Struggle sessions come to UC Berkeley

Read the email reproduced below from Dania Matos, U.C. Berkeley's new vice chancellor for diversity, equity, and inclusion.  And weep.  Or laugh.  The language alone — an inadvertent parody of academic incomprehensibility — is enough to provoke uncontrollable laughter or tears, depending on one's state of mind.

Here it is in all its Orwellian glory:

Be clear about what we have here:

This is a summons from U.C., Berkeley's new vice chancellor for "Diversity, Equity and Inclusion," a lawyer and 2003 political science graduate of Brown, presumably sent to all faculty members (and to many others — postdocs, grad students, who knows?), informing them that their presence is "requested" at the "political orthodoxy training seminar cum hate whitey and excoriate excellence festival" (my title) announced by the good comrade vice chancellor.

I suspect that attendance will be noted and absences recorded and lists kept; that there will be multiple such political orthodoxy inculcation sessions at Berkeley over the course of the coming academic year; and that any who dare absent themselves from all or most such "struggle sessions'' (see Marx and Lenin) or, God forbid, speak up against the baseless institutional loathing and denigration of excellence being preached in these sessions will receive a very bad "social credit" score or worse.

Trying to penetrate the summons's miasma of ludicrous academic gobbledygook that purports to describe the seminar's goals is not for the faint of heart.  But it's pretty clear that all who attend will be made to understand that America, especially its academic world, is a cesspool of racism and oppression (especially for the academically unqualified) and that, by doing away with all academic standards, these crimes can be eradicated.  Or something.

This is serious stuff.  It's one thing to realize in the abstract that America's universities are being turned into propaganda palaces where only the left's point of view is tolerated; it's quite another to be confronted with stark, explicit evidence of the heavy methods being used to impose this reign of intellectual repression, mandatory political orthodoxy, and academic terror.

The above summons, the like of which is, or soon will be, going out all over the American academic world, under signature of similar diversity, equity, and inclusion comrades, is strikingly reminiscent of academic, organizational, and occupational life in the thankfully departed Soviet Union.  If you doubt me, talk to someone who lived through that evil regime as an adult: every factory, club, university academic department, music school, trade school etc., etc., ad nauseam had its Party representative.  And the Party representative regularly called "study and struggle sessions" to better convey the Marxist approach to/take on physics, biology, music, etc. and to convey the basic party political and ideological line.  Attendance and attitude were noted, and they, not excellence or achievement, determined career trajectories (or worse).

These Soviet propaganda sessions, which took place regularly in every organization in the Soviet Union throughout the 70+ years of its sorry existence, were one of the regime's principal tools for imposing ideological uniformity; conveying the dangers of political deviation; and, when all else failed, identifying political dissenters.

The Soviet Union lives again, this time in the American academy.

Here and now, in America's supposed centers of free inquiry and celebration of knowledge, distinguished chairs of physics, engineering, chemistry, history, philosophy, etc. departments, and their younger, more vulnerable colleagues, postdocs and graduate students, are being invited (ordered?) by a marginally qualified bureaucrat to drop their work and appear at political indoctrination sessions.  They know they'd better show.  And that they'd better not criticize what they hear.

The totalitarian practice of every organization having a DEI czar will soon spread throughout K–12 elementary schools, public agencies, and major corporate employers.  If not furiously opposed, it will not stop there.

Political uniformity enforced by fancy-titled party comrades employed by major employers, corporate and academic, has no place in a free society.  It is Orwellian, totalitarian.  That it has gone this far in the American academy is testimony to the pusillanimity that is part of today's American academy.  And to the inattention of the rest of us.

U.C. Berkeley's above summons to political instruction should be front-page news in every journal and website concerned with American freedom of thought and speech.  It is political indoctrination of American academics, and it should be banned from the academy, thereafter, hopefully, to die a natural death in the world of corporate employment.

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