[Excerpted from _Guide to Uncovering the Right on Campus_, edited by Dalya Massachi and Rich Cowan. ISBN 0-945210-03-5. Reprinted from and copyrighted by Covert Action, September 1991, (tel. 202-331-9763). For the full 52-page guidebook which includes 38 graphics and 8 charts, please send $6 plus $1 postage to University Conversion Project, Box 748, Cambridge, MA 02142. Outside the USA the cost is $10. For info on memberships ($25/20/10) and a complete publications list, send e-mail to email@example.com or call 617-354-9363.] Endowing the Right-wing Academic Agenda Sara Diamond At most U.S. universities, few students or faculty will ever come in contact with the Central Intelligence Agency. More likely, they will be approached by the numerous private and federal intelligence and policymaking agencies that do much the same work as the CIA. These cooperative institutions include the RAND Corporation, the Institute for Defense Analyses, the U.S Information Agency, and the various "language schools" through which the government trains and recruits covert operatives. More likely still, students will bump up against the scores of tenured professors who, flush with grants from the large corporate foundations, hold sway over much of what passes for scholarship. The recent epidemic of newspaper editorials and magazine articles purporting to warn of a "politically correct"1 gang of deviant leftist academics - out to indoctrinate young minds - is a by-product of more than a decade of heightened corporate influence at the university level. Where the Bucks Start During the 1960s anti-war, civil rights and women's movements, the Right had its mechanisms to monitor and disrupt progressive campus activism. Although the federal government itself played the largest role,2 private organizations were developing their own independent capabilities. Between 1968 and 1972, William F. Buckley's National Review published lurid reports on campus activists in a biweekly bulletin called "combat." Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), founded by Buckley in 1960, conducted a "tell it to Hanoi" campaign of disruption against anti-war activists. For its efforts, YAF earned public praise from Vice President Spiro Agnew, and various members of Congress wrote fundraising letters on YAF's behalf.3 Still, it wasn't until the late 1970s that right-wing strategists, particularly of the neoconservative tendency, began thinking beyond mere confrontational tactics to a campaign designed to thwart campus leftists.4 In 1978, former Treasury Secretary William E. Simon and neoconservative writer Irving Kristol founded the Institute for Educational Affairs (IEA). In 1990, IEA changed its name to the Madison Center for Educational Affairs (MCEA). IEA began with start-up grants of $100,000 from each of four major right-wing corporate foundations: the John M. Olin Foundation, the Scaife Family Trusts, the JM Foundation, and the Smith-Richardson Foundation.5 IEA quickly assembled a donor base of dozens of corporations, including Bechtel, Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical, Ford Motor Company, General Electric, K-Mart, Mobil, and Nestle.6 The idea was for corporations to donate directly to IEA, whose sophisticated board of experts would then spend the necessary time sorting out grant applicants. Once established, the young right-wing writers and analysts could then be placed where they would have the greatest influence: heading activist organizations, working on right-wing student publications, serving within federal agencies, or on the editorial boards of leading publications, like the Wall Street Journal. At a Board meeting early in IEA's career, Irving Kristol suggested that the group ought to consider publishing "outstanding work by recent Ph.D.'s in order to give their work impact and promote their careers." Another officer suggested "that assistant professors actually needed support more than did graduate students and added that their past performance made it comparatively easier to choose among them in terms of the likelihood of future success."7 Lucre for the True Believers A constant theme in IEA deliberations was the need to promote scholarship that would subtly make the case for the morality of capitalism. One early recipient of IEA largesse was the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC), for a "book- length study of the involvement of church groups in the boycott of the Nestle Company for its infant formula marketing program."8 The EPPC is a Washington, D.C.