University of California Suffers From Extreme Cultural Marxism

University of California Suffers From Extreme Cultural Marxism

A woman stomps on a free speech sign at the University of California–Berkeley in Berkeley, Calif., on Sept. 24, 2017. (Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

John Seiler

John Seiler


Updated: 12/21/2023


Back when I was learning Russian at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, from 1978 to 1979, all of our teachers were Russian speakers. They were exiles from Soviet communist tyranny.
In addition to the language, they taught us about the suppression of thought under communism.
One of my favorite teachers was a middle-aged lady who had received her doctorate in classical languages from the University of Moscow. She said the Marxist dictatorship considered studying ancient Greek and Latin a waste of time and preferred English and other modern languages, which were useful for spies and diplomats advancing communist world conquest. However, the bosses understood that a world-class university had to have a classics Ph.D. program.
She remembered staying up late studying while her husband, a professor, worked on his classes, and her 2-year-old “syn” (son) was playing in the room. I always remember “syn” in that context.
She said all M.A. and Ph.D. theses, even for a topic taking place millennia ago, required quotes from Marx. She was fortunate, because Marx himself received a classical education. She just skimmed the 39-volume official “Sochineniya” (Complete Edition), plucked out a quote on Pericles or Solon, and typed it into her thesis. The quote didn’t even have to make sense. Everybody in academia cynically knew what the game was. And when some semi-literate Party hack read it to check for political correctness (PC)—a phrase coined by the Bolsheviks—he would be satisfied and leave her alone.

The PC-DEI-ESG-Cultural Marxism Brainwashing Project

All that came to mind when reading about the recent fuss over the three university presidents who testified before Congress about anti-Semitism on campus and gave equivocating responses to questions about whether calls for the genocide of Jews violate their universities’ rules or code of conduct. They were University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill, who resigned, and Presidents Claudine Gay of Harvard and Sally Kornbluth of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who currently retain their jobs.
But this really is part of the much larger, indeed engulfing, problems on all major campuses of political correctness; diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI); environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG); and cultural Marxism in general. Controlling people’s language or thought processes according to what is “politically correct” based on Marxist principles naturally results in people being unable to acknowledge or understand crimes against humanity that seem to go against the expected narrative.
I wrote earlier for The Epoch Times on how University of California–Berkeley Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky was upset about the anti-Semitism he has been subjected to, as a Jew, at his school, because of protests against the Israel–Hamas war. Yet he has spent four decades fostering radical leftism. I asked, “What did he expect?”
Let’s look at an example of such cultural Marxism from the University of California–Irvine (UCI), whose law school Mr. Chemerinsky founded.
The UCI Office of Information and Technology promulgated an “Inclusive IT Language Guide Version 1.0” in April 2021. It insisted: “UCI is committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion. Language used by the Office of Information Technology (OIT) must reflect these values. ... This document is an Architecture Review Board (ARB) Standard to be followed by all OIT staff. OIT encourages everyone at UCI to be mindful of these issues and participate in making these decisions with respect and a broad viewpoint.
“This document should guide your terminology choices in your documentation, codebase, and discussions. Where you control the choice of words, you should choose wisely.”
Or else.
And notice how the guide applies even to “codebase,” or computer code, which only programmers read. This isn’t the sociology department, but a tech department.
“We encourage you to use terminology from this guide in areas you can but understand there may be times when words from outside systems, legacy technology, or existing standards constrain your options. In those cases, consider inclusive alternatives, such as providing a mapping from old to new terminology, with source attribution when necessary.” That means they’re also supposed to indoctrinate others in the guide.
Predictably, instead of “he, she” indoctrinated students are supposed to use “they, them.”
Instead of “guys, gals,” the new mandate is “folks, team, y’all.” So the great 1955 musical “Guys and Dolls,” starring Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, and Jean Simmons, would be renamed “Team.”
Lobby card for the 1955 film "Guys and Dolls." (MovieStillsDB)

Lobby card for the 1955 film "Guys and Dolls." (MovieStillsDB)

Then there’s this group of absurdities:
• “Sister school and sister campus,” which one would think were complimentary toward women, are nixed for “other UC campus.”
• “Whitelist” is replaced with “allowlist or safelist,” and “blacklist” is replaced with “denylist or blocklist.”
• “White box” is replaced with “glass box testing or clear box testing,” and “black box” is replaced with “functional texting or acceptance testing.”
Supposedly these terms offend black people. Except why don’t they say “in the black” should be replaced with “making a profit”? And notice the replacement phrases include more syllables and are more obscure.

