The Australian program, which claims to be about reducing bullying, has been mired in controversy for several years now.
Most of Australia’s mainstream media are utterly uninterested in calling out the Safe Schools program for what it is. This even extends to the usual target of the Left’s ire, the right-leaning Murdoch Media.
Safe Schools teaches the awful anti-science of radical gender theory alongside Marxist philosophy dressed up as an LGBT anti-bullying program. This article is intended not as an exhaustive list of everything wrong with the program, but as a primer on why the program should be absolutely rejected by all reasonable people, regardless of political affiliation. Safe Schools is not an anti-bullying program at all, rather it is an anti-science Marxist/post-modernist exercise in indoctrinating children.
First I feel it’s necessary to expand on the idea that Marxism as a philosophy tends to subvert itself subliminally into education. I recognise it sounds to the average person like a bit of revived McCarthyism, and maybe just some hysterical narrative right-wingers have become captivated by. Most of the program’s defenders, including those who are fairly apolitical but possess left-wing sympathies for the LGBT case, see it as ridiculous and extreme to call it Marxist propaganda. This is because many Westerners do not adequately recognise the extent to which fairly benign-seeming cultural totems have Marxist origins.
For example, most people don’t realise that International Women’s Day started off as a Marxist movement in 1908. Jacobin Magazine, an openly socialist publication, pronounces; “International Women’s Day was, from the very beginning, a Working Women’s Day. While its immediate objective was to win universal female suffrage, its aspirations were much grander: the overthrow of capitalism and the triumph of socialism”. In Russia, International Women’s Day culminated into a mass strike that “carried away the whole working class of Petrograd and gave birth to the Russian Revolution.” These are a socialists claims, not mine.
Marxism and Socialism’s explicit goals have always been of achieving complete class consciousness among society, necessitating the working class overthrow of the ruling class and the establishment of Socialism. It was presumed by Marx himself that this would eventuate naturally as a result of the vast wealth inequalities under capitalism, but it still has not. This is why Marxist thought has culminated in the acute and dangerous identity politics of the modern left. In all Marxist revolutions, a key element of the staying power of the new regime is the indoctrination of the next generation into the Marxist world-view. This is most obvious in Mao’s Red Guards or North Korea’s Kim Il-Sung Youth League. This trope is parodied by George Orwell in 1984, where the Big Brother totalitarian system monitors the every thought of the citizens. the children “were systematically turned against their parents and taught to spy on them and report their deviations. The family has become in effect an extension of the Thought Police.”
An excellent analysis of the way Socialism’s catastrophic failures as an economic and political system but popularity among intellectuals has caused it to become subverted in education and culture is the book Explaining Postmodernism by Stephen Hicks, which is available as an e-book for free here. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in reading more on the unholy alliance between Marxism and education.
Roz Ward, Safe Schools Co-Founder who was appointed an advisory role with the Victorian government, is openly a Marxist who called for the “racist Australian flag” at state parliament to be replaced with a “red one” and then “my work will be done”. Ms Ward also said, speaking to the 2015 Melbourne Marxism conference, “to smooth the operation of capitalism the ruling class has benefited, and continues to benefit, from oppressing our bodies, our relationships, sexuality and gender identities alongside sexism, homophobia and transphobia … Both serve to break the spirits of ordinary people, to consume our thoughts, to make us accept the status quo and for us to keep living or aspiring to live, or feel like we should live, in small social units and families where we must reproduce and take responsibility for those people in those units”.
Since 2016, the Victorian Andrews Government cut ties with Roz Ward and promised to overhaul the program, but this is just a damage control exercise as the public controversy would translate into disaster for them at the 2018 election. Though the program is reported to have been “gutted”, the program is Marxist in its nature and has become inseparable from this. It was this Victorian Government who made Ms Ward an advisor on education. Daniel Andrews has always been and continues to be an avid supporter of the program, and after the announcement of cutting ties with Roz Ward, Victorian Education Minister James Merlino said “I think the campaign against Safe Schools has been quite disgraceful from people who should know better and do know better, but are using it as a political tool,”
The “Anti-Bullying” Facade
You have to give it to the left for this one, it is quite the brilliant political tactic. It is basically the cultural equivalent of the terrorist’s defensive warfare strategy; they surround themselves with the vulnerable (women and children) so they have a shield from being attacked. When the review into Safe Schools was ordered by Malcolm Turnbull, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews used it as a virtue-signalling opportunity to pretend this was an attack by conservatives on LGBT people personally. In a Facebook post he wrote “I’m sick of Liberal politicians telling our kids that there’s something wrong with them — when there isn’t”.