-based think tank established in 1976 with the objective of stemming negative public attitudes toward corporations. "U.S. domestic and multinational firms find themselves increasingly under siege at home and abroad," wrote EPPC founder Ernest W. Lefever in a 1978 memorandum. "They are accused of producing shoddy and unsafe products, fouling the environment, robbing future generations, wielding inordinate power, repressing peoples in the Third World, and generally of being insensitive to human needs... We as a small and ethically oriented center are in a position to respond more directly to ideological critics who insist that the corporation is fundamentally unjust." Lefever proposed that his and other think tanks would retrench their efforts to promote the morality of the corporate sector, and he specifically highlighted the need for "meticulous research and assessment" on "the attack on the multinational firms by university groups and so-called public interest lobbies."9 Buying Agitrop: from "Newspapers" to Dissertations From the start, one of IEA's rhetorical devices was to position itself as "alternative" with a combative self-image as a persecuted minority. To this end it established and endowed the "Collegiate Network" of right-wing campus newspapers. The notorious Dartmouth Review, begun in 1981, was the first.10 By 1985, the network included 58 publications.11 The number had risen to 64 in 1991 and 70 by the fall of 1993. In 1990 IEA, now called the Madison Center for Educational Affairs (MCEA) spent $330,617 on its Collegiate Network of newspapers, and a total of $1 million on all its projects.12 Aside from whatever particular scandals the Dartmouth Review or its counterparts provoke on any given campus,13 the papers give right-wing college students hands-on "journalism" training and put them on career fast track. Former Berkeley Review editor Phaedra Fisher Walker, for example, graduated in 1989 and moved quickly to the Assistant Editorship at the prestigious right-wing National Interest journal. While the spotlight has been on the Right's corporate- sponsored campus press network, university-oriented strategists have been busy on at least two other levels as well: direct funding of academic scholarship and non-student organization building. Vast corporate foundation troughs for right-wing scholars were set up especially in the fields of economics, business administration, social sciences, history, and law. In 1989, the Olin Foundation alone dispersed nearly $15 million to about 200 different institutions, including both public and private universities and several dozen "independent" think tanks.14 A similar array, but smaller number of organizations received a total of $4.8 million from the Smith-Richardson Foundation's Public Policy Program in 1989.15 The Scaife Foundation spends about $8 million annually, mostly on private right-wing think tanks, the largest recipient being the Heritage Foundation.16 The Earhart Foundation disperses about $2 million per year, and makes relatively small ($10,000) donations to scores of individual professors, mostly in departments of economics, philosophy and political science.17 These are only some of the best known right-wing foundations. Others include Coors, JM, Bradley, Gates, Kirby, the Lilly Endowment, plus the myriad in-house foundations run directly by corporations. Each major grant to a think tank, academic department or individual scholar enables the grantee to hire research assistant to produce a large proportion of the available books, monographs and journal articles on a given topic. Through this process, corporate elites perpetuate their control over debate on public issues. Organizing for Academic Rollback Not content with mere economic dominance, however, in the 1980s, the IEA network of neoconservative strategists began a methodical effort to organize faculty and students. The first manifestation was the Campus Coalition for Democracy, started in 1982 and headed by Stephen H. Balch, a professor of government at the City University of New York. Funding for the Coalition was solicited from IEA and its leading member foundations.18 In late 1984, following some of the Coalition's initial meetings, Roderic R. Richardson of the Smith-Richardson Foundation19 circulated a confidential memo, "The Report on the Universities." It proposed to distinguish between two possible anti-left strategies at the university level: "deterrence activism" versus "high-ground articulation," also termed "idea marketing." Deterrence activism, wrote Richardson, "exists purely in response to the left-wing agenda. It is not very interesting ... and it is the kind of activism sponsored heretofore. At best it is a form of cheerleading that can focus some attention on stirring media events." Instead, Richardson advocated "high ground activism" or the attempt to steal one or another high ground away from the left, by ... doing things like insisting on rigorous discussion and debates, setting up political unions, battling divestiture and other causes, not by calling their