I’ve just finished re-reading this book, the Rape of Reason (ROR), which I bought quite a few years ago. It is about the far left activities in the Polytechnic of North London (PNL) in the early 1970’s.
I’m very glad I did re-read it. It has lessons for us today, for the same things that the book describes happening in PNL, have happened in many of our local authorities and other public sector organisations and charities. It is quite easy to find evidence that there has been such an infiltration by the political Left, many appointed by the last Labour Government, especially when it is recalled that the last Labour Government added 600,000 civil servants to the payroll, many of them by no means doing stuff that could be called essential. There are also many individuals who have been influenced by Leftist thinking in academic environments, where Leftism of various sorts is all that is taught, who have risen up the ranks and are equally as dangerous as those appointed directly by the Labour party. Those who are reading this who have seen the documentary ‘Indoctrinate U’, about sometimes quite violent views expressed by Leftist faculty members, will understand the sort of Leftist environment in colleges, and the bullying that goes on against students and staff who are not enthusiastically signing up to the latest Leftist-led or inspired policy.
The book, which ironically I bought in a far Left bookshop in Kings Cross, Housemans (i), begins with the authors’ description of what they felt was the role of the academic institution. Their view, and that of many others prior to the 1968 Leftist disturbances at universities worldwide, was that the academy or college or university was a place both for the imparting of knowledge, and also an entity that should encourage and facilitate enquiry and debate.
Enter into this world a very small coterie of far leftists from groups like the International Socialists (forerunners partly of the Socialist Workers Party) and a more Communist-aligned Marxist group, that operated among students, paid National Union of Students staff and academic staff.
These members of the far-Left entered a world where there was a strong small-l liberal current among the academics in what was then a very new Polytechnic, with all the structural weaknesses a merged organisation can have while things are bedding down. This liberal group were a group that respected open debate and also had respect for systems and procedures. However, these systems and procedures were corrupted, often by intimidation and deceit, by Leftist groups for their own ends.
These groups intimidated students, held inquorate and sometimes secret meetings and called for secret ballots when they thought it would benefit them, but called open votes when dissenters could be intimidated, if it was in their interest. The Leftist groups used these systems and procedures to impose their own will, but too many liberals on the staff side (ii), who should have stood up to the bullies, chose instead to appease. Freedom, whether academic, personal or fiscal, does not defend itself, and ROR shows how a significant proportion of academic staff and management did not step up to the plate and defend their academy, and freedom of thought itself, from the Leftists.
Those on the staff who did try to stand up to the Leftists were vilified very publicly, and often unjustly and there was too little effort put into defending those attacked. In one case, the book recalls how a member of the academic staff, whom the leftist groups wished to remove, was smeared by lies that he was closely associated with the Apartheid regime in South Africa. These smears were augmented by betrayal of colleagues by some members of the academic staff who were aligned with the different Left groups. They sometimes passed information and staff room gossip down to the student activists. This gave the anti-democrats of the Left useful ammunition to use against the Poly management and also it poisoned further the atmosphere at the North London Polytechnic, both amongst staff and amongst students, who were persuaded to believe all manner of negative things about staff.
This book portrays the Poly’s descent into a maelstrom of violence, threats of violence, verbal and physical intimidation of students and staff, misuse of funds, corruption of democratic and structural procedures and breaches of trust; it showed how an organisation could be ‘hollowed out’.
Rape of Reason may be a historical political curio to many people, but for the fact that the North London Poly was a centre for educating social workers, teachers and others. The warped influence of the far Left is still having an impact, because some of those Leftist social workers may have gone on to manage other social workers and educate and indoctrinate future members of the profession. Of course, many of these people who passed through North London Poly may, as I have done, long ago repented of their youthful and unrealistic leftism, but others may have not done so. Both the historian and those worried about current problems, need to be concerned about such people.
