Caleb Maupin, lackey for Putin and the mullahs

Working for the mullahs

We’ve spent the last couple of days exploring the career of Caleb Maupin, a small-town Ohio boy who became a Communist in fifth grade and went on to help organize Occupy Wall Street (OWS) in New York. The OWS movement, however, fizzled just as quickly as it had flared up. 

Maupin giving a talk

But if OWS was effectively dead, Maupin remained active. At some point he quit the Workers World Party, with which he had long been associated. In recent years, instead, he has appeared to be strongly aligned with the governments of Iran and Russia. In 2013 he appeared very briefly on CNN, speaking against U.S. participation in the war in Syria. The next year, he spoke at a conference in Iran. In 2015, he was on board an Iranian ship, the Shahed, claiming to be on a “humanitarian mission” to Yemen, although various countries charged that the ship was smuggling arms to the Houthi terrorist group. In addition, he has served as UN correspondent for Iran’s government-owned Press TV.

Venezuelans lining up for groceries

He has also been a reporter for RT (Russia Today), the English-language news, TV, and radio service of the Putin regime. In a December 2015 article for RT, he claimed that the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela was still alive and well: “Due to the policies of the Bolivarian government, it now costs less than $1 to fill a gas tank. Children in schools receive free breakfast, lunch, and snacks. Rural Venezuelans receive interest-free loans in order to buy their own land. Public transportation is extremely cheap – and free for senior citizens….In the Bolivarian neighborhoods of Caracas, one can have the kind of conversations about literature, world history, politics, religion and philosophy only found on college campuses in the United States.”

Ayatollah Ali Khameini

In another piece, he charged that “US society is based on money and capitalism with so much violence everywhere and so much state repression” and that it was thus “highly conducive to insanity; this is not a healthy society.” In yet another RT contribution, he spoke up for the Islamic Republic of Iran while smearing pro-democracy Iranian dissidents as liars and impostors.

Mao Zedong

In one September 2015 interview with Beijing-based Maoist Jeff J. Brown, Maupin praised Mao Zedong, celebrated the “great strides” China has taken in the last few decades as a (supposed) consequence of the revolution begun by Mao, and bonded with Brown over their shared contempt for America’s capitalism and “fascism.”

The fact that much of Maupin’s recent work has been published by the relatively obscure group Students and Youth for a New America (SYNA), which will sponsor a debate on July 8 between Maupin and a member of the “alt right,” may indicate that his career is on the decline. But this seems improbable. Maupin is, after all, an ambitious and still very young man, and his association with SYNA more likely reflects his interest in mentoring a new generation of young American Communists to carry on the work of the revolution that has preoccupied him since his childhood.

From Ohio to Occupy Wall Street: Caleb Maupin

Yesterday we met Caleb Maupin, who became a Communist as a fifth grader in a small Ohio town and by 2010 was a prominent rabble-rouser in Cleveland and a leading local voice in the Workers World Party (WWP).

Maupin at a 2007 WWP conference

But the big city beckoned. A year later, Maupin was living in New York, and still an active WWP member. A July 2011 piece at the website of the International Communist Youth League (Fourth International) mentions Maupin’s attendance at a recent event held by the Spartacus Youth Club at the City College of New York. Maupin, identified in the article as “a writer for Workers World newspaper, the party organ of the reformist, pro-Democratic Party outfit of the same name,” was called upon at the event by Spartacists “to defend his party’s fawning over Obama and support to Democratic city councilman Charles Barron.”

Maupin did so by accusing the Spartacists of seeking “to be an isolated sect,” pure in its ideology but barren in its impact, whereas the WWP, in his view, were out to bring together diverse Leninist forces in an authentically productive class struggle “against a common enemy.” (The conflict, interestingly, is reminiscent of that which raged for many decades between strict Protestant fundamentalists – who out of a sense of theological purity chose to keep their distance from politics – and evangelicals, such as Jerry Falwell, who allied with Catholics, Jews, mainline Protestants, and others in the Republican Party in an effect to exert a degree of power in the mainstream culture.)

