Free Speech Attacks from The Radical Right

CLICKME to read The AFL-CIO, Communism & Right-to-Work in Missouri

Ed. While the progressive world has been distracted by the absurdist attacks on President Obama’s birth certificate, there is a far more serious and relentless attack on academic free speech itself.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Judy Ancel,  a professor of labor studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Director of the Institute for Labor Studies, is being attacked by the radical right for her lectures on unionism. Her colleague, Don Giljum, has been forced to resign because of the controversy.

Andrew Breitbart, a far right propagandist, posted edited video  (below) that claims to show Professor Judy Ancel endorsing violence as a union tactic.  “Ancel cannot deny that she and Giljum were discussing violent tactics – and in Giljum’s case, recalling his personal experience in using fear and intimidation,” according to the posting on Breitbart’s site.”

This is frightening.  If a University classroom is not the place to discuss the tactics used in labor disputes, where should such tactics be discussed?  I wonder if the right would show similar outrage at a B school class on lobbying?

The attack on labor studies at the University of Missouri  is part of an an ongoing Goebbels-like tactic by the right.   Breitbart. previously used edited videos  to accuse Shirley Sherrod, an African American official in the Obama Dept. Of Agriculture,  of racism and to defame ACORN. Both of these efforts succeeded.  Sherrod was fired and ACORN is no more.

Bill O’Reilly, the Fox  anchor,  used similar tactics successfully to defame Boyce Watkins, a professor of finance at Syracuse and successfully used similar tactics against Dr. Sami Al-Arian, professor of computer science at the University of South Florida.

Fox also went after the 78 year old sociologist Frances Fox Piven, the Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Sociology at the City University of New York.  This famous scholar  received death threats after an attack by Glenn Beck.

Here at the UW, Fox used the same tactic in a (failed) attempt against Professor Amy Hogopian.

This is not the first politically motivated attack on Professor Ancell. In 2007, UMKC Chancellor Guy Bailey, threatened to close Professor Ancel’s The Institute for Labor Studies.  The effort was blocked by faculty and union protests.

Ancel called the Internet images “chop shop manufactured videos.” and said the real intent was to chill free speech. UMKC Provost Gail Hackett aid  “This kind of attack has an enormously chilling effect,” she said.

Whatever Provost Hackett says,  Don Giljum,  the adjunct professor who helped Ancel teach the class and a former union business manager, resigned this week.


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