goals wrong ... but by proposing better ways of solving the problem. Student journalism is a highground approach. It is ... an approach geared to long run success.20 Keeping Tabs on Heretics About the same time that Richardson and company were trying to figure out the best strategy for academic activists, a more militant faction than the IEA neocons launched Accuracy in Academia. A spin-off of Reed Irvine's Accuracy in Media,21 AIA recruited classroom spies and began compiling a database on professors AIA labeled "left-wing propagandists." AIA's first executive director, Les Csorba, was a 22-year-old activist fresh from the University of California at Davis, where he had organized a harassment campaign against visiting lecturer Saul Landau in 1985.22 AIA's president John LeBoutillier, a former member of Congress, was then a leader of the World Anti-Communist League (WACL), as were three other members of AIA's initial advisory board. Irvine had at one time been prominent within WACL and served on its "Psychological Warfare Committee." At the time of AIA's founding in 1985, WACL was one of the most important coordinating bodies for death squad activities in Central America and elsewhere.23 While AIA was busy collecting field data on campus "subversives," the group's Latin American Counterparts were among those blowing up schools in Nicaragua, and systematically assassinating progressive students and professors in El Salvador and Guatemala. Battling the Red, the Browns, and the Blacks... In 1987, the National Association of Scholars (NAS) was started as the first concerted effort to organize right-wing faculty against "politically correct" multicultural education.24 NAS is bankrolled by the Olin and Smith- Richardson foundations, among others. Thus far, NAS has had its biggest success at the University of Texas, Austin, where the faculty group has been part of a broader, anti-progressive thrust.25 NAS entered the limelight in the spring of 1990 amidst controversy over proposed changes in a lower division writing course. In response to an increasing number of racial and sexual harassment incidents at UT, an English professor had proposed that the course include reading about civil rights issues from a sociology textbook on race and gender. NAS faculty led heated opposition to the plan, and the net outcome was that the proposed changes were tabled.26 While the writing course debate raged, NAS faculty also encouraged a right-wing student group to spearhead a successful defunding campaign of UT's Chicano student newspaper Tejas.27 Meanwhile, across the country, NAS currently claims about 1,400 members, numerous campus chapters, statewide affiliates in 17 states,28 and emerging caucuses within the American Sociological Association, the American Historical Association, and the Modern Language Association. NAS has flourished amidst a corporate media frenzy over "politically correct" campus radicals run amok.29 Media Myths, Social Realities The backdrop to this media mythology is the fact that race is increasingly a real issue in consideration of university resource allocations. A couple of trends are foreboding in this regard. While the economy is tightening and disparity grows between a small wealthy class and a majority of middle and working class people,30 there are ever more students needing to be educated, particularly in the most populous states. A recent Chronicle of Higher Education report noted that "by 2005, California's college enrollment is projected to increase by at least 700,000 students - pushing the public-college population to 2.6 million - and a larger proportion will be minority and non-traditional students."31 At the same time, propaganda against "politically correct" multicultural education is escalating. In 1990, the MCEA launched a new project called the "Student Forum," to recruit minority students who will organize against ethnic diversity in academia.32 Among those at the Student Forum's July 1990 founding conference was Supreme Court Justice Judge Clarence Thomas.33 Thus far, the Student Forum has recruited only 80 activists. But the group has published a new national magazine, Diversity, with an intended circulation of up to 100,000 copies, "distributed free on seventy select college campuses" since the fall of 1991.34 As progressive students and faculty struggle to weather across-the-board budget cuts, the corporate-backed opponents of racial, gender and class equality will try to confuse people who can't afford to sent their kids to college. They will try to define university education as a privilege - not a right of all citizens in a democratic society. Sara Diamond is author of Spiritual Warfare: The Politics of the Christian Right, and writes frequent for Z Magazine. She is completing a Ph.D. at UC Berkeley on the history of US right-wing movements. This article is reprinted with permission from Covert Action Information Bulletin, September 1991. 