Since 1970, Grover Furr has been an English professor at Montclair State University in Montclair, New Jersey. His worldview can be accurately described as an updated Stalinism that deems America the world’s foremost oppressor and terrorist state. He defends Joseph Stalin and has called America's role in bringing down the Soviet Empire a moral outrage.
"Was there something morally wrong in trying to bring down the Soviet Union?" says Furr. "I think the only honest answer possible is: Yes, it was wrong." In a speech delivered at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Essex County, New Jersey, Furr said: “I think the reason Stalin is vilified is because, in his day at the helm of the Soviet Union, the exploiters all over the world had something to worry about! That's why I feel some kinship with Stalin and the communist movement of his day.”
Furr denies that Stalin was planning a campaign to liquidate the Jews: “The mass murder of Jews, but not only of Jews, by the Nazis is very well documented. In the case of the Cold-War horror stories demonizing Stalin, the shoe is on the other foot -- all the evidence points in the opposite direction. . . . Of the hoary horror tales virtually taken for granted as true concerning Stalin, I have researched many at this point in my life, and have yet to find a single one that is true, or anywhere near it."
At Montclair State, Furr teaches a “General Humanities” course described on his website as “an introduction to Western European culture and society from the Ancient World through the Middle Ages.” Required reading for the course includes the following authors: James Axtell, whose “The White Indians of Colonial America” implies that Native American culture was better than European culture in colonial America; Ronald Takaki, a prominent multiculturalist whose views of America’s oppression of minorities are only a shade more moderate than Ward Churchill’s; Rodney Hilton, a British Marxist; G.E.M. de Ste Croix, whose “The Class Struggle in the Ancient Greek World” is a Marxist tract; and I.F. Stone, a Communist fellow traveler and New Leftist who once commended the Soviet Union for “steadily expanding democracy in every sphere.”
The required readings for another of Furr’s courses, titled “The Great Books and Ideas,” include a Marxist analysis of Shakespeare by Richard Wilson, as well as works by Karl Marx, Communist Party member Ted Allen, feminist Silvia Federici, and radical-left activist Marcus Rediker (who has worked to win a new trial for convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu Jamal).
While Furr has no credentials as a history professor, his duties at Monclair include teaching a course on the Vietnam War. This course paints America as an oppressive, terrorist state. His Vietnam War web page and his Politics and Social Issues web page, which are course resources, feature virulently anti-U.S. material, much of it penned by Furr.
"The Western imperialists," writes Furr, "the U.S. among them, are the biggest mass murderers in history. . . . The U.S. is even more guilty [of genocide] than Pol Pot. . . . It was a good thing that the U.S. ‘lost’ in Vietnam. . . . If the US and their South Vietnamese stooges had won, South Vietnam would have been yet another place for American companies to move to. Hundreds of thousands more American workers would have lost their jobs. . . . Under no circumstances, therefore, should we ever support the US government or believe what it says.” [Emphasis in the original]
A number of Furr’s views are taken directly from Challenge, the Revolutionary Communist Progressive Labor Party’s newspaper. His opinion pieces are commonly published in the school newspaper, The Montclarion, and are also posted on his Montclair State University website, where he has celebrated the 1992 Los Angeles riots as a "rebellion"; accused the U.S. of being behind the 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II; and implied that on 9/11 the U.S. got what it deserved.
Professor Furr heads the influential radical caucus of the Modern Language Association [MLA], an organization whose methods and recommendations are implemented across the U.S. at all levels of education. In a paper he presented at the MLA's 2003 national conference, Furr stated that "the Modern Language Association supports its members in conducting critical analysis of war talk, in public forums and, as appropriate, in classrooms."
"What [American universities] need and would much benefit from," says Furr, "is more Marxists, radicals, leftists -- all terms conventionally applied to those who fight against exploitation, racism, sexism, and capitalism. We can never have too many of these, just as we can never have too few ‘conservatives.’"
During an On October 25, 2012 presentation at Motclair State University, Furr was asked by a student in attendance: "You said that the idea of Communist mass killings was baloney ... Yet in 1956 Nikita Krushchev, the Premier of the Soviet Union, apologized to the Communist Party for the killings that were done by Stalin, under his personality cult. So he [Stalin] conceded that there were a lot of murders.... Was Krushchev lying? Or if you concede that there were state murders under Stalin, do you see that that's a continuing tool under Communist regimes?... The consensus number seems to be between 100 and 150 million people killed by Communist regimes ..."
Furr replied angrily:
"What you said is bulls**t! It's wrong! It's a lie! ... [O]f all of the falsifications that go on in the school systems in this country -- this world, Soviet history is falsified the most. I have spent many years researching this and similar questions that I have yet to find one crime -- yet to find one crime -- that Stalin committed. I know they all say he killed 20 or 30 or 40 million people. It's bulls**t! ... This is the big lie -- that the Communists, that Stalin killed millions of people and that socialism is no good ... The United States has the lowest standard of living of any of the industrialized countries, and they all have some form of socialist health care, and you should have it too."
Much of this profile is adapted from the article "A Scholar for Stalin," written by Rocco DiPippo and published by FrontPageMagazine.com on March 16, 2005.