A 2011 Occupy Wall Street rally in New York

In New York, Maupin was involved in the 2011 planning of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement and was also working, according to his profile at RT – the media empire run by the Putin regime in Russia – as “a youth organizer for the International Action Center.”

OWS at its height

Maupin turned up in a 2012 Reuters report about OWS’s first anniversary. It quoted Maupin, described as living in Queens, as follows: “A lot of media is saying that Occupy is dying down, but I think the fact that over 100 people were arrested this morning shows that Occupy is still part of the conversation.” He added: “We’ve been locked out, people my age don’t have much chance of getting a job, so we have to do something to get people’s attention.” A year later, Allison Kilkenny of The Nation took note of the second anniversary of OWS, which by this point was being described in the past tense. Again Maupin made an appearance, with Kilkenny describing him as having been “arrested during a couple Occupy Wall Street protests and participated in the original General Assemblies.”

Caleb Maupin, small-town Commie

Caleb Maupin

On May 19, we took a brief look at a collegiate Communist named Dakotah Lilly who, defending chavismo on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News program, was identified as a representative of Students and Youth for a New America (SYNA). In the article we mentioned one Caleb T. Maupin, who, on SYNA’s website, also championed Chavez-style socialism, actually claiming that “millions of Venezuelans have seen their living conditions vastly improved through the Bolivarian process.”

We were curious about this Caleb T. Maupin, so we looked into him. Born around 1988, he grew up in Orrville, a town of 8000 in Wayne County, Ohio, where, according to a 2010 profile in Cleveland Scene, he was converted to Communism in fifth grade – yes, fifth grade – after reading The Communist Manifesto. He soon “began contacting local socialist groups about how he could get involved” and before his teens were over had joined the Workers World Party.

Adam Gluntz

Studying political science at Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, a Cleveland suburb, Maupin met Adam Gluntz, a fellow student who was then a conservative, and argued politics with him until he had turned Gluntz into a fellow Communist. Maupin thereupon “founded the local chapter of FIST,” a nationwide radical organization whose full name is Fight Imperialism – Stand Together. A 2008 article in Workers World recounted his participation in a recent debate at Baldwin-Wallace on the subject of “Socialism vs. Capitalism.” During the debate, Maupin argued that “socialist countries, particularly Cuba, have dealt with and rid themselves of the products of capitalism—including racism, sexism, homophobia, unemployment, and lack of healthcare, education, housing and social programs.”

Reinaldo Arenas

Anyone who knows anything about any socialist countries, especially Cuba, would be able to knock down every one of these assertions with dispatch. Just to choose one: to claim that Cuba has rid itself of homophobia is to spit on the lives of all the gay people whom the Castro regime imprisoned, tortured, and executed. Has Maupin, we wonder, ever read the late Reinaldo Arenas’s autobiography Before Night Falls, about the torment of being gay in Castro’s Cuba?  

At some point, Maupin “dropped out of school to focus full time on activism.” It was shortly thereafter that the piece in Cleveland Scene appeared. It begins as follows:

Caleb Maupin would like you to know he’s not a super-villain, despite what you may have seen on TV. A communist? Sure. But he’s not out to indoctrinate your children. Not yet.

The 22-year-old is chatty and affable, a skinny pale kid with a burning bush of unruly red hair. When it comes to talking politics, he’s obviously done his homework: facts, dates, obscure legislation, the fates of forgotten labor leaders, snippets of protest songs — in conversation he drops all forms of arcana from the annals of the American left. In part, he’s learned the game as a careful student of history, but he also sees himself as an inheritor of the radical tradition.

The article described Maupin and Gluntz as “a straight-faced Laurel and Hardy of liberal radicalism” who “attend nearly every public demonstration held in the area, from immigration rallies to protests against police brutality,” and had thereby “quickly become fixtures in this crowd.”

But that was only the beginning. Maupin was about to leave the small pond of Cuyahoga County for the big time.

