Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Attica Brigade


Published: n.d. [early 1970’s]
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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This packet was prepared by the Attica Brigade – a mass anti-imperialist student organization. It is designed to familiarize people with our view of what is taking place in the society, in the university, why the Attica Brigade exists and what we are doing. We feel it is important to read for it provides fresh perspective on the incredible events taking place today, as well as the beginnings of a strategy for social change.

In the last few years we have seen the Indochinese peoples suffer the heaviest bombings and worst attack that this government could throw at them and still they forced the U.S. to withdraw. We have seen thousands of prisoners at Attica militantly rise up to demand their rights and then get brutally shot down and later indicted. We have seen working people fighting back against their bosses’ dally greed, as in New York when the postal workers struck despite the use of the National Guard, as well as when millions refused to buy meat at rip-off prices. In the last three years students have been shot at Jackson State, Kent State, and most recently, at Southern University. We have also seen a man run for President on a program of law and order and six months later have his whole administration exposed as a bunch of crooks. Yes, Watergate, Lordstown, Cambodia, Wounded Knee, Southern University, dollar devaluations, the meat boycott, the Farmworkers, Attica, the Farah strike, the list goes on and on.

The important thing is that behind the campuses and our individual lives stands a backdrop of International struggle between the oppressors and the oppressed. But it’s only an illusion that the struggle is as distant as a backdrop because we are involved and affected every day of our lives. The fight for day care at Boston State and the problems we face in our relationships both stem from the oppression of women in our society. The denial of the rights of the Attica Brothers comes home to us when a disciplinary code that takes away many of our rights is brought to campuses like Boston University.

Therefore we think that, as students, not only are we affected but also that we have a role to play. We have seen how the student movement raised ideas, sparked new struggles and was a force in itself to reckon with. While the student movement had many weaknesses, it made important contributions. We want to rebuild the student movement, correcting the past weaknesses and building on a stronger basis with a clearer understanding so we can make more contributions, raise more ideas to more people and be more effective.

The Attica Brigade is a regional student organization with chapters throughout the East Coast extending into the Midwest. We don’t think we are the whole student movement or even the most important part. However, we think that it is progressive that we started last September and we are now as large as we are. This points to the basis for a mass student movement, as well as a national student organization.

In other words, as things are falling apart, we are coming together! Coming together, not around one demonstration or one issue, but against a whole system. A system that creates the Atticas, the Vietnams, and the Watergates – a system we call imperialism.


– When we think of Attica we remember the courage of people fighting for their lives against a system that tries to crush them. This is the courage we will try to work toward.
– When we think of Attica we remember the unity of Black, Brown and white brothers in a common struggle. This is the unity we must achieve.
– When we think of Attica we remember that political struggle is a part of the daily lives of many people in this country, in Vietnam, and in many countries throughout the world. It must become a part of our daily lives.
– When we think of Attica we remember that ATTICA MEANS FIGHT BACK!!!

The Attica Brigade is a mass democratic anti-imperialist student organization based on two principles:

1. Support for national liberation struggles abroad, as exemplified by the NLP-PRG of South Vietnam.
2. Support for the struggles of oppressed people at home.

We see that these struggles, both at home and abroad, are directed against one system, U.S. monopoly capitalism – imperialism.


No one in the United States believes more firmly than I do in the system of private business, private property and private profit... It was this Administration which saved the system of private profit and free enterprise after it had been dragged to the brink of ruin. President Franklin D. Roosevelt

If there was one thing that started me thinking, it was President (Franklin) Roosevelt’s cufflinks...Some of them with rubies and precious stones...and I’ll never forget I was sitting on an old tire out in the front yard and we were poor and hungry. I was sitting out there in the hot sun. There weren’t any trees and I was wondering why it is that one man could have all those cufflinks when we couldn’t have enough to eat. Peggy Terry, Welfare Rights organizer

It is a popular myth that this is an affluent society, that the people of this country have the highest standard of living in the world, or for that matter, in all history. This illusion, however, can be readily shattered by one glaring fact to the contrary – that, according to standards determined by the Federal government, more than 50% of the population lives below the poverty line. In other words, the annual income of 105 million Americans is less than $1500.

