Labor Studies Professor: Andrew Breitbart's 'Electronic Brownshirts'

Hitler represents of one of the most atrocious periods in the history of the entire world. His twelve year reign had a profound impact on the lives of many. Throughout the years of 1933 and 1945, Hitler invaded ten countries , including Poland, where one side of my stepfather’s family lived until 1940, when they were forcefully removed and put into concentration camps. The first husband of his mother was a Polish officer, and shortly after Hitler and Stalin signed the Nazi Soviet Non-Aggression pact, he and other Polish officers were taken from their families, brought into the Katyn Forest, and summarily executed – simply for being Polish officers.

Under the Nazi regime, it is estimated that as many as between 11 million and 17 million civilians were killed – nearly 6 million of those exterminated solely for being Jewish. It’s been only 78 years since Hitler and the Nazi regime’s rise to power, and their reign remains an open wound – in the context of history, this is still a very recent occurrence. Survivors of this period are still with us today, as are first and second generation family members , many of whom are right here in the United States.

That’s why on May 18th , when I saw a post in the Guardian titled Andrew Breitbart’s ‘Electronic Brownshirts’, my hair stood on end. Who could write such a title? The author turned out to be none other than Amy Goodman, who hosts the famously popular daily progressive news program “Democracy Now“, and is also frequently referred to as a respected “progressive journalist“, investigative reporter and peace advocate. It was a post in defense of the controversial labor studies course that was the recent focus of a BigGovernment expose.

As someone who writes and conducts research for Andrew Breitbart, I could not immediately move past that title. Here, it brought back conversations I’d had with family members about this period in history, people who lived through that time. And reading the title back, it just seemed so repulsive, so disrespectful – as though I too was just smeared as a “Brownshirt”. Granted, I have no connection to the story about the labor studies course, but if Andrew is associated as a Brownshirt, we’re all associated as Brownshirts. At least, that’s how the title alone read.

Why would someone like Goodman, who is supposedly respected in her profession, go to such extremes to draw a modern day comparison to such horrors –she is obviously intelligent enough to know that her actions and words demean the experiences lived by real victims and remaining survivors.

As I trudged through her post, I realized that the headline was not just selected by Ms. Goodman, but that the phrase “electronic brownshirts” was actually muttered by Judy Ancel, director of the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s institute for labor studies.

“These kinds of attacks are the equivalent of electronic brownshirts. They create so much fear, and they are so directed against anything that is progressive – the right to an education, the rights of unions, the rights of working people – I see, are all part of an overall attack to silence the majority of people and create the kind of climate of fear that allows for us to move very, very sharply to the right. And it’s very frightening.”

You may recognize Ancel. She is Professor Judy Ancel of University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), and taught an “Introduction to Labor Studies” course simultaneously with Professor Don Giljum of University of Missouri-Saint Louis (UMSL) through a live-link of the two classrooms. The controversial course is said to have incorporated the recruiting efforts of the Communist Party, and advocated a number of radical labor tactics, among other things. Since the videos have surfaced, the two teachers and their supporters have been parroting the meme that Andrew Breitbart deceptively edited the videos, which in reality, were taped and edited by completely unaffiliated parties to Breitbart or the Big sites. Apparently, editing 30 hours of coursework into small video segments is considered deceptive. Nonetheless, search Google now for “Breitbart” + “Ancel” and you’ll find pages and pages’ worth of the mindless “editing” meme in a desperate attempt to discredit the videos in the only way leftists know how – try to discredit the individuals who filmed it and posted it.

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One brave UMSL student has tried to expose the truth, against his school’s wishes. Philip Christofanelli took his firsthand account to, where he explained in great detail and accuracy exactly what he witnessed as a student in the “Introduction to Labor Studies” course. In an appearance alongside Andrew Breitbart with David Asman of FOX News, Mr. Christofanelli, a calm, well-spoken student, described that some of the academic materials consisted of a text book authored by Michael Yates, editor of the Socialist publication, “Monthly Review and an economist who “advocates a socialist view of economics.” He went on to describe some of the radical labor tactics that were discussed in the course, as well as recruiting efforts for the Communist Party.