A thumbs-up for Communism in California

Josef Stalin

It may seem like a minor matter – an attempt to repeal an old state law in California barring members of the Communist Party from holding a government position. Indeed, the law itself, which dates back to the early days of the Cold War, may seem unfair and antiquated. Why should political association cause anyone to be denied a state job?

The issue is debatable. But one thing that isn’t debatable is that membership in the Communist Party is treated in mainstream America today far differently than membership in the Nazi Party. You may feel obliged in principle to defend the rights of a Nazi to be a Nazi, but you would not find any pleasure in it. A Communist, on the other hand….

Rob Bonta

The measure to repeal the anti-Communist law was introduced by Rob Bonta, a Democrat who represents Oakland in the California Assembly. Bonta described the old law as “archaic.” At least a couple of members of the Assembly opposed Bonta’s bill. Travis Allen, a Republican who represents Westminster, a suburb of Los Angeles, noted that many of his constituents are Vietnamese-Americans who escaped to the U.S. from Communism. “This bill is blatantly offensive to all Californians,” said Allen. “Communism stands for everything that the United States stands against.”

Travis Allen

In addition to lifting the ban on employing Communists, Bonta’s measure would remove language from California law that identifies Communism as “a world-wide revolutionary movement to establish a totalitarian dictatorship based upon force and violence rather than upon law”; that describes it as having inspired the establishment of “totalitarian dictatorships” around the world that have been characterized by “treachery, deceit, teaching of false doctrines, teaching untruth”; that refers to the existence within the U.S. of “active disciplined communist organizations presently functioning for the primary purpose of advancing the objectives of the world communism movement”; and that notes this movement’s determination “to place its members in state and local government positions and in state supported educational institutions” where they can disseminate Communist dogma.

Bob Avakian of the Revolutionary Communist Party

There is, of course, nothing “archaic” about any of this. On this site, we have frequently examined groups such as the Revolutionary Communist Party, whose ideology is straight out of Marx and Lenin, whose rhetoric is fanatical, and whose leaders have made clear that, if they attained political power, the heads would start to roll. No, the reality of revolutionary Communism in the U.S. is not “archaic.” To people like Assemblyman Bonta, however, criticizing Communism and placing it on a par with Nazism is what’s “archaic.”

The measure, AB22, passed the Assembly on May 8. It’s now in the hands of a committee of the state Senate.

The untrustworthiness of Uncle Walter

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Walter Cronkite at his anchor desk

He wasn’t evil, really, but he was immensely influential, often in very counter-productive ways. In fact, when his career was at its height, few people anywhere wielded the kind of power he did to shape the way in which Americans thought about the world around them. No single person today, in a time when the news media are so highly fragmented, comes close to having as much influence as he did.

His name was Walter Cronkite, and for almost twenty years, from 1962 to 1981 – though it feels like longer – he was the anchorman and managing editor of the CBS Evening News.

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Cronkite (far right) during World War II

It was an era when almost every American’s main source of information about the world was one of the three evening network news shows. And of the three, CBS, during the reign of Cronkite, was the undisputed champion. It had the biggest budget and the highest viewership. And it had Cronkite, who, year after year, was voted the most trusted man in America. It was long before the Internet, which helped people around the world to understand just how foolish it was to place their unreflecting trust in any single news source.

©Globe photos / lapresse 18-07-2009 Washington, USA varie È morto Walter Cronkite, leggenda del giornalismo Usa Aveva 92 anni. Racconto' agli americani i piu' importanti eventi del secolo scorso Walter Cronkite, il celebre anchorman della CBS che per il pubblico televisivo americano fece la cronaca di eventi storici quali lo sbarco sulla luna, l'assassinio di John Kennedy e lo scandalo Watergate, e' morto all'eta' di 92 anni Only Italy WALTER CRONKITE ©DM/GLOBE PHOTOS, INC.
Reporting on Vietnam

To careful observers, it was clear that Cronkite (who, born and raised in Texas, had been a war correspondent in Europe and spent several years at CBS before taking over the evening news) admired John F. Kennedy and favored Lyndon Johnson over Barry Goldwater in the 1964 presidential election. His reporting during the latter campaign was manifestly intended to reinforce LBJ’s message that Goldwater was a dangerous right-wing war hawk who might well plunge the nation into nuclear war.