Yet it is true that individuals in this country are fabulously rich and that the nation as a whole possesses an enormous quantity of wealth. So how is it that so many are so poor? A few statistics begin to provide us with an explanation.

..1/2 of 1% of the population owns 25% of all privately held wealth in the U.S.
..1/5 of 1% controls 5&% of all common stock – only 10% of the population owns any stock at all.
..50% of the adult population of this country owns only 8.3% of the nation’s wealth.
..The top 10% of the population receives 27% of the nation’s income, while the bottom 10% receives only 1% of the nation’s income.

And so we see that the wealth of this country is concentrated in the hands of a few individuals. Turns out though that the wealth of this nation is in large part the wealth of the world. U.S. corporations control nearly 70% of the world’s oil, 50% of the world’s rubber, 55% of the world’s steel and basic metals, 45%, of the electrical power and 45% of the entire world income. At the same time, a total of 200 families own the controlling interests of every major U.S. corporation. And so the long and the short of it is that the merest handful of individuals who dominate the economy of both this nation and the world. This is the system of monopoly capitalism, or Imperialism, for they are one and the same, and it is this system that is responsible for both the oppression of people throughout the world, and the growing resistance to it.

The Imperialists are the corporation owners and the bankers; they are the Getty’s, the Rockefeller’s, the Ford’s, and their ilk, while the politicians, the judges, the cops, the university presidents, etc., are their lackeys. These are the ruling elite of America, while the rest of us must subordinate ourselves to their interests. We have to. We depend on them for employment. If we’re not employed, we depend on them for our “hand-out”, whatever form it may take (i.e. welfare, unemployment insurance, scholarships).

Besides, they make the laws. These “laws” range from tax exemptions for the rich (i.e. tax exempt bonds, depletion allowances), to some the most glaring deprivations of individual liberty for the poor (forced sterilization for welfare mothers, no-strike laws, the draft).

In the words of Ho Chi Minh, “Imperialism is a two-headed leech, with one head sucking the blood of the colonized people of the world while the other head sucks the blood of the working people of the metropolitan countries.” Not capable of being satisfied with the profits they make here at home, the bloodsuckers turn to the nations of the Third World (Africa, Asia, Latin America). Here they see vast fresh markets waiting to be plundered, badly needed outlets for investment, and plentiful sources of cheap labor.

Foreign subsidiaries provide U.S. companies with yearly profits of $10 billion. 95% of the radios and tape recorders, and 50% of the black and white TV’s sold in this country, were manufactured abroad. Two out of every ten GM vehicles are made abroad, and 44% of the employees of the Ford Motor Company are employed outside the U.S.

What does all this mean?

– It means that the workers of South Africa are paid 52 cents an hour working in the auto plants of GM, Ford, and Chrysler. For them it means that strikes, unions, and promotions to ”white” jobs are outlawed for the country’s Black majority.
– It means for the workers of Taiwan wages are an hour. That the people must submit to the dictatorship to Chiang Kai-Shek whose government is propped up by U.S. aid, and the U.S. military.
– It means that U.S. corporations own 77% of Puerto Rico’s industry, and most of its land. These companies pay wages one-third those in the U.S., and are exempt from paying taxes for up to 17 years.
– It means that throughout the world Third World people are brutally exploited and oppressed by U.S. Imperialism’s drive for greater and greater profit!
– It means that their investments in these nations are of crucial importance to the imperialists, and they will go to any lengths to protect them. This is why the United States has 3,000 military bases on foreign soil, and more than 1,200,000 troops stationed abroad. Their purpose is clear – to protect U.S. foreign investment.

...I spent 33 years and 4 months in active military service...and during that period I spent most of my time being a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the bankers. In short I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

I suspected I was just a part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all members of the military profession, I never had an original thought until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of the higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.

