- Marxist professor of English at Montclair State University
- Believes “it was wrong” for the U.S. to work for the collapse of the Soviet Union
- Depicts America as an oppressive, terrorist state
- Defender of Joseph Stalin
Born in Washington, D.C. on April 3, 1944, Grover Furr graduated from McGill University in 1965 with a BA in English. He subsequently earned an MA and a Ph.D (in 1978) in Comparative Literature from Princeton University. Since 1970 he has been an English professor, specializing in Medieval English Literature, at Montclair State University (MSU).
From approximately the early 2000s through 2015, Furr was a prominent organizer of the influential “Radical Caucus” of the Modern Language Association (MLA), an association whose methods and recommendations are implemented across the United States at all levels of education. “What [American universities] need and would much benefit from,” he wrote in November 2004, “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.’” “The Republican Party,” Furr added, depends not only “upon racism for success in national elections,” but also on: “support for dogmatic religious beliefs; for strongly authoritarian views of almost any kind, including ‘my-country-right-or-wrong’ jingoism; for naked, unbridled exploitation; for knee-jerk anti-radicalism and anti-communism; [and] in culture, for ‘tradition for the sake of tradition.” “[All of] these attitudes and ideologies,” the professor emphasized, “are strongly associated with conservatism and the Republican Party” and “are rightly abhorred by most academics.”
Since the mid-2000s, Furr’s principal research interest has been “the history of the Soviet Union during the Stalin period,” a subject on which he has published numerous books and articles. For a number of years, Furr also used an online academic discussion group of the Historians of American Communism as a forum wherein he posted his own written diatribes against his political and ideological adversaries.
While Furr views America as the world’s foremost oppressor and terrorist state, he staunchly defends the former Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. Characterizing America’s role in toppling the USSR as a moral outrage, the professor wrote in February 2005: “Was there something morally wrong in trying to bring down the Soviet Union? I think the only honest answer possible is: Yes, it was wrong.” “I think the reason Stalin is vilified,” Furr declared in a September 1994 speech at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Essex County, New Jersey, “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.”
Denying the widely accepted fact that Stalin, toward the end of his life, was planning a campaign to liquidate the Soviet Jews, Furr wrote in March 2004: “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.” In a similar vein, Furr wrote in February 1996: “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.”
In 2006 Furr gave an interview to The Portland Maoist in which he praised Stalin as an “anti-racist” who “had a social-democratic conception of socialism.” He also lauded Stalin and Vladimir Lenin for their “heroic attempts” to “attain communism.” In the same interview, Furr said:
- “Lenin and Stalin were brilliant men, sincerely dedicated to the goal of communism, devoted to the working class. They had no personal ambitions except to try to bring about that society of justice and equality which the communist movement has always stood for, and that the working people of the world desperately desperately needed then and still do.”
- “Communists should be modest, dedicated, hard-working people. Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin really were like that!”
- “Stalin was a great man. So was Mao Tse-tung. They made huge contributions to the great achievements made by the Soviet and Chinese working classes.”
- “[V]irtually every so-called ‘revelation’ of ‘Stalin’s crimes’ made by Nikita Khrushchev in his infamous ‘Secret Speech’ of 1956 has turned out to be a lie.”
During an October 25, 2012 presentation at MSU, Furr, who authored the 2011 book Khrushchev Lied, was asked by a student in attendance to comment on Krushchev’s 1956 revelations about Stalin’s mass murders. 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 … that Stalin committed…. 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.”
Though Furr has no credentials as a history professor, his duties at Monclair once included teaching a course on the Vietnam War, wherein he painted America as an oppressive, terrorist state. His “Vietnam War” web page, as well as his “Politics and Social Issues” web page, both of which served as resources for the course, featured virulently anti-U.S. material, much of it written by Furr himself. For example: “The Western imperialists, 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 U.S. 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 … should we ever support the U.S. government or believe what it says.” (Emphasis in original.)
Furr also taught 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 included works by the late Ronald Takaki, a prominent multiculturalist whose view of America’s oppression of minorities was only a shade more moderate than Ward Churchill’s; Rodney Hilton, a British Communist; and G.E.M. de Ste Croix, whose authored the Marxist tract The Class Struggle in the Ancient Greek World. Another of Furr’s courses, titled “The Great Books and Ideas,” offered more radical fare. Readings for the course included works by Karl Marx, a Marxist analysis of Shakespeare by Richard Wilson, a book by Communist Party member Ted Allen, another by Marxist feminist Silvia Federici, and one by radical activist Marcus Rediker, who worked to win a new trial for the convicted cop-killer and leftist icon Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Over the years, Furr has drawn a number of his views directly from Challenge, the newspaper of the Progressive Labor Party, an organization that favors “a revolutionary movement for communism.” Furr’s opinion pieces have often been published in the MSU newspaper, The Montclarion, as well as on his MSU web page, where he once celebrated the 1992 Los Angeles riots as a justified black “rebellion” against institutional racism; where he accused America of being behind the 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II; and where he implied that on 9/11 the U.S. got what it deserved.
For additional information on Grover Furr, click here.
Further Reading: “Grover Furr” (Montclair.edu); The Professors (by David Horowitz, Regnery Publishing, 2006, pp. 186-189); “Academic Malpractice: The Case of Grover Furr” (by Ron Radosh, 11-13-2012); “Left Professorate” (by Grover Furr, 11-19-2004); “Sidney Hook and Opposition to Communism” (by Grover Furr, 2-15-2005); “The Common Thread in Today’s Crises, and Some Thoughts on Joseph Stalin” (speech by Grover Furr, 9-25-1994); “Holocaust Denial and Stalinism Denial” (by Grover Furr, 3-8-2004); “Richard the Third and Stalin” (by Grover Furr, February 1996); “Interview with Grover Furr on Stalin” (The Portland Maoist, 7-18-2006); “Angry College Professor Claims Nobody Murdered by Stalin” (American Thinker, 11-26-2012); “The U.S. Is Even More Guilty Than Pol Pot” (by Grover Furr, 4-23-1998).
- “A Scholar for Stalin” (by Rocco DiPippo, FrontPageMag.com, 3-16-2005).