'Social Justice': Code Word for
Anti-Americanism - Marxism's Influence
'Social Justice': Code Word for Anti-Americanism
· What Is 'Social Justice' Teaching?
· Indoctrinating Teachers
· Where Did 'Social Justice' Come From?
· Ayers's Influence on Education
· Ayers's Friend: Barack Obama
VOL. 42, NO. 6
'Social Justice': Code Word for Anti-Americanism
Why did 18-to-29-year-old evangelicals vote for Barack Obama despite his apostasy on the fundamental moral issues of abortion and same-sex unions? They voted 32% for Obama, twice the percentage of that demographic group who voted for John Kerry in 2004.
Many of these young people identify "social justice" as the reason that led them to relegate the prime moral issues of life and marriage to the back burner. But the term "social justice" does not define a moral cause; it is leftwing jargon to overturn those who have economic and political power.
What caused young evangelicals, the children of the so-called
"religious right," to change their moral imperatives so
dramatically? Most likely it's the attitudes and decision-making they learned
in the public schools, which 89% of
The vast influence of the so-called "father of modern education," John Dewey, had already spread disdain for objective truth and authoritative notions of good and evil. A socialist and signer of the Humanist Manifesto, Dewey viewed education as a process of socializing the child, rather than educating him to achieve his individual potential.
In the 1970s, Sidney Simon's best-seller Values Clarification taught students to cast off their parents' values and make their own choices, often aided by Kinsey-trained sexperts determined to change our sexual mores.
In 1983, Humanist Magazine featured an article that boasted: "The battle for mankind's future must be waged and won in the public school classroom. The classroom must and will become the arena of conflict between the old and the new, the rotting corpse of Christianity and new faith of humanism."
In the 1980s, many radical anti-war activists of the 1960s and 1970s acquired a new identity and became tenured college professors. Among them was William Ayers, a founder of the infamous Weather Underground, the organization that set bombs in public buildings such as the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon.
Ayers escaped prosecution only because of government misconduct in collecting evidence against him. Ayers later boasted: "Guilty as hell. Free as a bird." In a remarkable coincidence, Ayers was quoted in the New York Times on the morning of 9/11 as saying, "I don't regret setting bombs. I feel we didn't do enough." Later that week, Ayers was quoted in the New York Times Magazine as saying "This society is not a just and fair and decent place."
Ayers enrolled in
Ayers's political views are as radical now as they were in the
1970s. "Viva President Chavez!" he exclaimed in a speech in
Ayers has been on a decades-long mission to transform education into anti-American indoctrination and to get young people to demand that government control the economy, politics and culture. We see the result in 2008 post-election surveys: seven out of every ten voters between the ages of 18 and 29 now favor expanding the role of government, and agree that the government should do more to solve the nation's problems. It's obvious which party and which candidates will get their vote.
One might assume that Ayers's peculiar resumé
would put him on the outer fringe of the leftwing education establishment.
However, Ayers developed quite a following as he taught resentment against
From his post as Professor of Education, William Ayers became
a leading advocate of "social justice" teaching, i.e., getting
students to believe that they are victims of an unjust, oppressive and racist
The National Association of Scholars reports that the term "social justice" is today understood to mean "the advocacy of more egalitarian access to income through state-sponsored redistribution." That is academic verbiage for Barack Obama's assertion that he wants to "spread the wealth around."
David Horowitz of the California-based
On October 29, 2008, the pro-public-school-establishment journal Education Week featured a long front-page article describing "social-justice teaching." This article provides ample evidence that "social-justice teaching" should be a major concern to everyone who cares what the next generation is taught with taxpayers' money.
Education Week defines "social-justice teaching" as "teaching kids to question whoever happens to hold the reins of power at a particular moment. It's about seeing yourself not just as a consumer [of information], but as an actor-critic" in the world around you. This revealing explanation comes from the words of Bill Bigelow, the curriculum editor of a Milwaukee-based organization called Rethinking Schools, which publishes instructional materials relating to issues of race and equity.
The purpose of Rethinking Schools instructional materials is to teach teachers how to "weave social justice issues throughout the curriculum." Lessons include "Rethinking Mathematics: Teaching Social Justice by the Numbers," which shows teachers ways to "weave social justice issues throughout the mathematics curriculum," and "Reading, Writing, and Rising Up: Teaching About Social Justice and the Power of the Written Word."
Bigelow assigns students to role-play various oppressed groups in foreign countries. Students can easily infer that Americans are oppressed like people in foreign countries, and most young people have no store of information to see how ridiculous this is.