Thus I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American 611 interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that the Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

During those years, I had as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. I was rewarded with honors, medals, and promotion. Looking back on it, I feel I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was operate his rackets in three city districts. I operated on three continents. Major General Smedley D. Butler of the U.S. Marine Corps

To protect U.S. Investments. This is why 20,000 Marines invaded the Dominican Republic in 1965. This is why U.S.-supplied napalm is being dropped on African peasants in Angola. This is why South Vietnam possesses the world’s third largest air force, courtesy of the U.S. of A. This is why the military of this country has invaded China (1945-49), Greece (1947), Korea (1950-54). Guatemala (1954), Lebanon (1958), Cuba (1961), and the Congo (1962-64). This is the reason for the war in Indochina.

But where there is oppression – there is resistance. The people of the world are fighting back – and they’re winning! China, Cuba, North Korea, Albania, Algeria are some of the countries that have succeeded in throwing out the imperialists. And most recently we have witnessed the tremendous victories of the Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laotian peoples.

Throughout the world there is rebellion, from the Irish Republican Army, to the Palestinian Liberation Front. As the mass movements grow ever greater, and U.S. dominance becomes less and less secure, the imperialists lash out in their desperate attempts to hold down the people of the world. This is why right now, they’re bombing the Phillipines secretly, much the same as with Cambodia three years ago. But make no mistake about it – the people are gonna win!

Imperialism, like a sword, is double-edged. With one thrust it sears both the people abroad and the people at home. For example, as U.S. corporations move their plants abroad to take advantage of cheap labor there, workers here at home lose their jobs. This is one reason for the rising unemployment in this country. Another Is that corporate heads are laying some workers off while speeding the rest up. This means fewer wages to pay out, while maintaining, or actually increasing productivity. Higher profits for the imperialists, while workers are driven to the brink of collapse. In Detroit, one auto worker reacted by shooting his foreman, because he kept speeding up the assembly line. The jury (fellow auto workers) acquitted him, saying he had acted in self-defense.

Speed up, and plants running away to other countries, are only a couple of the ways in which the ruling class is attacking the people of this country. We can see it happening all over: rising prices -frozen wages; federal, state, and city cutbacks in welfare, day care funds, social services; attacks on open admissions; police brutality in the community – especially Black and Latin communities; spying on people and the abrogation of their civil liberties (such as the planned TV surveillance of Times Square); the list goes on and on.

Almost all the people of this country are oppressed by monopoly capitalism but three groups stand out for enduring the brunt of the attacks. Working people; Black, Latin and other Third World people; and women. These three groups are the pillars of imperialism. Without the “special” treatment each group receives, this system could not survive.

Workers create the wealth of society, and the exploitation of that wealth is the basis of the bosses’ power. The lower the wages, the faster they work, the fewer the benefits, and the longer the hours, all add up to more profit for the bosses, and more trouble for the workers.

Third World workers receive special treatment – they’re the last hired and the first fired. They get the dirtiest Jobs at the lowest pay. Their unemployment rate is double and triple that of whites. But oppression of Third World people doesn’t end on the job. They’re forced to live in crowed ghettos, in the worst housing; the police terrorize their neighborhoods; and heroin is flooded into their communities. They receive the worst educations, and are discriminated against in school – all of this and more adds up to one thing – white supremacy. And this institution of white supremacy is backed up by an ideology – white chauvinism.

While the Imperialists use white supremacy to make super-profits off of Third World people, they use white chauvinism to justify their actions. While they use lower wages for Third World workers to keep wages down for all workers, while they use the unemployed masses of Black and Latin people as a reserve army of labor to be used when needed and to threaten employed workers with when not, they use white chauvinism to turn people against each other and away from their real enemy.

