeking to unionize.
Democratic congressional leaders need to recognize that many hardworking Americans haven’t received their fair share of the recent economic recovery. It’s time to change the rules so that the economy works for all of us instead of some of us.
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Restoration Weekend 2006: Storming the Universities
By David Horowitz
FrontPageMagazine.com | November 20, 2006
David Horowitz delivered the following speech at this year’s Restoration Weekend, held November 16-19 at The Breakers Resort in Palm Beach, Florida. – The Editors.
I began the academic freedom movement about three years ago. I probably did it because you can take the boy out of the radical movement, but you can’t take the radical movement out of the boy. This is where I began in the 1960s and it’s a happy return for me.
You probably don’t realize what’s happened on our university campuses, because I myself am continually shocked by it. You can go to the University of Texas at Austin, a world-class university in a state that is very red, and get a degree in radical politics. You will take courses with people like Dana Cloud, who is a self-described Bolshevik. If you go to her academic website, it shows an activist with a fist in the air. Cloud is a Marxist and member of the International Socialist Organization. When I spoke at the University of Texas at Austin, she led a demonstration inside the speech and – this is a professor – had to be hauled out by the campus police.
At the University of Texas at Austin, there are about six or seven cooperating departments that all contribute courses to qualify students for a degree in radical (anti-American, sympathy-for-the-Islamic-jihad politics), though it isn’t called that. We have a website called Discoverthenetworks.org, which is an encyclopedia of the Left. If you type in “Academia,” and then go to “Indoctrination Studies,” you will find a list of universities. Among them is the University of Texas at Austin. The list includes courses and you will find there one taught by Dana Cloud called, “Communications and Social Change.” Students in this course learn the history of the radical movement entirely from the point of view of Marxist radicals. Both sources and commentaries reflect the views of this left. There is not a critical essay included in the curriculum. Along with the recent history of contemporary radicalism you get an appropriate dose of radical ideology, without critical commentary. At the end of the course as a concession to the fact that it is an offering of the Communications Department, you will learn how to conduct radical propaganda.
If you go to Arizona State, you can major in a program offered by a department called the School of Justice and Social Inquiry. Here you will be taught that, if the social order is unjust – and I can assure you that in this course, you are taught that the American social order is unjust – then criminals are actually rebels and the term “criminal” is just a label used by the patriarchal ruling class as a method of social control to keep the rebellious oppressed in line.
If you take a course in Peace Studies – and there are 250 of these programs nationwide – you will learn that the word “terrorist” is actually another term for “freedom fighter,” because terrorists are fighting against an unjust global order over which the United States presides.
You will learn at any major university in this country that America is the Great Satan and that terrorists are freedom fighters, and then you will learn how to fight the Great Satan.
We held an academic freedom conference last year in Washington, where we had a panel of students one of whom was the chair of College Republicans at the University of California, Davis. His girlfriend bet him $50 that he would not be able to handle the politics in a Women’s Studies course. So he took the bet and signed up for the Introduction to Women’s Studies class. On the first day – this was during the recall vote in California – the teacher had the class chant, “No on Arnold! No on Arnold!” In class. He dropped the course and signed up for a course on terrorism. On the first day he learned that the greatest terrorist in the Middle East was Jesus Christ. This is a travesty of education but it is not uncommon on today’s college campuses.
We had a student at Temple University, who took a course in modern Chinese history. The professor’s opening remarks were that Communism had been given a bad name in this country and that he was going to teach them how Mao Zedong – who killed 70 million people, in peacetime – was a great leader.
I spoke at Bloomsburg University a couple of weeks ago where I had dinner with the College Republicans. Two students – who from my vantage looked very young – told me that during their final exam in political science they had to write an essay on why the Iraq war was morally wrong. It was not posed as a question. Students had to write that it was wrong. One of the students said, “I wrote why the Iraq war was morally right and got a D.” Both of these students were veterans of the Iraq war.