Later, Cronkite played a pivotal role in shifting public attitudes toward the Vietnam War. After the 1968 Tet Offensive, which was really a U.S. victory, Cronkite spun it as a U.S. defeat, calling the war itself “unwinnable” and suggesting that American troops be withdrawn. President Lyndon Johnson famously said that by losing Cronkite, he had lost America. There’s no way to know what course the war might have taken had Cronkite stuck to reporting the news instead of commenting on it, but his verdict on the war caused millions of Americans to view it fatalistically and led many government officials to think not in terms of how to win but of how to back out honorably.

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In Vietnam

Similarly, in the early 70s, Cronkite’s relentless attention to the story of the Watergate break-in (he had always hated Nixon) helped to turn it into the political scandal of the century. Indeed, the glorifying of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein by the movie All the President’s Men served to downplay the role of Cronkite and CBS in bringing down the Nixon administration. (After all, few Americans outside of the Beltway read the Washington Post.) In this instance, too, Cronkite may have affected the course of history.

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In 1985

Throughout his years at CBS, Cronkite – known affectionately to the nation as “Uncle Walter” – carefully maintained his pose as an impartial, hard-working reporter, digging for the truth and fearlessly following it wherever it led. After his retirement, he dropped the act and made clear his far-left leanings. Among much else, he attacked President Reagan’s invasion of Grenada and his plans for a so-called “Star Wars” weapons system (which, in fact, actually ended up helping to bring down the Soviet Union). Cronkite was also an early eco-hysteric, reporting seriously on “expert” predictions that the planet was on the verge of environmental catastrophe. (Even so, as one critic has noted, “he thought nothing about hopping on the gas-guzzling supersonic Concorde.”)

In his later years, when he gradually morphed into a far-left crank, Cronkite said that he had always considered fear of the Soviet Union ridiculous and overblown, and called for a United Nations-run world government that would strike a balance “between capitalism and communism.”

And that’s the way it was. Alas.

Is George Bridges being cowed by student bullies – or covertly directing them?

Bret Weinstein

Today is the last day of our week-long virtual stay at Oregon’s Evergreen State College, the setting of one of the latest – and craziest – episodes demonstrating that student radicalism has gotten way out of hand on many campuses, representing a threat to many people’s freedom of speech and personal safety.

This week’s story of collegiate Cultural Revolution has centered on Bret Weinstein, a professor of biology at Evergreen whose refusal to cooperate with a student initiative he (quite rightly) considered racist – in this case, anti-white – led to his demonization as a racist.

Naima Niambi (Naima Lowe)

Weinstein wasn’t just targeted by students. In a two-hour interview on Dave Rubin’s widely viewed podcast, Weinstein mentioned Naima Niambi (aka Naima Lowe), a fellow professor who during at least one faculty meeting, he said, accused him point-blank of racism. When Weinstein replied calmly that somebody should look objectively into evidence of whether or not he was, in fact, racist, he was chided by the chair of the faculty, who told this this was not the time or place to defend himself from such charges. When Weinstein asked where and when he could defend himself from those charges, Niambi said that he should not expect there to be a venue for such self-defense.

George Bridges

During this entire exchange, the college provost sat silently. So did the college president, George Bridges. Now, during this week we have examined details of this story which suggest that Bridges is the very personification of cowardice, giving way to student demands with pathetic alacrity and actually issuing a statement of praise for them that appeared to break all records for sheer cravenness. But Weinstein, in his conversation with Rubin, suggested that Bridges, far from being cowed by these kids, was, along with Niambi, perhaps the real power behind their movement. But Weinstein wasn’t consistent: he alternated between depicting Bridges as having been intimidated by the students and as directing their actions.