Imperialism uses women in much the same way. Women have the highest unemployment in the country. They receive the lowest wages and have the worst job conditions. And for Third World women it’s double jeopardy – because they get it from both ends. Working women work two jobs-at work, and at home. A housewife spends an average of 99 hours a week taking care of her household and family. This work all goes unpaid, and is one of the greatest sources of slave labor for the imperialists. Women with young children, who can’t find day care, are forced to go on welfare. 55.5% of all people on welfare are children, and 18.6% are mothers, 40% of these women would be able to work if day care was provided.

While suffering gross material oppression, women must also bear the daily humiliation of a male chauvinist society. Their bodies are used to sell products and women are prodded to buy what they don1 need. Women ages 18-24 make up the biggest consumer market in the country; and it is a market largely for artificial products (feminine hygiene spray). Women are told that their lives should revolve around their man, and in school they are tracked into those fields considered appropriate for women. Male chauvinism, like white chauvinism, is a tool of the ruling class to divide and conquer.

Because women, workers, and Third World people are the most oppressed, they are the ones that will fight against imperialism the hardest. Because they have the least to lose, and the most to gain, because they have the least choice in the matter, they are the people who will lead the fight against Imperialism, and will see that fight through to the end. And fight back they do – whether it’s Chicana women leading the strike against the world’s largest manufacturer of men’s slacks, Willie Farah, or Third World prisoners leading the rebellion at Attica State Prison.

Black, Latin, women and working class students take the lead in campus struggles as well -from the students at Southern University fighting to make their university serve the needs of Black people, to women leading the attack against military recruiters at Boston University.

If we want to win the fight against Imperialism we have to follow and encourage the leadership of those who will lead us to victory. Imperialism is one system. It attacks people at home and abroad, and if it is to be defeated, it must be beaten in both places. We have to realize that all our different fights are really one fight, that against a common enemy. We have to stand strong and together, for in unity there is strength!


In order to understand the importance of the student movement and what we can do, it is important to understand who we are and where we are. First of all, in terms of numbers there are over six million of us in this country. We are a group that cuts across class and racial lines and therefore are in a lot of ways different. But we are also alike.

One way we are alike is that we find ourselves at schools which, like every other institution in this society, are run for the profit of the few and at the expense of the many. We are faced with skyrocketing costs of education, less and less financial aid, alienating courses, and lousy food in the cafeterias. Imperialism uses the university to socialize us, train us, and propagandize us with all the reactionary ideas that are necessary for us to be used as good, docile servants by imperialism in the futures male chauvinism, white chauvinism, elitism, professionalism and so on. We are kept off the job market for four extra years so that the ranks of the unemployed won’t swell even larger. If we are Third World or working class, we face the same oppression that we will face when we leave the university, although in a less intense way.

While we are in the university, we are at a point where we have more leisure time than most in order to think, read and question. It is at this point that we formulate many of our views and define our lives for the future. But if we really want to learn and investigate, we can’t confine ourselves to learning in classes or reading. Often we learn the most by getting involved and through work. The lessons of the student movement most often came in trying to accomplish something, whether it was organizing a demonstration, fighting a certain policy like the war or trying to help other people like the Farmworkers. Fred Hampton, a slain member of the Black Panther Party, once said, “You can have every degree in the thermometer (college degree) but if you ain’t got no social practice, you can’t walk across the street and chew gum at the same time.”

Therefore while we are not the group that is going to lead or the most oppressed, we do have energy, time and interest, and therefore often will move the first. And when we move we set political fires wherever we go, galvanizing others to take action.

This is certainly pointed to by the many struggles the student movement in the past has participated in, the ideas we have popularized and the victories we have won. As a group fighting on campus we had many successes. The sharp militant struggles around military recruiting, war research and ROTC led to administrators being forced to ban recruiting, to disband units and close down research centers. In New York City, we won open admissions for many more working class and Third World people to go to school. The Panther 21 and other political prisoners would not have been freed were it not for the pressure that we, along with others, exerted. The Farmworkers would not have won the grape strike as soon if not for our building support for the boycott. And finally, we helped initiate the civil rights movement and made up the backbone of the anti-war movement.

