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Title:McCarthyism, New and Old: Today’s Culture Wars in Historical Context
Duration:01:00:22
Viewed:444
Published:13-10-2021
Source:Youtube

State legislatures prohibiting “anti-American” teaching. Vigilante groups publishing lists of “unpatriotic teachers.” Committees investigating who teaches what and where. Books banned. Paranoid rumors about brainwashing vulnerable youth.

All of the above is happening right now, affecting thousands of teachers. Rightwing politicians and cynical operators are whipping up public sentiment about “Critical Race Theory” as a subversive plot against America.

We have been here before. From the 1940s through the 1960s, reactionaries used anti-Communism as a weapon to attack educators at every level. Thousands were investigated, many jobs were lost, and “loyalty oaths” were required for decades. Textbooks were sanitized as patriotic myths took the place of careful analyses of evidence.

McCarthyism expert Ellen Schrecker explained how the current assault on teaching the truth reprises the outrages of the Cold War red scare.

Jennifer Ruth of the AAUP and Jesse Hagopian of the Zinn Education Project described what’s happening today and how teachers at every level are combatting it. Historian Van Gosse moderated the discussion.

Ellen Schrecker is the pre-eminent historian of McCarthyism, author of No Ivory Tower: McCarthyism and the Universities; Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America; and the forthcoming The Lost Promise: American Universities in the 1960s. She is also a noted expert on academic freedom. In this webinar, she will discuss the New McCarthyism and the attack on K-12 teachers, and what we can learn from past battles. Read her article Trumpism is the new McCarthyism. Explaining what McCarthyism was, Historians for Peace and Democracy issued her “Broadside for the Trump Era” in 2017.

Presented by Historians for Peace and Democracy and Massachusetts Peace Action. The Zinn Education Project and Radical Teacher cosponsored.

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