"Social-justice" lessons concentrate on past
"Social-justice teaching" does not mean justice as
most Americans understand the term. Those who use the term make clear that it
Education Week identifies the "special-interest groups" that promote "social-justice teaching" and provide curricular materials, online resources, and "professional development" (i.e., conferences and seminars to indoctrinate teachers). These groups include an affiliate of the American Educational Research Association, the Cambridge-based Educators for Social Responsibility, and the Washington-based Teaching for Change, in addition to Rethinking Schools.
The lobbyists for "social-justice teaching" and
"critical pedagogy" sponsor conferences to mold the thinking of
teachers, which are well-attended at taxpayers' expense. Teachers 4
Social Justice attracted 1,000 educators to an October 2008 seminar
The National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME) sponsors seminars with sessions entitled "Our Work as Social Justice Educators," "Teaching for Social Justice in Elementary Schools," "Dismantling White Privilege and Supporting Anti-Racist Education in our Classrooms and Schools," "Talking About Religious Oppression and Christian Privilege," and "Creating Change Agents Who Teach for Social Justice."
School boards and principals allocate large amounts of money
for teachers to receive this type of so-called "professional
development." Registration for NAME's November
2008 conference in
Lesson plans are available from a 30-year-old magazine called Radical Teacher, which was founded as "a socialist, feminist, and anti-racist journal on the theory and practice of teaching."
Education schools are lining up behind "social
justice" teaching and forcing it on aspiring teachers so they will
possess politically correct liberal attitudes and character traits. At
When a teacher engages in this type of advocacy in lieu of teaching literature, math, history, or science, the teacher is engaging in political indoctrination.
Some "social justice" professional development seminars have urged teachers to begin inculcating "correct" sociopolitical attitudes in children as young as age two because it is so easy to impose their views on children who enter school at such a young age.
Professor Ayers declined to be interviewed for the Education Week article. His comments were unnecessary since the article was generally favorable to "social-justice teaching" and dismissive of its critics.
"Social justice" is certainly not a new concept, but leftwing educators have redefined the term to mean teaching for "social justice" by overthrowing the current money and power structure. Education Week identifies this new meaning of "social justice" as coming from the writings of the late Brazilian educator, Paulo Freire. His best-known book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1970), is considered a classic text of radical education theory and is regularly assigned in education schools.
Paulo Freire developed his
liberation pedagogy out of his experience with illiterate peasants in
A survey made of the principal books used in the basic "foundations of education" and "methods" courses in the most prestigious schools of education discovered that the most frequently used books were those of Paolo Freire and William Ayers.
After Freire's theories
indoctrinated teachers in teachers colleges, his notions made their way into
public schools, especially where low-income and minority kids can be taught
what is colloquially called Oppression Studies. It is easy to find schools
that specialize in "social-justice teaching" in
Howard Zinn, author of the
anti-American People's History of the
This "social justice" curriculum results in a heavy cost in time not spent on the basics. Young Americans who are exposed to these radical leftwing ideas generally have no background information to help them evaluate bias and errors.
Sol Stern of the Manhattan Institute describes Education Professor William Ayers as one of the leaders in "bringing radical social-justice teaching into our public school classrooms." Most of Ayers's socialist propaganda is financed with taxpayers' money at state universities and teachers colleges.
Ayers teaches that
From his prestigious and tenured university perch, Ayers for years has been teaching teachers and students rebellion against American capitalism and what he calls "imperialism" and "oppression." The code words for the Ayers curriculum are "social justice," a "transformative" vision, "critical pedagogy," "liberation," "capitalist injustices," "critical race theory," "queer theory," and of course multiculturalism and feminism.
That vocabulary is typical in the readings that Ayers assigns in his university courses. He admits he is a "communist street fighter" who has been influenced by Karl Marx, as well as Che Guevara, Ho Chi Minh, and Malcolm X.
Ayers sees his education work
as carrying on his radicalism in a new sphere. What he calls education
"reform" focuses almost exclusively on teaching a "social
justice" agenda in the classroom and a race-based approach to education
policy. That's been his mission since he realized that revolution could be
achieved easier by teaching lies about
Ayers wants teachers to be
community organizers dedicated to provoking resistance to supposed racism and
oppression. His education philosophy calls for infusing students and their
parents with a radical political commitment, and downplaying achievement
tests in favor of activism. His books are among the most widely used in
Ayers teaches a course at
Ayers maintains a busy lecture
schedule at other schools of education and is a welcome visiting lecturer at
In a 2006 interview with Revolution, the magazine of the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Revolutionary Communist Party, Ayers attacked American conservatives as "the most reactionary cabal of ideologues I've ever seen." Ayers complained that conservatives control "all three branches of the federal government, control many state governments, control the media — the kind of bought priesthood of the media that does nothing but bow down to them and kowtow to them."