The principal arena for this struggle will be the campuses, where we can wage two types of fights. First, we can fight for things we need. Open admissions, no tuition, better food, smaller classes, work-study are all things that improve our lives but are denied us by administrations that are more concerned with profit than with people. Secondly, we must fight against the use of the university for imperialist aggression and suppression. Imperialism uses the university and its professors to develop better techniques for police control in the ghetto, military control in Indochina and subversion of governments around the world. In this way we can concretely aid the struggles of people around the world.

In the past the student movement has made another contribution: spreading anti-imperialist ideas throughout society. This happens as a spinoff from the struggles on campus or when we graduate and bring our ideas to where we work and live. Often just talking to our families, friends and neighbors we spread our views. Consciousness about the war, civil rights and repression, and women’s liberation became mass ideas but originated on campus.

Whether the struggle is for national liberation, women’s rights, the fight against racial and national oppression or for a higher standard of living, six million college students are an important force and tremendous communicators of ideas. We should not become arrogant and think we are the only group, the most important group, or the group that leads. Our role must be subordinate to that of Third World and working class people. But we should also not minimize or underestimate our important role in the fight against imperialism.

This type of militant student movement stands out most clearly in people’s minds with the initials SDS. Everyone in the country said SDS when they talked about student activism. We felt that the student movement was broader than SDS for the Black Student Unions as well as some Puerto Rican organizations played major roles and provided real leadership. Since 1969, however, many BSU’s have turned into cultural organizations and for all intents and purposes SDS fell apart. The last few years have seen mass upsurges, as in the strike of 1970 around Cambodia, and isolated actions, but basically the student movement was much weaker than before.

We in the Attica Brigade feel that a weak student movement is a setback for the people’s struggle against imperialism. Therefore we are committed to helping to rebuild, along with others, the student movement. We must at the same time correct many of the errors of the sixties. We must fight the white chauvinism and male chauvinism that is inherent in any group under imperialism. We have to learn new ways of talking with people, new tactics, new forms of organization in which people with different levels of political unity can still unite. And last but not least, we must have principles and an analysis to use as a guide for our work and a standard upon which to judge our work.

For these reasons the Attica Brigade is a mass anti-imperialist student organization. We want to be a mass organization because many people can join a mass organization with a minimal level of agreement. In a mass organization conclusions are reached collectively and democratically and at the speed everyone wants to. We are anti-imperialist because we think that imperialism, specifically U.S. imperialism, is the main enemy of the people of the world. And we are an organization because no organization means no consistent work and bursts of energy with no direction. It means no day-to day work. No organizing. No new people. No real struggles. Just more ad hoc demonstrations called by small isolated groups that usually don’t work.

We are now after one year’s time a regional organization with chapters throughout New York, in Philadelphia, western Pennsylvania, Baltimore, Providence, Boston, as well as the Midwest. We unite around two principles of unity. The first is support for the struggles of oppressed people at home (workers, Black people, Latin people, women, prisoners) and the second is support for the struggles of oppressed peoples abroad (the Indochinese, Blacks in South Africa and the people of Puerto Rico, etc.). We know that the oppression of people, at home and abroad, comes from the imperialists and it is against them that the people will show their fiery resistance. In order for us to support the struggles of the people, to fight for our own needs, and to defeat imperialism, we must unite many people.

Our own past, and lessons we’ve drawn from studying other struggles, have shown us that our only real strength is when masses of people unite and move together. Small groups can’t do it, even small groups of committed, serious people. We see our task as one of organizing people, of winning new people to the struggle against Imperialism.

We plan and will continue to plan all our demonstrations, programs, activities with that idea -uniting all those who can be united to fight imperialism. We see that we must do more than Just education and talking to people. We must focus on institutions like schools, and make real demands, like open admissions for Black and Brown students. We try to win those demands. We use tactics that help us to win over people and to win our demands, and don’t use any tactics that don’t. A tactic is a tool we use to fight imperialism. That’s what we mean by having our politics determine our tactics, or putting politics in command.

