The De Genova affair

Stuart Lawrence stuartwl at
Mon Mar 31 15:21:04 MST 2003

Louis, you raised this matter in terms of "threats to antiwar
professors" but both Foner and Bollinger asserted that academic freedom
wasn't at issue, only the political stupidity and insensitivity of De
Genova's statements. What makes you so certain that De Genova's tenure
and career are so imperiled? You seem intent on waving the bloody shirt
while De Genova's still only slightly bruised.

Since De Genova's statements could have been predicted to capture 100%
of the attention given to the teach-in, knowingly giving him the
opportunity to make them would have been a mistake, and saying nothing
to disavow them would have been taken as endorsement of them. So I have
to agree with Eric Foner on this one. As much as I sympathize with the
analysis and sentiment behind what De Genova said, I think it is just
plain idiotic to have said what he did if the teach-in was meant to help
shift opinions about the war.

How different is Foner's logic from Louis': "We have to isolate such
opinions in the movement because they interfere with the deadly serious
goals we have set for ourselves, namely the mass mobilization of the
people of the world against imperialist war."


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