Of course, Hillary is no such thing, and a female got impregnated by male sperm in the usual way. But all this lying is by design. Leftists have conditioned people to believe anything, and then tell all their friends. The goal is humiliation, because, as Theodore Dalrymple said, “A society of emasculated liars is easy to control.”
“You are part of my dominion, and the ground that I am seated upon is mine, nor has anyone disobeyed my orders with impunity. Therefore, I order you not to rise onto my land, nor to wet the clothes or body of your Lord.” – King Canute, to the ocean, as chronicled by Henry of Huntingdon in AD 1129.
It is unclear, as I write this in AD 2016, how many know the story of Canute or what happened next: “But the sea carried on rising as usual without any reverence for his person, and soaked his feet and legs.”
One might be forgiven for thinking that humans have learned something about the quality of their leaders since 1129. But kings still walk among us, as do their followers.
“This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow, and our planet began to heal.” – Barack Obama, to the oceans, after winning the Democratic primaries in AD 2008.
Although Canute did not make his pronouncement in a stadium of screaming fans far from the sea, the primary difference between the two men is not that Canute confronted his opponent. But Canute did command “with the greatest vigor” that his throne “should be set on the shore when the tide began to rise.” And, seated upon that throne, “he spoke to the rising sea.”
Nor can the difference between the two men be estimated by the caliber of their followers. Canute’s men were snickering at him from the beach, while Obama’s followers were cheering deliriously, and writing profusely about the “Lightworker.”
San Francisco columnist Mark Morford, who chronicled the rise of His Holiness Barack I in AD 2008, was prescient enough not to name for posterity the “deeply spiritual” people – “not coweringly religious, mind you” – who identified Obama as “that rare kind of attuned being who has the ability to lead us not merely to new foreign policies or health care plans or whatnot, but who can actually help usher in a new way of being on the planet, of relating and connecting and engaging with this bizarre earthly experiment.”
The biggest difference between Canute and Barack is what they did after the sea proved them wrong. Canute is not remembered for his response, and it would be hubris on my part to say that Obama will be remembered for his. But the two men reacted very differently.
King Canute walked out of the sea and delivered his real message: “All the inhabitants of the world should know that the power of kings is vain and trivial, and that none is worthy the name of king but He whose command the heaven, earth and sea obey by eternal laws.”
Barack, on the other hand, doubled down. Not satisfied with his vain war against the oceans, he declared war on war itself. Speaking in AD 2013 at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., he said, “This war, like all wars, must end. That’s what history advises. That’s what our democracy demands.”
War responded by declaring a new Caliphate – dedicated to the utter destruction of the West – in AD 2014.
Re the faculty response to the University of Chicago “safe spaces” letter.
First, can I get some muscle over here? Because the free speech of Leftists stampeding toward their safe spaces can never be legitimately interrupted by concrete pressures of the political.
Second, noted domestic-terrorist-turned-educator Bill Ayers approvingly uses the term “participatory democracy” to describe Venezuela, so if that’s the kind of society you want we’ll see each other across the barricades.
Third, in Newspeak “more discussion, not less” means “shut up” and “openness, not closure” means “did you hear me I told you to shut up you ugly fascist.”
Finally, I understand you want to appear inclusive, but we know that “learning from a wealth of histories and experiences” means “the experiences of Milo Yiannopolous and Hirsi Ali are triggering so we’ll ban them from campus and if that doesn’t work we’ll harass and threaten them loudly and fearlessly.”
Yeah, students have every right to speak up. But when universities allow large numbers of revolutionary young people to become courageous and daring pathbreakers, professors become harassed elderly intellectuals who have one opportunity to turn over a new leaf before being exposed, refuted, and completely discredited.
There’s failing to learn lessons from the distant past, and then there’s the politically-motivated forgetting of lessons you learned during your own f*ing presidency. Psychologists have a name for this: “Suppressing Unwanted Memories by Executive Control.”
Apparently, Freud said that people can block an unpleasant memory – but that it’s still in there somewhere and has consequences even though they don’t know why.
That theory has been expanded by modern science, which has found a “biological mechanism in the human brain to block unwanted memories … a clear neurobiological basis for motivated forgetting.”
Researchers at Stanford University and the University of Oregon found that controlling unwanted memories is “associated with increased activation of the left and right frontal cortex (the part of the brain used to repress memory), which in turn led to reduced activation of the hippocampus (the part of the brain used to remember experiences). In addition, the researchers found that the more subjects activated their frontal cortex during the experiment, the better they were at suppressing unwanted memories.”
I have spent many hours reading Obama’s major policy speeches, and he is always redefining the ideas of freedom into principles that support authoritarianism. His speech in Cuba is a perfect example of why I will never trust a single word this man says, even though I agree with many of the actual words he speaks.
Too many people listen to his words in isolation. He believes in a kind of “freedom” that would be good for people on the prison-island of Cuba, but in America – a country built on individual rights and a free market – his ideas are making us less free.
He tells Havana, “I’m appealing to the young people of Cuba to build something.” But he tells America, “You didn’t build that.” (If I have to give you more examples, you haven’t been paying attention.)
This is perfectly consistent with his worldview: America is too free, too rich, and too arrogant. It’s all just a zero-sum game, and for other nations to prosper America must come down a few pegs.
Never mind that has no idea how wrong he is. Barack Obama is a good politician, and he may be a good man for all I know. But he is also a man who stands on both sides of history while telling the world that America is on the wrong side.
Vote wisely for Obama’s successor. If you like your freedom, you can keep your freedom.
“I always wanted to be in a show about nothing and here I am,” our President recently said, sitting in a 1963 Corvette Stingray with a comedian driving in circles on the south lawn of the White House. “There’s nothing more nothing than this,” replied the comedian famous for his show about nothing. “Nothing.”
Seinfeld, the long-running TV comedy featuring four narcissistic friends in New York, has been widely described as “a show about nothing” – a riff echoed by both Obama and Seinfeld in the December 2015 episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee (season 7, episode 1, “Just Tell Him You’re the President”).
It turns out that the show was about everything. As Jerry Seinfeld noted in a Reddit discussion from January 2014, “the show about nothing was just a joke in an episode many years later, and Larry and I to this day are surprised that it caught on as a way that people describe the show, because to us it’s the opposite of that.”
Just as Seinfeld was not about nothing, this essay is not about the show. But it is a useful starting point – not only because most Americans are convinced that the show was about nothing, but because America is embroiled in a world war about everything that too many Americans believe is about nothing.
On the home front of this war, certain combatants have gone to great lengths to convince Americans that nothing is superior to anything.
Commander in Chief Obama told the world at the NATO Summit of 2009, “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.” In other words, the so-called leader of the so-called free world wants you to believe that every country believes it is exceptional and no country is exceptional in fact.
In our educational institutions, the doctrine of Multiculturalism demands that students believe no culture is superior to any culture. Higher up in the Ivory Tower, the philosophers of Relativism posit that all cultural standards are local – that beauty, or good, or justice, are only beautiful or good or just in their local context – and that no one has a “framework-independent vantage point” from which to create a universal concept of good or justice.
Outside the green zone – the military term for “safe space” – Social Justice Warriors interpret these orders to require cultural suicide: cultures which believe themselves to be superior must open their borders to immigrants from every other culture; recognize and accommodate the group differences of those immigrants; grant a host of legal exemptions to foreigners who demand those accommodations; and abandon their own local standards in favor of others.
SJW’s are against Capitalism, Christianity, and Israel. They use freedom of speech, religion, and assembly to incite violence against the same. They press every tenet of Western thought into the service of a gelatinous cultural Marxism that has no foundation but power. They even pervert the vision of Martin Luther King, Jr., whose objections to this ideology are well known:
“This deprecation of individual freedom was objectionable to me,” King wrote in his 1957 book, Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story. “I am convinced now, as I was then, that man is an end because he is a child of God. Man is not made for the state; the state is made for man. To deprive man of freedom is to relegate him to the status of a thing, rather than elevate him to the status of a person. Man must never be treated as means to the end of the state; but always as an end within himself.”
Okay, that seems to be a fair – if minimalist – description of America’s domestic enemies; and America would survive the onslaught from the legions of nothing if they were not allied with enemies foreign.
In 1947, an Egyptian Muslim intellectual named Sayyid Qutb wrote of his country, “Either we shall walk the path of Islam or we shall walk the path of Communism.” He was convinced that Islam was the only complete system – laws, government bureaucracy, social and economic rules – which could create a just and godly society.
A year later, threatened with arrest in Egypt, he sailed first-class to New York, NY – the city where “the show about nothing” was set 41 years later – for a two-year educational tour of America.
Lawrence Wright describes Qutb’s journey – from New York, to the District of Columbia, to Colorado, and finally to California – in The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11. Although he appeared to like our country, its combination of racism and sexual hedonism radicalized Qutb so that, when he returned to Egypt in 1950, he wrote:
“The white man in Europe or America is our number-one enemy. … We are endowing our children with amazement and respect for the master who tramples our honor and enslaves us. Let us instead plant the seeds of hatred, disgust, and revenge in the souls of these children. Let us teach these children from the time their nails are soft that the white man is the enemy of humanity, and that they should destroy him at the first opportunity.”
Where have we heard that before? #EgyptianLivesMatter?
Executed in 1966 for jihad against his own country’s secular government, Qutb became the father of the Muslim Brotherhood and modern political Islam. “I performed jihad for fifteen years until I earned this martyrdom,” he said from prison. When his sister pleaded for him to accept parole, he said, “My words will be stronger if they kill me.”
