UC Davis Communist Poet Joshua Clover Wants Dead Cops

"They need to be killed.”

On January 10, convicted criminal Kevin Limbaugh gunned down Natalie Corona, 22, a rising star in the police department of Davis, California. The community hailed Corona as a hero who had dedicated herself to law enforcement and paid the ultimate price. Thousands of people, including police officers from across the country, attended a memorial service for the slain officer. On the other hand, not everybody at UC Davis was happy about all the praise for the officer.

After a photo of Corona, clad in an elegant blue dress and holding the “thin blue line” flag, went viral on social media, the campus Ethnic and Cultural Affairs Commission proclaimed, “this flag represents an attempt by law enforcement to undermine the Black Lives Matter movement.” And Blue Lives Matter was “an effort to evade accountability and critical awareness of police treatment of communities of color.” Now it emerges that a UC Davis professor actually supports the killing of police officers.

“I first heard about a UC Davis professor who thinks cops should be killed late in Fall Quarter,” wrote Nick Irvin, a columnist for The Aggie, a UC Davis newspaper.  Irvin thought it was hearsay but then began poking around on Twitter and found this: “I am thankful that every living cop will one day be dead, some by their own hand, some by others, too many of old age,” from November 27, 2014. And this, “I mean, it’s easier to shoot cops when their backs are turned, no?” from December 27, 2014. And when he jumped ahead to Jan. 31, 2016, he found “People think that cops need to be reformed. They need to be killed.” 

As it turned out, the statements were from Joshua Clover, “a professor of English and comparative literature at UC Davis.” Clover’s poetry deals with “latent struggles against capitalism” and his latest book explains “the act of rioting from a decidedly Marxist point of view.” Clover’s own promotional material is clearer still.

Joshua Clover is a communist,” proclaims Verso Books, and the cultural theorist has authored Red Epic and 1989: Bob Dylan Didn’t Have This to Sing About. Clover’s Riot.Strike.Riot dates from 2016 and he is a columnist for The Nation and founding editor of Commune Editions. Born in Berkeley in 1962, Clover is an alumnus of the prestigious Boston University and the Iowa Writers Workshop. He once bagged an NEA grant as well as the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets.

“Joshua Clover specializes in critical theory, Marxism, political theory,” the professor’s UC Davis profile explains, and “his interests include social movements, social reproduction theory, crisis theory and the end of capitalism.”  Forthcoming work “focuses on poetry and the transformation of the world-system, and particularly on the dynamic between overdeveloped nations and neocolonialism.” Students can tell he’s an original thinker.

Irvin contacted Clover to sound him out on the shooting of police officer Natalie Corona. The communist replied, “I think we can all agree that the most effective way to end any violence against officers is the complete and immediate abolition of the police,” and he did not walk back any of his statements about wanting cops killed. Local media were soon all over the story.

The Sacramento Bee found that in 2015 Clover told the SF Weekly “People think that cops need to be reformed. They need to be killed.”  In short order, the UC Davis administration condemned the statements and found it “unconscionable that anyone would condone much less appear to advocate murder.” The administration mourned the loss of Natalie Corona, and Davis police chief Joe Farrow decided to weigh in.

“Our officers are dedicated professionals who have and will continue to rise above calls for violence against them,” Farrow told reporters. “Nonetheless, it’s regrettable they have to endure such vile hatred.” The Bee sought a response from the campus communist and critical theorist

“On the day that police have as much to fear from literature professors as Black kids do from police, I will definitely have a statement,” explaining the pasty-faced Marxist who is on “medical leave.” The Corona family, Davis police, and UC Davis students alike might wonder if the Riot.Strike.Riot author and poet was out getting a spine transplant, or perhaps mouth reduction surgery. Still, give him credit. The communist is acting entirely in character.

Rats are comrades, George Orwell noted in Animal Farm, and communist “progress” has always entailed murder on a massive scale. See The Great Terror, by Robert Conquest, and The Black Book of Communism, for a toll of the victims.

Communists think they all needed to die, so no surprise that a communist poet should delight in the murder of police officers. No surprise that Joshua Clover has not a word to say about Natalie Corona, 22, the Davis police officer who paid the ultimate price.

If anybody in Davis believes this pampered poltroon is about as vile as it gets, it would sure be hard to blame them.

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