* Director of the Urban Center for Peace Education and Research at the University of Cincinnati
* Committed Marxist
Marvin Berlowitz is Professor of Educational Foundations at the University of Cincinnati (UC), and the Director of the Urban Center for Peace Education and Research — a collective of leftwing professors aiming to indoctrinate students in Marxist ideology. A committed Marxist, Berlowitz teaches that “Privatization must be resisted.”
The course offerings of the Peace Education Certificate program, available to both graduate and undergraduate students, eschew academic rigor for de rigueur leftwing pedagogy. A perusal of the course descriptions confirms the point: They span the gamut from Marxist dialectics (“Liberation Philosophy”), to environmentalism (“Community and Environmental Influences on the Schools”), to feminist theory (“Women, Culture, and Education”), to identity-politics multiculturalism (“Multicultural Education”). Another course administered through the Peace Education program, “Educational Sociology,” concentrates “on Marxist, feminist and other classic and social transformation theories in education as well as on research on social issues related to schooling and educational inequities.”
Reasoning from the premise that capitalism and private property (along with the American culture that is founded on them) are the root causes of war, Berlowitz says: “The capitalist concentration in the pop culture industry has given rise to a genre which systematically desensitizes our youth to violence in much the same manner that the U.S. military has utilized to increase the kill ratio of our troops in fire fights. Perhaps such ‘culture’ is equally useful to desensitize our civilian population to the human costs of neo-liberal ideology.”
Among the objects of Berlowitz’s deepest disdain are:
1) American pop culture: “We must … keep in mind that the U.S. pop culture industry saturates the world market with its toxins to an even greater extent than Mc Death sows metabolic destruction by extending its arches to every hemisphere.”
2) Republicans and Democrats: “We’re limited to a choice between the party of the rich and a party of the wealthy. We have the only major industrial capitalist country in the world that does not have a labor party.”
3) Globalization: “Structural changes because of globalization have led to increasing economic disparities between the wealthy and the poor. As a result, the highest concentration of poverty is found among urban school children and racially oppressed groups.”
Berlowitz also has contempt for the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC), claiming that the program is part of a pernicious Pentagon scheme to convert underachieving schools into military boot camps. “The Defense Department seeks ‘at risk’ schools to transform into military academies for the purpose of future recruitment,” he has said.
On other occasions, Berlowitz has theorized that students who decide to enlist in the JROTC (which is entirely voluntary) have been “pushed by poverty and the economics of racism,” only to wind up “trapped by economic conscription.” “The strict and time-consuming requirements of the JROTC program deprive students of opportunities to enroll in college preparatory courses,” he says.
Underlying Berlowitz’s radical politics is his decades-long allegiance to Marxism. Berlowitz has long sought ways to inject Marxist theory into the university curriculum. As early as 1978, for instance, he took part in the “Fourth Midwest Marxist Scholars Conference,” a symposium seeking to find new ways to incorporate “Marxist approaches” into the American educational system.
In November 2001 Berlowitz conducted a symposium about peace studies, during which he advanced the argument that the greatest “barrier” to the proliferation of the program in the Western world was “Eurocentricity.”
More recently, Berlowitz has sought to sow the notion of “Eurocentricity” into the academic fiber of the Peace Education Program. Working in partnership with professors Nathan Long of UC and Eric R. Jackson of Northern Kentucky University, Berlowitz authored a 17-page paper stating that “the dominance of Eurocentricity in peace education leads to the exclusion and distortion of African American perspectives and this restricted focus undermines the status and viability of peace education as a component of educational reform.”
As the authors see it, the current peace education programs are marred by a number of “distortions,” which include: (1) a failure to accurately represent the African American emphasis on positive peace, the role of trade unions, anti-imperialism, solidarity with socialist nations, and internationalism in general; (2) the vanguard role of African Americans in the struggle against nuclear proliferation and conscription; (3) a tendency to minimize the role of African Americans in the development of non-violent philosophy as merely being eclectic; and (4) to underrepresent the leadership role of African Americans in anti-war movements and white peace organizations.
As the Director of UC’s in-house research institution — the Center for Peace Research, Implementation, Development and Education (UC PRIDE) — Berlowitz has designed several “educational” initiatives aimed at transporting his politics into classrooms beyond the university campus. In 2001, for instance, under the direction of Berlowitz and several students from UC’s Peace Education Department, UC PRIDE unveiled an online, for-credit course designed for elementary school teachers in Ohio. As Berlowitz himself explained in March 2001, “This [course] is an alternative to school metal detectors and the software that is aimed at profiling students at risk for violence.”
Urging teachers to be “more culturally sensitive to the needs of urban schoolchildren,” Berlowitz informs teachers (in this course) that racist suburban whites are largely responsible for driving minority students to violence. “The bias awareness component of the course is especially significant to those who are working with youth who have grown up in historically homogenous white suburbs, which are now experiencing conflicts associated with an influx of ethnically and racially diverse populations,” says Berlowitz.
He has also initiated an after-school program for urban students called “Be A Star,” which features workshops on such subjects as “bias awareness” and “peace education.”