In 2016, a 2-year-old video became public of Roz Ward speaking in a University auditorium, telling students “The Safe Schools Coalition is about supporting gender and sexual diversity. Not about celebrating diversity. Not about stopping bullying. It’s about gender and sexual diversity. About same-sex attractive. About being transgender. About being lesbian, gay, bisexual — say the words — transgender, intersex. Not just ‘Be nice to everyone, everyone’s great.’”
Roz Ward cares so little about bullying, in fact, that she assaults people on the street. In late 2016, Ward was photographed wrestling a MAGA hat off a man’s head at an anti-Trump rally (while carrying copies of a Marxist newspaper, of course). Her fans seem to like bullying, too. The photographer who took the photo later had to take a hiatus from his business, saying after the photo became published alongside mainstream media stories, “I have since received threats, abuse, harassment and been told in no simple terms I probably will not be welcome to cover left-wing rallies”.
It strayed so far from its stated anti-bullying intention that even a gay rights activist involved with the program, Rob Mitchell, spoke out against it in mid-2016. Mitchell is no conservative; he was sacked from his Victorian Liberal Government advisory role in 2014 for being too publicly critical of the government’s inaction on addressing homophobia. But even he sees the ideological takeover of the Safe Schools program. Speaking to The Australian in 2016, he said “They are completely out of control … The tragedy in all this is: when I was agitating for money to be put in anti-homophobia programs, the Safe Schools Coalition was what I would call a vanilla anti-homophobia program. It seems to have been transformed into this queer theory sort of academic-driven lot of bullshit. As part of that process, they have lost their core constituency, which is parents of school kids. It has been completely hijacked, been derailed.”
Mr Mitchell said that the La Trobe University was too influential in gay and transgender research and that the entire Safe Schools program should be replaced.
The Postmodernist Gender Theory
The Victorian Government Department of Education and Training website explicitly claims in its ‘Myths and Facts’ section that “Safe Schools does not teach radical gender theory.” I suspect that this is what the Marxists behind the program think is a clever slight of hand inserting the word ‘radical’, to turn this claim from a fact to a matter of opinion, because it absolutely teaches gender theory. You can see that it teaches gender theory in the materials Safe Schools makes publicly available. Though intellectuals have fooled themselves, to the majority of us who live outside of the post-modern fantasy-land, the ideas that there are more than two genders and that you can change the nature of biology by merely wishing it were so, are indeed radical.
The publicly available Safe Schools resource, “Safe Schools Do Better”, is described on the website as “The key research that underpins the program, practical information about how to create changes, and how to get started.” In its glossary of terms is a set of definitions, including definitions of homophobia and transphobia, which state that they “include institutional and cultural bias and structural inequality”. This suggests, for example, that they are so broad they might include the situation where someone’s business doesn’t hire enough gay or trandgender employees or promote enough gay or transgender managers.
Here is the definition of sex, according to this material: “[Sex] refers to the biological attributes that define people as either male, female, a combination of female and male, or neither female nor male.” In other places such as the definition of transgender, it is stated that sex is “assigned at birth”.
Another resource, called “All Of Us”, aimed at Year 7 and 8 students, says in its “Transgendered Experience” Lesson, “Up until this point, many students may believe that gender can only be either male or female, and that they have specifically related behaviours and characteristics. By completing this exercise, students will be able to explore the concept that gender exists outside the binary”. It goes on to state “sex is about the body you are born with, while gender is your identity, or how you feel inside.” Remember this the next time you see a Safe Schools supporter call the right the anti-science side of politics.
You will notice that certain key words used heavily throughout the material are not defined. These are words such as ‘discrimination’. You should ask yourself what could possibly be the value in an anti-bullying program that makes such use of that word and doesn’t consider it necessary to define it.
Thankfully, this program and similar gender theory anti-science is banned from classrooms in New South Wales in favour of an actual regular anti-bullying program. But with a variant of gender theory known as the “Genderbread Person” showing up in the classroom in a Brisbane school with State Government support and a majority of Victorian secondary schools now opting into Safe Schools, it is sure to remain a charged issue in elections to come.
Pop and Locke is a libertarian-traditionalist popular culture and politics blog bringing you news, opinions, analysis and reviews that cut through the mainstream mould. It was inspired by an appreciation for Western political and philosophical tradition and a fascination with our increasingly wacky popular culture.