Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Michael Friedly

Poster attacks alleged political ties of Chang

First Published: The Stanford Daily, Volume 197, Issue 60, 18 May 1990.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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An anonymous poster distributed around campus yesterday accuses Gordon Chang, who has been offered a tenured professorship at Stanford, of being a leader of a secretive Marxist-Leninist organization, the League of Revolutionary Struggle. 

Declaring in bold letters, “He’s a slime,” the poster attacks Chang as an “ ’overseas Chinese’ muckety-muck in a Maoist party.” It goes on to detail Chang’s alleged involvement in a Maoist organization named I Wor Kuen that merged with another group to form the League.

Chang could not be reached last night for comment.

Chang resigned last year from a lectureship at Stanford because of a highly charged dispute over professorial appointments. Several student organizations worked last year to gain a tenure-track professorship for Chang, who taught Stanford’s only class in Asian-American studies. He took a tenure-track position in the history department of UC-Irvine.

The poster is modeled after posters recently distributed by the Stanford Central American Action Network that labeled students, staff and faculty members as subversives as part of SCAAN’s guerrilla theater project to raise awareness about death squads in Central America.

A number of students involved in the Asian-American community released a statement late last night attacking the poster. The poster “represents a return to the McCarthyist tactics that wrongly limited academic freedom in the 19505,” the statement said.

“Teachers should be judged by their academics, not through their supposed political life,” according to the statement. The statement was signed by a number of officers in the Asian American Student Association, including chair Edward Morimoto and former chair Joseph Park.

No group had claimed responsibility for the posters as of late yesterday.

But the wording of the poster is very similar to a paper titled “Maoism Down on the Farm” written by Tom Terrell, a former employee of the Recycling Center who has researched the League and other leftist organizations for a number of years. Although once sympathetic to Marxist ideology, he has since become staunchly anti-communist.

The paper details the involvement of the League at Stanford, naming a number of students and staff members as members of the League.

Terrell visited the Daily offices Wednesday night requesting back issues of the paper. The photograph of Chang appearing on the poster was taken by a Daily photographer, and it has appeared with numerous Daily articles during the last year.

An individual fitting Terrell’s general description was spotted hanging the posters by several people, including Nan Bentley, a History Department administrator. Chaparral editor David Hyatt also saw a man fitting Terrell’s description distributing the posters.

Terrell could not be reached last night for comment.

The accusations play upon “a lot of racist stereotypes ... of Asians being sneaky, subversive and manipulative,” according to Elsa Tsutaoka, office manager of the Asian American Activities Center.

The accusations against Chang are “really unfortunate because we’re right in the middle of trying to convince him to come here,” said Jean Kim, director of graduate residences.

“I think this is really low,” said economics graduate student Masao Suzuki, who has been active in the Asian American Student Association’s attempt to get a tenured professor position.