Berkeley is so left-wing…


…that when 7th- and 8th-graders at an expensive prestigious private school are asked to design their own tiles for a permanently displayed mosaic, they draw a big hammer-and-sickle and declare as their message to the world, “Capitalism will fail.”


The communist message is part of a school mosiac for the Class of 2007 at Black Pine Circle School, which has a reputation as one of the best private K-8 schools in the city. (Most of the other tiles in the mosaic are what you typically might expect from 13- and 14-year-olds: declarations of friendship and personal messages that are generally inscrutable to adults.)


The mosaic can be seen by passersby in front of the school on Seventh Street in Berkeley (and the hammer-and-sickle is barely visible in this photo on the left side between the yellow and green stripes).


Black Pine Circle School is an exclusive private elementary and middle school where Berkeley’s children of privilege are given the best possible education, with highly trained teachers, very small class sizes, a sophisticated customized curriculum and a hands-on learning environment.

The cost of tuition? A paltry $17,100 per student for a ten-month session. A mere trifle!


Each graduating class gets to make a class mosaic, and each year includes a few details that might raise eyebrows. For example, the Class of 2001 had one of its tiles apparently translated into Arabic, while another tile had an anarchy symbol. [Update: Turns out the translated tile is not Arabic, but rather upside-down Farsi (Hat tip: Throbert McGee).]


Elsewhere in the Class of 2007 mosaic, another student was allowed to depict a marijuana leaf as his or her personal statement (keep in mind that this long mosaic essentially acts as an advertisement for the school on its front wall).

Thirteen-year-olds don’t come up with this stuff themselves. They have to learn it from somewhere. But where? From their high-income intellectual parents? From the private school itself? Or just the general ambience of Berkeley? I’m not blaming the kids — they can’t choose their parents or where they grow up or even where they are sent to school. Black Pine Circle’s Mission Statement says,

The ideal BPC student will be maximally free of all the “isms” which pervade most aspects of the world around them: from racism to sexism to the less obvious forms of discrimination. They will have a strong aversion to injustice, plus the awareness to identify the hidden signs of prejudice and the mental and spiritual strength to resist their influence.

They’re free of all “isms” except one, apparently: Communism.


UPDATE: This story was picked up by Fox News on June 25:

‘Capitalism Will Fail,’ Marijuana Leaf Part of California School Mosaic

It was also featured as the top story on the main Fox News site.

92 Responses to “In Berkeley. . .even the private-school students are communists”

  1. 1Shug on Jun 18, 2009 at 6:10 pm:

    ” In Communist Berkeley, You choose school

    In Soviet Union School Chooses You.”

    Remember that kiddies

  2. 2Starless on Jun 18, 2009 at 6:25 pm:

    “A wonderful day at the yaht [sic] club” near the hammer and sickle and “Capitalism will fail” says it all.

  3. 3phoenixgirl on Jun 18, 2009 at 6:39 pm:

    isms cause schisms!

  4. 4bastiches on Jun 18, 2009 at 6:43 pm:

    The blue tile next to the marijuana leaf reads: “A wonderful day at the yaht (sic) club.” HAH! Take that commie!

  5. 5experiencedtraveller on Jun 18, 2009 at 6:46 pm:

    Not a single American flag there.

    The parents must be sooo proud.

  6. 6zombie on Jun 18, 2009 at 6:52 pm:

    #5 experiencedtraveller:

    Actually, there is an American flag somewhere in the mural — I think you can see it there in the Class of 2005 section. But I had the feeling it was “ironic” or said “AmeriKKKa” on it or something.

  7. 7Joe on Jun 18, 2009 at 7:06 pm:

    This mural is woefully lacking in enviroradicalism and enviro-armageddonism, unlike grade school murals around here. This school is clearly failing in its indoctrination curriculum.

  8. 8Dave Surls on Jun 18, 2009 at 7:24 pm:

    “Capitalism will fail.”

    Hopefully, this will take place after the tuition is collected.

