Through WCCUSD’s Ivy League Connection program, Hercules High School Students Justine Betschart, Stacy Chan, Ramiah Davis-Shephard, Louisa Man, Julia Maniquiz, and Yueming Wang will be attending Cornell University to either study Freedom and Justice or Hotel Operations Management during the summer of 2009.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

July 7: "Language has a lot of power."

Today began as every other day has with a fast-paced breakfast at Appel Commons with my fellow Freedom & Justice comrades. After deciding that we finally had enough to eat, we made our way to McGraw Hall for our 9:00am lecture with Professor Kramnick. Today's topic was Pt. 1 of Karl Marx. Professor Kramnick is usually timely when it comes to following the day's outline, but for the first time in nearly three weeks, we did not finish. Luckily, tomorrow will be spent finishing up Marxist communism (or socialism as Kramnick will only call it).

After lecture, we made our way to Goldwin Smith Hall for our discussion sections. During today's discussion, we received the 2nd drafts of our Plato papers with corrections and suggestions. The 3rd and final draft is due on Thursday. I plan to finish my revision by tomorrow night so that I may discuss it with Des before officially turning it in. Hopefully, this strategy works to my benefit. In the last half of discussion, we went over a few Marxist beliefs by applying them to modern day examples. Because I found the conversation difficult to follow, I will be re-reading Marx's selections to make sure my fundamentals are down and ready to be tested.

Following lunch, we had our last guest speaker, Richard Stumbar, an Ithacan attorney who specializes in human rights. He spoke to our group, in particular, about the marriage of same-sex couples. I found the lecture interesting because I found the issue of California's Proposition 8 engaging during last year's election. It was nice to hear a speaker who had the same views as I do. Apparently, there aren't as many liberal-minded people as I believed there to be, but Richard shared an opinion I could definitely relate too. Mr. Stumbar was a great lecturer, and I appreciate all 5 of the lecturers I have had the opportunity to learn from in the past 3 weeks.

Tonight's agenda includes dinner at Appel, further reading of Marx, a visit to Desmond's office hours, and a revision of my Plato essay. A busy night, but I am sure I will find the time to complete every task, for each is at a high priority.


  1. Justine,

    There are a lot of people who equate Marxism, socialism and communism as all the same thing where, to those that have actually studied them closely, there are distinctions. I’m betting that Professor Kramnick may have been one of those to have studied them more closely.

    I was amused at your comment about the number of people around who don’t share your liberal views.

    I spent my entire adult life working in heavy construction. Construction workers, as a group, are not known for their liberal ideals. They’re proud of their red necks, they love their guns, they hate taxes and they’re not, for the most part, in favor of equal rights for anyone who isn’t like them (white males).

    My views stem from growing up in Berkeley during the end of the Vietnam War so working around these red-necked homophobic bigoted gun-toting Republicans was always difficult. When I would attend my monthly Union meetings wearing my sandals with the peace sign on top, there were many nights when I would go home with the tops of my feet bloodied from being stepped on with heavy work boots. When I used to place Boxer and Feinstein bumper stickers on my print shed, it got a lot of negative comments from the guys working for me. When I advocated treating females and minorities as equals it cost me more than one union election.

    Yes, Justine, there are a lot of people out there who have not yet become enlightened. Their minds are small and closed and they’re perfectly happily that way.

    All we can do is chip away at them one by one to convince them that there are alternatives and that having an open mind won’t imperil them. Stand strong in your beliefs, Justine, for they help define who you are.

  2. Yes, the wheels of justice move very slowly. You will find this out during the next couple of days when you hear the conversation on class and race. You have already touched on sexism last week. The issues are complicated and tricky.

    One thing that I had hoped to hear from you Justine is how you feel about the East Coast? What have you learned about the students and the faculty? I have never heard how you have felt about being in this environment, has it made you more inclined to remain on the West Coast to go to school? Or has it made you at least open to applying to an Ivy League school?

    Your thoughts and views are appreciated. By the way, have you gotten homesick? And if so in what form has it been shown and if not why not? I have not read that in your posts, but I wanted to ask.

    Take care.

    Charles T. Ramsey, Esq.
    School Board Member
    West Contra Costa
    Unified School District

    Charles T. Ramsey