Qutb’s writings motivated men like Osama bin Laden, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, and countless others. Today, Sunni Islamist groups – Boko Haram, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and the Islamic State, to name the most prolific – have declared a War on Everything. They’re against Capitalism, Communism, Socialism, and Democracy. They’re anti-Christian, anti-Jew, and anti-Atheist. They hate the Gay Community enough to throw suspected gay men off tall buildings. They even hate the minority Shiite Islamists who share their hatreds.
America’s response to the moral certainty of Islam has been predictable: Nothing will win the War on Everything.
Even though the stated goal of ISIS is to reestablish the worldwide Islamic Caliphate, President Obama has said repeatedly that the Islamic State is “not Islamic.”
In September 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry said, “In terms of al-Qaeda, which we have used the word ‘war’ with, yeah … We are at war with al-Qaeda and its affiliates. In the same context, if you want to use it, yes, we are at war with ISIL in that sense. But I think it’s a waste of time to focus on that.” In other words, America is finally at war with an Islamic State that isn’t Islamic, but it’s a waste of time to think about that.
More recently – after a Philadelphia man fired 11 rounds at a police officer and told authorities that he “pledges allegiance to Islamic State” and was “called upon to do this” – the mayor of the City of Brotherly Love said the act of Islamist terror had “nothing to do with being a Muslim or following the Islamic faith.”
Which brings us back to the home front, where those who insist there is no “framework-independent vantage point” feverishly put labels on the consequences for which they fight. Social Justice is superior to Blind Justice. Income Equality is superior to the idea that Everyone is Created Equal. Human Rights are superior to the Natural Rights of Humans. Black Lives Matter but All Lives do not.
This is the war that matters most. Not just because it is an absolute lie to assert that some truths are absolute and simultaneously that no absolute truth exists; but because believing that obvious lie imbues us with a self-humiliation, or, as Theodore Dalrymple once put it:
“When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control.”
I would like to say that the self-evident truths of the Constitution will prevail in both of these wars, but the very foundations of our society are being destroyed just as ruthlessly as the ancient monuments of the Middle East.
It is cruel justice that America’s future – and that of Western Civilization – will be determined at this intersectionality of Nothing and Everything: where America’s un-American Social Justice Warriors find themselves allied with Islam’s non-Islamic terrorists.
There is nothing more everything than this. Nothing.
Photos: “Women March Against the Phony ‘War on Women'” courtesy of Ringo’s Pictures. Islamic Warriors March Against Other Phony Islamic Warriors during the Safavid dynasty in modern-day Iran, from a fresco in Isfahan.
Breaking news from 1966: Students at universities across America have made a clear-headed appraisal of the international and domestic situation on the basis of science, and realized that reactionaries at home and abroad can and must be defeated in a new stage of the cultural revolution.
At the University of Cincinnati, students demand “holistic profiles including extensive background checks, mental evaluations, and accounts of past misbehaviors of all faculty/staff/police hired at the University of Cincinnati, starting immediately.”
Fortunately, students at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill contradict their Buckeye brethren, demanding an end to “criminal background checks for all faculty, staff, and administration.”
Half a continent away, students at Occidental College demand the “immediate removal of President Veitech” and the “immediate demilitarization of Campus Safety” and the hiring of “much-needed physicians of color … to treat physical and emotional trauma associated with issues of identity.”
Back in the Peach State, protesters at Kennesaw State University demand a more punitive approach to their identity issues.”We demand required cultural awareness, race and ethnicity, and intersectional LGBT diversity training for members of Greek Life and all student organizations on campus,” they say. Not only that, but “no one should be exempt” and “staff members are not agents of respectability, nor are organization advisory boards breeding grounds for respectability politics; we will no longer accept the tone policing, political bias, and overarching reach of the power of organization advisors.”
These “daring” students have already achieved some long-awaited satisfaction: summary resignations of top officials at Mizzou; the creation of new committees and congresses at Harvard; and new disciplinary rules which isolate counter-revolutionary revisionists at Towson.
However, even though the “main current” of these revolutionary young people has been “correct from the beginning,” some new ideas, cultures, customs, and habits, may have to wait.
Amherst College President Carolyn Martin, for instance, has declined to meet specific demands, a lesson to younger students that the revolutionary road zigzags and does not run smoothly. “While expressing support for their goals,” Martin said in a statement, “I explained that the formulation of those demands assumed more authority and control than a president has or should have.”
Amherst Uprising organizers did not immediately respond to Martin’s statement, lending credence to the possibility that they will give her a chance to turn over a new leaf before exposing, refuting, and completely discrediting her.
Some of this might sound familiar to harassed elderly intellectuals, but the students themselves appear blissfully unaware that their own revolution bears a striking resemblance to China’s “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution” of 1966-1976, which started as a political struggle for control of the Chinese Communist Party. (Neither Bernie Sanders nor Hillary Clinton would confirm or deny it, but sources say their struggle continues.)
Leading up to 1966, Mao rightly feared that his previous great idea – the disastrous “Great Leap Forward” which caused the deaths of more than 20 million people – had diminished his influence. To counter that effect, he took advantage of the open criticism and launched a “New Stage in the Socialist Revolution.”
In May 1966, purges of the bureaucracy began. The top party official in Beijing University’s Philosophy Department attacked the administration. University faculty across the country responded with more of the same. The wave of criticisms spread to high schools in Beijing, and squads of students were recruited as Red Guards: “the front line of the new revolutionary upheaval.”
In August of 1966, Mao published his Sixteen Points – officially titled the “Decision of the Central Committee of the Chinese Party Concerning the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution” – which defined his goals. And he began to preside over parades of Red Guards, holding his “Little Red Book” in benediction over the masses.
“The chaos and violence increased in the autumn and winter of 1966, as schools and universities closed so that students could dedicate themselves to ‘revolutionary struggle.’ They were encouraged to destroy the ‘Four Olds’ – old customs, old habits, old culture, and old thinking – and in the process damaged many of China’s temples, valuable works of art, and buildings. They also began to verbally and physically attack authority figures in society, including their teachers, school administrators, Communist Party members, neighbors, and even their friends, relatives, and parents. At the same time, purges were carried out in the high ranks of the Communist Party.” (Stefanie Lamb, Introduction to the Cultural Revolution, Stanford University, 2005.)
In America, Mao inspired men like Bob Avakian (chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA), NAACP leader Robert F. Williams, Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale of the Black Panther Party, and UC Berkeley dropout Alex Hing of the Red Guard Party. The proudly Maoist Progressive Labor Party recruited heavily from the proudly Maoist Students for a Democratic Society.
China’s Cultural Revolution ended in 1976, and was replaced by “something quite nearly its opposite: pragmatism, interdependence, openness to outside influences, and capitalism” (Lamb, 2005). But even though the Party was severely damaged by the failed ideas that scarred Chinese society, those ideas were not rejected in America – they went underground, and were kept alive by men like Bill Ayers, a founding member of the Maoist “Weather Underground” and now a retired professor of education from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Today’s students may or may not understand the provenance of their demands, but these young Red Guards are still mesmerized by ideas that killed 94 million people in the century that ended only a few short years ago.
As Mao said, “Because the resistance is fairly strong, there will be reversals and even repeated reversals … The struggle of the proletariat against the old ideas, culture, customs and habits left over by all the exploiting classes over thousands of years will necessarily take a very, very long time. … The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution is bound to achieve brilliant victory under the leadership of the Central Committee of the Party headed by Comrade Mao Tse-tung.”
Mao’s Sixteen Points from 1966 Compared to Student Demands from 2015
Student demands in this section come from The Demands and are organized under appropriate headings from the “Decision of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party Concerning the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution” of 1966.
1) A New Stage in the Socialist Revolution: “Although the bourgeoisie has been overthrown, it is still trying to use the old ideas, culture, customs and habits of the exploiting classes to corrupt the masses, capture their minds and endeavour to stage a comeback. The proletariat must do the exact opposite: it must meet head-on every challenge of the bourgeoisie in the ideological field and use the new ideas, culture, customs and habits of the proletariat to change the mental outlook of the whole of society. At present, our objective is to struggle against and overthrow those persons in authority who are taking the capitalist road, to criticize and repudiate the reactionary bourgeois academic ‘authorities’ and the ideology of the bourgeoisie and all other exploiting classes and to transform education, literature and art and all other parts of the superstructure not in correspondence with the socialist economic base, so as to facilitate the consolidation and development of the socialist system.”
University of Missouri: “We demand that the University of Missouri meets the Legion of Black Collegians’ demands that were presented in the 1969 for the betterment of the black community.”
Clemson University: “We want the names of offensively named buildings, ex. Tillman Hall, changed.”
Middle Tennessee State University: “Change Forrest Hall, a group of students, faculty, and community members has one demand: the immediate removal of Nathan Bedford Forrest’s name from Middle Tennessee State University’s ROTC building.”
New York University: “Rededicate Library from Elmer Holmes Bobst, a known anti-Semite; removal of Elihu Root’s name from the School of Law Scholarship for being an advocate of US Colonialism; renaming of the Fales Collection of English Literature within Bobst, as Fales family fortunes can be traced to colonial slavery. Rename these for POC or people of marginalized communities in the US who have been leaders in activism and advocacy of oppressed groups, OR leaders of equal style and caliber from the Global South.”
University of Alabama: “Remove the names of white supremacists, klansmen, confederate generals, and eugenicists from classroom buildings or include a visual marker to indicate the history of racism that the building’s namesake was associated with.”