  9. 9buzzsawmonkey on Jun 18, 2009 at 8:50 pm:

    I’m still trying to figure out the significance of the “tasty fish” image next to the hammer and sickle.

  10. 10zombie on Jun 18, 2009 at 9:28 pm:

    #9 buzzsawmonkey

    Projects in school these days are often done as groups (for various brainwashing and social-experimentation reasons). In this particular case, it looks like four students as a team were given the tile-design project, and they came up with the hammer-and-sickle theme as a group, which then gave them the ability to make it really big across four tiles, instead of being just on one. Each of the four team members then was allowed to personalize the “white space” remaining in each one of the tiles. Clockwise from top left, one of them made abstract squiggles, the next one (“Leo M”) made an atom, the next one made a French flag, and the last one went whole hog, writing “Capitalism will fail,” “Tasty Fish,” “Hand,” “JKA” and a crossed out dollar sign.

    What does it all mean? Aside from the money references, we likely will never know. If you look at many of the other students’ designs, they’re just personal notes that only they and their “best friends forever” could ever decipher. Both “Hand” and “Tasty Fish,” are mysteries for the ages.

  11. 11Shortylion on Jun 18, 2009 at 11:06 pm:

    Wow. You think they would let a Nazi swastika stay up there? No way, no how. But a communist hammer and sickle? Not even given a second thought.

  12. 12Starless on Jun 19, 2009 at 3:41 am:

    #10 Zombie

    Both “Hand” and “Tasty Fish,” are mysteries for the ages.

    Coded messages that only eighth graders can understand. If made by boys, they probably mean something dirty, if made by girls, some reference to their favorite boy bands.

    The French flag + hammer-and-sickle is interesting. A reference to French Socialism? If so, that’s a pretty specific reference and not one I would believe an eighth grader would make without some sort of indoctrination. Considering the weird things that are going in the bodies of 13 and 14 year olds, politics is never a significant part of their lives.

  13. 13Throbert McGee on Jun 19, 2009 at 4:30 am:

    I’m guessing that the tile with Arabic lettering is a translation of the matching “Best Friends Forever” tile next to it. And for some reason known only to the child who made it, the Arabic inscription is upside-down! (Or maybe the tile itself was placed on the wall upside-down, and the flower was intended to be on the lower-left of the tile, thus making the design more or less radially symmetric with the matching tile in English.)

    Anyway, if you look at the Arabic tile upside-down, the first line can be deciphered as maad w rika — i.e., “Maud and Reika.” Unfortunately, beyond being able to sound out the alphabet, and knowing that w(a) = “and,” I don’t know Arabic; thus I can only assume that the rest of it is a translation of “Best Friends Forever.”

    P.S. For that matter, I’m not even sure if it’s Arabic — could be Farsi or Urdu for all I know.

  14. 14Throbert McGee on Jun 19, 2009 at 5:21 am:

    Following up to my post #12:

    If you turn that foreign-language tile upside-down, and read it from right to left, the final word in the second line reads d ū s t, with a long “u.”

    With a little Googling, I was able to confirm that “friend” is sadiig in Arabic, and doost in Farsi (aka Persian or “Iranian”). I didn’t have to bother finding out how to say it in Urdu, because after taking another upside-down look at that tile with the Arabic lettering, I quickly spotted the sequence d ū s t. (Reading upside-down and right-to-left, it’s the final word in line 2.) On the other hand, there’s nothing even close to the tri-consonant sequence s – d – g, which tends to exclude the possibility that it’s Arabic.

    Thus, it’s Farsi.

  15. 15Tony on Jun 19, 2009 at 5:34 am:

    LOL, for being communists, there parents are spending a awful lot of capital to send them to that school

    irony FTW

  16. 16marcus on Jun 19, 2009 at 6:54 am:

    That symbol is meaningless to those kids, just as the anarchist A is, and their (most likely worn on fridays) Che t-shirts or “CCCP” track shirts. They don’t know what these things mean, nor do their parents; they only know that it is odd and antagonistic to others, so they get a kick out of it. So for 17 grand these kids are getting a second rate indocrination and a third rate education. Reminds me of Steve Martin’s line in “Parenthood:” “Ah, money well spent.”

