Welcome to the ASU School of Marxism A.K.A. The School of Social Transformation:
... texts by Cedric Robinson, a proponent of “black Marxism,” Howard Zinn a well known Marxist, Grace and James Lee Boggs, also Marxists, and Ruth Wilson Gilmore, an activist in Angela Davis’s movement to abolish the “prison-industrial complex” which regards all minority felons in America as “political prisoners.” The text required by Professor Quan is an article by Gilmore titled “Globalization and US Prison Growth: From Military Keynesianism to post-Keynesian Militarism,” which describes America as an oppressive, militarist society. Professor Quan also requires an article by Avery Gordon titled “Globalism and the Prison Industrial Complex: An Interview with Angela Davis.” Readings also include texts by socialist writer Barbara Ehrenreich and Maoist William Tabb.
School of Justice and Social Inquiry (part of the School of Social Transformation) at Arizona State University is not a department whose course of study is devoted to legal concepts of justice or discussions of the same. Quite the contrary. The departmental self-description makes it clear that the agenda is specifically designed to introduce students to the concepts of “economic justice” and “social justice” which are ideological terms associated with the political left.
The department’s self-description specifically (and deceptively) claims that its approach is empirical and objective:
School of Justice & Social Inquiry
The School of Justice and Social Inquiry is concerned with the empirical study of justice and injustice in contemporary societies.
But there is no such thing as an “empirical study of justice and injustice in contemporary societies.” The question “What is justice?” is one that begins with Plato and has no conclusion. What is justice to some people is injustice to others. For example, the distribution of income in a market society from a conservative point of view is just, but to liberals and radicals is unjust. The School of Justice’s official claim that justice and injustice are matters of “empirical study” is an assertion of its ideological mission. What is just and unjust are not themselves matters of controversy. The course is about amassing evidence about what is just or unjust from a particular, and sectarian, view.
The curriculum offered by the School of Justice and Social Inquiry bears this out is devoted to the exposition of leftwing views and almost exclusively to leftwing texts, many of which are merely polemical and make no pretensions to academic scholarship even on the empirical issues they address. The core required courses in the curriculum draw heavily on the works of such far left polemicists as Howard Zinn, Angela Davis, Barbara Ehrenreich and Frances Fox Piven, with no significant exposure of students to comparable conservative writers – let alone to scholars -- on the subjects under review. The central concepts presented in these courses are also ideological. According to the departmental curricula the terms “criminal” and “terrorist” have been devised by ruling classes to define political dissent as social deviance. They are deployed as instruments of social control. Social welfare programs are also described and analyzed exclusively as instruments of social control designed to keep oppressed classes in line. These are merely analytic categories; they are the foundations of a leftwing world view, and they are left unchallenged. The core courses of this academic program take an approach that is not academic and does not propose to conduct a scholarly inquiry but rather to lay out conclusions that serve a leftist agenda.
This ideological agenda is expressed in the School of Justice’s official description of its academic program:
Our program has three broad foci:
Economic Justice - particularly the global dimension of changing economic relations.
Social Justice, Law and Policy - focusing on environment, immigration, welfare, crime, and other policies that inspire justice concerns, particularly around race, class, and gender.
Cultural Transformation and Justice - especially the role of the media and new technologies in changing perspectives on justice.”
Both “Economic Justice” and “Social Justice” are leftwing agendas referring to redistribution of income and resources. The third focus -- “cultural transformation” – is a leftwing action program: using media to advance its agendas of social change. This is the agenda of a political party or a training school for a political party, not an academic course of inquiry.
The curriculum of the School for Justice and Social Inquiry violates the stated policy of the Arizona Board of Regents (section 6-905) on “Political Activity:” Employees … shall not allow their interest in a particular party candidate, or political issue to affect the objectivity of their teaching or the performance of their regular university duties.”
Many of the faculty members of the School of Justice and Social Inquiry are drawn from fields that are overwhelmingly – or even exclusively – leftwing, like sociology, cultural anthropology and ethnic studies. These are fields in which academic studies show that more than 90% of the professors are on the political left.