Metaphor No-Nos

The next section begins with, “Avoid metaphors, which can introduce unneeded baggage.” That’s just shutting down thought. Metaphors also are a crucial part of meaning and make life more interesting. UCI examples:
• “Master/slave” is replaced with “primary/replica, primary/standby, primary/secondary.” The problem here, in addition to the PC silliness, is this and other terms on the list are universal terms used across the world in programming and technology—and commonly in English even in foreign countries because it’s the primary programming language. Wikipedia explains this one: “Master–slave is a common terminology for a model of asymmetric communication or control where one device or process (the master) controls one or more other devices or processes (the slaves) and serves as their communication hub.” How is that racist or a legacy of slavery?
• “Master branch” is replaced with “main branch.”
The next section begins: “Focus on people and not disabilities or circumstances. Prefer ‘people-first language,’ such as ‘people with disabilities’ or ‘people experiencing homelessness.’ Research the community you’re discussing, as there are exceptions: some individuals in the blind, deaf, and autistic communities prefer disability-first language. When referencing users with disabilities, avoid the use of ‘impairment.’ The term Deaf with a capital D refers to people who identify as culturally Deaf—sharing a common culture and a signed language—while deaf with a lowercase d refers to a person who has the condition of hearing loss who does not necessarily identify with the culture.”
It’s a full-time job figuring all that out. Forget about getting any actual productive work done. Here are their examples:
“User with visual impairment” is replaced with “screen reader/magnifier user.” I’m not sure even what that is. But as someone who has been a “magnifier user”—I’ve worn glasses for 54 years—I prefer “nearsighted.”
“Hearing impaired” is replaced with “D/deaf or hard of hearing,” a definition so abstruse they needed 48 words, quoted above, to describe it. And I’m still not sure what they meant.
The UCI list orders, “Wherever possible, start using better terms immediately.”

Modern Newspeak

This list, and the rest of the PC lingo pushed on us, is just a modern version of the Newspeak directives in Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four.” In Part 1, Chapter 5, Winston Smith meets his friend Syme, who “was a philologist, a specialist in Newspeak.”
“Indeed, he was one of the enormous team of experts now engaged in compiling the Eleventh Edition of the Newspeak Dictionary,” the book reads.
So far, UCI has imposed only “Inclusive IT Language Guide Version 1.0.” Just wait till it’s Version 11.0!
Over Victory Gin, a foul alcoholic drink, Syme explains: “The Eleventh Edition is the definitive edition. We’re getting the language into its final shape—the shape it’s going to have when nobody speaks anything else. When we’ve finished with it, people like you will have to learn it all over again. You think, I dare say, that our chief job is inventing new words. But not a bit of it! We’re destroying words—scores of them, hundreds of them, every day. We’re cutting the language down to the bone. The Eleventh Edition won’t contain a single word that will become obsolete before the year 2050. ...
“It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. Of course, the great wastage is in the verbs and adjectives, but there are hundreds of nouns that can be got rid of as well. It isn’t only the synonyms; there are also the antonyms. After all, what justification is there for a word which is simply the opposite of some other word? A word contains its opposite in itself. Take ‘good,’ for instance. If you have a word like ‘good,’ what need is there for a word like ‘bad’? ‘Ungood’ will do just as well—better, because it’s an exact opposite, which the other is not. Or again, if you want a stronger version of ‘good.’ what sense is there in having a whole string of vague useless words like ‘excellent’ and ‘splendid’ and all the rest of them? ‘Plusgood’ covers the meaning, or ‘doubleplusgood’ if you want something stronger still.”
Is there a revolt against this destruction of words now, as seen in the response to the congressional hearing? Perhaps.
But for those running university campuses, for now, at least there will be little change in imposing PC, DEI, ESG, and cultural Marxism as doubleplusgood.
John Seiler

John Seiler


John Seiler is a veteran California opinion writer. Mr. Seiler has written editorials for The Orange County Register for almost 30 years. He is a U.S. Army veteran and former press secretary for California state Sen. John Moorlach. He blogs at and his email is

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