  17. 17Throbert McGee on Jun 19, 2009 at 8:26 am:

    Okay, just for completeness’ sake:

    With the help of this online English-to-Farsi translator and this this virtual Persian keyboard, I was able to figure out that the upside-down tile in Arabic script says, in Farsi:

    ماد و ريكا
    بهترين دوست
    براى هميشه

    Which romanizes to:

    mād ū rīka
    behtarīn dūst
    brāy hamīsha

    And the literal line-by-line translation is:

    “Maud and Reika
    Best friend [sic]
    For always”

    With a little more Googling, I find that the word for “friend,” dūst, has the plural form dūstha, but the tile clearly uses the singular form.

    Incidentally, notice that the Farsi word behtarīn, meaning “best,” bears a suspicious resemblance to the English word “better” — I’d guess that they’re Indo-European cognates.

    (Not that anyone cares, but I love linguistic puzzles!)

  18. 18zombie on Jun 19, 2009 at 8:47 am:

    #13 – #17 Throbert:

    Thanks for the stellar detective work! I’ve now added an update to the post, and given you a hat tip.

  19. 19Throbert McGee on Jun 19, 2009 at 9:14 am:

    Speaking of languages, my 1977 edition of Ozhegov’s Dictionary of the Russian LanguageOzhegov being essentially the Russian “Webster” — contains the following example sentence under the entry for kapitalizm:

    Гибель капитализма неизбежна.

    Romanized, this reads Gibel’ kapitalizma neizbezhna. The word gibel’ can be variously translated as “annihilation,” “destruction,” “death via catastrophe,” “extinction.” And neizbezhna is one of those words whose meaning can be gleaned by analyzing its Slavic roots: ne = “not”; iz = “from”; bezh =”to run”. Thus, its etymology signifies “that which cannot be run away from” — in other words, “unavoidable,” “inevitable.”

    So the highly optimistic editorial commentary on the word kapitalizm, from Soviet lexicographer Mr. Sergei Ivanovich Ozhegov (1900-1964), was “The extinction of capitalism is inevitable.”

    (How’s that working out for ya, Sergei?)

  20. 20Throbert McGee on Jun 19, 2009 at 9:16 am:

    Thanks for the hat tip, zombie!

  21. 21Throbert McGee on Jun 19, 2009 at 9:36 am:

    That symbol is meaningless to those kids, just as the anarchist A is, and their (most likely worn on fridays) Che t-shirts or “CCCP” track shirts.

    Unlike the highly taboo swastika, the hammer-and-sickle has sometimes been appropriated in a campy/ironic way by people who are thoroughly anti-Communist. (Cf. the T-shirts that have Reagan’s face but spoof the style of Che shirts. Also cf. the video for the Pet Shop Boys’ cover of the Village People’s “Go West”!)

    HOWEVER, that essentially harmless borrowing of an ugly symbol is clearly not what’s going on in the tile mural, as evidenced by the “Capitalism will fail” slogan.

  22. 22Anonymous on Jun 19, 2009 at 10:40 am:

    I love zombie time. Hours of reading, watching, and listening pleasure.

  23. 23CattusMagnus on Jun 19, 2009 at 11:09 am:

    Zombie and buzzsawmonkey,

    Perhaps the “tasty fish” is a Jesus fish, or rather, a dead Jesus fish.

    It’s nice that the children support the anarchist butterflies.

  24. 24Perpetua on Jun 19, 2009 at 12:08 pm:

    Well, if you have a child who is strong in math, and you can’t afford the tuition at the Bentley School or qualify for significant financial aid there, Black Pine Circle is safer than the public school option.

    Here’s the California Mathematics League scores for 8th grade for 2007-2008:
    http://www.mathleague.com/reports/2007_08/grade678/CA_8.HTM

    $17,100 might seem high for middle school tuition, but Bentley charges $21,670.
    http://www.bentleyschool.net/index.php?location=admission&subnav=tuition

  25. 25Throbert McGee on Jun 19, 2009 at 12:51 pm:

    There was a 1991 song called “Tasty Fish,” as I found from Googling. The sound is very Pet Shop Boys, though with a vocalist who’s an actual female, rather than merely femme.