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill: “We DEMAND the removal of the racist Confederate monument Silent Sam and ALL confederate monuments on campuses in the UNC-system. We DEMAND that Carolina Hall, a whitewashing of Saunders Hall, be renamed Hurston Hall. A plaque on the exterior of the building should make clear that William Saunders was a chief architect of white supremacy in North Carolina as a Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan.”
University of North Carolina Greensboro: “WE DEMAND the removal of policies, groups, symbols and icons glorifying white supremacy.”
University of Oregon: “Change the names of all of the KKK related buildings on campus. DEADY Hall will be the first building to be renamed. a. We cannot and should not be subjugated to walk in any buildings that have been named after people that have vehemently worked against the Black plight, and plight of everyone working to achieve an equitable society. b. Allowing buildings to be named after members who support these views is in direct conflict with the university’s goal keep black students safe on campus. c. We demand this change be implemented by Fall 2016 To University of Oregon Administration From Black Student Task Force.”
University of San Diego: “We demand that the university’s current mascot, Diego Torero, be replaced by a non-human mascot, as Diego Torero is a racist and derogatory caricature of Spanish men.”
University of San Diego: “We demand that representatives from the university’s administration acknowledge the colonialist legacy of Junípero Serra, who established the Catholic California mission system that massacred the vast majority of native peoples in California. We demand that Serra Hall be renamed to a designation chosen by a coalition of native students, staff and faculty.”
Vanderbilt University: “Eliminate the inscription of ‘Confederate’ on Memorial Hall as well as the plaque paying homage to the Daughters of the Confederacy.”
Yale University: “Rename Calhoun College. Name it and the two new residential colleges after people of color. a. Abolish the title ‘master.’ b. Build a monument designed by a Native artist on Cross Campus acknowledging that Yale University was founded on stolen indigenous land.”
2) The Main Current and the Zigzags: “Large numbers of revolutionary young people, previously unknown, have become courageous and daring pathbreakers. … they argue things out, expose and criticize thoroughly, and launch resolute attacks on the open and hidden representatives of the bourgeoisie. … their general revolutionary orientation has been correct from the beginning. This is the main current … there will be reversals and even repeated reversals in this struggle. … the revolutionary road zigzags and does not run smoothly.”
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill: “We DEMAND language justice for all workers at UNC. Trainings, materials, and all communication should be made available in all languages that workers prefer.”
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill: “We DEMAND that all administrators be compensated at the same rate as workers.”
University of North Carolina Greensboro: “No Hate Groups on Campus. Ever. Freedom of speech should not be used as a justification for rampant hateful language or opinions that further marginalizes historically oppressed communities.”
University of Ottawa: “Reserved space for a racialized students Centre.”
University of Puget Sound: “We demand that the future President-Elect of the University of Puget Sound be required to attend a meeting of every identity and faith based group on campus to better understand the realities of the current campus climate, and the needs and concerns of students moving into the future.”
University of San Diego: “We demand that Yik Yak, an anonymous social media application, be banned from the USD area, as it provides a platform for hate speech inflected with racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and, especially recently, islamophobia, amongst several other bigotries.”
3) Put Daring Above Everything Else and Boldly Arouse the Masses: “…persevere in giving correct leadership, put daring above everything else, boldly arouse the masses, change the state of weakness and incompetence where it exists, encourage those comrades who have made mistakes but are willing to correct them to cast off their mental burdens and join in the struggle, and dismiss from their leading posts all those in authority who are taking the capitalist road and so make possible the recapture of the leadership for the proletarian revolution.”
Brown University: “We demand that the Brown Corporation and administration comply with the demands of the graduate and undergraduate students.”
Occidental College: “Immediate removal of President Veitech. … Immediate demilitarization of Campus Safety. Includes, but is not limited to: removal of bulletproof vests from uniform, exclusion of military and external police rhetoric from all documents and daily discourse, increased transparency and positive direct connection to the student body. … Hire much-needed physicians of color at Emmons Wellness Center to treat physical and emotional trauma associated with issues of identity.”
Purdue University: “We demand that administrators, specifically President Mitch Daniels, acknowledge the hostile environment caused by hateful and ignorant discrimination on Purdue’s campus.”
Tufts University: “We demand that if any of these demands are unable to be met we demand that the university make a public response explaining explicitly the rationale for the non-compliance.”
UC Berkeley: “WE DEMAND that all of our demands be fully implemented within the next 36 months and that the Chancellor give us his official response no later than 5PM on March 6th 015 (sic).”
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill: “We DEMAND the immediate firing of Margaret Spellings. And any future President of the UNC system must be decided collectively by students, staff, faculty, workers, and those living in North Carolina who are marginalized by the University space.”
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill: “We DEMAND the elimination of tuition and fees for all students.”
University of South Carolina: “We require that university personnel use personal gender pronouns as indicated by the individual.”
4) Let the Masses Educate Themselves in the Movement: “Trust the masses, rely on them and respect their initiative. … Let the masses educate themselves in this great revolutionary movement and learn to distinguish between right and wrong and between correct and incorrect ways of doing things.”
Kennesaw State University: “We demand student-led diversity training for all advising departments. … We must be allowed to fully articulate our diversity on our own terms.”
Lewis and Clark College: “Curriculum Committee: Implement a category to evaluate multiculturalism and diverse perspectives during the audits for each major/minor department that occurs every 2 years. … Additionally, student input should have a greater presence in the committee decision.”
Loyola University Maryland: “We demand Mandatory Racial Justice Training for all employees, faculty, staff, and new students. This training must be facilitated by a student-approved third party consultant.”
Michigan State University: “We demand an increase in tenure-stream faculty whose research specializes in Black Politics , Black Linguistics, Black Sociology, Black Psychology, African politics, Black Queer Studies, Hip-Hop Studies, African American Literature, African Literature, and Decolonial Theory. All these faculty hires must be approved by a panel of Black student leaders…”
New York University: “Creation of a full-time central diversity staff position within CSALS to oversee different NYU student diversity groups. The approval of said staff must be granted by the Black & Brown Coalition with an interview of the candidate performed by us.”
Simmons College: “We demand an overhaul of the curriculum that includes and highlights the contributions of people of color across all disciplines. We also demand that this curricular overhaul be student-centered by actively including students of color in the voting, negotiation and decision-making process in academic curriculum committees.”
UCLA: “Create a student advisory board for the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Equity Diversity and Inclusion. This will make sure students are able to hold UCLA administration accountable, and also work with administration in their charge to improve campus climate.”
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill: “We DEMAND that the University incorporate mandatory programming for all University constituents (students, faculty, staff, administrators, deans, chairs, etc.) that teaches the historical racial violence of this University and town as well as a historical and contemporary look at the ways in which racial capitalism, settler colonialism, and cisheteropatriarchy structure our world. This will come from an ungraded course created and facilitated by a coalition of students as part of a broader task force of workers, students and staff.”
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill: “We DEMAND a task force of students and workers of our choosing be immediately instituted in order to create a timeline and action plan to address the University’s relation to policing and penal institutions.”
University of Oregon: “Commit to creating a Student Advisory Board for The Office of Equity & Inclusion and Center for Multicultural Academic Excellence (CMAE). We expect the advisory board to consist of students of color.”
5) Firmly Apply the Class Line of the Party: “Concentrate all forces to strike at the handful of ultra-reactionary bourgeois rightists and counter-revolutionary revisionists, and expose and criticize to the full their crimes against the Party, against socialism and against Mao Tse-tung’s thought so as to isolate them to the maximum. The main target of the present movement is those within the Party who are in authority and are taking the capitalist road.”
Claremont McKenna College: “Expose students to systemic oppression through FWS and FHS-this includes but is not limited to issues on race, sexuality, gender, class and ability. The need for such programs to educate the student body is evidenced by numerous microaggressions felt by students of color.”
Claremont McKenna College: “Mandatory and periodic racial sensitivity trainings for all professors. The majority of the 20 students at the first social recalled instances in which professors made racially insensitive remarks, asked students to represent their race in class, or repeatedly mistook students for other students of color in the class.”
Dartmouth College: “Enact curricular changes that require all students to interrogate issues of social justice, marginalization and exploitation in depth. Each student should have to take classes that will challenge their understanding of institutionalized injustice around issues of race, class, gender, sexuality, etc. This learning objective could be embedded in all first year seminars.”
Dartmouth College: “Every Dartmouth student should be taught and made aware that the land they reside on is Abenaki homeland. This should take place during all major Dartmouth ceremonies, especially during orientation and commencement.”
Duke University: “Members of the university that are reported to have worn culturally insensitive costumes or attend/host culturally insensitive parties will report to student conduct for bias/harassment infractions.”
Emory University: “We would like to see repercussions or sanctions for racist actions performed by professors, administrators/staff and students alike. Bias incident reports are not sufficient. Our micro and macro-aggressions should not be regarded as just data collection but should, in fact, be taken seriously and met with the highest level of urgency and care.”
Guilford College: “College administrators, professors, and staff must publicly acknowledge their racism, be it overt, covert, or passive. We suggest that every week a faculty member come forward and publicly admit their participation in racism inside the classroom via a letter to the editor in the Guilfordian.”
Johns Hopkins University: “We demand accountability for peers, faculty, and staff who target Black students both inside of and outside of the classroom. Attending to such situations must transition from a passive email sent to the student body, to an active stance taken against racial intolerance by the administration. Perpetrators that aim to make Black students uncomfortable or unsafe for racial reasons must complete additional diversity training and face impactful repercussions for their actions.”
