History

They Burn the Research of Class Enemies, Don't They?

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The People Will Run Columbia, a Private University!

For some unexplained reason, I have read a disturbing number of New Left alumni biographies, collections, histories, and apologias—books like Fugitive Days, Flying Close to the Sun, Ravens in the Storm, Everybody Talks About the Weather…We Don't, Utopia or Auschwitz, Family Circle. It is a strange habit, I suppose, because the typical memoir of the self-righteous revolutionary is meant to exculpate, and as such tends to be as self-serving as a presidential memoir and as illuminating as a David Irving book on the Holocaust.

But New Left leader Mark Rudd, the force behind the violent protests at Columbia University, has now admitted something he long denied. While predictably hedging his apologies about "revolutionary struggle," Rudd's recent memoir Underground: My Life With SDS and the Weathermen now acknowledges that it was his group that destroyed ten years of research conducted by liberal historian Orest A. Ranum, then an associate professor at Columbia and mild critic of SDS's tactics, and not the New York City Police Department.

Via Arts and Letters Daily, John Castellucci, a former reporter at The Providence Journal, produces a fascinating account of the SDS takeover of Columbia, the group's motives and internal power struggles, and its destruction of Ranum's bourgeois accumulation of knowledge:

Now a key participant in the Columbia rebellion has made a startling confession. Mark Rudd, who was chairman of the SDS chapter during the disturbances, acknowledges that a fellow radical, John "J.J." Jacobs, set the fire in Hamilton Hall, and that he, Rudd, went along with the plan. The confession, a depressing postscript to the 1960s, solves a four-decade-long mystery. It offers a grim testament to just how mean things got at Columbia, and a sobering reminder that not all student radicals were starry-eyed idealists. In more than a couple of cases, they were power-hungry extremists jostling for control of the student-protest movement. And Ranum had the audacity to get in their way….

The papers were irreplaceable. They dated back to Ranum's time as a student at the University of Minnesota, where he got his Ph.D. in history. The notes were going to lay the basis for a textbook on early modern European history that he had been commissioned to write for a series edited by the British historian Sir John Plumb….

The fire should have turned public opinion against the protesters, but some liberals were so awed by the radicals, and guilt-ridden about their own inaction, that they went into denial. The literary critic Dwight Macdonald, writing in The New York Review of Books, said that while he found the arson "base and disgusting," he doubted that SDS was responsible. He went on raising money for the organization, from which, within a year and a half, the violent Weathermen faction would emerge. On March 6, 1970, three members of that group, making bombs in a town house in Greenwich Village, accidentally blew themselves up.

Ranum was touched when experts working on the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Jewish Theological Seminary offered to try to restore his papers, but he declined the offer. "I just felt my stuff wasn't important enough," he said.

As they say, read the whole thing.

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  1. I went to school with Rudd’s younger brother. You’d never suspect who his brother was, as he was the All-American boy. And Rudd’s mother sold candy at a local Hebrew school. Just a sweet little woman.

  2. Remember when progressives opposed burning books?

    Good times.

  3. This report from Fox Business Channel’s John Stossel is deeply disquieting. In short, day-care providers in Michigan (mostly stay-at-home moms running tiny businesses) are receiving unsolicited letters informing them that they are now part of a union ? whether they like it or not.

    http://stossel.blogs.foxbusine…..onization/

    1. Michelle Berry runs a day-care business out of her home in Flint, MI. She thought that she owned her own business, but Berry’s been told she is now a government employee and union member. It’s not voluntary. Suddenly, Berry and 40,000 other Michigan private day-care providers have learned that union dues are being taken out of the child-care subsidies the state sends them. The “union” is a creation of AFSCME, the government workers union, and the United Auto Workers.

      This racket means big money to AFSCME, which runs the union, writes the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a free-market think tank.

      Today the Department of Human Services siphons about $3.7 million in annual dues to the union?.

      The money should be going to home-based day-care providers ? themselves not on the high end of the income scale. Ms. Berry now sees money once paid to her go to a union that does little for her?

      Patrick Wright, a lawyer for the Macknac Center, says the union was forced on the women after a certification election conducted by mail in which only 6,000 day-care providers out of 40,000 voted. Wright told me his clients, like Berry, say they were “shocked” to learn they were suddenly in a union.

      They want nothing to do with the union. One of my clients has said, “Look, this is my home, I’m both labor and management here.” They’ve wanted nothing to do with this union and don’t think that it has any purpose besides than to siphon money away from them.

      Michigan isn’t the only state funding unions this way.

      Fourteen states have now enabled home-based day-care providers to be organized into public-employee unions, affecting about 233,000 people.

      Mackinac sued Michigan on behalf of the day-care owners, but the case was dismissed. They have appealed. Neither Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, the Department of Human Services, nor the union would talk to me about this. Last month, Michigan Rep. Justin Amash proposed a law that would end “stealth” unionization of private entrepreneurs.

