- Earned PhD in History of Consciousness Department at UCSC, the same department that awarded Huey Newton his doctorate in the 1970s.
- His 1991 PhD thesis, titled Class, populism, and progressive politics: Santa Cruz, California 1970 – 1982, describes his stealth strategy to implement socialism in the town during those years; this thesis is Marxist boilerplate, not a scholarly or academic work.
- Teaches a course on Marxism at UCSC
- Teaches one course per quarter at a salary estimated to be in the neighborhood of $100,000
- Has served many years on the Santa Cruz City Council and is currently that city’s Mayor
- Implemented a radical agenda that brought Santa Cruz close to bankruptcy.
- Editor of The Socialist Review for ten years
- Member of Board of Directors of Santa Cruz Chapter of the ACLU
- President of local chapter of American Federation of Teachers
Mike Rotkin is an instructor of Marxist theory at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). He has served on the Santa Cruz City Council for close to twenty years and is currently the Mayor of that city. He is also the president of the local chapter of the American Federation of Teachers.
Rotkin’s ideals are outlined in his 1991 PhD thesis (entitled Class, Populism, and Progressive Politics: Santa Cruz, California 1970 – 1982), which describes his stealth strategy to implement socialism in the United States. A chapter from this thesis, titled “A Three-Part Strategy for Democratic Socialism,” currently serves as an assigned reading for his “Introduction to Marxism” course. Part one of this strategy is Grassroots Organizing, which means finding groups with grievances against society and helping them to “wrest concessions,” as he phrased it in his thesis. Borrowing from Saul Alinsky’s tactics, Rotkin advocates hiding his true socialist agenda from the people he helps while “preparing the ground” for subsequent stages.
The second stage of Rotkin’s strategy is Developing a Socialist Presence, founded on the premise that there is “a desperate need to put forth a vision of an alternative society in a language understood by Americans” – a propaganda program that hides his real goal, the implementation of socialism in the United States. He further describes this deceptive approach in stage three, Developing Progressive Coalitions, where he suggests that leftwing groups band together under a non-controversial slogan such as “Get America working again” while keeping secret those radical ideals which most citizens would not readily accept.
In his thesis, Rotkin imperiously asserts that because the “average citizen has so little experience working with other human beings to achieve social goals,” it is “absurd to even think about them running society as a whole.”
Rotkin has been successful in implementing his strategy. By 1982, the end of the period examined in his thesis, he described a progressive voting bloc which included Santa Cruz-area leftwing environmentalist groups, feminist and criminal-justice movements, gay and lesbian groups, African-American and other minority organizations, labor unions, arts and culture organizations, and alternative media. More recently this list has expanded to include also the homeless, low-cost housing advocates, and drug users. To curry favor with these coalitions, Rotkin and the progressives on the council have spent millions of taxpayer dollars on expanding the bloated, unionized city workforce; promoting a radical gay agenda in the public schools; financing services for a large homeless population; and attempting to implement rent control.
These measures have resulted in a financial crisis characterized by increased taxes but no significant reductions in spending. In fact, the council recently approved a $43 million development project that will provide heavily subsidized housing and gallery space for 100 artists. In the meantime, businesses are leaving the city, the tax base is declining, roads are pocked with potholes, and gang violence is a growing problem.
Rotkin’s most recent subversive ploy is his promotion of the legalization of drugs – starting with marijuana, but eventually encompassing all drugs that are currently illegal.
Rotkin, who heads the Santa Cruz chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, has recently ratcheted up his marijuana advocacy by approving a retail medical marijuana dispensary, designating an annual “Medical Marijuana Day,” and authorizing a new city department – an “Office of Compassionate Use” – to sell marijuana to people who have notes from their doctors authorizing them to purchase the drug. Rotkin never mentions the ultimate objective of the ACLU Drug Reform Project – the legalization of all drugs – knowing that such a goal would not garner much public support; thus he prefers to pursue his objective incrementally.
In addition to his crusade for drug legalization, Rotkin recently declared a “Camilo Mejia Day” in honor of an American sergeant who spent a year in prison for refusing to return to active duty in the Iraq War. The professor also raised funds for a movie called Planet USA, which features radicals Tariq Ali, Medea Benjamin, and Amy Goodman.
Rotkin recently participated as a panelist in a Berkeley conference, sponsored by the Democratic Socialists of America, called “Making Trouble: Building a Radical Youth Movement,” where he boasted of bringing radical speakers to the UCSC campus.