Around seventy lawmakers, lobbyists, and researchers gathered yesterday at the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) policy summit in San Diego to hear speakers push actions and model legislation in the GOP’s manufactured culture war over the supposed teaching of critical race theory in public schools, according to documents shared with the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD).
The event was sponsored by the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, a $934.4 million foundation funding right-wing campaigns to influence lawmakers in statehouses across the country. Bradley’s president Rick Graber, who introduced the forum, called Bradley the “cornerstone of conservative philanthropy.”
The Bradley Foundation’s $3.9 million in funding to ALEC between 2014 and 2019 makes it the pay-to-play group’s top identifiable donor, CMD reported.
Speakers at the Bradley Forum, all Foundation grantees, included: Garrett Ballengee, senior policy and research analyst at the Cardinal Institute; Jonathan Butcher, education fellow at The Heritage Foundation; Lance Izumi, senior director for education at the Pacific Research Institute; Libby Sobic, director of education policy at the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL); and Jim Copland, director of legal policy at the Manhattan Institute.
Bradley’s grantees and ALEC have led a national disinformation campaign to frame the factual teaching of racism in public K-12 schools as critical race theory (CRT) in order to make it a racial wedge issue. CRT is, however, a college-level academic framework that is not taught in public schools. It examines how racism is intertwined in American law and institutions, and argues that systemic racism results in unequal opportunities for people of color.
“The Republican operatives…are effectively debating themselves,” writes Prof. Ibram X. Kendi, director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research. “They have conjured an imagined monster to scare the American people and project themselves as the nation’s defenders from that fictional monster.”
Republicans credit the controversy around CRT for electing their candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general in Virginia last month. Shortly after that election, Republican Study Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) wrote to committee members, saying “the concerns of parents need to be a tier 1 policy issue for Republicans” in a letter titled “Lessons from Virginia,” sourced to CMD by researcher Brent Allpress.
At the forum, Butcher said CRT “absolutely will” play as big a role in the midterms as it did in Virginia, falsely claiming that the National Education Association said that CRT would remain in the classroom and that CRT characterizes people as racist.
Forum Promotes Model Bills for Lawmakers to Take Home
While ALEC did not list model policies targeting CRT on its meeting agenda, Bradley Forum panelists promoted three.
Manhattan Institute’s Copeland pushed “A Model for Transparency in School Training and Curriculum” that he co-wrote with colleagues Christopher Rufo and John Ketcham. At its December 2020 summit, ALEC hosted a workshop, “Against Critical Race Theory’s Onslaught” that featured Rufo, who has been credited with inventing the controversy.
The bill requires that all curriculum materials be posted on a school website or another accessible location.
Copeland argued that, “transparency should be at the forefront this year.”
WILL’s Sobic used the forum to falsely claim that “critical race theory was abundant across our school districts” in Wisconsin and promoted a similar Goldwater Institute model, the “Academic Transparency Act.” The Wisconsin legislature recently passed a version of that now sits on Gov. Tony Evers’ (D) desk.
Copeland stressed in his talk that obtaining greater transparency is a key component of this effort, as parents will push back if they are aware of what is taught in schools.
On Dec. 2, the same day of the forum, the Manhattan Institute and the Heritage Foundation published a letter calling on “state legislators to enact policies that families and students desperately need to reject the racial prejudice inherent in Critical Race Theory, maximize transparency around what is taught in K-12 classrooms, and secure education choice.”
Butcher pushed Heritage’s model, “Protecting K–12 Students from Discrimination,” which prohibits schools from compelling students to affirm, adopt, or adhere to a long list of broad concepts and to strip schools found in violation of their state funding.
Butcher mischaracterized CRT at the forum, telling the audience “that Critical Race Theory is a neo Marxist philosophy that believes that racial discrimination is appropriate and can be used and applied in K12 schools.”
Sobic also revealed at the forum that WILL is developing a “Parental Rights Handbook” for parents who feel thwarted by school boards and the state, saying that WILL is “focused on helping parents push back using existing state and federal laws.”
For God’s sake Americans re the most ignorant people on earth. THIS IS HOW YOU TEACH- I was a teacher for 23 years and know what I am talking about- I brought ignorant barrio kids to the highest level of sophistication in their thinking and ability to analyze.
THE DIALECTICAL METHOD-
1) NATURE CONNECTED AND DETERMINED-
2) A STATE OF CONTINUOUS MOTION.
3) QUANTITATIVE CHANGE LEADS TO QUALITATIVE CHANGE.
4) CONTRADICTIONS INHERENT IN NATURE.
5 CONDITIONS OF TIME AND PLACE.
7) THE WORLD AND ITS LAWS ARE KNOWABLE.
8) HISTORICAL MATERIALISM.