    Here’s a YouTube link to the song.

  26. 26Anonymous on Jun 19, 2009 at 2:10 pm:

    Atlas Shrugged

  27. 27shame_on_christ on Jun 19, 2009 at 2:46 pm:

    i am in a whirlpool right now

  28. 28Ken on Jun 19, 2009 at 4:29 pm:

    “they draw a big hammer-and-sickle and declare as their message to the world, ‘Capitalism will fail’ ”

    Sounds good to me. Although I disapprove of the marijuana leaf.

    I experienced a death in the family this week and in my neck of the woods that involves a long and elaborate mourning process. After that, the wife and I are going to Israel for 4 weeks to get away from all the gloom around here. I regret to inform you all that you’ll be without my services for some time.

  29. 29CattusMagnus on Jun 19, 2009 at 4:48 pm:

    Ken,

    I am very sorry to hear of your loss. Travel safely. The comments forum here will be so incomplete without the resident communist :)

    Are you going to go swimming in the Dead Sea? That would be totally awesome!

  30. 30Ken on Jun 19, 2009 at 7:19 pm:

    Well, Kun is still here, I think.

  31. 31Tony on Jun 19, 2009 at 7:34 pm:

    While i believe its good to learn about our gov’t and world politics from elementary school and beyond, its pretty obvious that this school is engaging in poltical indoctrination.

    I find it hard to believe that 7th and 8th graders are coming up with the hammer and sickle emblem and “capitalism will fail” motto’s without some sort of guidance from the instructors.

    I know some would suggest that its a parental thing, but since the mural covers 4 seperate tiles, with there own distinct messages (french flag for example) its pretty obvious that there must have been a school instructor influencing the children to do that.

    I know this is supposed to be some sort of “fancy” private school, but when i was in junior high, i was into sports and playing with my friends, and building tree houses, not advanced Anti-american political philosophies.

  32. 32Nathaniel M on Jun 19, 2009 at 9:45 pm:

    Throbert McGee on Jun 19, 2009 at 8:26 am:
    (Not that anyone cares, but I love linguistic puzzles!)

    You keep doing the mental heavy lifting McGee and thanks for the info. Personally my brain is just luke warm guacamole and I bow to your skills. Mmmmm, chips & guacamole!

  33. 33Starless on Jun 20, 2009 at 4:18 am:

    #31 Tony

    While i believe its good to learn about our gov’t and world politics from elementary school and beyond, its pretty obvious that this school is engaging in poltical indoctrination.

    This is what we used to call “Civics”. You learned about American history and the importance of being a good citizen; like George Washington never told a lie, how a bill becomes a law and why it’s important to vote. Some of the information was factual, some of it was mythical. Just about every country does this. Some countries are more enthusiastic about it than others — I’ll pick on the hoary example of Nazi Germany as the most extreme and post-WWII US as middlin’-to-weak in comparison. There was a certain amount of nationalism (read: indoctrination) in US Civics courses, but as with everything else overtly political, we were never as enthusiastic about it as other major world powers.

    Nowadays, though, with deconstruction and moral relativism, Civics has been turned on it’s head and DWEMs are now considered war criminals (my favorite has probably got to be, “George Washington would have been called a terrorist by the British!”) and US history is more rife with genocide and oppression than anything else. We’re not to admire the Founding Fathers — the expression “Founding Fathers” is in itself an act of hate and oppression — we are to be ashamed of them. If you look at what has passed for pedagogy for the past couple of decades, it’s no surprise that the far end of crunchy Walden Pond-esque private schools would engage in active anti-American indoctrination.

  34. 34Tony on Jun 20, 2009 at 4:56 am:

    just curious, but didn’t lenin say something about “give me one generation” and he’d give you communism, or something to that effect? i think theres some sort of quote somewhere about it.