Lawrence University: “A mandatory cultural sensitivity training for all faculty and staff should be enforced and that must be done at the beginning of every school year and at least twice a year. There should be repercussions if this training is not attended.”
University of South Carolina: “We demand that a transparent and independent investigation be launched into the following university administrators: the Executive Assistant to the President for Equal Opportunity Programs; the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Academic Support, Student Life and Development; and the Vice President for Student Affairs, Vice Provost and Dean of Students.”
Wesleyan University: “Tracking Of Faculty & Staff Bias & Microaggressions. By November 30th, 2015: Report on how student input will be integrated into the formation of an anonymous student reporting system for cases of bias, including microaggressions, perpetrated by faculty and staff. By Spring, 2016: Revision of end of semester professor evaluations to include a section dedicated for reporting classroom biases, including microaggressions, perpetrated by instructors.”
Yale University: “Immediate removal of Nicholas and Erika Christakis from the positions of Master and Associate Master of Silliman College a. The development of racial competence and respect training and accountability systems for all Yale affiliates. b. The inclusion of a question about the racial climate of the classrooms of both teaching fellows and professors in semester evaluations. c. Bias reporting system on racial discrimination and an annual report that will be released to the Yale community.”
6) Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People: “Contradictions among the people must not be made into contradictions between ourselves and the enemy; nor must contradictions between ourselves and the enemy be regarded as contradictions among the people.”
Missouri State University: “Given that Multicultural services are governed by the Division of Student Affairs, the current administration is incompatible with the needs of students of color. Last year, Multicultural Services was moved from the Division for Diversity & Inclusion to the Division of Student Affairs. This move has been marketed to students as ‘beneficial’; however, it has only allowed for negligence toward the concerns and needs of minority students by ill equipped faculty.”
Purdue University: “We demand that there be enforced extensive background checks relating to sexual offense, hate group membership, and discriminatory offenses of all faculty, staff, and police officers.”
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill: “We DEMAND that the University and UNC Hospitals stop employment discrimination against formerly incarcerated people. … Stop criminal background checks for all faculty, staff, and administration.”
University of Virginia: “Establish a Culture of Truth. President and Dean of Students should deliver statements promoting acceptance and acknowledging the University’s deeply troubled history. These statements must acknowledge past and present racial and gender discrimination, as well as the need for full participation to repair a broken community. Such remarks should not reference Thomas Jefferson, because of his decidedly mixed racial legacy – one with which this University has not yet come to terms.”
7) Be on Guard Against Those Who Brand the Revolutionary Masses as ‘Counter-Revolutionaries.’
Amherst: “President Martin must issue a statement to the Amherst College community at large that states we do not tolerate the actions of student(s) who posted the ‘All Lives Matter’ posters, and the ‘Free Speech’ posters that stated that ‘in memoriam of the true victim of the Missouri Protests: Free Speech.'”
Atlanta University Center Consortium: “With full respect to the administration, faculty, and law enforcement of each institution of the AUC and Atlanta officials, we cannot allow conservative policy to restrict the execution of our service to the revolution and movement.”
Dartmouth College: “Create a policy with serious consequences against hate speech/crimes (e.g. Greek house expelled for racist parties). Create a policy banning the Indian mascot (e.g., turn away people from sporting events who are wearing Indian head shirts). Require that the Review give up the ‘Dartmouth’ part of their name if they refuse to abide by the requests to stop using the term ‘Indian’ in their paper.”
Guilford College: “The college must investigate hateful Yik Yak posts and comments to the utmost of their ability. Should these posts turn overtly violent, students demand that the college report them to the proper authorities and they be treated no differently from other anonymous hate crimes.”
University of Wyoming: “We demand, the student code of conduct be revised to hold students accountable to hate crimes, hate speech, and sexual assault and a detailed reporting structure be developed for students to report such incidents. This reporting structure should be easily accessible to anyone who wishes to report such incidents without retaliation.”
8) The Question of Cadres: “The anti-Party, anti-socialist rightists must be fully exposed, refuted, overthrown and completely discredited and their influence eliminated. At the same time, they should be given a chance to turn over a new leaf.”
Dartmouth College: “All professors will be required to be trained in not only cultural competency but also the importance of social justice in their day-to-day work.”
Kennesaw State University: “Considering Kennesaw State University is located less than 5 miles away from ‘Wild Man’s Civil War Surplus’ (a store that openly sells confederate and KKK merchandise) a straightforward statement dedicated to separating the university from the racist culture in which it is surrounded would aid in alleviating the climate of anxiety and fear commonly felt by students of color.”
New York University: “All Deans, the Student Activities Board, and the Student Senators Council must have continuous and regular conversations with the Black and Brown Coalition.”
Notre Dame of Maryland University: “All administration, namely the President, The Board of Trustees, and Academic Affairs be more transparent regarding events and decisions taking place that could affect student life. This transparency should be enhanced by more student representation. This representation must include students of color. This demand also requires that these administrators will be updating students and faculty about the reasoning behind changes made to curriculum, athletic team, tuition, and marketing strategies.”
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill: “We DEMAND that students, non-academic workers, academic workers, and other North Carolina Constituents be given a vote on the Board of Governors. As it currently stands, even issuing a single student vote is insufficient to shift the balance of power.”
University of Virginia: “President Sullivan should order the creation of a mandatory online summer cultural competency training module and a fall orientation presentation. These trainings should include a University-wide online training module on discrimination and micro-aggressions, akin to the alcohol awareness online course, which is mandatory for incoming first years to complete. A similar training module should be created for all incoming faculty.”
9) Cultural Revolution Groups, Committees and Congresses: “The struggle of the proletariat against the old ideas, culture, customs and habits left over by all the exploiting classes over thousands of years will necessarily take a very, very long time. Therefore, the Cultural Revolutionary groups, committees and congresses should not be temporary organizations but permanent, standing mass organizations. They are suitable not only for colleges, schools and government and other organizations, but generally also for factories, mines, other enterprises, urban districts and villages. … The Cultural Revolutionary groups, committees and congresses in colleges and schools should consist mainly of representatives of the revolutionary students. At the same time, they should have a certain number of representatives of the revolutionary teaching and administrative staff and workers.”
Bard College: “The Multicultural Diversity Committee (MDC) at Bard College must made more visible, transparent, and accessible to the Bard community regarding its roles and responsibilities on campus. Members of the Bard College community should be informed about the committee’s role in the diversity and inclusion hiring process as well as the committee’s weekly meetings and progress made by the MDC throughout the semester. Bard must support the establishment of a student-run Diversity, Inclusion and Accountability Board.”
Beloit College: “Recurring Diversity sensitivity Training for faculty and staff to promote better inclusivity for students of color in classroom, office, and administrative spaces. Department Heads, senior staff, administrators need to participate in at least two semesters of the faculty/staff Sustained Dialogue group.”
Boston College: “Include Students in the Hiring Committee for the New Executive Director of the Office of Institutional Diversity, and Include Questions regarding Systematic Oppression as part of the Interview Process.”
Brown University: “Furthermore, we would like the instantiation of hiring committees that would ensure Brown offers competitive salaries to top faculty of color working in the aforementioned areas. In accordance with this demand, we implore Brown’s administration – with the inclusion of undergraduate and graduate students of color – to create an external board tasked with the responsibility of reviewing each department’s progress in hiring, retaining, offering competitive salaries, and creating opportunities for advancement for faculty of color who work on social justice issues.”
Guilford College: “The creation of a sovereign Office of Diversity and Inclusion to enforce these demands and keep the administration accountable – these tasks should not solely be carried out through the unpaid labor of students and faculty of color.”
Harvard University: “We demand that HSPH address race and inequity through education by instituting mandatory training on race and privilege for all students, post-docs, staff, and faculty, developing case studies that challenge social injustice, and increasing practicum opportunities on themes of racism and health. This process should begin by the spring semester and incorporate student input.”
Lawrence University: “A committee that works on recruitment and retention of Students of Color should be formed immediately. The committee should work towards solutions and ongoing programming related to recruitment and retention and Students of Color should have input in the recruitment process and appointment to the committee.”
Lewis and Clark College: “Create a committee with slots for students of color, faculty of color, and students and faculty from underrepresented communities within the hiring process.”
University of Kansas: “Establish Multicultural Student Government independent of current University of Kansas Student Senate.”
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill: “We DEMAND that students and workers of our choosing will be included in all committees commissioned for the hiring of top tier administrators (i.e. Chancellor, Dean, President). The current president of ASG, the student body president, and president of GPSF are already involved in some of these processes, and clearly we cannot rely on a few tokenized students.”
10) Educational Reform: “In the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution a most important task is to transform the old educational system and the old principles and methods of teaching. … In every kind of school we must apply thoroughly the policy advanced by Comrade Mao Tse-tung of education serving proletarian politics and education being combined with productive labour, so as to enable those receiving an education to develop morally, intellectually and physically and to become labourers with socialist consciousness and culture.”
University of Missouri: “We demand that the University of Missouri creates and enforces comprehensive racial awareness and inclusion curriculum throughout all campus departments and units, mandatory for all students, faculty, staff and administration. This curriculum must be vetted, maintained, and overseen by a board comprised of students, staff and faculty of color.”
Brown University: “We demand an in-person and compulsory Title IX training for faculty, staff, DPS, administrators, and students that includes an intersectional framework.”