9) MODE OF PRODUCTION-THE DETERMINANT FORCE.
10 THE FIRST FEATURE OF PRODUCTION. (THESIS)
11 THE SECOND FEATURE OF PRODUCTION. (ANTITHESIS.)
12 THE THIRD FEATURE OF PRODUCTION. (SYNTHESIS).
13 THE ERA OF SOCIAL REVOLUTION.
1) NATURE CONNECTED AND DETERMINED- Nature is not an accidental agglomeration of things, of phenomena, unconnected from each other, but a connected and integral whole,in which phenomena are organically connected with each other. No phenomenon in nature can be understood if taken by itself, isolated from surrounding phenomena, inasmuch as it may become meaningless if it is not considered in connection with the surrounding conditions. Vice versa, any phenomenon can be understood and explained if considered in its inseparable connection with surrounding phenomena.
2) A STATE OF CONTINUOUS MOTION. Nature is in a state of continuous movement and change, of continuous renewal and development, where something is always arising and developing, and something always disintegrating and dying away. Phenomena should be considered not only from the standpoint of their interconnection and interdependence, but also from the standpoint of their development, their coming into being and going out of being. What is important primarily is not that which seems to be durable and yet is already beginning to die away, but that which is arising and developing, even though at the given moment it may appear to be not durable. What is invincible is only that which is arising and developing. All nature,from the smallest thing to the biggest, from grains of sand to suns, from protista to man, has its existence in eternal coming into being and going out of being, in a ceaseless flux, in unresting motion and change.
3) QUANTITATIVE CHANGE LEADS TO QUALITATIVE CHANGE. It is not a simple process of growth, but as a development which passes from insignificant and imperceptible quantitative changes to open fundamental changes, to qualitative changes; a development in which the qualitative changes finally occur not gradually, but rapidly and abruptly, taking the form of a leap from one state to another; they occur as the natural result of an accumulation of imperceptible and gradual quantitative changes. It is not as a simple repetition of what has already occurred, but as an onward and upward movement, a transition from an old qualitative state to a new qualitative state,as a development from the simple to the complex, from the lower to the higher, in a spiral. Every change is a passing of quantity into quality, as a result of a quantitative change of some form of movement. For example, water is converted in one case into steam and in the other into ice… What are known as the constants of physics (the point at which one state passes into another are in most cases nothing but designations for the nodal points at which quantity is transformed into quality. In oxygen, a molecule may contain three atoms instead of the customary two, and we get ozone. In a similar way, the transition from the insentient world to the sentient world, from the kingdom of inorganic matter to the kingdom of organic life, is a leap to a new state.
4) CONTRADICTIONS INHERENT IN NATURE. Internal contradictions are
inherent in all things in nature, for they all have their negative
and positive sides, a past and a future, something dying away and something developing; and that the struggle and unity between these opposites, the struggle between the old and the new, constitutes the internal content of the process of development. It ismerely not a harmonious unfolding of phenomena, but rather a disclosure of the contradictions inherent in things. This includes the study of the principles of the dialectical method to the study of social life and the history of society, and the application of these principles to the history of society and to the practical activities of the party of the working class. Every social movement in history must be evaluated not from the standpoint of “eternal justice” but from the standpoint of the conditions which gave rise to that system or that social movement . The slave system under the conditions of a disintegrating primitive communal system, is quite understandable since it represents an advance on the primitive communal system. (For example, the Pyramids could not have been built by the communal system).
5.- CONDITIONS OF TIME AND PLACE. Only such an approach saves the science of history from becoming a jumble of accidents and an agglomeration of absurd mistakes. Further, if the world is in a state of constant movement and development, if the dying away of the old and the upgrowth of the new is a law of development, then it is clear that there can be no “immutable” social systems, no “eternal
principles” of private property and exploitation, no “eternal ideas” of the subjugation of the peasant to the landlord, of the worker to the capitalist. Hence, the capitalist system can be replaced by the socialist system, just as at one time the feudal system was replaced by the capitalist system. We must not base our orientation on the strata of society which are no longer developing, even though they at present constitute the predominant force, but on those strata which are developing and have a future before them, even though they at present do not constitute the predominant force. In order not to err in policy, one must look forward, not backward. Further, if the passing of slow quantitative changes into rapid and abruptqualitative changes is a law of development, then it is clear that revolutions made by oppressed classes are a quite natural and inevitable phenomenon. Hence, the transition from capitalism to socialism and the liberation of the working class cannot be effected by slow changes, by reforms, but only by a qualitative change of the capitalist system, by revolution. One must be a revolutionary, not a
reformist. We must not cover up the contradictions of the capitalist system, but disclose and unravel them; we must not try to check the class struggle but carry it to its conclusion, pursuing an uncompromising working class policy, not a reformist policy of harmony, which would try to address both the interests of the workers and the capitalists.