    I’d look it up but i have CQ cuty here in a few minutes, and i don’t have the time to look it up.

    PS. CQ, is short for “charge of quarters” duty, which means i have to sit in the barracks and make sure no one burns down the place for 24 hours.

  35. 35Starless on Jun 20, 2009 at 5:37 am:

    #34 Tony

    I Googlied that (Lenin + “give me one generation”) and a bunch of Harry Potter and Christian church links came up, so I doubt that’s what he said. Lenin + quotes + “give me” pulled up a different list including, “Give me your 4 years olds, and in a generation I will build a socialist state,” which sounds to me like something a hardcore neocon wished Lenin had said. It also pulled, “Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.” This sounds more authentically Leninish to me.

    I imagine one of the resident Commies would know off the top of his or her head, accompanied by a long list of citations and reasons why it’s morally superior to anything any Capitalist ever said.

  36. 36Anonymous on Jun 20, 2009 at 1:00 pm:

    Woo hoo! Yet another clue that Berkeley is fixated on the totally irrelevant. Good thing, too, or Zombietime would be totally out of luck feeding one of his two obsessions.

    Uh, seriously, Z, the communists in Berkeley are a little like the LaRouche people who clutter the steps of my vey non-California post office. In a word: irrelevant. Sadly, Manicheanism has gone out of political fashion, these days, too.

  37. 37Horse on Jun 20, 2009 at 1:30 pm:

    They are faux communists; it’s a fabricated protective coating so they can enjoy their comfortable surroundings and yummy food and beverages without guilt while attempting to deny liberty to others. They don’t actually do anything communistic within their own lives, but they do protest and demand others to be more communistic. It is their way of creating an impregnable class barrier between themselves and the unwashed masses.

  38. 38Dave Surls on Jun 20, 2009 at 2:16 pm:

    “Black Pine Circle is safer than the public school option.”

    I found an even better option.

    Move out of Berkeley.

  39. 39Anonycon on Jun 20, 2009 at 10:13 pm:

    @37 Nice analysis

  40. 40Anonycon on Jun 20, 2009 at 10:24 pm:

    @36 is right, they’re clearly fixated on the totally irrelevant. With a few more hours digging, I think we’ll have proven that conclusively.

  41. 41Starless on Jun 21, 2009 at 4:53 am:

    #37 Anonymous

    If the pedagogy represented by this school hadn’t filtered down to the wider public school system over the past thirty years, I might agree with you.

    Think of Black Pine Circle as the pure, distilled form of what passes as primary education today, focusing on green, esteem-building, identity-politicking pap. Use a purple correcting pen instead of a red one because red traditionally represents being “wrong” and in the Brave New World, there is no wrong (except there is). Forbid “winning” in gym class because it makes some kids feel bad. Indoctrinate students to go home and lecture their parents about recycling. In other words, create a false, judgemental cocoon which leaves most kids wholly unprepared for life after school.

  42. 42Starless on Jun 21, 2009 at 4:54 am:

    Correction: my previous post was a response to _#36_.

  43. 43Jane on Jun 21, 2009 at 5:02 am:

    Hopefully – enrollment is really, really low and the graduates will be harmless potheads who have delusions of grandeur as they smoke their lives away remembering the good times at Black Pine, making pretty tiles…

  44. 44Anarcho Zionist on Jun 21, 2009 at 1:15 pm:

    In Oakland, along Park Blvd (at MacArthur) on the left there is a high school. The students have been painting a mural on the outer wall of the area surrounding the football field. Guess who’s face has been painted? Che! There are other figures as well, some recognizable to me, others not. I periodically stop by to see if the any of the ‘youngsters’ have taken it upon themselves to include a Palestinian flag. There isn’t one there now, but given how there was a recent event held in Oakland, equating Oscar Grant’s death with Israeli “occupation” and such, I wouldn’t be the least surprised if one such image made its way to that wall.

  45. 45bobc on Jun 21, 2009 at 2:12 pm:

    What a shame. This kind of indoctrination would never have been done in any school, when I was growing up. It’s against all we stand for. Don’t the parents care at all? This will probably be the generation that finally turns this County over to a dictator or run her into the ground so much, it will be a 3rd world country.