Evergreen State College

Weinstein had more to say about Niambi. At faculty meetings, he told Rubin, she routinely insisted that there is intense racism at Evergreen, and would say “vile” things (he wasn’t clear about what things they were and whom she said them about). When she was doing making these accusations, said Weinstein, fellow faculty members would “reflexively” thank her. After the present chapter began, moreover, Niambi tweeted an explicit threat to Weinstein’s wife, Heather, also an Evergreen faculty member, suggesting that somebody do her harm. So far, Niambi (a B.A. in Africana Studies and an M.F.A. in Film and Media whose so-called academic work consists overwhelmingly of race-fixated “performances,” “exhibitions,” “installations,” and “experimental films”) has apparently received not a whisper of criticism from any college administrator for any of this.

Weinstein talked about faculty members other than Niambi, though he refrained to name names. Some of his colleagues, he noted, had openly turned on him, joining in the chorus of “racist,” either out of sheer lack of guts or for cynical careerist reasons. Others have remained publicly silent while lending him “private support,” too scared to speak out on his behalf. In other words, Evergreen – like so many U.S. college campuses today – is experiencing developments not unlike some of those that have been familiar features of totalitarian nations.

The tyranny of Evergreen’s brats

Bret Weinstein

It’s Day Four of our account of the recent madness at “progressive” Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, where Bret Weinstein, an evolutionary biologist, was tormented in late May by a radical student group for failing to take part in a “Day of Absence” that would compel white students and faculty to stay off campus for a full day. His criticism of the idea, which he considered racist, led (unsurprisingly) to charges that he was racist. It also led to student harassment of the college’s president, George Bridges, who unlike Weinstein buckled in record time, not only giving in to the students who pressured him but, as we’ve seen, praising them for pressuring him.

Evergreen State College

As we noted yesterday, one of the ways in which Weinstein responded to his demonization was by going on Dave Rubin’s highly popular podcast. As evidence of his lifelong abhorrence of racism, he recalled an event that took place thirty years ago. As an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, he attended a party thrown by a “wealthy Jewish fraternity” at which the members “enacted a ceremonial rape” of black female strippers using cucumbers and other such objects. Weinstein had been so appalled by this event, which he considered (among other things) profoundly racist, that he wrote a furious op-ed about it in the college paper. This led to a scandal, to a trial at which Weinstein testified, to the banning of the fraternity for a couple of years, and to Weinstein’s own temporary departure from the university, the whole experience having soured him on the place.

Dave Rubin

Since then, as Rubin noted, Weinstein had established a “track record” of fighting racism. But none of this mattered to the livid, out-of-control students who wanted his head for refusing to bend to their authority. Weinstein noted that even though he disliked the idea of compelling whites to absent themselves from campus in accordance with some student initiative (which, he explained, had been conceived of as a response to the election of Donald Trump), he might have along with it, except that, as he put it, “It’s possible that my reaction is different than it might be because I’m Jewish, and alarm bells go off when I’m told I’m not supposed to be somewhere.” Nor did he like the stipulation that any white person who actually turned up on campus on the designated day would therefore be understood to be a non-ally of people of color.

George Bridges, apparently in one of those staged college PR photos

When he circulated a letter complaining, in careful, tactful terms, about this demand, Weinstein was besieged. A group of students materialized out a classroom in which he was teaching and chanted, “Hey, hey. Ho, ho. Bret Weinstein has got to go.” When he tried to talk to them, they told him to resign. When he expressed the opinion that students of color were not being “targeted” at Evergreen, some students erupted in rage. One girl called him “useless” and told him to “get the fuck out.” When he tried to reason with them and elevate the level of the conversation, he was mocked and insulted. “Resign!” one boy insisted.

More tomorrow.

George Bridges: caving in to student terror?

