By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services
A bid by a Prescott Valley lawmaker to mandate that Arizona students be taught about communism isn’t the state’s first foray into the issue.
One state statute goes back to 1961 and the Cold War declares that it is “essential that schools, colleges and universities teach objectively and critically the governmental and social forms of past and present totalitarian slave states.” The law even says that’s why students need to learn the foreign languages spoken in those countries.
That verbiage actually is part of election laws that not only declare that international communism “seeks converts far and wide by an extensive system of schooling and indoctrination” but separately outlaws recognition of the Communist Party of the USA in Arizona.
Those election restrictions are likely unenforceable, with a federal judge ruling in 1973 that it they are illegal and unenforceable, though he made no mention of the schooling language.
But that didn’t keep the Republican-controlled legislature from reenacting the language as recently as 1979 as part of a rewrite of the state election code — and the bill from being signed by Democratic Gov. Bruce Babbitt.
The statute is a diatribe about protecting the state from “the international Communistic conspiracy.”
It declares that, unlike other political parties, members of the Communist Party have no role in determining its goals and cannot voice dissent. And it says they are indoctrinated and “organized, instructed and disciplined to carry into action slavishly the assignments given them by their heirarchical chieftains.”