This so incensed me that when I spoke that evening in the presence of the president of the university and 600 or more students, I named the professor. I said it was an outrage and a disgrace. That it was unprofessional and should not be tolerated. The local Bloomsburg press reported my remarks and Bloomsburg residents began calling the school.
The Political Science department then issued a summons to the College Republicans demanding that they explain why they had breached “academic integrity.” In other words, it’s a breach of academic integrity to exercise your First Amendment right to tell somebody at dinner about a question you had on an exam and your subsequent experience in answering the question. When the students told me about this, I said, “Don’t go to this meeting; it’s a hanging party.” But they were Iraq war veterans, so they went. I emailed the dean and the president of the university. What happened then was that the leftist professor responsible for the stunt was reprimanded. The teacher who gave the exam also apologized and said she wouldn’t do it again. Which shows that standing up to these abuses can have an effect.
The problem is that there are something like 6,000 American universities. Besides myself, there’s Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin, and we are often physically attacked and almost invariably verbally defamed when we appear at universities. Floyd over there is my bodyguard, as well as Ann’s, and he has done the same service for Michelle. Leftist ruffians have ensured that if you are a conservative speaker you will never know what might be coming at you. When I spoke recently at Ball State University, it was only a cream pie. I didn’t even see the person who was charging us, but the chief of campus police and Floyd and the policemen present saw her coming and interposed themselves between us, and were drowned by this cream pie. Not a big deal, but three suits had to go to the dry cleaners, and a police officer was cut apprehending the culprits. Refreshingly, they were arrested and had to post bail.
This is the sad state of our campuses. Three years ago, I began an academic freedom campaign to try to restore academic manners and standards to our debased universities.
When I was a youngster, I attended a Communist Party school called the Jefferson School of Social Science on 12th Street in New York. My teacher was Herbert Aptheker, the Communist Party’s leading theoretician. The Jefferson School of Social Science – its totalitarian approach to educational method along with its worldview – is now a major part of the curriculum of universities across the country, including in such conservative states as Texas.
I had to figure out how to confront this problem with an eye to fixing it. What I did was devise an Academic Bill of Rights, which is a very liberal document, based on very simple principles.
As you know, teachers have lifetime jobs. It means you have to deal with the fact that you’re going to have a lot of leftists on university campuses. The Ward Churchill case is instructive. Here is an evidently deranged individual who is a department chair earning $120,000 a year, not counting the thousands of dollars in speaking fees he earns when like-minded professors invite him to give talks on university campuses – at taxpayer and student expense.
As you know, Churchill called the victims of 9/11 “Little Eichmanns” in an article on the internet. But of course that is what he teaches: that America is a genocidal nation comparable to Nazi Germany. I point out in my talks on college campuses that this shows his utter contempt, for example, for all those Mexicans and Haitians who are desperately trying to get into this country. The obvious question is why – to be exterminated?
So, when the public discovered what Ward Churchill was teaching, my good friend Bill Owens, who was governor of Colorado, called for Churchill to be fired. That immediately set off all the First Amendment people, and rightly so. Any reasonable liberal and certainly most conservatives, do not want the governors of states hiring and firing professors.
Churchill is also an academic fraud. He doesn’t have a Ph.D., which is the Higher Ed teaching credential. His degree, an M.A., is in graphic arts. He’s a painter. If you want to see liberal racism in action, here it is: We’ve got a guy whose qualification for teaching Ethnic Studies is that he is a painter, but he’s also a raving leftwing ideologue. Hire him! Let him teach the minority kids. Perhaps they won’t know the difference.
The Ethnic Studies field is a field of Ward Churchills. Hank Brown, a former U.S. Senator who’s president of the University of Colorado, has been trying to get rid of Churchill now for a year. His administration convened a panel of liberal professors who determined that Churchill is a fraud, a plagiarist, and a liar. But he’s still on that faculty. That’s how hard it is to get rid of incompetent professors.