6) MATERIALISM. Contrary to idealism, which regards the world as the embodiment of an “absolute idea,” a “universal spirit,” or “consciousness,” materialism holds that the world is by its very nature material, that the multifold phenomena of the world constitute different forms of matter in motion, that interconnection and interdependence of phenomena as established by the dialectical method, and stands in no need of a “universal spirit.” Contrary to idealism, which asserts that only our consciousness really exists, and that the material world, being, nature, exists only in our consciousness’ in our sensations, ideas and perceptions, materialism holds that matter, nature, being, is an objective reality existing outside and independent of our consciousness; that matter is primary, since it is the source of sensations, ideas, consciousness, and that consciousness is secondary, derivative, since it is a reflection of matter, a reflection of being. Thought is a product of matter which in its development has reached a high degree of perfection, namely, of the brain. Our consciousness and thinking, however supra-sensuous they may seem, are the product of a material, bodily organ, the brain. Matter is not a product of mind, but mind itself is merely the highest product of matter. The brain is the organ of thought.
7) THE WORLD AND ITS LAWS ARE KNOWABLE. Our knowledge of the laws of nature is authentic knowledge having the validity of objective truth. There are no things in the world which are unknowable, but only things which are as yet not known, but which will be disclosed and made known by the efforts of science and practice. The chemical substances produced in the bodies of plants and animals remained as ‘things-in-themselves’ until organic chemistry began to produce them one after another, whereupon the ‘thing-in-itself’ became a thing for us, as, for instance, alizarin, the coloring matter of madder, which we no longer trouble to grow in the field, but produce much more cheaply and simply from coal tar. When Leverrier, by means of the data provided, not only deduced the necessity of the existence of an unknown planet, but also calculated the position in the heavens which this planet must necessarily occupy, and when Galle really found this planet, the Copernican system was proved. It follows, too, that the connection and interdependence of the phenomena of social life are laws of the development of society, are not something accidental. The study of the history of society thus becomes a science as much as any other.Further, if the world is knowable and our knowledge of the laws of development of nature is authentic knowledge, having the validity of objective truth, it follows that social life, the development of society, is also knowable, so that the party of the workers should not guide itself in its practical activity by casual motives, but by the laws of development and by practical deductions from these laws. Socialism is converted from a dream of a better future for humanity into a science. The bond between science and practical activity, between theory and practice, their unity, should be the guiding star. It follows that the material life of society, its being, is also primary, and its spiritual life secondary, derivative, and that the material life of society is an objective reality existing independently of the will of men, while the spiritual life of society
is a reflection of this objective reality. The origin of social ideas, theories, political views and institutions, should not be sought for in themselves, but in the conditions of the material life of society, which in different periods of history manifest different social ideas, theories, views and political institutions. If under the slave system we encounter certain social ideas, and institutions, and under feudalism others, and under capitalism others still, this is not to be explained by the “nature”, the “properties” of the ideas, and institutions themselves but by the different conditions of the material life of society at different periods of social development. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness. The working class must not base its activities on abstract “principles of human reason”, but on the concrete
conditions of the material life of society, as the determining force of social development; on the real needs of development of the material life of society. Anarchists and Socialist-Revolutionaries, donot recognize the primary role which the conditions of the material life of society play in the development of society, basing themselves on “ideal plans” and “all-embracing projects”, divorced from the real life of society.
It does not follow however, that social ideas, political views and institutions are of no significance in the life of society. Far from denying them, they have an important role in the life of society and in its history.There are old ideas and theories which have outlived their day and which serve the interests of the moribund forces of society. Their significance lies in the fact that they hamper the development, the progress of society. Then there are new and advanced ideas and theories which serve the interests of the advanced forces of society. Their significance lies in the fact that they facilitate the development, the progress of society. Theory becomes a material force as soon as it has gripped the masses. Once new ideas have arisen they become a most potent force which facilitates the carrying out of the new tasks set by the development of the material life of society, a force which facilitates the progress of society. It is precisely here that the tremendous organizing, mobilizing and transforming value of new ideas, new theories, new political views and new political institutions manifests itself. It is impossible to carry out the urgent tasks of development of the material life of society without their transforming action. New social ideas and theories force their way through, become the possession of the masses, mobilize and organize them against the moribund forces of society, and thus facilitate the overthrow of these forces, which hamper the development of the material life of society. In order to be able to influence the conditions of material life of society and to accelerate their development and their improvement, the workers must rely upon being capable of setting into motion broad masses of the people and of mobilizing them and organizing them into a great army prepared to smash the reactionary forces and to clear the way for the advanced forces of society.
Audio from the Bradley Foundation workshop at ALEC can be found here: