Occupy Wall Street — Meet the Professors Behind It
“The only solution is World Revolution”
So declares occupywallst.org, the “official” website of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement. The website’s heading for November 23 reads: “Occupy Wall Street — NYC Protest for World Revolution”
And right below that is the OWS logo, the communist clenched fist symbol alongside the blaring declaration, “OccupyWallStreet — the revolution continues worldwide!”
Revolution. Lots of talk about revolution amongst the OWS demonstrators and the websites, blogs, publications, and media networks that support them. But what is it they are actually calling for? “Revolution” is one of those words that have many meanings. Congressman Ron Paul’s presidential campaign uses the term but with decidedly different intentions and objectives in mind than the bulk of the OWS protesters. Dr. Paul’s “revolution,” for instance, calls for abolishing the Federal Reserve System, as well as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — for starters. The Fed, Fannie, and Freddie are three of the institutions most responsible for the housing bubble/mortgage meltdown, the bailouts, and the transfer of hundreds of billions of dollars to Wall Street insiders at Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, AIG, Citibank, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, et al.
The Fed, Fannie, and Freddie are not capitalist institutions; they are socialist, fascist, Marxist institutions. The Fed is a central bank with virtual monopoly control of credit, as called for by Karl Marx in the The Communist Manifesto (plank number five in his ten-plank program).
The Fed, Fannie, and Freddie do not promote free-enterprise capitalism; they promote crony capitalism, the kind of arrangement where the politically connected are rewarded with special treatment and public funds, which is precisely what one should expect, since they are political, statist institutions. But in all the talk of revolution amongst the Occupy Wall Street crowd, there is scarce mention of abolishing these institutions that allow the immoral funneling of taxpayer dollars from Main Street to Wall Street. Some of the OWS revolutionaries may criticize these institutions (when they mention them at all), but the folks at The Fed, Fannie, and Freddie, and their Wall Street plutocrat beneficiaries, couldn’t care less — as long as the street protesters merely criticize, babble, bloviate, and agitate … but leave the funneling institutions alone so that the Wall Street banksters and their political allies can continue their global robbery spree. In fact, the various unofficial proposed lists of demands by the OWS revolutionaries (see here, for example, and here) not only fail to mention The Fed, Fannie, and Freddie, let alone call for their abolition, but instead advocate a vast expansion of government programs, spending, and control. One of the favorite proposals of many of the OWS activists is a global financial transaction tax, which they like to call the “Robin Hood Tax” (see here and here), but which is a rehash of the “Tobin Tax” that socialist globalists have been promoting for years to empower the United Nations as a global tax man.
All of the OWS proposed expansions of state power will create ever bigger and more crushing government with ever-increasing corruption and infinitely more opportunities for politically-connected insiders to exploit. So it is not unfair to suggest that when the “leading” voices of the Occupy Wall Street movement call for world revolution, they mean socialist, communist, Marxist-Leninist revolution — or some collectivist, statist variation thereof.
Dictatorship of the Professoriate
The biggest influence responsible for this Marxist-Leninist direction of the OWS demonstrations comes not from Marx’s proletariat but from the radical, bourgeoisie professoriate: the Red, Pink, and Green professors. The continuing OWS occupation at New York City’s Zuccotti Park is a prime example. It is surrounded by colleges and universities that are hotbeds of collectivism and radical, counter-culture activism. Many of the student activists (i.e., professional SDS revolutionists) who shut down campuses with violent and destructive demonstrations in the 1960s came back as teachers and took over the classrooms. Many have been ensconced in those same institutions for decades as tenured professors and have been using their positions to educate, agitate, and activate new generations of revolutionaries. We have previously mentioned the Brecht Forum/New York Marxist School, which is near Zuccotti Park and has provided much of the leadership for OWS, as well as many of the other leftist political activities in New York City. Despite its notoriety as a center of communist activism (or, more probably, because of this notoriety), it continues to be generously funded by radical foundations and New York City’s taxpayers. The Brecht Forum/New York Marxist School web site boasts:
Our programs are funded in part by Manhattan Neighborhood Network, The Bardon Cole Foundation, The Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, The Surdna Foundation, and by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
In addition to the New York Marxist School, which more less flies its red flag proudly, a legion of Marxoid professors carry forth somewhat more subtly at nearby taxpayer-supported institutions: Bard College, City University of New York (CUNY), State University of New York (SUNY), Columbia University, Brooklyn College, Hunter College, the New School, Pace University, Cooper Union, Queens College, Baruch College, Kingsborough Community College, and other nests of subversion in the Manhattan area’s groves of academe. For many years, the CUNY campus hosted the annual the Socialist Scholars Conference, the yearly grand palaver of Marxist academics. CUNY and SUNY faculty always provided large contingents of “scholars” to these events. In 2004, the organization changed its name from the Socialist Scholars Conference (SSC) to Left Forum, and in 2008 moved its annual gathering to Pace University, near New York City Hall in lower Manhattan. Despite the venue change, the same activists continue to hold forth. Many of them are members and leaders of the Democratic Socialists of America, the U.S. branch of the infamous Socialist International.