Given this situation, what do you do? My answer was this: Let’s see if we can make them act like professionals. You don’t go to your doctor and expect to get a lecture on the war in Iraq. So why should you get one from your English professor? It’s just unprofessional. Let’s assert some professional standards. Let’s start with the principles behind academic freedom and tenure.
Academic freedom is not about free speech. If you are a preacher and you go into church on Sunday and preach a sermon that God does not exist, you will be looking for a new job on Monday, First Amendment or no. If you are a soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan, defending our First Amendment rights, you do not have the First Amendment right to write an op-ed piece criticizing your commander or the war. You can’t write about it because it’s understood – it’s part of our culture to understand – that when someone works for an institution that has a professional mission, you cannot allow the chaos of the First Amendment inside that institution. The employees, those who carry the mission, have to behave professionally.
If you’re a nurse in an operating room and in the middle of the operation you get up on a chair and give a speech about why nurses should get better pay, you will not be invited back into that operating room. Every one in our society has a certain accountability – as the accountants at Enron have learned – every institution apparently except universities.
Consequently, I devised an Academic Bill of Rights that would ensure that students received professional instruction from their teachers. I took the Bill of Rights to the chairman of the trustees of the SUNY system in New York, which has 400,000 students and 69 campuses. The trustees were appointed by Governor Pataki who hired a conservative president. That’s a handful of people surrounded by a sea of radicals, which is what the political face of the university is. In attempting to get the Academic Bill of Rights adopted by the SUNY administration, I discovered that the university authorities are completely powerless vis-à-vis their radical faculties. The radical faculties run the university.
If Larry Summers, a dyed-in-the-wool liberal and the most powerful university president in the history of the modern research university, could be fired within four years by a radical minority representing only 10% of the faculty who voted to censure him and then to destroy him, I knew that there was no university president who could stand up to this totalitarian faction (totalitarian because what triggered their censure was a politically incorrect idea that Summers had proposed).
When I witnessed the paralysis of the SUNY administration I decided to go to legislatures because I knew that there had to be some leverage, some pressure on the university presidents to stand up to these radicals.
Of course, the radicals struck back. They called me a McCarthyite, even though my proposals were quintessentially liberal, and I have never proposed the firing of any professor for his or her political ideas. They’ve attacked me as a Maoist, even though they worshipped Mao when he was alive and slaughtering millions. Even conservatives have been uncomfortable with the legislation, because they have failed to understand that the reason for going to legislatures is not to have government run universities but to get attention and thereby create public pressure on university presidents so they can go to their faculty – this actually happened in the state of Colorado – and say, “David Horowitz and the right-wing legislature are attacking us; I can save the university by implementing the Academic Bill of Rights in a proper manner.”
The good news is that, within three years, we’ve created 200 student organizations and made intellectual diversity a national issue. At Princeton, the student body voted in its majority for the Academic Bill of Rights, despite the outrageous attacks on it as right-wing plot by Horowitz and the McCarthyites.
But the biggest development we’ve had so far has been in Pennsylvania.
A young freshman legislator in Pennsylvania, Gib Armstrong, who is here today, was approached two years ago at a Republican Party picnic by an Iraq war veteran. She had signed up for a physics course at one of the state universities. Her physics professor, in class, attacked the military and the war in Iraq, which made her understandably uncomfortable. She approached Gib and asked him if that was appropriate. Gib said it was not and called me, since I had received enough publicity for the Academic Bill of Rights to be recognized in Lancaster Pennsylvania. Together we set about changing the educational face of Pennsylvania. Gib got legislation passed to create an Academic Freedom Committee of the Pennsylvania House and we proceeded from there.
It has never been my agenda to legislate what universities do. Even it were a good idea, which it isn’t, it’s impossible. Most state legislatures meet only once every six months. The Texas legislature meets only once every two years. These legislators deal with issues of roads, energy and other big ticket items. What goes on classrooms is not something they understand well, nor is it something they can afford to focus on.