The book has contemporary relevance because those who passed through the North London Poly, and similar institutions where there is a leftist bias, are often considered ‘experts’, and so they are consulted by ministers and other organs of the state. This is one way in which their influence continues. Also those educated in a leftist environment will tend to hire similar people to themselves. This phenomenon of ‘like hiring like’, is very similar to the one that has contributed to the fact that for many years there was a ‘glass ceiling’ for women employees. In addition, those who are considered as ‘experts’ are often those who educate the following generation of professionals, therefore entrenching Leftist ideas.
ROR gave an interesting example of how PNL was turned into what Jacka, Cox, and Marks called a ‘Red Base’ by looking at the Department of Social Work at the Poly. This was said by ROR to be especially and virulently aligned with Leftist ideas. The authors of ROR expressed sympathy for those social work clients who had the misfortune to be ‘cared for’ by the devotees of ‘socialism’ who believed that their job was to encourage their charges to take part in revolution. Such ‘victims’ had no real help with the situations they were in, instead they were patronised with reams of far Left guff.
The baleful influence of academic Leftism on Britain can be found in many places and in many organisations. For example take the case of one particular social services policy. For many years social workers, educated by Leftists followed a blatantly racist policy of banning trans-racial adoptions, which imprisoned thousands of Black children into the hell that often comprises Local Authority ‘Care’. They did this not because it was right for the children, but because their twisted ideology TOLD them that trans-racial adoptions were wrong.
When I look at the result of Leftist policies in social work, in education and elsewhere, I start to wonder just when will the penny drop, that many of the leftist nostrums, from identity politics, via multiculturalism to mass non-judgemental welfare, have failed?
This metaphorical penny appears to have dropped with Jacka, Cox and Marks who were in a position to document how the lunatics took over one ward of the asylum, before moving on to wreak havoc in our society by influencing our civil service, local government, and other institutions. Now the lunatics run the whole show.
The authors show how a tiny number of intellectual and physical thugs can take over an institution. The book also highlights the fact that violence in word and deed, such as we see today from supporters of groups like ‘Unite Against Fascism’, the Socialist Workers Party and others, is hard wired into the far Left. They cannot convince the majority of the rightness of their ideas, so they threaten people with words and fists. This violence shows itself today in how they and their allies use the word ‘racist’ to smear those who object to excessive immigration or call ‘Islamophobic’ those who reasonably distrust an ideology set up by a 7th Century violent, paedophile (III ) warlord. It also shows itself in the screaming violent mobs that turn up wherever there is a chance of confronting those with whom they disagree. They, the left, have shown themselves to be the true fascists, the original authoritiarians.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to get a snapshot of a time when malevolent idiots started to amass power. The negative effects of what happened at PNL and other institutions of education are still with us now. The politicised police, civil service, and local government officers, along with the social engineering and the promotion of moral relativism, that are creating chaos today, all have their genesis in institutions like PNL.
I bought the book for £3 in Housemans in their bargain bin. It is, of this moment but this may change, going for $50 on Amazon. That is so like a socialist organisation, to make a whopping loss on a valuable historical document. Just like Gordon Brown made a massive loss selling Britain’s gold stocks. Socialists, you just can’t trust them with money.
There was one honourable exception to all the staff strikes at PNL. The craft unions who represented the non-academic staff, stayed mainly aloof from the left wing masturbation festival that was occurring among students and staff and often they didn’t strike.
If you think this is only ‘baseless hatred’ then I’d advise you to study some Qu’ran and Shariah Law before you rush to judgement. It is quite justifiable to call the Islamic prophet a paedophile because Islamic religious law believes that a young girl can have her first menstrual period in her husband’s house. See Qu’ran Sura 65:1, 4
Amazon page for Rape of Reason
The Indoctrinate U documentary exposing the infiltration of the far left into American universities
The Answering Islam pages with an explanation of Islam’s acceptance and encouragement of sex with pubescent and pre-pubescent girls and young women. Also this page has an explanation of Islam’s view of women in general as ‘fields to be ploughed’.