Many of these SSC/Left Forum professors signed the CUNY faculty statement of support for “the CUNY student movement in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, including the student strike organized by our students on November 17, along with the protests on November 21 against the prospect of tuition hikes to be decided on by the Board of Trustees, and any future non-violent protests.”
“Non-violent” protests? The press releases and public statements by OWS spokespersons continually assert that the movement is about passionate, peaceful, non-violent, and law-abiding citizens conscientiously exercising their First Amendment rights. For many participants that may be true (or may have been true at the start), but OWS leaders, by their announced commitment to “direct action,” civil disobedience, and “disruption,” and their already proven record of defiance of lawful authority, disruption of public services, and violation of the rights of the actual 99 percent of the public they claim to represent, have shown that the revolution they propose is cut from the same Marxist-Leninist cloth as that of the SDS/Weathermen/Black Panther radicals of the 1960s and 70s. They intend to transform the hedonistic, idealistic, and anarchistic impulses of the students and youthful OWS activists into hardened revolutionary zeal. They hope that by provoking clashes with the police more students will be radicalized.
Here are a few of the tenured revolutionists who are leading the OWS march toward chaos and violence while collecting comfortable salaries, pensions, benefits, and speaking honoraria from our taxpayer-funded colleges and universities:
Angela Davis — A Black Panther Party activist and longtime organizer/spokesperson for the Communist Party USA, Angela Davis was twice the vice presidential candidate on the Communist Party ticket. In 1969 she visited Communist Cuba for a month and provided Fidel Castro with a bonanza of propaganda concerning the supposed glories of his totalitarian regime. In 1970 she purchased the guns that were used to hijack a courtroom in Marin County, California, in an attempt to free imprisoned murderer George Jackson and fellow Black Panthers. That attempt ended with Judge Harold Haley and three others shot to death and an additional three hostages wounded. Davis fled to avoid prosecution for her part in the kidnap/murder conspiracy and was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted fugitive list until her capture two months later. Thanks to a massive, global, “Free Angela Davis” propaganda campaign organized by Communist Parties worldwide, together with her defense team’s trial delays, skillful jury selection, and manipulation by Davis’s team of communist lawyers, and alibis provided by communist liars, Davis was acquitted of all charges. In 1979 Davis was awarded the International Lenin Peace Prize by East Germany, then one of the world’s most despotic communist regimes. (She had studied and received her doctorate in philosophy there years earlier.)
In spite of these and many other additional notorious activities, Angela Davis has been accorded numerous accolades from American academe, notwithstanding the fact that she has conducted no original scholarly research or published anything other than her political polemics. According to her Wikipedia entry, “Davis is currently a Distinguished Professor in the Women’s and Gender Studies Department at Syracuse University. She also worked as a visiting professor with the Syracuse University Department of African American studies.” Davis is also a professor of feminist studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she is one of only five professors ever awarded the honor of “presidential chair.” She has lectured at many other universities and has been the commencement speaker or keynote speaker at hundreds of colleges and universities over the years. In 1997 she declared herself to be a lesbian and has since added militant homosexual advocacy to her racial and class warfare activism. She brings all of these issues and more to her Occupy Wall Street appearances, where she can count on being greeted by young revolutionaries as a revered avatar, and where she can be counted on to condemn the United States as the uniquely evil representation of capitalism, racism, colonialism, sexism, and imperialism.