So we held hearings and, of course, the Democrats voted almost party line against the authorization, even though it was a completely liberal idea. The idea is: Be professional. If you have kids in the class, give them both sides of a controversial issue. This should not be controversial, but among leftists who hide behind the label “liberal,” it is.
The Democrats denounced the committee. The Democratic chair, the minority chair of the committee, appeared at two union-sponsored rallies attacking his own committee as McCarthyite, even though not a single professor was called or named, because that was not its agenda. The Democrats kept up their attacks on the committee throughout the sessions which lasted nine months. At the very first session, constitutional lawyer David French told them that 15 state universities in Pennsylvania were violating, through speech codes, the academic freedom rights of their students. After this testimony, a Pennsylvania State Representative named Dan Surra said the committee hearings were “a colossal waste of time.” Then he told a New York Times reporter the hearings were “a hunt for Big Foot.” This was the committee Democrats’ point of view throughout the hearings and remains so today.
The upshot is that we have a committee report which will be ratified on Tuesday, November 21, 2006. The report describes the bad state of affairs in the State of Pennsylvania. It concludes that its inquiry revealed that there was not a single academic freedom provision that protects students in the entire State of Pennsylvania, which is probably true for entire country. It notes that in response to the hearings Temple University has adopted what is probably the only student specific bill of rights relating to academic freedom in the country. The report calls for the creation, for the first time, of an academic freedom provision for students. It says that every state university should review their academic policies and make them “student specific.”
The fact that we have achieved this major reform – that David Horowitz was actually right – is so frightening to the university community that they have denied the fact. The spokesman for Temple University told InsideHigherEd.com that the new Temple Policy on “Faculty and Student Rights and Responsibilities” was just a clarification of existing rules, which is an easily proven lie.
The second Committee recommendation was that there should be grievance machinery put in place at all state universities specific to academic freedom concerns.
The third is that students should not have to appeal to the department that they’re majoring in, which is what is usually required, resulting in few student complaints for fear of reprisal.
The fourth is that every student, when they attend student orientation, will get information about their academic rights. Most of them don’t even know what academic freedom is. At student orientations, they get indoctrination in sexual diversity and ethnic diversity; now they’re going to also be informed about intellectual diversity.
Finally, the Committee recommends that the State of Pennsylvania revisit these matters in two years and see what’s been done.
It’s like a consent decree. We have now inserted a process in the State of Pennsylvania to promote the principles of academic freedom.
I have been to other states. I’m not going to telegraph which states, but I can assure you that in one very large state, I have full support for this agenda from the trustees of the statewide university system, the governor of the state, the speaker of the House, and the relevant members of the Appropriations Committee. And we will have the same lineup in three or four other states.
The biggest problem we face is the difficulty people who should be with us have because of the noise created by the Left. The Left is very good at this. They tar and feather you to persuade people not to listen to what you’re saying.
But, there are still decent liberals in this country and, once we get a few states going, they will respond. They will respond and they will support this.
The Left is a minority. The radical Left that hates this country is a very powerful minority on university faculties, as Larry Summers learned, but the Larry Summers liberals are much more significant in the university community. They are intimidated at present. They have to understand that they can stand up to the Left and survive. We are going to teach them that with our campaign.
My model for what the university should be is the Columbia I went to in the 1950s. My parents were Communists. I was a Marxist. At Columbia, I wrote Marxist papers, but I never had a comment on my papers that reflected my professors’ contempt for my Marxist views. They graded me on how well I knew the evidence, and how cogently I constructed my arguments. I never – not one time in one class – ever heard a professor express a political view.
At every university I go to, I ask, “Are you taught that there are race, sex, and class hierarchies?” The hands always go up because that is what they are taught. It’s an idea derived from the Communist Manifesto. If you haven’t read the Manifesto, it means you haven’t been at a university in 30 years because students have to read the Communist Manifesto, though they’ve never even heard of Hayek or von Mises, who had more insight into capitalist societies in their little fingers than Marx had in his entire being.
