Born in 1988, Michael Isaacson holds a Ph.D. in economics. His areas of scholarly focus include macroeconomic theory, economic methodology, and anti-capitalist economic theories. A former associate editor of the New School Economic Review, Isaacson is currently a member of the Union for Radical Political Economics, which seeks “to construct a progressive social policy and a human-centered radical alternative to capitalism.” He is also a member of the International Association for Feminist Economics, an organization dedicated to “empowering and improving the well-being of women and other under-represented groups around the world.”
Describing himself as an “anti-fascist” and an “anarcho-communist” who wants to “tear the system down, root and branch,” Isaacson is a co-founder of Smash Racism D.C. — a local branch of Antifa, the Marxist/anarchist militia movement that equates conservatism with fascism and aims to bring down the United States by violent means. He also seeks to advance his political, economic, and ideological views on his blog site, which is titled Vulgar Economics.
In 2017, Isaacson wrote a zine entitled “You Can’t Punch Every Nazi,” which he describes as “a handbook on how to identify when someone has been dabbling in fascist ideologies and how to confront them in a caring way to pull them away from this damaging and dangerous social sphere.” He also expresses alarm over the fact that “almost half of the voting public in the United States voted for a man [President Donald Trump] I consider a fascist.” As evidence of Trump’s fascism, Isaacson cites the president’s calls for “a halt to Muslim immigration, a Mexican border wall, a crackdown on ‘crime,’ a crackdown on ‘illegal aliens,’ … [and the way] he encouraged fans to commit acts of violence, mourning for a mythological past golden age when such violence was condoned.”
In an August 20, 2017 Twitter post, Isaacson articulated his belief that violence is a wholly legitimate means of trying to advance the cause of “anti-fascism.” “Violence is what protects your ability to be nonviolent, he wrote. “If you can say the troops fight for your freedom, you can say the same of antifa.”
Isaacson revisited this theme in a September 2017 interview with The Hill, adding that First Amendment protections should not apply to people whose views are “fascist.” Eleven months earlier, in October 2016, Isaacson had posted a tweet that offered some insight into how broadly he defined fascism: “Anti-communism is code for fascism,” he wrote.
In September 2017, when Isaacson was an adjunct professor of economics at the New York City-based John Jay College of Criminal Justice, he came to widespread public attention when the website Far Left Watch and other conservative sources found and published a number of his past tweets in which he had expressed his murderous hatred for police officers. Some examples:
- “The solution to American gun violence is more dead cops.” (December 5, 2015)
- “If pigs [police] are protected by hate crime law, you might as well kill them anyway.” (July 6, 2016)
- “Dead cops are good” (July 18, 2017)
- “What’s even the point of a cop that isn’t dead?” (August 15, 2017)
- “I hear their police stations catch on fire with an accelerant.” (August 17, 2017)
- “I hope somehow Assata [Shakur] comes up in lecture so a student defends her saying she didn’t kill a cop so I can say she probably did and it’s good” (August 22, 2017)
- “Some of y’all might think it sucks being an anti-fascist teaching at John Jay College but I think it’s a privilege to teach future dead cops.” (August 23, 2017)
- “Off the pigs.” (This phrase, which is a call for the murder of police officers, was posted alongside a photo of several officers in riot gear.) (August 29, 2017)
On September 15, 2017, the president of John Jay College, Karol Mason, said she was “shocked” and “appalled” to have heard Isaacson’s “abhorrent” rhetoric about police officers, and she placed him on administrative leave.
For additional information about Michael Isaacson, click here.
Further Reading: “Michael Isaacson” (Everipedia.org); “‘You’re Presenting a Fallacious Argument’: Kennedy Battles ‘Dead Cops’ Tweet Professor” (Fox News, 9-8-2017); “About [Michael Isaacson]” (VulgarEconomics.com); “Criminal Justice Professor Justifies Antifa Violence and Jokes About Dead Cops” (Daily Caller, 9-14-2017); You Can’t Punch Every Nazi (Michael Isaacson, 2017); “Antifa Activists Say Violence Is Necessary” (The Hill, 9-14-2017); “The Antifa Professor Who Celebrates Dead Cops Has a Communist Grading Policy” (Daily Caller, 9-25-2017); “Professor Who Tweeted about ‘Dead Cops’ Suspended” (NY Post, 9-15-2017).
- “The justification is that Nazi ideology at its very core is founded on violence and on wielding power by any means,” he said. “There is the question of whether these people should feel safe organizing as Nazis in public, and I don’t think they should. I don’t think anyone should think that someone who is intent on politically organizing for the sake of creating a state-sponsored genocide — I don’t think is something that we should protect.”