Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Editorial: Appalling fliers

McCarthyesque fliers stifle an atmosphere of free and open debate

First Published: The Stanford Daily, Volume 197, Issue 62, 22 May 1990.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The anonymous flier accusing Prof. Gordon Chang of membership in a secret Marxist-Leninist group is the worst type of slime – it’s McCarthyesque slander by innuendo.

Although the flier is protected under the First Amendment, it combines the worst aspects of free speech: unsubstantiated, defamatory comments by an individual (or group of individuals) who will not even put his or her name on the paper.

That’s shameful.

The University should strongly condemn this flier and the use of those types of red-baiting tactics.

In addition, it is important to repair the damage now done to Chang and the Asian-American community.

The flier does not mention Chang’s highly distinguished scholarship and academic credentials. He is admired and respected in academic circles, and the United States government grants him high-level security clearance.

The search committee for the newly created Asian-American studies tenure-track position reviewed Chang’s credentials and found him, along with another professor, to be an excellent scholar and utterly qualified for that position. Years of planning, thought and discussion went into the creation of a tenure-track Asian-American studies professorship.

The outcome of the process was desirable for both the Asian-American community and the Stanford community as a whole.

And despite the ill feelings Chang feels toward Stanford because of this controversy, we hope that he will still decide to come to Stanford. It would be unfortunate if this incident deterred qualified people of color from accepting professorships here.

This episode represents another chapter in the continuing struggle of students of color organizations on campus.

Students should not have the impression that these groups are controlled by the League of Revolutionary Struggle. The implication that these groups and their statewide alliances are “dupes” and “front groups” for a secretive Marxist-Leninist organization insults the intelligence and commitment of students involved in those groups and demeans the progress and advancements they have made on this campus.

It also attempts to negate the positive advancements the groups have made for all students at Stanford.

These groups have been successful at promoting educational reform at Stanford and elsewhere. Their work is both legitimate and important, and students must respect their accomplishments.

Yet the insinuation by some seems to be that all students of color who talk about socialism or communism are members of the League of Revolutionary Struggle. 

Nothing could be further from the truth.

This campus must live up to its potential as a university, a place where ideas are debated freely and exchanged openly.

McCarthyesque fliers like the ones distributed last week only harm that type of atmosphere.