Ayers endorsed a book called Queering Elementary Education by William J. Letts IV and James T. Sears, a collection of essays to teach adults and children to "think queerly." The blurb on the cover quotes Ayers as saying this is "a book for all teachers . . . and, yes, it has an agenda."
Ayers's far-out education theories have had a significant effect in education schools. One after another, teachers colleges are using their courses to promote socialist notions of wealth distribution, diversity and environmentalism, and to punish students who resist this indoctrination by giving them low grades or even denying them graduation. The Department of Education lists 15 high schools whose mission statements declare that their curricula center on "social justice."
Barack Obama claims that he knows William Ayers only as "a guy in the neighborhood." In fact, the unrepentant Ayers is a longtime friend and associate of Obama.
Is Ayers's transformative public school curriculum the kind of "change" that President Barack Obama will bring us? Activists who teach "social justice" know that influencing public school teachers, who can then influence the next generation, is the most effective way to bring about the change they hope will soon become majority opinion.
Ayers and Obama worked closely together during the 1990s when Obama headed the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC) and Ayers co-chaired the CAC's Collaborative and also was ex officio a member of CAC's board. Obama served on the CAC board until 2001.
The CAC board made the fiscal decisions and the Collaborative set education policy. It's obvious that they had to have significant consultations about disbursement of the education grants. Obama was essentially authorizing the funding of education projects chosen by Ayers. The CAC gave $160 million in grants to so-called "school-reform" projects. Grant decisions initially put in place continued even after personnel changes.
Ayers was the founder and developer of a project known as the
"small schools" movement, a scheme that enabled Annenberg grants to
be guided to "social justice"-themed schools built around specific
political themes such as "inequity, war, and violence." The
small-schools movement was heavily funded by CAC. CAC also funded
teacher-training to "teach against oppression" and
According to Stanley Kurtz, senior fellow at the Ethics and
Public Policy Center, a lot of CAC money was disbursed through so-called
"external partners" with whom the small-schools were required to
affiliate, such as ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform
Now). ACORN is identified with the organizing tactics of the
The Chicago Annenberg Challenge appears to be just another example of Republican foundation money taken over by the leftists and used to advance leftwing causes. CAC's own final report compared the progress of students at schools that received Annenberg grants and schools that did not, concluding that "There were no statistically significant differences in student achievement between Annenberg schools and demographically similar non-Annenberg schools. This indicates that there was no Annenberg effect on achievement."
Obama authored two autobiographies but never wrote about his important executive experience in the 1990s with the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. Nor did he mention that his first candidacy for public office, when he ran for the Illinois State Senate, was launched at the home of William Ayers.
"Social justice" teaching is not only a terrible waste of precious school hours, it is grievously harmful to poor children. Sol Stern of the Manhattan Institute says that "Teaching for social justice is a cruel hoax on disadvantaged kids."
announced that his crony, Chicago School Superintendent Arne Duncan who also
had ties to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, will be the new Secretary of
Education. In the fall of 2008,
It's no surprise that propaganda favoring Barack Obama is already finding favor with textbook publishers. The McDougal Littell 8th-grade advanced-English literature book (Houghton Mifflin Co., 2008) has 15 pages featuring Barack Obama and his "life of service."
A good way for parents to identify the bias of social studies textbooks is to check the index and then compare the coverage of Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan.
Marxism's Influence in the
As the New York Times and its west-coast sister the Los Angeles Times have duly noted-with prominent feature stories-this year is the 150th anniversary of publication of Marx and Engels' The Communist Manifesto. Both newspapers celebrated the event by pointing out the brilliance of its authors saying their work today "emerges ever more distinctly as an unsurpassed dramatic representation, diagnosis and prophetic array of visionary judgments on the modern world." Neither, however, noted the millions of deaths, the prison gulags or the appalling suffering inflicted as true believers of Marxism attempted to impose the teachings of the manifesto on mankind.
Jesuit theologian Father John A. Hardon, author of the popular Modern Catholic Dictionary,
has taught graduate courses on Marxism and lectured on the subject widely-on
several occasions in
As we come to the close of the twentieth
century, we are seeing the gravest crisis in the history of Christianity. In my
judgment, at the center of this crisis is the deep penetration of Marxism into
our beloved country. I believe we can say even more. Our country is a Marxist
nation. Dare I say still more? The
This thesis deserves not just another lecture or even just a class semester. It should be the bedrock of our understanding of what the Vicar of Christ is telling us. In order to do justice to the subject, however, we have to answer the question "What is Marxism?" And to do that we must identify what I consider the fifteen principle marks of Marxism which might compare with the four marks of the Church founded by Christ. Marxism is a godless religion in which its leaders believe, shall I say, with a faith comparable to that of believing Christians.