Professor H. L. T. Quan teaches several courses in the School for Justice curriculum. Her departmental biography is that of a political activist not a disinterested scholar:
H. L. T. Quan
Assistant Professor, School of Justice and Social Inquiry
Affiliate Faculty, African and African American Studies, Asian Pacific American Studies, and Women's & Gender Studies
Education: Ph.D. Political Science, University of California Santa Barbara
Teaching Interests: Race, Gender and Social Protests, Race, Gender & Justice, Theories of Development, Community Research, Feminist Methodology, and Radical Political Thought.
Research Interests: Black Consciousness, Race, Gender & Global Cities, Black capitalism, and Women of Color & Feminist Epistemology.
Current Research: Professor Quan is currently writing a book about savage developmentalism and its tendencious [sic] propensity to secure order and capitalist expansion. This study investigates foreign policy conducts by Japan in military Brazil, the United States in occupied Iraq, and China in Sudan amidst humanitarian disasters. She is also working on a project studying grassroots and community responses to globalized Chicago [sic]. Professor Quan is also a co-investigator of a 4 person research team conducting a 9-city comparison (Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Oakland, Philadelphia and Pittsburg) on the formation and development of black capitalism in the United States.
Other Information: Professor Quan is a co-founder and member of QUAD Productions, a not for profit production company that produces media for progressive community organizations and activists, and is a co-director and co-producer of the Angela Davis Project, a feature length documentary on Angela Davis and Women of Color cultural workers (in progress). She has worked on radio and television public affairs programs for over 15 years
Professor Quan teaches several courses, which are not academic inquiries, but instructions in leftwing concepts, data, and prescriptions:
JUS 321: WEALTH DISTRIBUTION AND POVERTY
“An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all
“I. Course Description:
“More than two millennia after Plato made the above observation, extreme economic inequality continues to be a fatal source of civil strife and a major impediment to the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. An investigation of wealth distribution and poverty is imperative for all inquiries into questions of economic and social justice. In this course, we will examine the history and science of wealth distribution in modern capitalist societies, emphasizing the policy and impact of poverty in the United States.
“The course will equip students with key concepts and theoretical debates on class and class division. It will also provide an introduction to the ways in which race and gender interact with class stratification that, more often than not, result in distinct social conditions, consciousness and politics. To do so, we will survey major policy initiatives (e.g. the New Deal, the War on Poverty, tax relief, and immigration reforms, etc.) that sought to address poverty and impacted the distribution wealth in the 20th century United States.
“Taking advantage of the global initiatives on the Millennium Development Goals, we will ask questions such as who are the poor in the US and what is their relationship to the increasingly insurmountable escalation of global poverty as a result of the restructuring of the global economy….”
The three required texts for Professor Quan’s course are all texts from a leftwing – and generally far leftwing – point of view:
II. Required Readings:
Danziger, Sheldon & Peter Gottschalk (1995). America Unequal
Levine, Rhonda F. (1998). Social Class and Stratification: Classic Statements and
Piven, Frances Fox and Richard Cloward (1993). Regulating the Poor: The Functions
of Public Welfare
The first required text, America Unequal, is described by its publisher in terms which make it clear that this is a partisan political tract not a scholarly work: “America Unequal demonstrates how powerful economic forces have diminished the prospects of millions of Americans and why ‘a rising tide no longer lifts all boats.’ …America Unequal challenges the view, emphasized in the Republicans’ ‘Contract With America’ that restraining government social spending and cutting welfare should be our top domestic priorities.” This isn’t even an accurate summary of the Republican position, but it certainly reflects the political agendas of the authors of this tendentious book.
