In Praise of Capitalism: How the “Social Justice” Left Uses Economic Incentives to Create Academic Propaganda
June 8, 2010
Many conservatives and libertarians think of labor unions as merely the grassroots muscle behind the progressive movement. Showing up as a swarm of purple shirts, with the forearms of a lumberjack and a penchant for terrorizing teenagers, labor unions have always been considered the rough and rugged group that intimidate their opponents through the “persuasion of power.”
But if you haven’t thought of the labor movement as a cerebral bunch, think again. Meet Peter Dreier, Donald Cohen, Nelson Lichtenstein, and their syndicate of progressive university professors – the “intellectual infrastructure” of the progressive labor movement.
It is no secret that progressives have created a self-cloning machine by hijacking our educational system. Their indoctrination efforts are well documented. But we rarely think of research institutions as propaganda factories.
A Request for Proposal (RFP) recently obtained by Big Journalism gives us a rare look at how progressives and labor unions attempt to manipulate the national media narrative.
And their process? you may ask. Use the credibility and resources of the American higher education system to create researchprop – biased collegial research papers that serve as propaganda to support political policies.
Entitled Cry Wolf, the RFP proclaims a desire to look “for faculty and graduate students… interested in writing short (2,000 word) policy briefs” that “construct a counter narrative that demonstrates the falsity or exaggeration” of conservative claims. Writers of briefs selected by the project coordinators will receive 100,000 pennies for their thoughts.
Their hopes with this researchprop is for these papers to “become the basis for opinion pieces designed to run in the mainstream media, on line, on the air, or in the press,” with the end outcome of building the following narrative in the public consciousness: that conservative objections to their policies are just the old dirty tricks of the right-wing.
If executed successfully, the “first reaction of millions of people, as well as opinion leaders, will be, ‘there they go again’,” reads the RFP – a clear attempt to label any right-leaning objection to progressive policy as another case of crying wolf.
This is what our higher education system has become – a publicly funded amplifier of progressive ideology.
If this Cry Wolf program were just limited to a few faculty members at a limited number of universities, it would be of little concern. But the project reaches into some of the most prestigious public and private schools of higher learning in the U.S., including MIT, Yale, Harvard, USC, Columbia, Rutgers, UC Santa Barbara, University of Pennsylvania, and President Obama’s alma mater – Occidental College.
Distributed by Peter Dreier, Professor of Politics and Director of the Urban & Environmental Policy program at Occidental College, the request for proposal asks for help “in an important project in the battle with conservative ideas.” Drier is a frequent collaborator with the California AFL-CIO and the infamous ACORN.
The project’s union and progressive ties are seen throughout the bios of its coordinators and advisory board. It is sponsored by the Center on Policy Initiatives, a San Diego based non-profit headed by co-founder and Cry Wolf project coordinator Donald Cohen – a 25-year community organizing veteran and former Political Director for a division of San Diego’s AFL-CIO.
In fact, every person associated with this project has either spent a lifetime glorifying the work of labor unions through their writings, or has published work that supports the policies that further Big Labor’s agenda.
Labor historian Nelson Lichtenstein, Professor of History at UC Santa Barbara and Director of the Center for the Study of Work, Labor, and Democracy — and “America’s foremost Wal-Mart expert” — is also a Cry Wolf project coordinator.
ABOUT Peter Dreier:
- Professor of Politics at Occidental College
- Helped establish the Campaign for America’s Future in 1996
- Member of Progressives for Obama
- Longtime supporter of the community organization ACORN
Peter Dreier is the E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics at Occidental College, where he also serves as director of the Urban & Environmental Policy program. He co-authored the books Place Matters: Metropolitics for the 21st Century (2005) and The Next Los Angeles: The Struggle for a Livable City (2006). He writes regularly for the Los Angeles Times, The Nation, and The American Prospect.
When Robert Borosage and Roger Hickey co-found the Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) in 1996, Dreier helped them establish the organization along with such activists as John Atlas, Barry Bluestone, Julian Bond, Barbara Ehrenreich, Jackie Kendall, Nelson Lichtenstein, Steve Max, Jay Mazur, Gerald McEntee, Harold Meyerson, Larry Mishel, Joel Rogers, Richard Rorty, John Sweeney, and Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven (co-creators of the “Cloward-Piven Strategy” for societal transformation) – all of whom were linked to the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).
Dreier is a member of Progressives for Obama (PFO), co-founded by Tom Hayden, Danny Glover, Barbara Ehrenreich, and Bill Fletcher, Jr. (a former Maoist and current DSA leader who serves as executive editor of the periodical Black Commentator, and who co-founded the Black Radical Congress, which has close ties to the Communist Party USA). Dreier’s fellow PFO members include such notables as Carl Davidson, Bernie Sanders, political scientist Andrew Hacker, Leslie Cagan, Paul Buhle, Daniel Ellsberg (responsible for the release of the infamous “Pentagon Papers”), Jane Fonda, Todd Gitlin, Marilyn Katz, Frances Fox Piven, Andrew Stern, Harry Targ, Cornel West, Tim Wise, and four members of the Vietnam War-era domestic terror group Weatherman — Howard Machtinger, Jeff Jones, Steve Tappis and Mark Rudd.
One of the classes Dreier teaches at Occidental College is titled “Movements in Social Justice,” for which a required text is Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. In December 2007, a former student of Dreier’s, Jason Rantz, penned an article about his experience in that class. He reported:
“Dreier … romanticizes Socialism and Communism, often ignoring the brutal truth about those economic systems, in order to indoctrinate his students. To that point, students in this course are expected to write a paper on one book from a list of several he has picked. Among them: Talkin’ Socialism; California Red: A Life in the American Communist Party; and The Romance of American Communism.
“The professor doesn’t use his course just to brainwash his students into the thrills of Socialism and Communism. [H]e uses his course to routinely demean conservatives. Dreier orders students to read far Left publications like The American Prospect (he assigns the article “Rejecting the Right” toward the end of his class)…. Far from respecting alternative sides to his favorite issues, Dreier almost always solely presents assignments reflecting his stance on issues….”
Dreier has been a longtime supporter of the community organization ACORN. In 2008 he wrote a piece aiming to convince ACORN-friendly politicians, journalists, and funders to remain loyal to the group.
JUST NO LONGER SILENT.