The best single source to understand Marxism is The Communist Manifesto. The best single analysis of Marxism is the encyclical On Atheistic Communism by Pope Pius XI in which he identifies Marxism as a "Utopian Messianism." From these two sources we can examine the fifteen principle marks of Marxism:
1. Messianic Ideal. According to Karl Marx, mankind should look forward to the attainment of a Messianic society in this world, which is the highest ideal toward which the human race can tend. The attainment of such a society presumes man's perfectibility, and is based on the belief that the human desire for happiness will be fulfilled on earth in some future period of history.
2. Equality and Fraternity. This idyllic society will be distinguished by the practice of perfect equality and fraternity among its members, the last stage in a series of five stages of human development, reflecting the original state of man in a tribal and communitarian society, namely slavery, feudalism, capitalism, socialism and communism. In the first three of these stages, men exploit one another, in the fourth (socialism) they are passing through an interval of adjustment; and in the fifth (communism) the classless society is achieved.
3. Economic Progress Through Marxism. It is no longer a merely speculative position but an established fact that a Marxist philosophy succeed where others have failed.
4. Dialectical and Historical Materialism. Marxism is founded on two kinds of materialism which claims there exists only one reality: matter. It is dialectical because through the interaction of opposing material forces all apparently higher forms of being evolve-first life, then sentient beings and finally man. It is historical because now that man exists, human history follows the same evolving pattern towards higher perfection, but uniquely through the interaction of material (economic) forces of society.
5. Accelerating Progress Through Conflict. Consistent with its stress on dialectics, Marxism holds that the progress of humanity towards its predicted goal is accelerated by human conflict. Hence the role of revolution is a necessary means of fostering social development and the importance of sharpening existing antagonisms can be stimulated between various classes of society.
6. Marxist Deviation. There is only one "grave sin" in Marxist morality and it is committed by those who deviate from the ideal of relentless revolution.
7. Primacy of Groups. The individual in a Marxian society surrenders his personal rights in favor of the group after long indoctrination, convinced that part of the contribution toward a classless commonwealth is complete sacrifice of his own personality.
8. Equality Among People. Marxism holds that only absolute equality is legitimate. It rejects all civil and ecclesiastical authority and denies any innate authority of parents over their children.
9. Denial of All Property Rights. The Communist Manifesto states that "The theory of Communism may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property." In Marxian ethics no individual should be granted any rights over material goods or the means of production because history has shown private property is the universal source of further wealth. Personal possession gives one man power over another, the origin of every economic enslavement.
10. The Artificial Institutions of Marriage and the Family. Marxism denies any sacred or spiritual character to human life beyond the merely economic. Thus, there are no moral bonds of marriage, only such privileges as the collectivity may see fit to grant persons to mate and procreate. An indissoluble marriage bond may be humored by the state, but has no inherent rights before the civil law.
11. Economics, the Basis of Society. In a Marxist scheme of society economics is the fundamental law of human existence, not freedom, or human rights, or a divinely established moral order. Greater production of material goods, more efficiently and in a collectivized manner, must be given precedence over everything else.
12. The Collectivity Controls the Individual. Six of the ten principle "measures" of The Communist Manifesto affirm how completely Marxism sees the individual as a tool in the hands of the state: abolition of property in land, all rights of inheritance, centralized credit in the hands of the State; centralization of the means of transport, establishment of industrial armies, especially in agriculture. State totalitarianism could not be more complete.
13. Disappearance of the State. According to Marxist predictions, this tyrannical enslavement to the State is the necessary radical surgery which must be performed on society in order to give birth to a new society. By means of the Marxist revolution, the proletariat will be abolished. in place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonism, we shall have an association in which all conflicts are gone.
Women's Rights and Education
in the Marxist Scheme
Each of these marks of a Marxist society as they
apply to the
14. Emancipation of Women. Marxism is especially characterized by its rejection of any link that binds woman to the family and the home. Women's emancipation is proclaimed as a cardinal principle of the socialist interim that will usher in the classless society of the future. Women are to be first encouraged and then, if need be, compelled to withdraw from the family and the care of children. These are regularly stigmatized "bourgeois" activities. Liberated from household chores and the rearing of a family through thousands of childcare centers, women are to be thrust instead into public life and collective production under the same conditions as men.
