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Enter the Horowistas

I've made the list. David McCarth... I mean, Horowitz, David Horowitz, who wrote a book naming the 101 "most dangerous" (leftist) academics, has been letting that list grow on his website. You can now find me and my course, Political Indoctrination...


...well, we call it Collective Behavior and Social Movements. No kidding - there's a page there dedicated to me! But before you read it, some background.

Horowitz is the figurehead and driving force behind a social movement against leftwing influence in academia because it threatens to indoctrinate the malleable young minds of the next generation. The David Horowitz Freedom Center (DHFC), founded in 1988 by the man himself, is a self-described "battle-tank, not just a think tank," with a budget of $5.8 million. It does a lot of writing, speaking, hosting celebrity-studded events (John Ashcroft, Sen. Jon Kyl, Newt Gingrich), and pushing its "Academic Bill of Rights," a carefully worded libertarian manifesto of free speech and neutrality in education. As a 501(c)3 (non-profit) organization, DHFC cannot directly engage in political activities, so that's left to its ally, also a Horowitz brainchild, Students for Academic Freedom (SAF).

While looking over SAF's official handbook [pdf] for new chapter organizers, I couldn't help but notice some things that my students would pick up on. The first piece of advice in the section "recruiting members" takes a page right out of the classic study by Snow et al. (1980) on the topic (which we study in the class): "It is easiest to recruit members from a pool of likeminded friends or acquaintances." True, so true. And, of course, you can't very well build a movement without people to carry the pickets, but new recruits are just one of many resources you'll have to mobilize. SAF recommends "also try attending the meetings of other groups on campus and asking to make a brief presentation about the goals of SAF to see if they would be interested in joining." My students would recall McAdam's (1988) finding that new recruits are more likely to be members of other organizations or have previous activist experience. Damnit! ...there I go again, indoctrinating!

Here's a webpage dedicated to me and the danger I pose: how can you resist?

If you want to look for your friends, neighbors, or colleagues on this list, check here. Is there a SAF chapter on your campus? Go here and click "SAF Chapters." Arizona doesn't seem to have a one up and running but it does list a local representative. So I might extend him an invitation to talk to my class while we're learning about the Zapatistas and collective action frames.

His primary achievement has been in confusing the public mind, as between the internal and the external threats of Communism. We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men.

Edward R. Murrow (1954)

Update: See the article in the Tucson Weekly.

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“Enter the Horowistas”

  1. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    We're proud of you Jeff! Keep up the good rabble- rousing!!!

  2. Anonymous alan Says:

    You won't get away with your hippie rabble-rousing much longer. The steady supply of young activists you've been sending to Quaker meetings is about to dry up.

    (Man, the mockery just writes itself!)

  3. Anonymous a very public sociologist Says:

    Sounds beautiful. Almost makes me wish we had organised red baiters over here!

  4. Blogger marc Says:

    Congratulations Jeff, most impressive! And now I'm terrified that I have SAF students in my class. Turns out that LUC does have a chapter, but my course on poverty has yet to make it in.

  5. Blogger Erica Says:


  6. Anonymous Richard Says:

    Hey Bud. Another reason I'm glad I don't teach (or yet completely believe in?) Social Movements as a research area in sociology. :) Congrats, my friend. Onward and Forward!