Brandeis University: “Implement educational pedagogies and curriculums that increase racial awareness and inclusion within ALL departments and schools. Mandate yearly diversity and inclusion workshops for all faculty and staff with optional workshops being offered consistently throughout the academic year.”
Kennesaw State University: “We demand required cultural awareness, race and ethnicity, and intersectional LGBT diversity training for members of Greek Life and all student organizations on campus. No one should be exempt; student members of Greek Life and staff alike. Staff members are not agents of respectability, nor are organization advisory boards breeding grounds for respectability politics; we will no longer accept the tone policing, political bias, and overarching reach of the power of organization advisors.”
Lawrence University: “The newly introduced Israel Palestine class, and especially given that it is being offered under the Religious Studies department, needs to have its syllabus reviewed to ensure that the Palestinian narrative is represented. Offering this class in the religious studies department reinforces the ignorant notion that this is a religious conflict even though it clearly isn’t.”
Michigan State University: “We demand that Michigan State University establish a College of Race, Class, and Gender Studies. This college will be home to the newly created Department of African American and African Studies, and it would establish a Department of Chicano and Latino Studies, Department of Women and Gender Studies, and a Department of Native American Studies.”
Michigan State University: “We demand an increase in tenure-stream faculty whose research specializes in Black Politics, Black Linguistics, Black Sociology, Black Psychology, African politics, Black Queer Studies, Hip-Hop Studies, African American Literature, African Literature, and Decolonial Theory. All these faculty hires must be approved by a panel of Black student leaders and will be tenured in the Department of African American and African Studies.”
Missouri State University: “We demand the establishment of a mandatory Diversity Curriculum for administration, faculty, staff and incoming students starting with academic year of 2016-2017 in perpetuation. This curriculum should: Be designed by students, administration, and faculty; Require real-life application of the university’s pillars; and Highlight the cultural climate of the university.”
New York University: “Perpetual, continuing education on diversity for all university members that exists outside of a module format.”
Purdue University: “We demand that Purdue create and enforce a required comprehensive racial awareness curriculum for all students, staff, faculty, administration, and police. This curriculum must be vetted and overseen by a board of diverse students, faculty, and staff.”
University of Baltimore: “Cultural Competency Training & Training to Employ Culturally Relevant Pedagogy. This university is increasingly becoming a multicultural environment. With people from many diverse backgrounds the opportunity to miscommunication and insensitivity is ripe. Specifically, this university has a problem with faculty being insensitive to students of color and promoting instances of outright discrimination and microaggressions. There is a responsibility for this university to create positive environments of learning and form effective working relationships amongst all in this community.”
University of Kansas: “Mandatory, intense ‘inclusion and belonging’ training for all levels of students, staff, faculty, and administration.”
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill: “We DEMAND that the University incorporate mandatory programming for all University constituents (students, faculty, staff, administrators, deans, chairs, etc.) that teaches the historical racial violence of this University and town as well as a historical and contemporary look at the ways in which racial capitalism, settler colonialism, and cisheteropatriarchy structure our world. This will come from an ungraded course created and facilitated by a coalition of students as part of a broader task force of workers, students and staff. There is an acceptance of oppression as the norm at this University that must be called out and addressed. The program will be vetted by a University professor of our choosing.”
University of Virginia: “Incoming First-Years should have a three-credit seminar requirement that analyzes systems of power in regards to race, sex, sexual orientation, and other areas. The purpose of these courses is to nurture and develop the critical skills necessary to be informed and socially responsible citizens.”
11) The Question of Criticizing by Name in the Press: “In the course of the mass movement of the Cultural Revolution, the criticism of bourgeois and feudal ideology should be well combined with the dissemination of the proletarian world outlook and of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Tse-tung’s thought. Criticism should be organized of typical bourgeois representatives who have wormed their way into the Party and typical reactionary bourgeois academic ‘authorities,’ and this should include criticism of various kinds of reactionary views in philosophy, history, political economy and education, in works and theories of literature and art, in theories of natural science, and in other fields.”
University of Missouri: “We demand that University of Missouri System President, Tim Wolfe, writes a hand-written apology … acknowledge his white privilege … admits his gross negligence… We demand the immediate removal of Tim Wolfe as UM system president.”
Amherst: “President Martin must issue a statement of apology to students, alumni and former students, faculty, administration and staff who have been victims of several injustices including but not limited to our institutional legacy of white supremacy, colonialism, anti-black racism, anti-Latin@ racism, anti-Native American racism, anti-Native/ indigenous racism, anti-Asian racism, anti-Middle Eastern racism, heterosexism, cis-sexism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, ableism, mental health stigma, and classism.”
Guilford College: “A public apology must be issued from the people who directed the production of the BLM video to the organizers of Black Lives Matter Week who have been exploited by the administration by way of the marketing video posted by the college following the BLM event of 10/27/2015.”
Harvard University: “We demand that Dean Frenk issue a public statement by Wednesday, December 17, recognizing the public health relevance and impact of racism and its manifestations, including police brutality in the 21st century.”
Lawrence University: “On behalf of the university, President Burstein will send a public apology to Students and Staff of Color, past and present for not being proactive in addressing racial issues in our community. The Administration will take a public stance and release a public statement acknowledging racism, discrimination, and hate speech on our campus.”
12) Policy Towards Scientists, Technicians and Ordinary Members of Working Staffs: “As regards scientists, technicians and ordinary members of working staffs, as long as they are patriotic, work energetically, are not against the Party and socialism, and maintain no illicit relations with any foreign country, we should in the present movement continue to apply the policy of ‘unity, criticism, unity.’ Special care should be taken of those scientists and scientific and technical personnel who have made contributions. Efforts should be made to help them gradually transform their world outlook and their style of work.”
Bard College: “Bard College must support and ensure the establishment and provision of Diversity and Sensitivity Workshops multiple times a semester to faculty and staff at all levels. These workshops will provide continuous in-person training regarding cultural understanding, engagement with bias, the use of inclusive language, etc.”
Duke University: “Professors, staff members, and non-academic employees will be in danger of losing their jobs, and non-tenure track faculty will lose tenure status if they perpetuate hate speech that threatens the safety of students of color. They will also be liable if the discriminatory attitudes behind the speech could potentially harm the academic achievements of students of color.”
Kennesaw State University: “We demand the adoption of strong repercussions and sanctions immediately added to policy for offenders of racist actions and racial bias on campus. Current policies listed in the student handbook identify discrimination and harassment as punishable, yet do not sufficiently detail the punishments and repercussions which come with these acts. These repercussions must be sufficient in reach – meaning not just for student offenders, but for staff as well – and they must be clearly stated within syllabi.”
Loyola University Maryland: “We demand Mandatory Racial Justice Training for all employees, faculty, staff, and new students. This training must be facilitated by a student-approved third party consultant.”
Michigan State University: “We demand that all current and future Residential Advisors and Michigan State University Police receive a mandatory cultural competency training.”
Purdue University: “We demand that Purdue create and enforce a required comprehensive racial awareness curriculum for all students, staff, faculty, administration, and police. This curriculum must be vetted and overseen by a board of diverse students, faculty, and staff.”
Purdue University: “We demand that there be enforced extensive background checks relating to sexual offense, hate group membership, and discriminatory offenses of all faculty, staff, and police officers.”
San Francisco State University: “Mandatory racial sensitivity training for all incoming employees, faculty of San Francisco State University including UPD.”
Simmons College: “We demand that all faculty and staff be put through rigorous diversity training that emphasizes the requirement that they address microagressions and misinformation in class. As part of this we also demand that faculty are incentivized to participate in racial justice work as part of the tenure and promotion processes. We would like to see repercussions for racial actions performed by professors and administrators or staff. Our micro and macro-aggressions should be taken seriously and met with the highest level of urgency and care.”
Southern Methodist University: “Sensitivity training for all faculty and staff, including tenured professors, must be mandatory.”
University of Baltimore: “Cultural competency training should be given on a semester basis (this includes workshops, lectures, and interactive courses) and be mandatory for students, faculty, and staff. We also demand that faculty members are put through intensive training on how to implement culturally relevant teaching techniques and curricula that breeds an environment of inclusiveness and understanding in the classroom.”
University of Cincinnati: “We demand that the University of Cincinnati conducts holistic profiles including extensive background checks, mental evaluations, and accounts of past misbehaviors of all faculty/staff/police hired at the University of Cincinnati, starting immediately.”
University of Kansas: “Mandatory, intense ‘inclusion and belonging’ training for all levels of students, staff, faculty, and administration.”
Vanderbilt University: “Develop ongoing racial competency training for all faculty and staff. Maintain these training modules for all faculty and staff in order to address issues as they arise and to insure absorption and incorporation of competency tenets. Include a question concerning the racial climate of the classroom in professor evaluations.”
13) The Question of Arrangements for Integration With the Socialist Education Movement in City and Countryside: “The cultural and educational units and leading organs of the Party and government in the large and medium cities are the points of concentration of the present proletarian Cultural Revolution. The Great Cultural Revolution has enriched the socialist education movement in both city and countryside and raised it to a higher level. Efforts should be made to conduct these two movements in close combination. Arrangements to this effect may be made by various regions and departments in the light of the specific conditions.”
[Author’s Note: In China, millions of citizens were forcibly removed to the countryside to “reeducate” themselves among the working class. American students have not yet made such radical demands, but they clearly demand that their revolution not be confined to the campus.]