1For some cogent analysis on the use of the "PC" label to discredit multicultural educators, see Michael Berube, "Public Image Limited: Political Correctness and the Media's Big Lie," and Richard Goldstein, "The Politics of Political Correctness," both in Village Voice, June 18, 1991; Matthey Goodman, "The Alchemy of Bias" and Elizabeth Martinez, "Willie Horton's Gonna Get Your Alma Mater," Z Magazine, July/August 1991. 2Frank J. Donner, The Age of Surveillance. New York: Vintage, 1981. 3YAF documents collection, 1962-1975, obtained by author. 4For background on the neoconservatives, though with a strong liberal bias, see Sidney Blumenthal, The Rise of the Counter-Establishment: From Conservative Ideology to Political Power. New York: Harper & Row, 1986. 5Fred Clarkson, "Reagan Youth: The War of Ideas," Interchange Report, Winter-Spring 1985. 6Institute for Educational Affairs 1980 Annual Report. 7IEA Board Meeting Minutes, March 1, 1979. 8IEA 1980 Annual Report. 9Ernest W. Lefever, "The Corporation Project," unpublished memorandum dated July 18, 1978. 10See "Conservative Paper Stirs Dartmouth," New York Times, October 13, 1981. The Olin Foundation authorized grants totaling $150,000 for the Dartmouth Review, according to its 1990 Annual Report. 11Clarkson, op. cit., p. 24. 12Madison Center for Educational Affairs, 1990 Annual Report. 13See: Matthew L. Wald, "Students at Dartmouth Face Off Across Widening Political Divide," New York Times, January 24, 1986; Matthew L. Wald, "Dartmouth Suspends 12 for Attack on Shanties, " New York Times, February 12, 1986; and James O. Freedman, "Bigoted Students, Doting Adults," New York Times, October 11, 1990. 14John M. Olin Foundation 1989 Annual Report. 15Smith Richardson Foundation 1989 Annual Report 16Sara Scaife Foundation, Inc., IRS Form 990-PF, 1987. 17Earhart Foundation, IRS Form 990-PF, 1988. 18See Sara Diamond, "Readin', Writin', and Repressin', Z Magazine, February 1991, for details on this group. 19The Smith-Richardson Foundation has had a history of sponsoring CIA- linked media projects and leadership training programs for CIA and DOD personnel. It was also privy to some of the covert operations conducted on behalf of the Nicaraguan contras. See John S. Friedman, "Public TV's CIA Show," Nation, July 19-26, 1980, pp. 73-77, and Sara Diamond, "'Private aid' to Soviet right has official ties," Guardian, May 9, 1990. 20Inter-Department Memo, dated December 20, 1984, from R. Randolph Richardson, titled "The Report on the Universities." 21On AIM, see Louis Wolf, "Accuracy in Media Rewrites the News and History," Covert Action Information Bulletin, Spring 1984, pp. 24-28. 22See Sara Diamond, "New Right's student shock troops target CISPES," Guardian, April 17, 1985. A number of the 1980s campus activist groups - YAF, the Council for Inter-American Security, and the Moonies' Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles (CARP) - spied on the anti-intervention movement for the FBI. Required reading on this subject is Ros Gelbspan, Break-ins, Death Threats and the FBI: The Covert War Against the Central America Movement. Boston: South End Press, 1991. 23See Scott Anderson and Jon Lee Anderson. Inside the League. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1986 24Sara Diamond, "Readin', Writin', and Repressin'," Z magazine, February 1991; and a series of articles 25See Martine Torres-Aponte and Kathy Mitchell, "Capital and the Corporate Canon," Z Magazine, September 1990. The Olin Foundation gave $125,000 to NAS in 1990. Olin Foundation 1990 Annual Report, p. 21. 26For details on the controversy, see Charley MacMartin, "Multiculturalism: Right against, Left ambivalent," Guardian, March 27, 1991; and a series of articles by Kathleen S. Mangan in Chronicle of Higher Education, November 21, 1990, February 13, 1991, and February 20, 1991. 27Torres-Aponte and Mitchell, op. cit., note 25. 28Chronicle of Higher Education, December 12, 1990. 29For a useful survey of media treatment, see Laura Fraser, "The Tyranny of the Media Correct," Extra!, May/June 1991, published by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. 30For hard data on this trend, see Kevin Phillips. The Politics of Rich and Poor: Wealth and the American Electorate in the Reagan Aftermath. New York: Harper Collins, 1991. 31Mary Crystal Cage, "California's Budget Crisis Threatens Its Commitment to Provide All with Equal Access to College Education," Chronicle of Higher Education, May 15, 1991, p. A19. 32See Sara Diamond, "'Politically incorrect' minorities," Guardian, March 27, 1991, p. 9. 33Madison Center for Educational Affairs, 1990 Annual Report, p. 11. 34Ibid., p. 12.