John Jay College Adjunct Professor and former Adjunct Professor of Macroeconomics at NYU Michael Isaacson came under fire recently over a tweet he posted on Aug. 23 which said, “Some of y’all might think it sucks being an anti-fascist teaching at John Jay College but I think it’s a privilege to teach future dead cops.”
Isaacson was put on administrative leave Friday, Sept. 15, due to safety concerns stemming from multiple threats both he and the school had received over the tweet.
NYU’s own “Deplorable Professor” Michael Rectenwald said in an interview with WSN that he was discontent.
“He [Isaacson] doesn’t know anything about [United States] law, apparently,” Rectenwald said. “I think that he believes — like most people in Antifa and a lot of people that are fellow travelers with them amongst the social justice left — that they are the arbiters of allowable speech and assembly.”
Isaacson said the content of his tweets are rooted in his research and scholarship of fascism.
“When I call for a police-free world, it’s because I have analyzed capitalism as a system and the role of the police in that system,” Isaacson said. “To ultimately enforce property rights, to balance city and state budgets and to serve the interests of the weapons industry and the prison industry, which ultimately benefit when prisons are full and when weapons are getting used.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio and John Jay College President Karol Mason released statements condemning Isaacson’s anti-police rhetoric. Groups including New York City’s largest police union, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association of the City of New York, have said they want to see Isaacson fired from his teaching position entirely.
Isaacson said he believes that his fight to retain his job is akin to the fight for educators to be able to maintain a public life.
“If educators are prohibited from acting in public like everybody else acts in public, ultimately what you’re saying is that educators have no right to public participation,” Isaacson said. “I do what everybody online does, which is shitposting.”
Isaacson said he defines shitposting as making one’s beliefs into outlandish, obscene exaggerations for public consumption on the internet.
A member of the Facebook group, NYU Against Fascism released an anonymous statement to WSN.
“We find it of course ironic that figures such as Rectenwald still receive a salary by ‘progressive ‘ institutions, yet those who speak out against white supremacists, bigotry and fascism are punished,” the group said over Facebook messenger.
Rectenwald said speech that incites violence is unprotected by the right to free speech.
“You’re not allowed to say ‘get up and mob that group over there right now,’ as Antifa does, by the way,” Rectenwald said. “That’s not protected speech. But, you’re allowed to say things that are not popular and also that are hateful. That doesn’t mean I condone them. I’m just saying what’s what.”
Critics of Isaacson targeted his affiliation with Antifa, the controversial leftist protest group. Over Labor Day Weekend, The Hill published an interview with Isaacson discussing Antifa violence.
“Most of the interview I was talking about the various non-violent forms of work that Antifa does, which is primarily what I do,” Isaacson said during an interview with WSN. “I don’t punch Nazis. My involvement with Antifa is not at all what people are describing it as.”
Isaacson said he plans to fight for his job.
“John Jay is, by far, my favorite place that I have ever taught at — I love the student body there,” Isaacson said. “These students are committed to social justice, they’re committed to changing the world, and I want to help them do that. So, I’m gonna fight for my job tooth and nail.”
Email Mark Sheffer at [email protected]