Frances Fox Piven — At the 1966 Socialist Scholars Conference in New York City, Piven presented what has come to be known as the Cloward-Piven Strategy, a plan for bankrupting cities and states through the proliferation of government spending programs. This would force the local governments to seek aid from the federal government, which would itself be vastly overextended, causing “a profound financial and political crisis.” This, in turn, would make it easier to organize welfare recipients and the unemployed into street agitation and protests for still more government programs. This strategy was fleshed out in more detail in subsequent books, particularly her 1971 Regulating the Poor: The Functions of Public Welfare, written with her husband and collaborator Richard Cloward, and her more recent January 10-17, 2011 article entitled “Mobilizing the Jobless” for The Nation magazine, which had also served as the original forum for publishing her Cloward-Piven Strategy in 1966. The Nation, for which she has been a regular contributor, is the oldest existing magazine of the ultra-left in the United States. It supported the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917, and over the past century has supported virtually every other communist revolution around the globe, while also reliably taking the Marxist-Leninist line on most domestic issues.
In “Mobilizing the Jobless,” Piven, writing in January of this year, was vexed that the American Left is lagging behind its European counterparts in mobilizing the masses for strife and chaos. She wrote:
So where are the angry crowds, the demonstrations, sit-ins and unruly mobs? After all, the injustice is apparent. Working people are losing their homes and their pensions while robber-baron CEOs report renewed profits and windfall bonuses. Shouldn’t the unemployed be on the march? Why aren’t they demanding enhanced safety net protections and big initiatives to generate jobs?
She is hopeful that “mass protests” can be initiated. The jobless, she says, “have to go from being hurt and ashamed to being angry and indignant.” According to Piven, “a kind of psychological transformation has to take place; the out-of-work have to stop blaming themselves for their hard times and turn their anger on the bosses, the bureaucrats or the politicians who are in fact responsible.” She continues:
Local protests have to accumulate and spread — and become more disruptive — to create serious pressures on national politicians. An effective movement of the unemployed will have to look something like the strikes and riots that have spread across Greece in response to the austerity measures forced on the Greek government by the European Union, or like the student protests that recently spread with lightning speed across England in response to the prospect of greatly increased school fees.
Formerly a professor at Columbia University, Piven has been a professor of political science and sociology at City University of New York since 1982. She is a longtime member of the Democratic Socialists of America and currently serves as an honorary chair of the DSA. Piven has been associated with the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) and its Transnational Institute as a lecturer, Visiting Fellow, or Visiting Scholar for many years. As we have previously noted, the IPS is “a radical Marxist-Leninist organization with strong ties to the Soviet KGB and Cuban DGI. With few exceptions, the ITT/IPS cadres have always favored communist regimes, terrorist groups, revolutionary movements and radicals of every stripe — as long as they spew sufficient venom against the United States.” Piven and other IPS veterans — Marcus Raskin, Saul Landau, Phyllis Bennis, John Cavanaugh, Robin Broad, Tariq Ali, Sara Anderson — hope to escalate the OWS demonstrations into sustained disruptions that can be harnessed for political pressure to build more socialism. Piven has also appeared as a speaker and panelist at the Brecht Forum/ New York Marxist School.
Todd Gitlin — A president of the SDS in the early 1960s, Gitlin is often cited as one of the more “moderate” of the former student radicals of the era, since he advocates working through the Democratic Party and criticizes the strident rhetoric and tactics of many of the leaders of the hard left. He was interviewed by Jeremy Hobson of Marketplace.org on October 19, 2011. Hobson tells his TV/Internet/radio audience:
….Well, to help us understand more about the protests, we’re joined now by Todd Gitlin. He’s perhaps best known for his role as president of Students for a Democratic Society, which was a major force in the big liberal demonstrations of the 1960s. Now he’s a professor at Columbia University. Todd Gitlin, good morning.
(Yes, according to Hobson, Gitlin and SDS helped organize “big liberal demonstrations” in the 1960s. Which is somewhat like saying that Al Capone and his thugs helped organize the Italian immigrant business community in Chicago. The SDS “demonstrations” were noted for their violence, riots, intolerance, destruction, Marxism, and anti-Americanism — and many other negative attributes.)
One of the main points Gitlin made in his Marketplace.org interview was the positive contribution (from his point of view) that the OWS demonstrations have made in changing the media focus from Tea Party demands about cutting government spending and debt to the OWS demands for more spending, taxing, and regulation.
We’ve gotten off the debt obsession, and we’ve gotten onto a more sophisticated version of the regulation discussion, and we’re growing up.
