What The People Ted Cruz Describes As ‘Communists’ Actually Believe
By Zack Beauchamp on Feb 27, 2013 at 9:00 am
Recently, it came to light that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) suggested that roughly a dozen professors at Harvard Law “would say they were Marxists who believed in the Communists overthrowing the United States government.” Through a spokesman, Cruz doubled down on these comments, saying “Senator Cruz’s substantive point was absolutely correct: in the mid-1990s, the Harvard Law School faculty included numerous self-described proponents of ‘critical legal studies’ — a school of thought explicitly derived from Marxism – and they far outnumbered Republicans.”
Not only is Cruz’s follow-up not a defense of his original statement, but it’s wrong in and of itself. Critical Legal Studies (CLS) isn’t “derived from Marxism;”although the movement was influenced by some Marxist ideas, it’s explicitly designed to be a critique of Marxist approaches to the law rather than an extension of them.
First, it’s important to understand how CLS thinkers actually define their own beliefs — remember, Cruz said that they themseves “would say” that they were revolutionary Marxists. ThinkProgress reached out to Georgetown University law professor Louis Michael Seidman, a leading “crit” (the term CLS exponents use for themselves). Here’s what Seidman told us:
I don’t have anything that’s not obvious to say about Cruz’s disgusting comments. A lot of early crit work was designed to refute Marxist theories of law, although some crits were also influenced by Marx. I know of no crit who thought of himself as a communist or who supported the regimes in the Soviet Union or China.