Culture

Amid Riots, Washington and Lee University Offers a Class on 'How to Overthrow the State'

AP Photo/Noah Berger

This fall at Washington and Lee University (removal of Lee pending), students will learn reading writing, arithmetic — and “How to Overthrow the State.” As antifa riots have continued in Portland for almost 100 nights, students at the Virginia university named after George Washington and Robert E. Lee* will study Marxist revolutions in the Global South, complete with role-playing regime change.

Writing Seminar 100-18, “How to Overthrow the State,” will award each student three credits toward graduation.

“This course places each student at the head of a popular revolutionary movement aiming to overthrow a sitting government and forge a better society,” a course description explains. “How will you attain power? How will you communicate with the masses? How do you plan on improving the lives of the people? How will you deal with the past?”

“From Frantz Fanon to Che Guevara to Mohandas Ghandi and others, we explore examples of revolutionary thought and action from across the Global South,” the description adds. “Students engage these texts by participating in a variety of writing exercises, such as producing a Manifesto, drafting a white paper that critically analyzes a particular issue, and writing a persuasive essay on rewriting history and confronting memory.”

While there is nothing wrong with studying Marxist revolutionaries like Che Guevara, it does seem a bit unnerving that a university class would encourage students to emulate them and to “overthrow the state” — especially amid violent riots and looting in cities across America.

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Conservatives are not exactly thrilled…

Conservatives, who are already rightly worried about academia undermining American patriotism and teaching Marxism, naturally condemned the Washington and Lee course.

“Washington and Lee University’s course on ‘how to overthrow the state’ is one further sign of the insanity taking over higher education,” former House Speaker Newt Gingrich tweeted. “The alumni should rise up and show how to overthrow a crazy college administration.”

“This is disgraceful,” Turning Point USA Founder Charlie Kirk told Breitbart News. “We must stop brushing aside these egregious examples of campus craziness as isolated incidents.”

“The lessons of the past few months prove that these ideas don’t stay on campus, they spill out onto the streets,” Kirk warned. “This is a prime example of the intellectual rot that has infected the academy in America. The Trump administration should investigate and determine if this is the type of scholarship federal funds should be used to subsidize.”

The next generation of 1619 Project

Washington and Lee students will take a crack at “rewriting history,” just like The New York Times‘ “1619 Project.” That effort in Marxist critical theory preaches that various aspects of American society, such as capitalism, are oppressive and racist. Indeed, the Smithsonian briefly taught that even things like science, the nuclear family, the Judeo-Christian tradition, and politeness itself are oppressive aspects of a “whiteness” culture.

Portland activist Lilith Sinclair showed how Marxist critical theory pushes aimless revolution. “There’s still a lot of work to undo the harm of colonized thought that has been pushed onto Black and indigenous communities,” she said. As examples of “colonized thought,” she mentioned Christianity and the “gender binary.” She said she organizes for “the abolition of … the “United States as we know it.”

When vandals toppled a statue of George Washington in Portland, they spray-painted “1619” on the statue. When Claremont’s Charles Kesler wrote in The New York Post “Call them the 1619 riots,” 1619 Project Founder Nikole Hannah-Jones responded (in a since-deleted tweet) that “it would be an honor” to claim responsibility for the destructive riots. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) called for the “dismantling” of America’s “economy and political system,” in order to root out supposed racist oppression.

Left-leaning journalists and Democrats have insisted, over and over again, that the riots are “mostly peaceful protests.” Yet the riots have destroyed black livesblack livelihoods, and black monuments. At least 22 Americans have died in the riots, most of them black.

PJ Media has reached out to Washington and Lee for comment on the class, and this story will be updated with any response.

*Washington and Lee University faculty voted overwhelmingly in favor of striking Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s name from the university’s name, but only a majority of the institution’s trustees has the power to actually change the name, and the trustees have not voted on it, yet. One faculty member, an associate professor of law, Brandon Hasbrouck, suggested that the university should also consider removing Washington’s name.

 
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Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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