      1. All your house are belong to us.

      2. This is obviously a travesty; however, note the cognitive dissonance evident from the following two phrases placed but a couple of paragraphs apart:

        union dues are being taken out of the child-care subsidies the state sends them.

        ….

        a law that would end “stealth” unionization of private entrepreneurs.

        1. Yep, I read that one, too. However, look at it this way: If these entrepreneurs simply stopped receiving these subsidies, they would simply have their income reduced compared to those child-care businesses that suck it up, placing themselves in a bind: they would end up paying for those subsidies with their taxes that their competitors receive, and they would probably have to raise their prices to their clients, potentially losing their business.

      3. that union dues are being taken out of the child-care subsidies the state sends them.

        If you live on government handouts, you have no grounds to complain when they reduce it.

        -jcr

        1. Except for the fact that this amounts to a money laundering scheme for the government to de facto fund the union while official going through these day-care providers.

        2. Except the money was not reduced. Some of it was merely redirected to a favored group. So we had a fee for service system where the AFSCME decided to take a cut. Don’t mobster thugs get put in jail for that kind of stuff?

    2. I saw that one. Good expose.

      What happened there in Michigan has happened in Mexico for YEARS: some troll from one of the big unions would place a black and red flag on the window of your business and extort a union contract from you, even if you did not have any workers!

      The practice stopped after more and more business owners sued the union cartels for each instance, which carried (each) a substantial penalty. Of course, the political climate changed enough for the judges to start hearing the cases, never mind ruling on them yet. That was enough to get the unions off the backs of millions of small business owners.

      I don’t know if these Michigan business owners can sue the unions, because it looks like what they did was “legal”, but the law can be challenged on 1st Amendment (Freedom of Association) and 5th Amendment (Secure in your property) violations.

    3. In the late 80s my father was told, in no unscertain terms, he could join AFSCME or find a new job, as everyone else he worked with was told. He worked for Cook County (i.e. Chicago area)

  4. At the end of the day, I’ve come up with one rule.

    Find out who the book burners are and oppose them.

  5. No hat-tip to ace commenter John?

  6. I never understand why they say cherchez la femme when they want to solve a crime. I have always observed that time and age present the solution.

  7. LET IT BE CLEAR!

    who talks like that? oh, wait..

  8. “On March 6, 1970, three members of that group, making bombs in a town house in Greenwich Village, accidentally blew themselves up.”

    This is too funny!

    1. Remembering it now is funnier than when it happened. IIRC, it was around the time of the Patty Hearst kidnapping.

      1. Hearst kidnapping was in 1974.

        1. Weird but true: if the guy living in the apartment upstairs had been home at the time, we’d have a James Dean-like cult remembering the tragic young star of The Graduate and Midnight Cowboy, Dustin Hoffman.

          1. Well, at least that would have stopped Last Chance Harvey from being made.

            1. And Meet the Fockers

    2. I love happy endings, too.

  9. WE HAVE OUR FINGER UP YOUR ASS!

    what a shocker

    1. While you’re there, does my prostate feel enlarged?

      1. is it to the left of the gerbil or to the right?

  10. What a bunch of powerfreaks those lefties were. I doubt them lefty leaders were even concerned with the policies they were promoting, as long as they could run the show.

    1. Were? Wrong tense; not enough of them are dead yet. I am struggling not to say something about wishing they would all collectively choak on their own vomit, but I shall rise above and be the better person.

      On the other hand, I will dance a little jig when Rudd finally goes tits-up, that craven peice of shit motherfucker.

      1. I am struggling not to say something about wishing they would all collectively choak on their own vomit

        I have no such qualms. I hope they blow themselves up while making bombs.

        This is sort of trend actually. Leftists are not so much defeated as they simply destroy themselves. Observe Soviet Union.

  11. The fire should have turned public opinion against the protesters, but some liberals were so awed by the radicals, and guilt-ridden about their own inaction, that they went into denial.

    … Or into tacit acceptance.

  12. A good rule of thumb, I’ve found, is to oppose people who burn the stuff of people who disagree with them.

  13. The oligarch’s and the third world people and the poor of this world and the tyrant and the autocral are all fools, so whats new its always been that way and always will be until people understand one fact don’t get mad at the other ass. and old mexico the proteadters are alway being controlled by some other butt.

    1. That is the finest piece of gibberish I have seen in weeks.

      1. Hegemony!

        1. You’re just being controlled by some other butt, Pro Lib. I’m on to you.

          1. “Not only was it authentic frontier gibberish, but it expressed a courage that is little seen in this day and age.”

    2. Sterno drinker, or maybe white lightning with too much radiator lead.

      1. I was thinking paint-sniffer with a meth chaser.

  14. I am no longer surprised at what people – left and right – will do “For The Good of The Cause”.

    There is no moral distinction between Rudd and Rumsfeld.