Grinnell College: “Partnership with City Officials to develop protocols around responses to bias-motivated incidents that occur in the city of Grinnell. Create community relations and mentor programs to facilitate increased meaningful connection between the college and the City of Grinnell.”
Lawrence University: “The University will work with the city of Appleton’s Diversity Coordinator, the Appleton Police Department and the Mayor of Appleton to discuss and implement a safety plan for addressing street harassment and violence on College Ave. and Appleton, WI.”
Santa Clara University: “Off campus Student Life Orientation. There are a variety of health and safety reasons that support the decision to track on and off campus living. In addition to those reasons, it is in the University’s best interest to have a record of students living on and off campus. In addition to tracking student housing, we advocate for the school to create an off campus student life orientation that preps students for living on their own. It should also include a diversity and sexual assault component. This off campus orientation is expected to be completed by all students. Failure to do so would result in a potential fine or a hold on one’s ability to register for classes until completed.”
UCLA: “Create a UCLA community schools in a predominately Black Area of Los Angeles. Black Students are one of the smallest populations at UCLA, and the university should be doing all it can to reach out to them. Currently community schools are 80% Latino and 14% Asian. UCLA should be focusing on its smallest populations of Black and American Indian students.”
University of Cincinnati: “We demand that the University of Cincinnati divest from any companies involved in the operation of private prisons and establish a Socially Responsible Investment Committee (or at least adopting a socially responsible investment policy) for all investment transactions by the start of the 2017-2018 Academic Year.”
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill: “We DEMAND that the University evaluate all companies it is currently licensing with, and make decisions to cut contracting with corporations proven to have deeply exploitative and abusive track records toward workers. Given that, we DEMAND UNC cut its current licensing with: a. VF Corporation. Signing the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh is insufficient, because VF Corporation, which makes UNC apparel, has moved their sites of production outside of Bangladesh, effectively nullifying the Accord. b. Nike. The University signed a near $40 million 10-year contract with the corporation in 2009.”
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill: “We DEMAND that the University decriminalize sleeping on campus or being on campus after midnight for non-students. We know these policies are primarily meant to police poor, Black, and Brown bodies on supposedly ‘public’ space.”
University of North Carolina at Greensboro: “WE DEMAND accountability to the larger community. a. Stop the Gentrification of Glenwood. UNCG must stop any further plans to expand the campus into the neighborhood and work with the community to decide what to do with the property already purchased by the university. b. No more UNCG police patrolling through Glenwood neighborhood. The campus police department is unaccountable to the residents of the Glenwood neighborhood and should not police that community. c. UNCG must join the growing movement of divestment from companies and other financial entities profiting from fossil fuels, private prisons, and the Israeli Occupation of Palestine. The university must reinvest these funds into non-extractive community-driven development funds and projects.”
14) Take Firm Hold of the Revolution and Stimulate Production: “The aim of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution is to revolutionize people’s ideology and as a consequence to achieve greater, faster, better and more economical results in all fields of work. If the masses are fully aroused and proper arrangements are made, it is possible to carry on both the Cultural Revolution and production without one hampering the other, while guaranteeing high quality in all our work.”
Amherst: “Dean Epstein must ask faculty to excuse all students from all 5 College classes, work shifts, and assignments from November 12th, 2015 to November 13th, 2015 given their organization of and attendance at the Sit-In. Do not threaten the jobs of the faculty, staff, or administrators that support our list of demands. Such threats will result in an escalation of our response.”
Brandeis University: “Increase minimum wage for all hourly paid university employees by 15%.”
Duke University: “Living Wages and Rights for Staff and Adjunct Faculty. Commit in writing to an immediate end to the union busting activities meant to intimidate non tenure-track faculty organizing a union, including but not limited to captive audience meetings, the maintenance of the ‘One-to-One’ website, and emails meant to misinform and discourage organizing faculty. Mandate or create a new policy that allows faculty and staff to freely criticize Duke’s institution without fear of losing their jobs.”
Michigan State University: “We demand an increase in academic advisors, as well as mental health and sexaul (sic) assault professionals who specialize in dealing with students of color.”
Notre Dame of Maryland University: “The Academic Affairs department must hire, place and tenure more people of color on in order to promote diversity on our campus. We believe that this action should be taken immediately.”
Occidental College: “Promotion of the CDO to Vice President level. Increase budget of the CDO office by 50%. $60,000 allocated to DEB to fund programming and provide resources for black and other marginalized students. Creation of a fully funded and staffed Black Studies program, a demand that has not been met for over 40 years. Increase percentage of tenured faculty of color by 20% for the 2017-2018 school year, and by 100% over the next 5 years.”
Purdue University: “We demand that under represented faculty and staff receive more resources, funding and support.”
San Francisco State University: “Increase of enrollment and retention of Black students, Increase of Black faculty and faculty with tenure. … Increase support and funding for College of Ethnic Studies and Ethnic Organizations.”
Sarah Lawrence College: “We demand that the College provide greater material resources to the Chief Diversity Officer, and the Office of Diversity and Campus Engagement. This demand includes more staff and financial support.”
Sarah Lawrence College: “We demand that the College provide sustained and ongoing faculty and staff training around racism.”
Simmons College: “We demand an increase in the number of faculty and staff of color at Simmons across all academic disciplines and administrative roles. This increase should meet a 30% minimum representation across all colleges, matching the ratio of students of color in the student body. We also demand institutional support and mentorship for faculty and staff of color.”
UC Berkeley: “WE DEMAND the hiring of two full time admissions staff members that have extensive experience working with Black students, and a series of enhanced recruitment strategies, with a budget of $300,371, to recruit Black students to UC Berkeley. We maintain that this funding comes from the Chancellor’s office and not from the Division of Student Affairs.”
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill: “We DEMAND that all administrators be compensated at the same rate as workers. UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt currently receives a base salary of $570,000. Her pay is symptomatic of the way universities have a bloated administrative system with numerous over-paid workers in executive positions. We DEMAND that all workers at the UNC system & UNC Hospitals have the right to unionize and collectively bargain. We DEMAND that the UNC-System and UNC-Chapel Hill advocate for the right to unionize and collectively bargain for workers on a state and national level. We DEMAND a minimum compensation of $15,000 per course for all adjunct faculty.”
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill: “We DEMAND that student-athletes are recognized as University employees, paid a base salary $25.00/hour with benefits, and, further, compensated in accordance with the level of revenue that they bring to the University.”
University of Virginia: “The University should conduct an internal AND external review as well as an intentional study on the cost and effect of institutionalizing a living minimum wage for its direct employees.”
15) The Armed Forces: “In the armed forces, the cultural revolution and the socialist education movement should be carried out in accordance with the instructions of the Military Commission of the Central Committee of the Party and the General Political Department of the People’s Liberation Army.”
[Author’s Note: Although there are some student demands made of campus and local law enforcement agencies, I could identify none which would directly affect branches of the U.S. military. We shall see.]
16) Mao Tse-tung’s Thought Is the Guide for Action in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution: “In the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, it is imperative to hold aloft the great red banner of Mao Tse-tung’s thought and put proletarian politics in command. The movement for the creative study and application of Chairman Mao Tse-tung’s works should be carried forward among the masses of the workers, peasants and soldiers, the cadres and the intellectuals, and Mao Tse-tung’s thought should be taken as the guide to action in the Cultural Revolution.”
[Author’s note: If it is not clear to you already that “Mao’s Thought” is the guide for all these demands, then you might be subject to Point #12. But, if you work energetically, and are not against the protesters, then I do not doubt that their continued peaceful efforts will help you transform your world outlook.]
Author’s note: In preparation for publishing a collection of essays and short fiction, this post has been edited.
The year 2013 was the 500th anniversary of Niccolò Machiavelli’s book The Prince. One might think that the arguments it introduced have long since been settled, but there will never be an end to this ancient debate: What are the rules of political power?
The question had an urgency for me as I worked on the next-to-last draft of my first novel. What does “freedom” mean to a slave girl who has escaped from the theocratic Ottoman Empire of the 1600’s? And what does it mean for a boy whose life so far has been waged on the Protestant side of the Thirty Years War, whose family has been killed by forces of the Holy Roman Empire?
But there was also a more conventional urgency to the question, as citizens the world over surveyed the ongoing fallout of our modern Great Recession, and the response by our national political leaders.
So I looked back at The Prince, the treatise that helped launched the modern absolutist state. Written in 1513 after its author was exiled, imprisoned and tortured by the Medici family, it was first published posthumously in 1532.
Before Machiavelli, says the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: “In a sense, it was thought that rulers did well when they did good; they earned the right to be obeyed and respected inasmuch as they showed themselves to be virtuous and morally upright.”
As St. Augustine asked in City of God, “If it does not do justice, what is the government but a great criminal enterprise?”
After Machiavelli … well, here’s where it gets interesting. Again, the Stanford Encyclopedia:
“For Machiavelli, there is no moral basis on which to judge the difference between legitimate and illegitimate uses of power. Rather, authority and power are essentially coequal: whoever has power has the right to command; but goodness does not ensure power and the good person has no more authority by virtue of being good. Thus, in direct opposition to a moralistic theory of politics, Machiavelli says that the only real concern of the political ruler is the acquisition and maintenance of power. … Only by means of the proper application of power, Machiavelli believes, can individuals be brought to obey and will the ruler be able to maintain the state in safety and security.”