The second required text, Social Class and Stratification is described in an enthusiastic review posted on its publisher’s site in these terms: “Social Class and Stratification is a welcome contribution to renewal of interest in class as the decisive forced behind social inequalities.” The view that class is the decisive force behind social inequalities (rather than individual talent, behavior and performance for example) is a Marxist view. A second reviewer describes this text as “politically engaged….The strength of the book is the incorporation of non-class based inequalities – specifically race and gender.” In other words this is Marxism updated with feminism and modern leftwing race theories.
The third text required for the course is by Frances Fox Piven a well-known New Left Marxist whose book argues that welfare is an instrument of social control of the poor for the benefit of the rich. She is the architect of a strategy to bankrupt the welfare system by overloading the welfare rolls, thereby creating a social crisis that would pave the way for revolution. Her National Welfare Rights Organization actually managed to bankrupt the City of New York by implementing this policy until Mayor Rudy Giuliani introduced reform measures that removed the overload from the welfare rolls.
Among required selections from other books are texts by Cedric Robinson, a proponent of “black Marxism,” Howard Zinn a well known Marxist, Grace and James Lee Boggs, also Marxists, and Ruth Wilson Gilmore, an activist in Angela Davis’s movement to abolish the “prison-industrial complex” which regards all minority felons in America as “political prisoners.” The text required by Professor Quan is an article by Gilmore titled “Globalization and US Prison Growth: From Military Keynesianism to post-Keynesian Militarism,” which describes America as an oppressive, militarist society. Professor Quan also requires an article by Avery Gordon titled “Globalism and the Prison Industrial Complex: An Interview with Angela Davis.” Readings also include texts by socialist writer Barbara Ehrenreich and Maoist William Tabb.
This course is an instruction in neo-Marxist ideology. It is not academic and it is not education. It is indoctrination.
JUS430: “Social Protest, Conflict and Change”
This is another departmental course taught by Professor Quan which is a straightforward indoctrination in radical politics. From the website:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” -- Margaret Mead
“I. Course Description:
“In this course, we will investigate concepts, theories, and cases that sought to illuminate protest as a social and historical phenomenon, and which sprung countless policy changes, social reforms, and even economic and political revolutions. We will investigate the underling causes and sources of protest as well as its ultimate impact on society at large. We will also ask the following questions: What is the role of social protest in a democratic society? And, what is the relationship between social protest and a human existence that holds justice dear?
“Race, gender and class will serve as a critical prism to gauge the complexities of individual motivation, policy impact and societal change. Individual and collective actions that constitute the disruption of the status quo will be analyzed and drawn from historical cases such as the U.S. 20th century Civil Rights movements, the labor movements, the anti-war protests, the women’s movements, and others. A special focus will be placed on the poor people’s movements and women and radical protests. Course materials will be conveyed through scholarly writings, creative narratives (textual, oral and visual), lectures and class discussions. Students are encouraged to study and think about social protest, conflict and change at the local, national and global levels.”
II. Required Readings:
Goodwin, Jeff and James M. Jasper (2003). The Social Movements Reader: Cases and
Blee, Kthleen M. (1998). No Middle Ground: Women and Radical Protest
Piven, Frances Fox and Richard Cloward (1978). Poor People's Movements: Why They Succeed, How They Fail
The first two required texts for this course are collections of articles by radical activists written to advance their causes. The third is a manifesto by radical activist Frances Fox Piven.
The following course is required for all Justice majors:
JUS 105—Introduction to Justice Studies – Instructor, Judson S. Garrett
“This course seeks to provide an introduction to the study of justice from a social science perspective…. Ancient theorists on justice, such as Plato and Aristotle, viewed justice as both a matter of social harmony as well as personal virtue. Today, we are more inclined to perceive justice as a calculus for the fair distribution and exchange of goods, primarily focusing on concerns regarding private property and individual liberty. This sense of justice is expressed in such terms as ‘economic justice’ and ‘social justice.’” In other words, the point of view of this required course for all Justice majors is that a just society is one is that is socialist.