Also known as women's liberation, the
emancipation of women has become a major revolution in the
The range of women's liberation in our country is as broad as American geography and as deep as our present-day American culture. Perhaps the best way to see how widely feminism has penetrated our society is to quote some typical statements of feminists who call themselves Catholic but have been seduced by Marxism.
-Bearing and raising one's children have very little to do with shaping the future and still less with finding one's own identity. On the contrary, as the same range of potential ability exists for women as for men, the problem of finding their identity is precisely the same-it lies in their work outside the home ... to find herself, to know herself as a person is creative work of her own outside the home.
-Women are not to find ways to use their full capacities and work creatively within the structure set by marriage and motherhood. It is marriage and motherhood which must be adapted to the structure of one's work life.
-Although the new wave of feminist theology is only twenty years old, it has already developed a broad base of critical scriptural studies, revisionist church history, historical systematic theology, as well as work in ethics and pastoral psychology, upon which to base a comprehensive rethinking of tradition.
-of particular importance is the patriarchal bias of Scripture. It is one thing to critique the tradition as flawed, but on what basis can one speak of Scripture as distorted by sexist bias and still regarded as an authoritative source of revelation?
-Women have opted to seek an egalitarian society that existed before the rise of patriarchy and that ancient religions centered in the Goddess reflect this pre-patriarchal society... They believe, in the groups of persecuted Christianity, such as medieval witches, which Christian inquisitors falsely described as "devil worshipper " Thus these women see themselves as reviving an ancient feminist religion.
Thus the litany of feminist quotations could go
on for literally hundreds of volumes that are currently in print. What has been
the result in the
It is no wonder that Pope John Paul II urged American bishops to combat what he termed a "bitter, ideological" feminism among some American Catholic women, which he said has led to "forms of nature worship and the celebration of myths and symbols" usurping the practice and celebration of the Christian faith. The ordination of women to the priesthood is infallibly excluded by the Catholic faith. Yet it is being widely promoted in some high, professedly Catholic circles, evidence of the Marxist mentality in our country.
15. Denial of Parental Rights in Education. Correlative with the function of women as robots (Russian for "work"), the Marxist collectivity assumes total responsibility for the education and training of children. The euphemistic statement in The Communist Manifesto, "Free education for all children in public schools." has been implemented to mean that the state alone has the right to educate. In practice, this has further meant that the State, and not the parents, has the exclusive prerogative to determine who shall teach, under what curriculum, with what textbooks, and how the matter is communicated.
Some years ago, I had the privilege of publishing a thirty-page Statement of Principles and Policy on Atheistic Education in Soviet Russia. The opening paragraph of this document stated:
The Soviet school, as an instrument for the Communist education of the rising generation can, as a matter of principle, take up no other attitude towards religion than one of irreconcilable opposition, for Communist education has as its philosophical basis Marxism, and Marxism is irreconcilably hostile to religion. "Marxism is materialism, " says V.I. Lenin, "as such, it is as relentlessly hostile to religion as the materialism of the Encyclopaedists of the eighteenth century or the materialism of Feuerbach."
How has this philosophy penetrated the
William Foster, former American chairman of the Communist Party, wrote in Toward a Soviet America that he wanted the "cultural revolution" to be advanced under the aegis of a national department of education. That is exactly what the National Education Association lobbied for during the 1976 presidential campaign, and a Department of Education is exactly what the American president gave the union in gratitude for its support.
Foster wrote that the Department of Education should be "revolutionized, cleansed of religious, patriotic and other features of the bourgeois ideology. The students will be taught on the basis of Marxian dialectical materialism, internationalism, and the general ethics of the new Socialist society."
What happened to parents' rights to educate
their children? In less than a quarter century these rights have been lost by
most parents in the
Some time ago, I was asked by
That is why religion, which believes in the
existence of a personal God, is excluded by American law from public schools.
That is also why Catholic schools in our country have been deprived of any
support from taxpayer dollars. According to Dewey, it is a mistake to think
that in the
A Reminder to Professed Christians
In light of what we have examined here, can
anyone doubt that the
He was speaking to professed Christians, specifically, he was addressing "those of our children who are more or less tainted with the Communist plague. We earnestly exhort them to hear the voice of their loving Father. We pray the Lord to enlighten them that they may abandon the slippery path which will precipitate one and all to ruin and catastrophe. We pray that they may recognize that Jesus Christ our Lord is their only Savior, for there is no other name in heaven given to man whereby we must be saved."'
I join my prayer with that of the Bishop of
-John A. Hardon, S.J.