It should be obvious to us all that rulers before Machiavelli were rarely virtuous or moral. It was that very fact which led him to write The Prince. In today’s parlance, we call his philosophy realpolitik, “politics based on practical and material factors rather than on theoretical or ethical objectives.” Again, from the Encyclopedia:
“Without exception the authority of states and their laws will never be acknowledged when they are not supported by a show of power which renders obedience inescapable. The methods for achieving obedience are varied, and depend heavily upon the foresight that the prince exercises. Hence, the successful ruler needs special training.”
Now, regardless of what the modern citizen of Western Civilization thinks of these ideas – and they elicit an almost universal hatred, at least in public discourse – Machiavelli himself was not the personification of evil. He had a wife and kids, he wrote poetry, and, as a book review of Miles Unger’s biography notes, “Rather than planning to write an ageless best-selling book, Machiavelli hoped to impress the new ruler of Florence, so that he might regain a salaried government job.”
If the book had stayed within Italy’s borders, history would be different. But the ideas spread, as ideas are wont to do, and the German princes took hold to disastrous effect. German historian Friedrich Meinecke, whose The Doctrine of Statism in Modern History was published in English in 1957, wrote that Machiavelli’s ideas were nothing new to Italians; he simply confirmed what already existed.
“In Italy the theorists’ doctrine, that raison d’état stood above statute law, had not really said anything new, but had only confirmed an existing situation. For here Roman Law, which was saturated with the spirit of the ancient raison d’état, and which absolved the rulers from being bound by the laws, had continued to remain alive; and the early decline of the feudal system, the early appearance of violently energetic city-tyrants and rulers, had not permitted here the formation of that tough crust of law founded on custom and privilege, which in Germany obstructed the rise of the modern State. Whatever rights and customs there were seemed to someone like Machiavelli so much the reverse of dangerous, that his raison d’état was capable of recommending that they should be respected as much as possible.”
So what if the Germans had a “tough crust of law” that “obstructed the rise of the modern State”? The Thirty Years War (1618-1648) destroyed old customs and laws, and Teutonic princes justified their will-to-power by invoking a different idea of justice: the public welfare. Thus, notes Meinecke, “it was perfectly permissible for the demands and necessities of the ‘public good’ to violate statute law and the laws which the State had made” and Machiavelli’s ideas “became a weapon which the modern State could brandish with full conviction and with a good conscience.”
The results – after much progress toward “enlightened despots” – were the American and French revolutions. In 1774 the First Continental Congress was established in the British colony of America, and Americans embraced an idea called “the consent of the governed.” In 1789, French revolutionaries introduced the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, proclaiming “liberty, equality, the inviolability of property, and the right to resist oppression.”
As the Declaration of Independence says: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed…”
Once again, war destroyed old customs and laws.
1) Machiavelli insisted that citizens of the State have no moral basis on which to judge the difference between legitimate and illegitimate uses of power; that the State can violate its own laws as long as its goal is “the public good.”
2) Americans insisted that the State is granted power by citizens, which it shall use to secure certain natural rights that belong to all human beings; and the State’s powers can be revoked by citizens who no longer consent to be governed.
Fast forward to the 21st century.
After more than 200 years of “progress” by “enlightened” socialists – including an epic world war with Soviet Socialists on one side and National Socialists on the other – Socialist Europe finds itself on the brink of another revolution.
America, thanks to “enlightened Progressives” like Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Barack Hussein Obama, has become Socialist enough to entertain the idea of a Socialist president.
But in what direction has this “progress” taken us? In the era of “open borders” and “undocumented immigrants” can ordinary citizens still consent to be governed? Or is citizenship a moral and political anachronism, while the State can violate its own laws as long as its goal is the “public good”?
In America, the State has upheld a Constitutional right to privacy, but the “public good” demands CCTV cameras on every corner, full body scanners at airports, police drones over your neighborhoods, and “stingray” devices that police use to intercept your cell phone calls.
The State has upheld the Constitutional right to personal protection, but the State can also arbitrarily criminalize the most popular form of self-protection (the semi-automatic rifle or handgun) for the “public good.”
What about the pursuit of happiness? If your “happiness” is a freezing cold 32-ounce soda on a hot and humid New York summer day, the State can ban the sale of sugary drinks in the name of the “public good.”
Let us end with a look back at 1666, from Gustav Freytag’s 1859 reprint of “Images from the German Past”, a cutting satire on “the woes of the German people in the seventeenth century and its lifelessness and rigidity after the Thirty Years War.”
In the book (as described by Meinecke), a young and promising lawyer is taken into secret chambers to view the devices of State.
Pretend that you are this young counselor, and look closely at the cloaks of State. Beautiful on the outside but shabby on the inside, they are embroidered with phrases like “the welfare of the people shall be the supreme law.” Politicians wear these when meeting with constituents. Another – labeled “good intentions” – is worn while voting for new insupportable taxes, infuriating citizens with endless regulations, starting unnecessary wars, or declaring eminent domain for the “public good.”
Try on the eyeglasses of State. Gnats can be made into elephants, or little kindnesses on the part of the Prime Minister can be made into supreme acts of mercy.
Observe, but do not taste, the iron instrument with which the President can enlarge the gullets of his advisers so they can swallow great pumpkins.
Finally, a ball of knotted wire, furnished with sharp needles and heated by a fire within so that it draws tears from the eyes of the beholder, represents the Principles of Machiavelli. The politician keeps this in hand too; but she does not use it while her constituents are docile, because she does not wish to publicly ruin her good name unnecessarily.
Then naturally too, the politicians are using their own private ratio status for enriching themselves quite shamelessly.
Having looked behind the curtain of 1666, can you deny that what you see are the same tools of power used by our new absolutists? Some of the details are different, but their will-to-power remains the same. The pendulum is swinging back toward Machiavelli, and our modern princes are brandishing his weapons “with full conviction and with a good conscience.”
As the process of writing my novel comes to an end, I don’t waste much time on books that lend nothing to the story. I’m making an exception for Herodotus.
In my story, an ancient unreadable manuscript finds its way from Istanbul to the Baltic. (Sorry, no spoilers here. You’ll have to read the book…) In an earlier draft, this manuscript was an ancient version of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, which told the tale of an even more ancient migration from the Baltic to the Mediterranean. My fevered author’s brain imagined that my book could mirror a mythic reversal of that epic journey.
Alas, my storytelling skills were not up to the challenge.
But my interest in that ancient world has not waned, and thus I bought a copy of Herodotus: The Histories for fifty cents at a garage sale.
The kidnapping of Helen brought about the Trojan War, but Herodotus tells us what brought about the kidnapping of Helen. And so, without further ado…
“Herodotus of Hallicarnassus here displays his inquiry, so that human achievements may not become forgotten in time, and great and marvelous deeds — some displayed by Greeks, some by barbarians — may not be without their glory; and especially to show why the two people’s fought with each other.
“Learned Persians put the responsibility for the quarrel on the Phoenicians. These people came originally from the so-called Red Sea; and as soon as they had penetrated to the Mediterranean and settled in the country where they are today, they took to making long trading voyages. Loaded with Egyptian and Assyrian goods, they called at various places along the coast, including Argos, in those days the most important place in the land now called Hellas.
“Here in Argos they displayed their wares, and five or six days later when they were nearly sold out, a number of women came down to the beach to see the fair. Amongst these was the king’s daughter, whom Greek and Persian writers agree in calling Io, daughter of Inachus. These women were standing about near the vessel’s stern, buying what they fancied, when suddenly the Phoenician sailors passed the word along and made a rush at them. The greater number got away; but Io and some others were caught and bundled aboard the ship, which cleared at once and made off for Egypt.
“This, according to the Persian account (the Greeks have a different story), was how Io came to Egypt; and this was the first in a series of unjust acts.
“Later on some Greeks, whose name the Persians fail to record — they were probably Cretans — put into the Phoenician port of Tyre and carried off the king’s daughter Europa, thus giving them tit for tat.
“For the next outrage it was the Greeks again who were responsible. they sailed in an armed merchantman to Aea in Colchis on the river Phasis, and, not content with the regular business which had brought them there, they abducted the king’s daughter Medea. the king sent to Greece demanding reparations and his daughter’s return; but the only answer he got was that the Greeks had no intention of offering reparation, having received none themselves for the abduction of Io from Argos.
“The accounts go on to say that some forty or fifty years afterwards Paris, the son of Priam, was inspired by these stories to steal a wife for himself out of Greece, being confident that he would not have to pay for the venture any more than the Greeks had done. And that was how he came to carry off Helen.
“The first idea of the Greeks after the rape was to send a demand for satisfaction and for Helen’s return. the demand was met by a reference to the seizure of Medea and the injustice of expecting satisfaction from people to whom they had refused it, not to mention the fact that they had kept the girl.
“Thus far there had been nothing worse than woman-stealing on both sides; but for what happened next the Greeks, they say, were seriously to blame; for it was the Greeks who were, in a military sense, the aggressors. Abducting young women, in their opinion, is not, indeed, a lawful act; but it is stupid after the event to make a fuss about avenging it. The only sensible thing is to take no notice; for it is obvious that no young woman allows herself to be abducted if she does not wish to be. The Asiatics, according to the Persians, took the seizure of the women lightly enough, but not so the Greeks: the Greeks, merely on account of a girl from Sparta, raised a big army, invaded Asia and destroyed the empire of Priam. From that root sprang their belief in the perpetual enmity of the Grecian world towards them — because the Persians claim Asia and the barbarian races dwelling in it as their own, Europe and the Greek states being, in their opinion, quite separate and distinct from them.