Evergreen State College

This is our third day of recounting the remarkable recent events at Evergreen State College, an institution in Oregon with which we at this site were previously unfamiliar but that acquaintances of ours have described as a choice school for spoiled, privileged kids who are used to being pampered, who don’t want a particularly challenging university experience, and who don’t have very much in the way of serious ambitions. In late May, as we’ve noted, Evergreen made headlines because of the targeting by a vicious student group of a biology professor, Bret Weinstein, who refused to comply with an explicitly black-supremacist demand. After failing to intimidate Weinstein, the student agitators threw themselves at the college president, George Bridges, who proved to be, shall we say, remarkably cooperative.

Among the student demands met by Bridges: he agreed to make the position of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Officer a full-time job. But he didn’t just cave in to a litany of demands. He actually praised the students:

George Bridges

We are grateful to the courageous students who have voiced their concerns. We understand that the demands presented are evolving. We have worked intensely on this in the past two days. Our responses, too, will evolve to ensure we are attending to the needs you present. Our documents must live and be living, changing with additional issues and concerns as they arise. This work never ends.

We have heard from students very clearly that they experience racism on campus that interferes with their education. We acknowledge that the status quo isn’t acceptable. We don’t know all the answers. We want to come together with you to learn from your experience, to build solutions, and to take action. We are grateful for this catalyst to expedite the work to which we are jointly committed.

For a long time, we’ve been working on the concerns you’ve raised and acknowledge that our results have fallen short. We should have done more to engage students in our work on equity and inclusion. This week, you are inviting us into the struggle you have taken up. We share your goals and together we can reach them.

While most of the mainstream media ignored the story – and Bret Weinstein was widely savaged on the left for going on Fox News (even though it was apparently the only national news operation that was interested in talking to him) – Weinstein didn’t let himself be cowed. On May 30, he went on Dave Rubin’s highly popular podcast and spoke for two hours not just about this controversy but about his professional and personal background, many aspects of which underscored the absurdity of labeling him a racist.

More tomorrow.

Under mob control: Evergreen College

Bret Weinstein

Yesterday we started to discuss one of the latest outrageous campus episodes, this one at hippie-dippy Evergreen State College in Oregon. Bret Weinstein – a bio prof at Evergreen who describes himself as a leftist who supported Bernie Sanders’s candidacy for presidency – ended up in the crosshairs of enraged students for standing up to a demand that white students and faculty members stay off campus on a so-called “Day of Absence.” In Weinstein’s view, their demand represented “a show of force and an act of oppression” – language one might expect a platoon of spoiled, angry contemporary college kids, marinated in the ideology of oppression and power, to understand.

Evergreen State College

But nope. Weinstein’s refusal to be banished from campus for his skin color evoked a chorus of rage. In an article on the campaign against him, Inside Higher Ed quoted a Facebook posting in which one student called the prof out for “putting his job security ahead of the safety of the students (particularly those who are visibly of color, queer, trans, nonbinary, disabled, etc.) on our campus. And when I say safety, I am not referring to someone’s feelings getting hurt. I’m referring to the very real, very close neo-Nazi/white supremacist/alt-right/whatever-you-wanna-call-white-people-who-think-non-white-people-should-die presence in the Pacific Northwest.”

The local chief of police counseled Weinstein to stay off campus – not to comply with the student demands, but for his own safety. He did so. But this doesn’t mean he didn’t stand up to his tormenters. On May 26, Weinstein went on Tucker Carlson’s program on Fox News. Carlson introduced the interview by showing a video in which a group of rude, bullying, foul-mouthed student brats attempted to intimidate Weinstein by screaming hysterically about “white privilege,” calling him “useless,” and ordering him to “get the [expletive] out.”

Asked by Carlson to contextualize the video, Weinstein explained: “They imagine that I am racist and that I am teaching racism in the classroom.” He further recalled that after the encounter shown in the video, the police turned up – whereupon the students moved on to the office of Evergreen’s president, George Bridges, whom they “corralled” and from whom they “extracted” certain “concessions” including a promise that he, Bridges, would meet with them later in the day to discuss their so-called grievances.