We don’t see any one tactic as always good, or always militant. We see the need to decide things on a political basis – who do we want to reach? What point do we want to make? What would success look like? Only after discussing and deciding the political goals can we decide what tactics to use to achieve them.

A lot of demonstrations in the past had no real goals or plans, so any tactics that people felt like using were tried. Many of the demonstrations and programs put forward a politic of single issue anti-war work based on liberal guilt. So their tactics were always quiet marches and silent acts of witness.

We want to put anti-imperialism in command. We want to link up struggles, and fight for real demands. And we want to win.

To win, we realize mass militant action is needed. We don’t see militance always as how much damage we do, or how tough we are. True militance has two aspects. It advances our understanding of the system we are up against and’ it builds our strength and ability to fight.

Understanding without fighting means we are arm-chair radicals. Fighting without an understanding means bursts of energy with no real target. We have to join both. Fight with a real understanding. Always trying to fight harder and understand more. Not just twice a year at big demonstrations, but all the time on many levels.

And finally to correct two of the errors of the past and to strengthen our movement, we must combat white chauvinism and male chauvinism in our organization, as well as among the masses of students.

To unite everyone who wants to fight imperialism and to fight white chauvinism in the Brigade, we must encourage Third World students to join the Attica Brigade. White organizations are fertile grounds for the growth of white chauvinism. We must encourage Third World leadership within the Brigade. This will only happen through patient day to day practice and not through rhetoric about smashing racism or through glib promises. We must also help to build, work with and support Black and Latin student organizations.

We must also encourage women to take leadership in the organization’s work. Defeating male chauvinism means fighting oppression of women in the Left and men learning to take on the tasks usually relegated to women.

Making these corrections enable us to fight harder. To deeper and continue the fight in New York for open admissions and financial aid, at Boston University against ROTC, at Antioch College in support of campus workers, and on Long Island for improved conditions on campus. We will be able to continue and make more effective our work around the Attica indictments and Indochina in the fall. And together we will win.


If we want to attack imperialism people have asked, why focus on the university and what it does? Shouldn’t we just attack the government and big business?

The Attica Brigade believes that it is important to fight around off-campus issues. For example, we have helped build anti-war demonstrations, which were directed at the government.

On the other hand, we see that it is important to expose what the university is and attack what it does because the university upholds and furthers the interests of imperialism.

First of all, the university helps to reproduce a social structure in which a few rich people run things and Third World, working people and women are kept at the bottom. College trains people to fill higher level positions. Without that college degree a whole range of better paying, more prestigious and more powerful jobs are closed to us. How comfy the jobs we are slotted for varies between colleges and within colleges. People who go to Harvard are trained to become government officials, executives, lawyers, doctors, scientists, etc. People who go to Boston State are pointed towards jobs like teaching or lower level management. Out-of-state residents at many a state university receive an education designed to put them in better jobs than the education in-state residents get.

Given that the university channels people into certain kinds of positions in society, who gets to go to college? High tuition is the main factor limiting a college education, especially at a private school, to students from rich or middle-income backgrounds. The places where people receive training for the highest jobs are the places that generally cost the most. Public universities were set up in response to the demands of people who couldn’t afford to send their kids to private schools. But increasingly we find that the costs of public universities are skyrocketing along with the private ones. Many students make it through school only by obtaining scholarships and loans and others are altogether unable to afford an education. Many of us who have been able to finance our education through various forms of aid are finding it harder to continue schooling. Financial aid cutbacks are standard at almost every college across the country. It is so great in some areas that at Antioch College financial aid students left with no recourse closed down the campus earlier this spring to demand continued aid. Third World students at Brandeis University took over the administration building to demand increased aid to meet the raise in tuition.

So raises in tuition and cutbacks in financial aid are more and more excluding Third World and working class people and increasingly making a college degree the exclusive property of children of the rich.