“As to Io, the Phoenicians do not accept the Persian account; they deny that they took her to Egypt by force. On the contrary, the girl while she was still in Argos went to bed with the ship’s captain, found herself pregnant, and, ashamed to face her parents, sailed away voluntarily to escape exposure.
“So much for the what Persians and Phoenicians say; and I have no intention of passing judgement on its truth or falsity. I prefer to rely on my own knowledge, and to point out who it was in actual fact that first injured the Greeks; then I will proceed with my history, telling the story as I go along of small cities of men no less than of great. For most of those which were great once are small today; and those which used to be small were great in my own time. Knowing, therefore, that human prosperity never abides long in the same place, I shall pay attention to both alike.”
On a ship out of Lubeck, headed downriver to the Baltic and bound for Castle Gottorp, two of the hands find time to play an ancient board game.
Valhalla is a game of both chance and strategy, in which the players overcome physical obstacles, attacks by their opponents and the whims of the Gods in order to reach a joyous afterlife in Odin’s hall – Valhalla. The game is loosely based on Senet, which originated in ancient Egypt and was adopted by the Greeks and later the Romans, until it may have made its way north into medieval Scandinavia.
I found the game online a couple of years ago and downloaded the instructions (which are apparently no longer available).
The game board is in the pattern of a serpent, representing the Midgard Serpent which dwelt in the deep ocean and encircled the world. Along the serpent’s back are three rows of 12 spaces each, some of which are marked with runes representing various special conditions. The first row is the home harbour, where each players pieces begin the game. The second row is the open ocean, where each side battles for position. In the middle is an island with a ship yard where players must go for repairs if their ships are damaged. The third row represents the final leg of the journey, where players may form blockades, take shelter in a safe harbour, or be washed up on the rocky shoals, sending them back to the repair yards. Once past the serpents jaws, your ships pass into Valhalla, at which point they leave the board. The first player to remove all their ships is the winner.
In my novel, Ulf is the educated son of a Swedish nobleman who has abdicated his birthright to become an apprentice trader. Thadeus, a giant of a man whose birthright and interests are inferior to those of his opponent, collects various games and asks Ulf to play his latest acquisition.
Ulf sat down with his back against the bulkhead, sheltered from the southwest wind that drove the fluyt forward from the rear quarter. The surface of the river rippled and the small bow wave gurgled against the hull. The canvas, not yet filled with wind, luffed and flapped, reminding him of servants at home drying the household bedsheets. Ahead, the river began a wide turn to the east, past the old island fortress of the first Lubeck settlement. Cows meandered among a few black stones, but nothing remained of the citadel that Ulf had read about in his father’s library. On both sides of the river, workers were already in the fields. On the western shore a small caravan of wagons, loaded with grain, eased their way toward a local jetty where an old bark and her crew waited.
He was tired from the early morning work of outfitting the ship for sea, but cool air and the sun in his eyes conspired to keep Ulf awake. He closed his eyes for a moment and listened, hoping no one would bother him, and pulled the collar of his fine leather coat tighter against his throat to keep out a sudden gust of wind. He pulled his cap down tight and settled himself more snugly against the bulkhead, feeling the alternating mixture of warmth and wind.
He heard heavy footsteps on the wooden deck, and opened his eyes as a pair of legs lowered themselves down next to him.
“Aaah, so there you are!”
Recognizing the voice of crewman Thadeus Schynnagel, Ulf groaned in disappointment. The man was constantly enticing him to play one game of chance or another. He had given in a few times on the condition that no money would exchange hands.
Thadeus lowered his considerable weight onto the deck and tossed a red velvet bag into Ulf’s lap. “I’ll bet you’ve never seen this game before. Want to play? Just for fun, of course.”
“I was resting before we reach the open sea and I have to stand watch. Can we play later?”
“We need a stable surface and the river is calm today.” Thad retrieved the bag and dumped its contents onto the deck. “I found this in Lubeck. It cost me all the money I had. Very nice quality, don’t you think?”
Ulf took the rectangular board in his hands and turned it over. Carved into the soft spruce, the body of a serpent formed a playing area of three rows, tail to snout, across its surface. Evenly spaced holes pierced the snake’s body, apparently for inserting the oval tokens that Thad now held.
“Do you want dark or light?”
Do I have to choose?”
“No, but that way is more complicated.”
Ulf watched the man’s thick fingers place the twelve pieces onto the board, surprised again at how deft such a big man could be.
“Throw the four rune sticks.”
Ulf picked them up, cupped his hands, shook and threw the sticks. Two of them landed face down.
“Two points,” said Thad, pointing at the runic symbols. “The sun and god runes are face up. The gift and fate runes are face down. The most points you can get are five. Now move that ship two spaces, out of the harbor.”
Ulf selected the ship at the head of the line and moved it two spaces. “How do you win the game?”
“By moving all your ships off the board, past the serpent’s maw, here.” Thad pointed to the other end of the writhing snake. “Now it’s my turn. I’ll tell you the rules as we go along.”
The runes clattered. “The serpent is Jörmungand, who dwells in the deep oceans and encircles the earth. You command the white ships, and our two fleets do battle in the open ocean, here.” He pointed to the middle row of peg holes. “I threw a three, so my ship defeats yours in battle and you must make repairs at the island shipyard. So I will move your ship there now.”
“And what happens to that ship?”
“After one turn, you can move it back into the harbor if you roll the right number. For now, throw the runes and move the next ship in line.”
Ulf picked up the runes and dropped them, differently this time, the ends perpendicular to the deck. One of them stood for a moment and then toppled. He read the names out, feeling the familiar sense of pride in his memory.
“Tiewaz and Hagalaz.”
“Zero points. No move.” Thad threw the runes. “Four tails up. Five points.” His first ship, already in the lead, landed in mid-ocean.
Ulf could see how the game would play, and allowed his mind to wander, only uttering sounds if necessary. He already, unfortunately, had Thad’s friendship. He didn’t want to encourage intimacy. He mentally put his opponent onto the ocean-island shipyard and left him there, sailing eastward to Alandia with captain Wisna, a woman he could fall in love with if she didn’t have the soul of a man. The wind whipped the hair about his eyes, obscuring the outline of the City of Sle, where the long cold days aboard ship would fade into warm beds and meade, and the hard weeks of battle would be proudly exaggerated by warriors.
Absently, he threw the runes and moved his ships and wished for a cup of mead in his hand. The desire was almost overwhelming, and Ulf despaired that it would keep him from his rightful place when Jens was gone. More than once since taking the apprenticeship, he had neglected his duties in favor of a strong drink. He also desired the authority that Jens had promised, but not the responsibility, and in this way he was not like his father. Also unlike his father, he was unaware of the truth of his desires, and the character flaw infected even his dreams.
The dreams had been with him since childhood. Always a subordinate, never a leader, he was still clever. While his brothers excelled in war and in the administration of the family estates, Ulf excelled only in learning. He learned to read long before his brothers, spent his days in the family library, and by the time he was thirteen he had finished every book his father owned. His mother regretted allowing him to read so much, and one failed attempt at restricting it had damaged their relationship forever. Ulf was aware of the rift, but wrongly attributed it to his father’s interference.
The dream of Wisna was a constant reminder of Ulf’s second-citizen status. Watching his dream from the outside, one might think that Ulf was a trusted lieutenant or skillful advisor, and sometimes the dream started out that way. But eventually, and always, his status waned and as the day awoke he was pulling at the oars with the others as they entered the harbor. Wisna laughed at him and put a boot into his chest as she strode toward the bow, leapt over the side, and left her crew to beach the ship and unload.
“Fate,” said Thad as the runes toppled to the deck yet again. “Hagalaz, the hailstorm. Looks like you have to go back a space.”
“Stop gloating,” said Ulf. “My luck at games is terrible, but it is offset by the luck of my birth.”
“What luck? You think it lucky to be born a nobleman?” Thad chuckled deeply. “There are some who count as nothing the status given by birth, while others depend on nothing else. You seem to be of the latter sort, and yet your station in life gives you no pleasure. As for myself, I care not for my lineage and I am a happy man.”
“That’s because you have no lineage worth caring about.”
“As if you do? What did you have to do with it? Did you choose your parents? Did your father choose his? No. A true man makes his own way, highborn or not. Any man who says otherwise is a liar or a fool. Or a noble. That’s one which has escaped to Valhalla. Five to go.”
Directly below them, in the head, Ulf heard someone grunting with great effort. It took equal effort for him not to compare the activity to Thad’s ridiculous talk about nobility. He watched the other man’s huge hand move a piece off the board, out of the serpent’s reach, and wished he had the stones to call out the man’s stupidity. He took his turn instead.
Hagalaz was the only rune face up. “Fate,” said Thad.
“That’s it,” said Ulf. “I quit.” He stood up into the wind and stretched.
“You can’t quit now!” Thad said in frustration. “Who quits a game just because they are losing?”
“We’re approaching Travemunde. I’ll be needed on watch.” The Bay of Travemunde was visible and getting larger just off the starboard bow. In the distance, on the port side, the red brick of the lighthouse stood watch over the gateway to the Baltic.
“Not for another hour at least. We still need to drop off our pilot.”
Ulf let his irritation get the best of him. “I don’t care about the stupid game. I didn’t want to play it in the first place.” Before the idea of kicking the game overboard was fully formed, his foot lashed out and the pieces scattered.
Thad bellowed something unintelligible as the board disappeared over the side.
“I’m sorry!” shouted Ulf. “I didn’t mean …” But he didn’t have time to finish the sentence before Thad picked him off his feet and threw him into the river.