    Schools should never, ever be allowed to teach such things!

  46. 46Starless on Jun 21, 2009 at 2:50 pm:

    #43 Jane

    I think it’s probably safe to assume that, in spite of their parents desires, these kids are like any other kids in America. Some will rebel and become ultra-capitalists, some will buy into the indoctrination and end up in criminal organizations like ACORN or ANSWER or a Democratic administration, but most are probably more concerned with their BFFs and the indoctrination ios just one more boring, stupid thing their teachers make them listen to.

  47. 47Kun on Jun 21, 2009 at 6:41 pm:

    These same types go on to condemn “Stalinism” and say words like “ultra-capitalism” so there isn’t much hope for us Communists in this situation. (Nor should there be)

  48. 48Wolf on Jun 22, 2009 at 9:47 am:

    Indoctrinating little children is what the commies do best , just like the Nazi’s… How come no one calls them capitalist pigs in their community for charging 20k a year???

  49. 49Marie on Jun 22, 2009 at 2:57 pm:

    I suppose all of these parents voted for Obama as well.

  50. 50Anonymous on Jun 22, 2009 at 8:08 pm:

    Maybe North Korea needs to aim thier missle at this school.

  51. 51Perpetua of Carthage on Jun 22, 2009 at 8:27 pm:

    I have an idea for another only in Berkeley post. I was at a local grocery store today, Andronico’s, and as I was in the check out line, a tall older woman in a peculiar hat came up to me and expressed disapproval that I was buying bottled water. She wanted to tell me why I shouldn’t buy bottled water. I told her it was not her place to comment on my purchases. She disagreed and said it was her place to do so. I had to be really insistent that she should not keep talking about my bottled water purchase choice. She left me alone for a while, but as I was actually signing the receipt for my purchase she came up behind me and whispered in my ear that it was appropriate for her to inform me of the mistake I was making in my purchase of bottled water. I was startled and frightened.

    As I was going out to my car, a nice man said to me that that would only have happened in Berkeley. I really appreciated him saying something to me.

    (I wasn’t sure if I should ask to talk to the manager of the store about the woman. In any other city, I would have asked for the store clerks to call the manager. But this was Berkeley and the woman was so confident that she was in the right. Even though the bottled water was a product offered by the store, I was concerned that maybe the store manager would also disapprove of my purchase.)

  52. 52Starless on Jun 23, 2009 at 4:09 am:

    #51 Perpetua

    A good tactic for dealing with people like that is to turn the conversation back on them. Her approach was very school playground-ish so it’s usually most effective to respond in kind — in the form of a question, tell her she smells (e.g. while waving your hand in front of your nose, ask her, “Oh, man, did you brush your teeth today? It smells like something died in your mouth”) or that she’s ugly (“Woah! How many times did you get hit with the ugly stick?”) and persist in your counter-attack. Just as though she had walked up to you and physically shoved you, she was verbally attacking you. Taking the high road by engaging her rationally will only validate her and give her an excuse to continue.

  53. 53Tony on Jun 23, 2009 at 9:38 am:

    lol #51 reminds me of a situation i was in once.

    I used to live in phoenix, and being a pretty conservative guy i had a T-shirt that displayed the ussr, the chinesse and the nazi flag. under the flags was a quote..

    “gun control works, just ask the experts”

    I had a guy i can only describe as a hippy came up ( you know the type fat, and with a disheveled beard and a tye dyed shirt with flip flops) and started complaining to me about my shirt, and how he didn’t like it as he believed in gun control.

    I told him that i didn’t care how he felt, and if he didn’t like it he could refrain from looking at my shirt.

    after that he looked at me like i came from another planet and said “but i said i didn’t like it, you should change your shirt cause its offensive to me”

    I thought it was funny actually because he just didn’t seem to understand that i really didn’t care what he likes or doesn’t like, and he was confused that i didn’t care about his opinions like he thought i should.

