Professor who calls herself a ‘Marxist’ says a group is persecuting her by calling her a ‘Marxist’

Campus Reform Reporter

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  • Wellesley College professor Julie Matthaei describes herself as a "Marxist-feminist-anti-racist-ecological-economist."
  • The Employment Policies Institute cited her description in an advertisement that opposed raising the minimum wage.
  • Professor Matthaei lives on a commune.
  • A professor who describes herself as “Marxist” in her official biography has accused a group of persecution for describing her as such.

    Wellesley College professor Julie Matthaei describes herself as a “Marxist-feminist-anti-racist-ecological-economist” on the college’s official website, but accused a pro-business group of “red-baiting” for citing this description in an advertisement opposing minimum wage hikes.

    "[I]f you're offended by your own words, that's fine.” - Michael Saltsman, EPI's research director   

    “It was her description of herself that we put in the ad,” Michael Saltsman, research director for the pro-business group The Employment Policies Institute (EPI), said in an interview with Campus Reform on Tuesday.

    EPI's advertisement appeared in The New York Times on Feb. 27 and included quotations from academic economists — including Matthaei — who had signed a petition supporting the policy.

    “Suddenly you’re thrust on the national stage, and it was a shock,” Matthaei said in an article in The Boston Globe. “I felt I was being red-baited.”

    Saltsman said he does not think the ad is red-baiting, but simply offers insight into the backgrounds of those who signed the petition.

    "She acts as if she is sort of shocked by this ad, but it's your description of yourself,” he said. “So, if you're offended by your own words, that's fine.”

    “We're just putting it out there to let people judge whether or not a Marxist economist is who we should be listening to on the minimum wage issue," he added.

    Matthaei lives in a modern-day commune in Cambridge.

    UPDATE: Matthaei responded to Campus Reform on Wednesday afternoon and further explained her reasoning.

    "The Economic Policy Institute ad is red-baiting me because it disparages and dismisses my opinion about the minimum wage solely because of the fact that I describe myself as a Marxist-feminist-anti-racist ecological economist – and not because of any lack of knowledge or qualifications on my part," Matthaei said in a statement. "In fact, I am a Ph.D. economist, a professor at Wellesley College, whose academic books have received awards. I call myself a Marxist because my research is grounded in Marx’s understanding of class dynamics and oppression in capitalism, something which is invisibilized by mainstream, neoclassical economic theory."  

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter @kctimpf

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