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Leftist War Studies at Brandeis By: Thomas Ryan
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, July 21, 2004

The following is the second part in a series of articles on Peace Studies departments at our nation's universities. The author has previously critiqued the program at the University of Missouri. -- The Editors.

“If (the War on Terror) is about terrorism and terrorism is the killing of innocent civilians, then the United States is also a terrorist.”


This is the stated philosophy of Gordon “Gordie” Fellman, Professor of Sociology and Chair of the Peace, Conflict, and Coexistence Studies Program (PAX) at Brandeis University. In recent years, Fellman’s warped mindset has become increasingly commonplace among college students at universities across the nation, thanks to “Peace Studies” programs like PAX. Peace Studies has become a favorite venue for U.S.-hating Marxist professors like Fellman to indoctrinate students with a leftist, anti-American ideology that embraces Islamic terrorists and encourages mass civil disobedience against the U.S. government. 


Interestingly enough, the stated objective of PAX at Brandeis is to “examine the many meanings of ‘security,’ to investigate the nature of power and political participation, and to develop ideas and ways of addressing conflicts that honor the integrity of all parties involved.” Honoring integrity may in fact be a courtesy extended to all parties, except in cases where America is involved.


In her article, “Blaming America 101: A Lesson in 'Peace Studies,” Lisa De Pasquale states, “Peace Studies courses are focused on the general principle that every conflict and social injustice is America's fault.” PAX at Brandeis is no different, with professors regularly espousing anti-American rhetoric, assigning anti-Western reading material and encouraging its students in to participate in anti-American activities.


Gordie Fellman perfectly illustrates this point. Fellman believes that all responsibility for the immense Islamic hatred of America lies with America itself. Fellman's teachings and writings also display a troubling sympathy for Islamic terrorists. For example, his recent take on the Great Satan's role in the Middle East: “The only rational way to address (terrorism) is to acknowledge the humiliations inflicted by centuries of colonialism and imperialism…which appear to underlie the complaints against the West. Some people who identify with Islam appear to be determined either to restore the former glory of Islam somehow through force, or at least to have the humiliations and degradations inflicted upon Islamic cultures by the West avenged.” (Emphasis added.) 


In addition, Fellman justifies suicide-bombings as “ways of inflicting revenge on an enemy that seems unable or unwilling to respond to rational pleas for discussion and justice.”


Fellman has also waxed conspiratorial over Operation Iraqi Freedom, claiming the conflict was foreordained by the Bush administration. “This war has been planned since before Bush became president.” Fellman stated. “It sets a horribly dangerous example of preemptive war. It is consistent with Bush's violation of all international treaties,” he said, equating Bush with Saddam. Then he went a step further, stuttering, “For Bush to claim that Saddam is evil for ignoring the United Nations -- if he were more self-conscious, he would be talking about himself.” 


Fellman has made his crusade against the War on Terror a campus-wide phenomenon, attending rallies, creating the Faculty Coalition Against the War, launching a tirade against Front Page Magazine Editor-in-Chief David Horowitz and using the classroom as his own personal anti-American platform. In one of Fellman's courses, “Marx and Freud,” he instructs students to examine “challenges to accepted ways of interpreting the world” and how they are “almost always met with suspicion, disbelief, hostility, and sometimes death…by” -- notice who heads his enemies list -- “the Catholic Church, Orthodox Judaism, the erstwhile Soviet government, the United States government, ‘free market’ ideologists, and other guardians of official ways of explaining the world.” In an effort to further indoctrinate students to the merits of Marxism, Fellman states in the syllabus for his course that students must attend three “Marx-related events.”


Fellman is notorious for grading his students subjectively, and for making “personal evolution”— or, how much a student has assimilated and assumed Fellman’s worldviews—count for one-third of a student’s grade. Fellman fully expects his students to take up his cause and become Blame America First terrorist sympathizers.


