Ellen Schrecker on the Attack on Academic Freedom

This week on CounterSpin: As an historic catastrophe, the deep and myriad impacts of Israel’s assault on Palestinians will not be fully understood until years from now, if then. That only adds urgency to present-day resistance to the collateral assault—on the ability to witness, to record and to remember. And of course to protest. The violent, state-sponsored attacks on college students and faculty across the country, who are standing in solidarity with Palestinians and opposed to colleges’ investment in the war and occupation, are showcasing many things—among them the abandonment by many educational institutions of their responsibility to protect not only students, but the space in which they can speak and learn freely.

When we spoke with historian Ellen Schrecker in 2017, she noted that the power of the movement associated with Joseph McCarthy was not the man himself, but the “collaboration of the employers, of the mainstream media, of the legal system, you name it, to go along with this anti-Communist purge.” And while many people feel comforted that McCarthy the man was eventually censured by the Senate, the truth is “the American political spectrum narrowed [and] a whole bunch of ideas and causes kind of disappeared from American political discourse and American political life.”

We hear again today from historian and author Ellen Schrecker, co-editor of the new book The Right to Learn: Resisting the Ring-Wing Attack on Academic Freedom, from Beacon Press.

Plus Janine Jackson takes a quick look at recent press coverage of Amazon.

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