Graphic Witness: visual arts & social commentary
Winter Soldiers image

TO SMASH THE SCHOOLS, they had to smash the Teachers Unions. This they set about to do.

They had learned the technique. They had learned that if you shout “Red” long enough and loud enough you might get people to believe it, especially if the radio and newspapers join the chase, especially if you accuse and don’t give those accused a chance to throw the lie back in your face.

Hitler had done it, and had enslaved a whole people. Mussolini, Franco, Pétain had followed the same successful formula. Under the pretext of fighting communism, fascism had destroyed the trade unions, the liberal and progressive movement, all anti-fascist thought and sentiment.

And similarly, under the pretext of fighting subversion in the schools, the real subverters, the budget cutters, the haters of labor, called their trigger men to work. “Boys,” they said, “send out the word for the gang. Collect your false witnesses, your slanderers. We got a job to do. There’s big money in it, the whole school budget. Get after the union. The boys up in Albany,” they said, “will look after the legal end of things.”

The boys up in Albany, the boys in the State Legislature, did the job. A legis­lative committee to investigate the schools.

Some people said, “Why, there’s the report of the Gulick Committee, isn’t there

—found need for an increase of approximately 38 million in state educational services

—worked five years to survey the needs of the schools. What’s this new Committee for?” That’s the point. Mr. Rapp, chairman of the new committee to investigate .

found evidence for a cut of 12 million in state aid to education before he even began his survey.

“That’s the kind of committee we need—a committee to investigate . . “What?”

“Why, subversive and un-American elements of course.” “And what are the subversive elements?”

“Why, the Reds of course.”

“And who are the Reds?”

“That’s an easy one. The Teachers Unions.”

William Steig