If you remember the beginning of the Communist Manifesto, it says that the history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggles. It goes on to talk about nobles and plebians, aristocrats and the serfs, slave masters and slaves throughout history. Then, Marx adds, there’s the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.
In other words the idea of hierarchies is to back up a call to civil war. That’s what the Communist Manifesto is about. It’s an incitement to civil war. What you and I see as a democratic system with a lot of social mobility, Marx saw as a hierarchical system identical to slavery. That’s why he called workers “wage slaves.” That’s why to him, revolution in modern democracies was necessary.
Marx’s view makes up the standard curriculum in our universities today. My response is, “Well, if you believe in race, class, and gender hierarchies, where do you place Oprah Winfrey in your hierarchies?” She is the richest woman in America. She is also the great-great-granddaughter of a slave, the great-granddaughter of a sharecropper, a sexually abused child and a woman with a weight problem.
Allow me to explain this last point. When I visited Bowling Green University, there was a huge front page story in the campus paper on “lookism” as the means by which fat people were oppressed. So you have to ask yourself how it was possible in a lookist society like ours that there was a point where two overweight women – Oprah Winfrey and Rosie O’Donnell – dominated afternoon TV. I have to point out, of course, that Oprah didn’t get this job by Affirmative Action. She got it by being an authority figure to millions of lower middle class white women who had never been to a sensitivity training class. There’s nobody in the history of the universe besides Oprah who has wielded such authority as to be able to tell people to buy a book and make that book a bestseller. That authority translates into an industry and is one of the reasons she’s the richest woman in America.
Here, then, is a black, overweight great-granddaughter of a sharecropper who has such authority based on people’s respect for her intelligence, even though she’s black, even though she’s a woman, even though she’s fat. That just blows apart all of the academic theories of oppression and domination. It’s obvious that they have kept conservatives off of their faculties so they can maintain their own absurd views. All we want, for our reform effort, is to make a place in the university for critical ideas that will challenge their totalitarian orthodoxies and provide students with a look at the real world instead.
We have started a national movement. Now, every university in the country is discussing intellectual diversity and the Academic Bill of Rights. We have done that in three years and we have done that with basically three people.
This is the really good news about the universities. We have just begun the fight. By the way, we have not had even one story about this in the Weekly Standard or National Review. This how outside the box this movement is, and this is also our biggest problem. We’ve even been attacked by the Wall Street Journal. I spent an hour with an editorial writer from the Journal trying to explain that this legislation is to get attention; it’s not to get actual statutory legislation.
Ruth Malhotra will be talking to you on Sunday as well. Ruth was a political science major at Georgia Tech. George is a red state, Georgia Tech is a big military industrial complex supplier and you’d expect it to be conservative. Ruth was an A student. She was taking a public policy course and she told her professor that she was going to David Keane’s Conservative PAC conference the following week. The professor, said, “Well, you will fail my course,” and proceeded to fail her. We managed to reverse that. But again, we can’t just be running around to every university putting out fires.
We are engaged in a war to defend ourselves against a global jihad. During the Cold War, the Left identified with the Soviet Union and the Communist cause; now they identify with the Islamofascist cause. They would not want to be called Islamofascists. They even delude themselves into thinking that they are advancing the cause of gays and women by supporting jihadis who hate women and kill gay people. But that is just their delusion and we should not humor them by pretending that they are not self-declared enemies of this country when they call Islamofascists “freedom fighters” and run interference for their cause. What they are doing now is really no different from their defense of Stalin and Mao when they were slaughtering millions – not only innocent people, but Communists, too. The Left’s present war against America is just a replication of the past.
For all its faults and warts, this is the most wonderful political and economic system in the world. There are three main battlefronts in the war against us. The first is national security and the War on Terror. The second is the battle to establish and secure our national borders, to protect the American culture, which has produced our democratic system. This can be done by enforcing a legal process by which people become citizens. Such a process creates a sense of obligation on the part of new citizens towards the culture they are entering and to the social whole.
The third battlefront is the schools. We have begun this battle. We invite you all to support us and join us. Thank you.