The Santa Barbara, CA Unified School District Board met the evening of June 9, 2020 to consider demands for mandatory ethnic studies courses at the local high school level. Those demands are coming largely from the children of the Santa Barbara Unified school district, who overall have racked up some fairly abysmal scores in basic academic achievement: their test scores for the 2018-2019 school year show a mere 54% are proficient in reading and only 45% are proficient in math. Minority students – Hispanic and African American – lag badly behind both Asian and white students as well as the proficiency standards themselves.
Instead of implementing a more rigorous academic study program with a focus on the reading, writing, and math skills so fundamental to academic as well as later professional success, however, the Santa Barbara, CA Unified School District decided to focus on the clamoring of the failing students to learn more about nonexistent “systemic racism” – which they apparently have been “learning about” on social media. Even more absurdly, the June 9, 2020 School Board meeting featured a clash between board members who wanted to declare a week in February annually as “Black Lives Matter in School Week” and the students. It seems that the children – the ones who can’t read, write, or calculate at a basic level – thought that the special Black Lives Matter Week initiative didn’t capitulate fully enough to the entire list of their demands.
That list of demands, which had been put forth during a June 7, 2020 student-led protest march to the Santa Barbara Unified School District headquarters and the Santa Barbara Police Department, includes defunding school contracts with local law enforcement and declaring “racism as a public-health emergency.” A number of school district officials, including high school principals, stood meekly in shorts and T-shirts to accept the student demands. Police Chief Lori Luhnow submissively took a knee to convey the utter capitulation of Santa Barbara officials to the student mob.
The methods on display in Santa Barbara are eerily reminiscent of communist/Marxist tactics openly laid out at the 1950s “House on Un-American Activities” (HUAC) hearings, in the 1958 book, “The Naked Communist,” by former FBI agent W. Cleon Skousen, and perhaps most alarming of all, in the rantings of Bill Ayers and the Weather Underground (see especially “Prairie Fire: The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism”). The “45 Goals of Communism Today,” as enumerated in Chapter 13 of Clousen’s book and derived from Congressional testimony by former Communists, are both explicit and apropos. For example, there is number 17: “Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of the teachers’ associations. Put the party line in textbooks.”
Is this not precisely what’s on display in the Santa Barbara Unified School District more than fifty years on? Too many Americans either refused to believe what the much-maligned Sen. Joseph McCarthy and HUAC colleagues revealed or were lulled into inattention after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, thinking perhaps that communism was as OBE as the USSR itself. But in fact, it was the Soviet empire that collapsed, not communism/Marxism.
The rampaging thugs on American streets, looting, rioting, and declaring their own “Autonomous Zone” in the middle of Seattle, Washington have their ideological origins in Soviet Comintern operations that brought Antifa to the U.S. in the 1930s. The implausible popularity of the viciously anti-American, anti-Constitutional, antisemitic, and anti-law enforcement Black Lives Matter movement ignores its documented origins in the Marxist/Leninist/Maoist Freedom Road Socialist Organization and its Liberation Road off-shoot. Youthful mobs issuing demands to Defund The Police not only can’t pass grade-level reading and math tests, but obviously have never been taught about the trail of death and destruction left in every place across history and the world where socialist-Marxist-communist policies have been allowed a foothold.
And yet, on the agenda of the Santa Barbara Unified School District at their recent meeting was a proposal to adopt “A Young People’s History of the United States: Columbus to the War on Terror” by Howard Zinn for use at the middle-high school level. Zinn, a self-avowed Marxist/progressive, believed by the FBI and contemporaries to have been at least a Communist Party supporter if not member, promotes a “class warfare” interpretation of American history that rejects free market capitalism and presents the American saga as one long unremitting litany of wrongdoing.
If we want to know how the underperforming students of Santa Barbara came to reject their own heritage and our cherished Constitutional principles, and the supposed “adults” in the room to capitulate to their childish demands, we need look no further than textbooks like this one and the decades-long penetration of communist/Marxist influence into American academia. We either fix this or lose the Republic.
Clare M. Lopez is the Founder/President of Lopez Liberty LLC and a career national security expert.