    Anyway after that he started cursing at me, and telling me to stop smirking at him. At that point i commented about his wieght by telling him that if he cared about his health half as much as he cared about my shirt, he might be able to see his own feet.

    the rest of the customers in the gas station exploded with laughter…

    lol good times good times.

  54. 54Starless on Jun 23, 2009 at 12:55 pm:

    That’s what I’m talking about, Tony. That kind of personal intrusiveness is alpha dog stuff — it’s about people who feel compelled to try to control others. Sort of like…I dunno…maybe Communist indoctrination in elementary school.

  55. 55Anonymous on Jun 23, 2009 at 4:33 pm:

    Hi Starless and Tony,

    Yes, I did experience it as a form of aggression, asserting dominance. The other one I have been dealing with this week is a neighbor a few blocks away with a pit bull. He refuses to use a leash and lets it run on the street. It is very intimidating to have a pit bull off leash running at you.

    Apparently the leash law in Berkeley is very lenient. A dog owner needs to leash the dog or keep it within six feet of the owner or under voice control. The dog does respond to the owners commands, somewhat. This morning when I was walking by, across the street, and the dog started running towards me, the owner called out the dogs name. The dog sat down in the street. It was blocking a car. The intent of the owner was clearly to get the dog to return to the owner. The owner hadn’t said sit.

    So I either have to stop walking on that street or accept having the pit bull roaming free and running at me. Or I can start reporting the dog to Animal Control and try to prove that the dog is more than six feet from the owner and not under voice control.

  56. 56Common Reader on Jun 24, 2009 at 4:30 pm:

    Starless, you absolutely should not take that tack with those kinds of nutters in the Bay Area. 10-15 years ago you could get them to back off by saying “AND SO’S YOUR MOM” or something equally entertaining, but these days there is a real risk that they will get violent. The intuition that anonymous had that this lady was threatening is right on. They couldn’t hurt you, but they could, say, slip and fall and hurt themselves as a result of trying to shove you. And then they’ll make your life hell.

  57. 57Starless on Jun 25, 2009 at 4:43 am:

    #56 Common Reader

    My point was more that if you feel the need to engage a bully, trying to reason with her gets you nowhere. If there’s a real threat there, I’d advocate just walking away, then again if bullies and control freaks are allowed to walk around unchallenged we start to lose what makes our society civilized. This applies to the more particular issue of leftist indoctrination in public education — as long as leftist academics are unchallenged at a more basic level, their strategy of pushing their agenda through using shame and guilt will work and children will continue to receive a substandard education.

  58. 58Mario on Jun 25, 2009 at 12:44 pm:

    You made it Zombie! The MSM is picking up your stories – you scooped them. Now, how will the mainline of their ilk (e.g. The NYT or the Chronicle) play it?

  59. 59Mario on Jun 25, 2009 at 12:45 pm:

    You made it Zombie! The MSM is picking up your stories – you scooped them.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,529099,00.html

    Now, how will the mainline of their ilk (e.g. The NYT or the Chronicle) play it?

  60. 60Silhouette on Jun 25, 2009 at 1:21 pm:

    Congrats on the major news hat tip, zombie. I haven’t been around LGF in almost a year, so I miss being alerted to your updates. Imagine my delight on opening my web browser and there you were. I’ll have to add zomblog to my regular rotation of sites to check in on.

    Good catch, as always.

  61. 61cerebus on Jun 25, 2009 at 7:43 pm:

    You have restored my faith in the left coast. Just when I thought we were going bankraupt, a child come along and shows we have bigger problems….they think they know the answer. Thank God kids can’t vote.

  62. 62Dave Surls on Jun 25, 2009 at 8:11 pm:

    ‘…Reynolds told FOXNews.com. “If they felt capitalism will fail, I’d be curious to see what their alternative is.”‘

    I think the hammer and sickle is a pretty good tipoff as to what the alternative is supposed to be.

