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Turning the Tide: Challenging the Right on Campus

Wednesday, September 7, 2005


A New Report on Right Wing and Corporate Influences in Higher Education



by Anuradha Mittal with Felicia Gustin; Foreword by Howard Zinn

Oakland, CA September 7, 2006 - Oakland, CA September 5, 2006 – As the academic year gets underway, a new report from Speak Out and the Oakland Institute, Turning the Tide: Challenging the Right on Campus, calls for building a broad-based and sustainable movement for progressive values on college campuses.

“Given tomorrow’s political, social, cultural, and economic leaders are being formed today on the nation’s college campuses, progressives must understand the critical importance of influencing those who will one day influence our society,” said Anuradha Mittal, director of the Oakland Institute and principal author of the report. “The college conservative movement has been fueled and financed by an array of conservative interest groups and it is essential to understand the underpinnings of their strategy if they are to be challenged successfully. And that’s what we have attempted to do in this report.”

Turning the Tide, with an introduction by historian Howard Zinn, presents a historical analysis of how the Right has advanced its agenda and strategies used to gain political influence on campus. It asserts that through strategic planning and massive funding, the Right has been able to reach and influence students and dominate the campus arena, and ultimately reshape politics and public policies at the national, state and local levels. On the basis of this analysis, the report draws upon Speak Out’s network of scholars, artists, and activists to propose a range of recommendations that progressives might consider to lay the groundwork for a campus initiative that includes strategic alliance-building, ways to reshape the public debate, and how to build a powerful presence on campuses.

“In the wake of the conservative onslaught, various organizing measures have been undertaken by progressives on college campuses,” said Felica Gustin, co-author of the report and co-director of Speak Out. “However, all such efforts remain tenuous. There is a dire need for a national effort that will work with students on the substance, intellectual foundation, and communication of progressive ideas in the coming years.”

The Institute for Democratic Education and Culture/Speak Out is a broad national network of 200 progressive artists, scholars and cultural activists who encourage critical and imaginative thinking about domestic and international issues through cultural and educational forums.

The Oakland Institute is a policy think tank, dedicated to creating a space for public participation and democratic debate on key social and economic policy issues that affect our lives.

To view the full report visit

To interview authors of the report, please contact [email protected].