George Bridges

“Why is he allowing a mob to threaten one of his professors?” Carlson asked about Bridges. Weinstein said it was worse than that: “Dr. Bridges is allowing this mob to effectively control the campus.” The mob had presented Bridges with a set of demands, and had told him that if the demands were not met in full “there would be violence.” Bridges, instead of standing up to the mob, had ordered the campus police to “stand down.” While wanting to restore order on campus, then, the campus police had been “hobbled” by Bridges’s insistence that they do nothing and had, in effect, been “barricaded in the campus police station” for the past several days.

Bridges later announced that he would go along with all of the student demands – of which there were many. He began a public statement by informing his audience, in accordance with the expectations of many college-based gender activists nowadays, of where exactly he falls on the supposedly broad and complex gender-pronoun spectrum: “I’m George Bridges, I use he/him pronouns,” he said. Pathetic.

More tomorrow.

Student fascism at Evergreen State College

Evergreen State College

Founded in 1971 and boasting an acceptance rate of 98.9%, Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, has welcomed fashionable radical thinking from the outset. Its official motto (we kid you not) is that tired Sixties mantra “Let it all hang out” (in Latin, Omnia Extares). It calls itself a “progressive college,” whatever that means. It prides itself on not giving out grades, on not requiring students to declare majors (it doesn’t have conventional academic departments), and on not having any required courses.

Mumia Abu-Jamal

In 1999, the commencement speaker at Evergreen’s graduation ceremony was cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, whose salvation from the death penalty was a trendy left-wing cause at the time. (In 2001, his death sentence was commuted to life without parole.) Among the college’s most famous alumni, meanwhile, is Rachel Corrie, the pro-Palestinian activist who, in 2003, while engaged in an aggressive International Solidarity Movement effort to prevent the Israeli Defense Forces from destroying a tunnel used by terrorists to smuggle weapons, was accidentally run over by a bulldozer. Her death under these circumstances made her an instant martyr to the anti-Israeli movement, and turned a photograph of her, screaming with rage and tearing up an American flag, into an iconic image.

Anyway, that’s the kind of student Evergreen produces.

Rachel Corrie

In recent months, U.S. campuses have been the center of a great deal of discord, with vociferous and sometimes violent groups of left-wing or anarchist students trying to shut down speakers they don’t like or have professors fired for making politically incorrect statements. In the process, these students have often caused harm to the targets of their wrath and committed acts of arson and vandalism. In late May, it was Evergreen’s turn to make national headlines. At the center of the story was biology professor Bret Weinstein. Now, one of the annual “progressive” traditions at Evergreen is something called the “Day of Absence,” when black students and professors voluntarily stay off campus and instead hold meetings and discussions elsewhere to discuss racism and tolerance.

Bret Weinstein

This year, however, the organizers of the “Day of Absence” decided to switch things around – instead of allowing blacks to skip class, they ordered whites to do so. Weinstein refused, and explained why: “There is a huge difference between a group or coalition deciding to voluntarily absent themselves from a shared space in order to highlight their vital and underappreciated roles…and a group encouraging another group to go away. The first is a forceful call to consciousness, which is, of course, crippling to the logic of oppression. The second is a show of force, and an act of oppression in and of itself.” He added that he would be on campus that day doing his job and that he would encourage other whites on campus to do the same. “On a college campus,” he wrote, “one’s right to speak – or to be – must never be based on skin color.”

Weinstein has also come under fire for opposing a recommendation by Evergreen’s Equity and Inclusion Council that all faculty hires be defended by the administration on ground of “equity,” a vague term apparently referring to racial balance or some such thing. Weinstein’s attitude toward this policy proposal was that it’s a mistake to place such emphasis on superficial attributes. “The most important thing,” he said, “is that the person in front of the room knows something about the subject and has insight in teaching.” In response to these thoroughly reasonable positions, Weinstein became the target of absolute rage on the part of a large group of Evergreen students. What exactly happened? Tune in tomorrow.