    1. Discernment fail.

  15. There is something hilarious about a poster asserting that upper middle class elite Ivy League college students constitute “The People.”

    1. It’s hilarious until you remember the socio-economic class that Ulyanov, Krupskaya, Bukharin, Trotsky, etc originated in.

      1. The “intelligentsia” are frequently the ones pushing hoi polloi to revolt, shouting in their name, killing in their name, until the middle and upper class leaders discard the rabble and take power. It’s a great scam.

        1. They keep it up until and unless they get into power, and have to deal with the people refusing to obey them. Current example is their frothing at the mouth over the Tea Party.

          -jcr

      2. Don’t forget Arafat, bin Laden and all the 9/11 terrorist flight crews.

      3. I’ve always found this mystifying, but now I think I have found an explanation:

        People who actually have to work for a living don’t have the luxury of indulging in revolutionary fantasies. Only the priviledged elites who have no real challanges in their life feel compelled to spend their hours of idle luxury on utopian dreaming and scheming.

        1. Or perhaps those working indulge in fantasies but don’t have the time/inclination to act on them?

          1. Possibly, but from personal experience I feel that you’re a lot less likely to waste time daydream and fantasizing about being a revolutionary hero if you have some sort of meaningful work in your life.

            Granted, lots of people’s work isn’t terribly meaningful. Yet, even some pretty mediocre jobs can provide people with a sense of direction. The idle rich really have nothing better to do than play revolutionary if that’s what suits them.

          2. No, they don’t dream of revolution, they dream of a better job and pay and benefits, and a better life for themselves and their kids. That is not the same thing as dreaming of revolution and overthrowing the man.

    2. I’ve been listening to the Sex Pistols for 3 years. I’m more of a real punk than you!!!!

  16. The best retirement plan for 60s radicals is an ice floe and a stiff push.

    1. The best retirement plan for 60s radicals is an ice floe and a stiff push.

      I think an ice pick wielded by another leftist is far better.

  17. I will just think of this Rudd character like any other book burner.

  18. My friends and I hatched an elaborate plan to steal and burn Jo Ann Pflug’s bra and plant evidence on Bert Convey, but we wussed out at the last minute. Oh, those heady days.

  19. This actually makes a lot of sense when you think about it.

    Jerry
    http://www.privacy-tools.de.tc

    1. Somehow, anaonymity bot manages to inadvertantly win the thread.

  20. Underground: My Life With SDS and the Weathermen now acknowledges that it was his group that destroyed ten years of research conducted by liberal historian Orest A. Ranum, then an associate professor at Columbia and mild critic of SDS’s tactics, and not the New York City Police Department.

    You must be kidding! The SDS lie about anything? al Qaeda and their buddies do that all the time now and the MSM, along with plenty of people here, lap it up like a kitten does milk. Guess who else did that? PLO, IRA, etc.

  21. What the New Left did on the college campuses the moment they felt their own strength and realized they could browbeat the guilt-laden authorities into getting their way belies any notion these people were ever “for free speech” and simply stumbled, bewilderingly into such notions as ‘hate speech’ and ‘speech codes.’

    Professions for liberty can make good tactics, but in reality they’ve always been totalitarian to the core.

  22. three members of that group, making bombs in a town house in Greenwich Village, accidentally blew themselves up.

    That’s a classic example of why liberal-arts weenies shouldn’t attempt any task that requires technical skills.

    -jcr

    1. This was Bill Ayers gang. His girlfriend was one of those killed.

  23. How come the piece of shit commie isn’t rotting in a federal prison? Or did some left wing university offer him a tenured professorship like Ayers and Dohrn got?

  24. A literary critic defending book burners. Lets just let that sink in.

  25. Interesting. If someone expresses skepticism about global warming, evolution, or any other “settled science” the shrieks of “Barbarians at the gate!” is deafening. But actually destroy something….well….

    At any rate, I am waiting for the huge outcry by the media against this latest display of anti-intellectualism by the Left in 10 seconds …nine seconds…eight….

  26. In more than a couple of cases, they were power-hungry extremists jostling for control of the student-protest movement.

    In a lot of cases, if the Horowitz et al “Destructive Generation – ” book is any indication.

    Still waiting for that movie or documentary about 60s power-hungry violent new left extremists. We have a holocaust movie a year so we “never forget”, but an episode that stikes a lot closer to home has conveniently escaped down the memory hole.

    Since we seem to be ruled at the moment by the older and slightly more sober elements of that movement I’d say it might just be relevant.

  27. Never,never confuse justice with the law.

  28. Let me get this straight.

    Jacobs destroyed 10 years of work because Dr Ranum, in effect, told him to grow up.

    Petty, spiteful, mean–sounds like the Left.

  29. ..memoir and as illuminating as a David Irving book on the Holocaust.
    I am not sure of your intent here and maybe tongue in cheek. To the best of my knowledge Mr Irving has never written a book on the Holowcaust.

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