Other professors in the Brandeis PAX have been vocal about their disdain for America and Western culture as well. Professor Dessima Williams, who served as an ambassador for the Marxist dictatorship of Grenada, has been particularly critical of what she has called an “assumed dominance and assumed superiority of the analysis and experiences of the West.” Williams’ involvement with the ruling party of Grenada ceased when Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard—once a Brandeis student himself—viciously murdered half of his fellow cabinet members in an effort to force regime change on the embattled island nation. Williams was arrested in 1984 and questioned about her role in the calamity, but the arrest has not kept her from forging a successful career as an educator in the United States.


Williams said she opposed the War on Terrorism for several reasons, but “(o)ne of the simplest reasons to oppose war is that war hurts people.” Naturally, Williams ignored how her former comrades in Grenada “hurt people,” including the Minister of Education, Jacqueline Creft, who was pregnant at the time of her execution. Demonstrating her Marxist leanings, Williams has said, “Socialism without democracy cannot survive, but ultimately, neither can democracy without socialism.”


The Brandeis PAX department also tries to train new foot soldiers for the radical Left. PAX offers two courses aimed at instructing university students in the ways of radical protest, including “Protest, Politics, and Change: Social Movements.” The course instructs students how to go about organizing a protest, stating in the class syllabus that an emphasis will be placed “on the tactics, strategy, and potential of ‘nonviolent struggle,’ including both relatively ‘spontaneous’ popular action and planned campaigns, as a political technique of growing international significance and promise.”


Textbooks and literature include: Doing Democracy: The MAP (Movement Action Plan) Model for Organizing Social Movements, which is a blueprint for civil disobedience, outlining the eight stages utilized by protest movements and the four roles that activists play in demonstrations; and Power in Movement: Social Movements and Contentious Politics, which theorizes about protest rallies, and social movements in general. With these readings, students are encouraged to seek “(o)pportunities to apply lessons learned to the challenges of strategizing for (or against) selected existing or potential movements.”


Another course offered by Brandeis is “Democracy and Disobedience.” The course description states that the historical, real-world protests it examines include “several contemporary examples of non-violent resistance, in particular, non-violent resistance in opposition to world trade agreements in Seattle, Washington, D. C., and Prague, disobedience in China and Northern Ireland, and the use and/or abuse of civil disobedience at abortion clinics.” The leftist nature of this course is apparent when it presumes to describe protests that would attract leftist activists as “non-violent resistance,” and activities such as abortion clinic demonstrations as “civil disobedience” that could easily lead to violence. (Watch out for those elderly nuns with their rosaries!)


The required reading is explicitly leftist. includes In Defense of Anarchism, in which author Robert Paul Wolff argues an ethical case against government and makes a philosophical case for social anarchism. In another text popular on college campuses, Jihad vs. McWorld, author Benjamin Barber argues against the influx of capitalism and Western ideologies throughout the world and blames the Arab world’s rising anti-American sentiment on the success of American businesses such as McDonald’s—success made possible only by the indigenous consumers of foreign countries.


Students embracing the radical ideologies of their professors have taken their message outside of the classroom, creating groups like the Activist Resource Center (ARC). The ARC at Brandeis is committed to “ for social justice, peace, and equality,” all leftist buzzwords for socialism and anti-Amerian hatred. The ARC serves as campus clearinghouse for activist information, providing the community with details of civil demonstrations, protests, rallies, and marches. Members of ARC point to the university itself as justification for their anti-American/anti-military directive. “The Brandeis tradition of social justice mandates us to speak out against the war,” said ARC leader Jocelyn Berger. “During the Vietnam era, Brandeis was a hotbed of activist activity, with the national student strike headquartered in Professor Gordie Fellman's office.”


Although Peace Studies departments claim “peace” as their objective, it is increasingly evident that their “call to arms” in the name of  anti-Americanism could have violent repercussions, particularly when its professors hold up Seattle's violent WTO demonstrations as a model. As threats to the United States increase, professors, college classes, and entire university departments with anti-American agendas need to be scrutinized for the help they lend the enemy. Brandeis University would be a good place to start.

You may e-mail Thomas Ryan by clicking here.

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