But college costs are not the only factor that limits enrollment. The proportion of Third World people in college is far lower than their percentage of the U.S. population. This is partially because most Third World people cannot afford to go to college but also because of the white supremacist admissions policies. Many universities still have quotas on Third World student enrollment. This is why open admissions, the right of any high school graduate, regardless of race or sex, to attend a particular college, is so important to Third World people, as well as working class people, and is so distasteful to the people who run the schools.

Women are also disproportionately represented in universities. Societal values in general, and high school tracking in particular, discourage women from furthering their education and encourage them to become housewives and/or secretaries. Colleges support this male chauvinist ideology by admitting far fewer women than men. Thus, women also gain from open admissions.

So we find that working people, Third World people and women are underrepresented in, if not excluded from, this institution that slots people for the higher paying, more powerful positions in our society.

Increasingly, however, college graduates are finding that they can’t get the better jobs that were promised to them after they got their degree. In recent years, for example, over half the Harvard graduating class has been unemployed the year after graduation. This is because jobs are getting scarcer – not because fewer people are needed to perform the services but because the employers aren’t willing to pay out more salaries; teaching is a good example of this. Also, many jobs are being downgraded, i.e. less initiative is allowed on the job, fewer qualifications are needed to get it, and the salary is lowered. So universities are increasingly becoming a way-station to keep us off an already glutted job market for four more years.

Another function of the university is to give students the technical skills, knowledge and attitudes necessary to preserve monopoly capitalism. Both in technical fields and in the social sciences, what we learn is determined by what the imperialists need. For example, courses on national liberation struggles are not taught from the perspective of how the people can win them out of how the imperialists can prevent or suppress them. When we study ghetto rebellions, we are taught they occurred because Black kids were out for kicks, not because Black people were rebelling against their oppression. While we don’t think it’s bad for people to learn the technical skills that will enable us to design better machinery, we have to realize that a lot of the technology we develop is technology used to repress people, e.g. developing better weaponry to use in Vietnam.

Along with whatever skills we learn, we are taught the Idea that our learning makes us special, better than people who haven’t had a chance to acquire those skills. This ideology justifies not using our knowledge to serve the people and divides us from people with whom in reality we have common interests.

Finally, the university often directly collaborates with the government in its imperialist adventures. This is particularly evident at Boston University, where President Silber has defied a student referendum in order to allow military recruiting. Harvard, B.U. and Tufts are preparing to reinstate ROTC. A lot of war and counter-insurgency research is done on campuses. Two-thirds of MIT’s budget consists of grants from the Department of Defense. Military devices such as the helicopter stabilization unit* have been developed there. The microwave cover for B-52 bombers was perfected at Stanford. Both of these have been used for the war in Indochina. Research on methods of social control for use at home and abroad is also conducted at universities. There have been studies on electro and chemo-therapudic methods of behavior modification, for use especially in prisons; on how to pacify school children; on how to crush ghetto rebellions, and so on. Samuel Huntingdon’s leopard-spots program, the U.S strategy for controlling Vietnamese peasants, was developed at Harvard. Universities also provide the government with many of its top advisors and strategists. Henry Kissinger, for example, used to teach at Harvard.

It helps us to understand the real nature of the university if we look at what the university means to campus workers. Colleges advertise about how wonderful it is to work there because of the “enlightened atmosphere”. Actually, the pay is lousy, workers are sped up (Radcliffe has consistently Increased the amount of space a maid is required to clean), few Third World people are hired, and women are put in dead-end jobs. Campus workers at many schools are trying to unionize, despite university opposition. The administration tries to complicate matters by manipulating how the bargaining units are set up so that they are difficult to organize, or else by pushing a company union. Sounds like most employers? Right. The university is a profit-making corporation like all the others.

Another way to see the true nature of the university is to simply see who owns it. A quick glance at the trustees list of any school, whether public or private, will reveal the names of giant corporate heads. Four of the five largest financial empires in the U.S. (the Morgan’s, Rockefeller’s, Kuhn-Loeb’s, and Du Pont’s) have representatives either on the Harvard Corporation or Board of Overseers. These men have the last word as to what happens at their campus and generally see that things run according to their interests.