When asked if any alternative viewpoint was offered to balance out the socialist and communist viewpoints with any that were remotely pro-capitalist, Mr. Christofanelli explains that there was not – a point that pushes the boundaries of what’s considered Academic Freedom and what crosses the line into indoctrination.

Since speaking out, Christofanelli has received a letter from UMSL threatening disciplinary action if he does not call and schedule an appointment to speak with the Assistant Provost about the incident.

None of this has prevented “award-winning journalist” Amy Goodman from concocting her own narrative of this story. Among the “slew of deceptively edited videos” she cites as examples of Andrew Breitbart’s brownshirt-like existence is that of Shirley Sherrod. And true to form, Ms. Goodman takes her cue from every other leftist outlet that has propagandized this narrative, and drops the same tired falsehoods into her piece. Like this one, for example.

“He [Breitbart] showcased the edited video of Shirley Sherrod, an African American employee of the US department of agriculture, which completely convoluted her speech, making her appear to admit to discriminating against a white farmer. She was fired as a result of the cooked-up controversy.”

While people have generally focused on the videos in the aforementioned post, what is so often neglected is the actual text of what’s written in the post to expand upon the video. Almost always excluded from the re-telling of the story is one of the important redemptive statements acknowledging that Sherrod eventually helped the white farmer.

Without BOTH the written content and the video together, the story loses important information. The very act that the left has repeatedly accused Andrew Breitbart of doing is what the left has been doing all along. It’s called projection, and yes sadly, it was a Nazi propaganda technique.

Goodman also writes,

“On 18 April, Andrew Breitbart appeared on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show, declaring, “We are going to take on education next, go after the teachers and the union organizers.” It looks as if Ancel and Giljum were the first targets of that attack.”

I’m quite sure it advances Ms. Goodman’s own narrative to manipulate things to appear as though this were part of some sinister underhanded plot that Andrew Breitbart masterminded. But what Andrew was referring to during that Hannity appearance is a future endeavor he’s spoken about for over two years now – it’s called Big Education, to complement the other Big sites. Andrew told Glenn Beck all about his future plans for Big Education last February, 2010:

“What I want to do is use the ACORN strategy and go university by university, classroom by classroom, freshman orientation by freshman orientation and say ‘no more, get your grubby hands off of our kids.”

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Andrew first reminded us of his plans for Big Education in 2009 when he launched Big Journalism. And he reminded us again at CPAC in February of 2010, when he warned professors of pending citizen journalists on campus. He told Time Magazine about Big Education in March of 2010. And the Associated Press in August of 2010. The point is, Andrew has told countless outlets over the last two years about Big Education and its aim to expose leftist anti-capitalist indoctrination and labor intimidation tactics that are rampant in our schools and universities all across the country, in a setting where students are most vulnerable and are often not offered any opposing viewpoints.

After tracking the way that the Left has consistently smeared Andrew Breitbart with labels that are based not on facts, but on narratives crafted around repressive tolerance, it’s hard to believe that Goodman or Ancel would dare use the comparison “electronic brownshirts.” But it drives the point home that education is where so many of these viewpoints develop and are nourished. Meanwhile, the propaganda techniques of the left are not so far apart from those they criticize. If you influence others in the mainstream to be intolerant of the truth, eventually the intolerant view will prevail – that’s repressive tolerance as simplified as I can state it. The false narrative about Andrew Breitbart has become the tolerated viewpoint on the left – if it’s a video, it must have been deceptively edited. It doesn’t matter if you provide the transcript, or the full video, the narrative is “deceptive editing.”

While I am tempted to draw some comparisons to the Nazis in the left’s tactics, and offer some warnings to the right, I think I for one have had enough of such comparisons for one week. Our readers likely can do without it as well. Let’s have a little respect for people in this world who have actually been REAL victims of the history created by Hitler.


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