The description continues:
“A central component of the contemporary understanding of justice is the criminal justice system. Based on a notion of retributive justice, or imposing a penalty that in some sense balances the harm inflicted by the offense, ‘criminal justice’ seeks to maintain the equilibrium that already exists in society. But what if society is not already just? If justice dictates that people have a legal and moral right to maintain and develop the advantages they possess over others (e.g., wealth, intelligence, heredity, etc.), then we are … forced to .. ask, ‘Is justice simply the interest of the stronger?’ This question, and others, will guide us through this ‘Introduction to Justice Studies.’”
In other words, if American society is seen to be “unjust” because income is unequally distributed then America’s entire criminal justice system is illegitimate, because its equal protections enforce an unequal distribution of goods and rewards. In fact, as the rest of the curriculum makes clear, the concept of criminality is really an instrument of social control to keep in line those the classes that receive a smaller distribution of goods and rewards. This is not an inquiry or a scholarly presentation of the subject of justice. It is propaganda. The answers to the questions that define the public debate are already determined and will “guide us through” the introductory course in “justice” – and therefore the entire Justice Studies program.
All three required texts are suitably one-sided.
1. Beckett, Katherine; and Sasson. The Politics of Injustice: Crime and Punishment in America, Second Edition. Sage, 2004.
This title is self-explanatory. This text guides the student through a tour of America’s unjust legal system.
2. Ehrenreich, Barbara. Nickel and Dimed, On (Not) Getting by in America.
Henry Holt, 2001.
Barbara Ehrenreich is a well-known journalist and socialist, not a social scientist and her tract on poverty in America is not scientific, but is riddled with her political prejudices and has no weight as an academic “study” of poverty.
3. DeLaet, Debra L. The Global Struggle for Human Rights: Universal Principles in World Politics. Thompson Wadsworth, 2005.
Debra DeLaet is a feminist whose views do not appear to be as radical as those of the previous two authors, but nonetheless remain clearly on the left.
The three required textbooks are one-sided because the very conception of the course is one-sided, and presenting opposing views would interfere with its purpose which is indoctrination, not education.
JUS 294 “Mass Media, Propaganda and Social Control,” Regents Professor David L. Altheide
• Altheide, David L. Creating Fear: News and the Construction of Crisis, 2002
• Kamalipour, Yahya R., and Nancy Snow. 2004. War, media, and propaganda : a
global perspective. Lanham, Md. ; Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield.
The title of Professor Altheide’s text summarizes in effect the thesis of this course, which again is not a course of inquiry but a programmatic sectarian discourse. According to Altheide, the ruling powers and authorities in society artificially construct crises through the media which they own and dominate in order to control the subordinate classes of society through fear.
“This class is organized in conjunction with two other courses as part of the Learning Community, ‘Terrorism.’ The purpose of the course is to develop a critical understanding of the production, use and consequences of propaganda for social life, and to develop some research, writing, and analytical skills for media investigation…. A research project will focus on the characteristics of propaganda in recent wars, including ‘terrorism’ and the War in Iraq.”
One of the course topics naturally is “Is There Such a Thing as a Good Terrorist?” since the term terrorist is an instrument of social control used to demonize oppressed people who resist their oppression. Professor Altheide has published a new book called Fear and Terrorism whose thesis is that the Bush Administration used the 9/11 attacks to “launch a sophisticated propaganda campaign” whose goal was “to scare the American people into giving up civil liberties as well as supporting the war in Iraq.”
Nancy Snow, co-author of the second required text is a writer on media with identical views to Altheide’s as manifest in the title of her latest book: Information War: American Propaganda, Free Speech and Opinion Control Since 9/11. Yahya Kamalipour, her co-editor is an Iranian leftist who refers to the American government as “the warlords of the global village.”
The above analysis only scratches the surface of the courses offered by the School of Justice and Social Inquiry, but accurately reflects the intellectual principles that govern its educational program. This program is more appropriate to a political party or sect than an academic institution, let alone an institution paid for by the taxpayers of Arizona who are not all partisans of the extreme political left. And it violates the academic freedom standards set by the Arizona Regents and the American Association of University Professors.