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HARRY TARG Printer Friendly Page

Indoctrination at Purdue
By David Horowitz and Thomas Ryan
December 13, 2004


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  • Professor of political science and international relations at Purdue University and director of Peace Studies Program
  • Member of the Executive Committee of the communist splinter group, the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism
  • Longtime apologist for Cuba who has led his students on trips to the Stalinist state
  • Coordinates his lesson plans with guest appearances by anti-American radicals like Robert Fisk

Harry Targ is a professor of political science and international relations at Purdue University and the Director of the school’s Peace Studies program. He is a member of the National Executive Committee of the “Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism,” a faction of the Communist Party USA that includes UC Santa Cruz professors Bettina Aptheker and Angela Davis, Columbia professor Manning Marable, and UC Santa Cruz Provost Conn Hallinan. This faction was expelled from the Party by leader Gus Hall in 1991 for opposing the hard-liner coup against the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

Professor Targ’s views on the questions of war and peace are standard Communist doctrine. Addressing himself to “the power of the people” in an April 2003 email, Targ called for concerted opposition to “U.S. imperialism,” making it clear that he viewed the United States specifically, and capitalism more broadly, as the greatest threats to international security: “We need to clarify the connections between U.S. capitalism, global conquest, and visions of empire … [W]e need to discover where multinational corporations and international financiers stand, whether the oil and/or military industries are driving the doctrine of preemption, and which, if any, sectors of the ruling class regard unilateralism, globalism, and militarism as a threat to global trade, production, investment and speculation.”

Targ also condemned the American-led war against Iraq in 2003, on the grounds that it represented the “U.S. drive toward global hegemony.” To the extent that Targ evinced any concern for the suffering of Iraqis, he placed the blame squarely on American intervention in the early 1990s to oppose Iraq’s aggression against Kuwait. In one February 2003 interview with a local Indiana newspaper, Targ dismissed the “war option” as “grotesque and inhumane,” adding, “The Iraqis never recovered from the first Gulf War.” That same month, Targ, condemning any attempt to liberate Iraq, proclaimed: “If there’s one Iraqi who's killed as a result of this [war], it's criminal.”

The Peace Studies program at Purdue is designed to indoctrinate undergraduates in Targ’s political views. In his preferred approach to Peace Studies, Targ employs two strategies: First, as noted earlier, he says, “we need to clarify the connections between U.S. capitalism, global conquest, and visions of empire.” Second, “we need to discern whether the imperial superpower is homogeneous or riddled with factional disagreements that can be used for our purposes.” To this end, the Peace Studies program features such courses as, “Persuasion in Social Movements,” “America in Vietnam,” and “Classical and Contemporary Marxism.”

“Classical and Contemporary Marxism” is a course in applied Marxist doctrines, which includes the screening of two propaganda films that reflect the range of the course. One “illustrates the trajectory from Marx’s Manifesto to anti-globalization movements,” while the second lionizes the terrorists in Chiapas, Mexico, showing how their activities “intertwine” so-called “post-colonial” theories of liberation with “liberation theology,” which is a religious coating for Marxist agendas.

“Persuasion in Social Movements,” meanwhile, is a practical training course for radical activists. As described in the course catalogue, it “focuses on six essential functions persuasion serves for social movements.” Among these are: “transforming perceptions of reality; altering self-perceptions of protesters; [and] legitimizing the social movement.” Targ himself instructs the required lecture course for Peace Studies, called “Introduction to the Study of Peace,” in which he draws on the views he has developed in tracts like International Relations in a World of Imperialism and Class Struggle, and Cuba and the United States: A New World Order? Professor Targ is also the co-editor of such publications as Marxism Today: Essays on Capitalism, Socialism, and Strategies for Social Change

In addition to his duties as a professor, Targ serves as the coordinator and administrator of Purdue’s “Committee on Peace Studies.” In keeping with the activist nature of the Peace Studies program, the Committee organizes public propaganda sessions devoted to condemning the Bush Administration, the War in Iraq, and the greater War on Terror, and brings radical speakers to campus.

Among the speakers that have been invited to Purdue are the anti-American British journalist Robert Fisk. In November 2002, Fisk delivered a lecture at Purdue entitled “September 11: Ask Who Did It, But for Heaven's Sake Don't Ask Why.” A report in the campus newspaper recorded that Targ “turned Fisk’s visit into homework for 140 students in his classes on U.S. foreign policy and introduction to peace studies.”

In January 2003 the Purdue Peace Studies Committee screened a film assailing the looming war in Iraq.

A longtime enthusiast of leftwing propaganda films, Targ wrote a review of Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11, in which he cheered its portrayal of the “brutal and bloodthirsty consciousness of young American fighting men and women at the outset of the [Iraq] war,” stating that the “film is the one that can help people understand that defeating George Bush is a necessary but not sufficient condition to create a just society.”

The Peace Studies program at Purdue also includes a trip to the terror-sponsoring state of Cuba. In a course titled, “Experiencing Cuba,” co-taught by Professor Targ himself, students are given the opportunity to tour Fidel Castro’s Communist police state. For 18 days in May 2004, Targ chaperoned students to Cuba, where they were “educated” at a Cuban university and visited factories and farms to learn about socialist means of production. An agreement was signed with the Castro dictatorship for a student and faculty exchange between Havana University and Purdue. Of this, observed Targ, “We have a real chance to change all levels of education.”

A secondary purpose of the trip was to protest the embargo the U.S. has placed on Cuba in the hopes of ending the Castro dictatorship’s extensive violations of human rights. While Targ had nothing to say about Castro’s political prisons, he called the U.S. policy “Draconian.”

As a member of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, Targ, a longtime Castro supporter, continues to hail the Cuban Revolution as “a radical and deeply egalitarian socialist experiment which has raised the bar to new heights on questions of race, gender and class equality and international solidarity.” Targ is also the co-founder of the local Lafayette Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, an organization created by Cuban intelligence to lend support to the Communist guerrilla movement in El Salvador during the 1980s.



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