The title of Gitlin’s 1980 book on mass media, The Whole World Is Watching, which has been adopted as one of the iconic chants of Occupy Wall Street, originated with the violent SDS demonstrations at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
Bill Ayers — His infamy as a leader of the murderous Weather Underground terrorists and his unrepentant embrace of the same revolutionary “ideals” (He still calls himself a “small ‘c’ communist”) should forever brand him as a pariah, but his ideological soul mates in the media and academia continue to whitewash him as a reformed man and a “distinguished” professor of education reform. We have previously detailed the sordid criminal record and continuing left-wing activities of Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn (his wife and cohort in crime, also now a “respected” professor) and their close ties to Chicago “community organizer” Barack Obama here, here, and here.
Ayers and Dohrn have been active with many of their old comrades in forming both the new SDS to train a new generation of communist activists and the Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS) to regroup, rebuild, and renew the old New Left of the 1960s. (Dohrn was one of the first board members appointed to the new MDS).
Barbara Ehrenreich — An honorary co-chair of the Democratic Socialists of America (along with Frances Fox Piven and Cornel West), Ehrenreich’s support for OWS is chronicled on the DSA website here.
She is a veteran panelist/speaker/participant at the Socialist Scholars Conference/Left Forum and the Brecht Forum/New York Marxist School.
Although not currently holding a professorship, Ehrenreich, a prolific writer, is a frequent speaker on the college circuit and her books and articles are staples on the required/recommended reading lists of many university classes. The Harvard University Library’s biographical profile of Ehrenreich provides this curriculum vitae for her:
In addition to her earlier work at the State University of New York-Westbury, Ehrenreich was employed or appointed by several other universities. Between 1979 and 1981, she served as an adjunct associate professor at New York University and as a distinguished visiting professor at both Sangamon State University and the University of Missouri at Columbia. She also served as Regents’ Lecturer at the University of California at Santa Barbara (1989), Writer-in-Residence at Ohio State University at Athens (1992), Wayne Morse Chair at the University of Oregon at Eugene (1997), and Harper’s/McLaughlin Teaching Fellow at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley (1998, 2000). Ehrenreich was also appointed as a fellow at the New York Institute for the Humanities (1981-1993), the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (1987), the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. (1990-) where she now serves as a trustee …
The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), as we’ve noted above, is a major center of hardcore Marxist-Leninist activists who are very involved in the OWS movement.
Cornel West — One of the most celebrated OWS spokesmen and promoters, Cornel West is a Professor of Religion and African American Studies at Princeton University. He has taught previously at Harvard, Yale, and the University of Paris. His books are required reading texts in many college courses. West is an honorary co-chair of the Democratic Socialists of America and was one of the keynote speakers at the March 18-20, 2011 Left Forum at New York’s Pace University.
Professor West is a longtime friend of Louis Farrakhan and was an adviser to Farrakhan’s 1995 Million Man March. While he frequently extols peaceful activism and is usually presented in the major corporate media as a voice of moderation, he has long demonstrated that his “democratic socialism” embraces the most extreme variants of Marxism-Leninism and Maoism. He has been a frequent speaker at the Brecht Forum/New York Marxist School and has had a curious relationship with the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) and its projects. The RCP is an extreme Maoist communist sect led by former SDS/Black Panther activist Bob Avakian, who continues to write from his self-imposed exile in Paris, France. It is considered extreme even by most other communist groups and is noted for inciting violent street clashes with the police (which this correspondent has witnessed on many occasions). On April 29, 2011, Cornell West appeared at UCLA for a much-hyped program with Carl Dix, one of the founders of the RCP. Although it was billed as a “dialogue” between supposedly divergent viewpoints, West and “Comrade Carl” appeared to disagree on few fundamentals other than religion, Dix being an avowed atheist and West proclaiming to be a Christian, albeit a Marxist one at that. (See here, and here,)
The above-mentioned individuals represent but a small sampling of the subversive professoriate that are a major catalyst of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Mark Rudd, Marcus Raskin, Arthur Waskow, Stanley Aronowitz, Saul Landau, Chris Cutrone, Marianna Pavlovskaya, Suresh Naidu, Joseph Stiglitz, Mark Naison, Heather Gautney, Ward Morehouse, Jack Hammond, and Noam Chomsky comprise a few of the many other academic activists who are pushing and exploiting the Occupy Wall Street movement in the hopes of achieving socialist revolution.