  63. 63Anonymous on Jun 26, 2009 at 3:35 am:

    the symbol Capital A in a circle is a anarchist symbol something similar was in the movie v for vendetta

    he Circle-A is almost certainly the best-known present-day symbol for anarchy. It is a monogram that consists of the capital letter “A” surrounded by the capital letter “O”. The letter “A” is derived from the first letter of “anarchy” or “anarchism” in most European languages and is the same in both Latin and Cyrillic scripts. The “O” stands for order. Together they stand for “Anarchy is Order” the first part of a Proudhon quote.[1]

    This character can be written as Unicode codepoint U+24B6. In addition, the “@” sign or “(A)” can be used to quickly represent the circle-A on a computer.
    http://eng.anarchopedia.org/anarchist_symbolism
    http://eng.anarchopedia.org/File:Anarchy-symbol.svg6um%3D16um%3D1

  64. 64Anonymous on Jun 26, 2009 at 4:04 am:

    Fidel Castro is the Son of a Millionaire

  65. 65Anonymous on Jun 26, 2009 at 6:30 am:

    #51 & 53 – aren’t you doing the same thing to this school that you had done to you, by imposing your own political and social ideas on them and saying that what their students have chosen to do with their art project is inappropriate and should be changed or removed?

    It seems to me that this school is teaching its students that their first amendment right to freedom of expression (the ultimate ‘American Value’ if ever there was one), is more valuable than political correctness or pleasing the administration. Seems like a worthy goal to me…

    Think back to all the stupid things you did when you were a 13-year-old, because we all did them. How would you like it if everything you thought or said or drew when you were that age was pinned on your school. Did your school really have *that* much effect on how you thought or acted, because mine sure didn’t. Kids come up with crazy things all on their own, no indoctrination necessary.

  66. 66Starless on Jun 26, 2009 at 7:46 am:

    #65 Anonymous

    It seems to me that this school is teaching its students that their first amendment right to freedom of expression (the ultimate ‘American Value’ if ever there was one), is more valuable than political correctness or pleasing the administration.

    To quote the ever wise Col. Sherman T. Potter, “Horse hockey!”

    Firstly, children do not have a First Amendment right. The courts and accepted social norms have demonstrated that time and again. Secondly, 13-year-olds aren’t thinking about politics, they’re mostly thinking about what their friends are doing and the weird things happening to their bodies. And finally, the criticism isn’t directed toward the kids, it’s directed toward the teachers and parents.

    These children are parroting what their parents and teachers are telling them, not coming to complex conclusions about politics and economics.

  67. 67Dave Surls on Jun 26, 2009 at 11:14 am:

    “They will have a strong aversion to injustice…”

    Apparently they haven’t been instructed about the minor injustices carried out under the banner of that good old hammer and sickle.

  68. 68Starless on Jun 27, 2009 at 4:58 am:

    From the FoxNews article:

    The mosaic’s location on the perimeter of the school serves as an “advertisement for discriminating parents,”

    Precisely. And yet it is evil for parents to discriminate and choose to send their children to a Christian school.

    “They wouldn’t allow a swastika symbol,” she said. “It shows where the school’s standards lie.”

    LMAO. Oh, well, that’s a relief.

    BTW, Zombie, I think you got stiffed a little by FoxNews. They gave you photo credit and that’s all very nice, but they obviously got the story idea from you so they really should have included a live link to your site in the story.

  69. 69Anonymous on Jun 27, 2009 at 9:45 am:

    #66 Starless:

    First, children and students most certainly do have first amendment rights. The following is from the Tinker v. Des Moines supreme court decision in 1969:

    “First Amendment rights, applied in light of the special characteristics of the school environment, are available to teachers and students. It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.

    Under our Constitution, free speech is not a right that is given only to be so circumscribed that it exists in principle but not in fact…The Constitution says that Congress (and the States) may not abridge the right to free speech. This provision means what it says…If a regulation were adopted by school officials forbidding discussion of the Vietnam conflict, or the expression by any student of opposition to it anywhere on school property except as part of a prescribed classroom exercise, it would be obvious that the regulation would violate the constitutional rights of students, at least if it could not be justified by a showing that the students’ activities would materially and substantially disrupt the work and discipline of the school.”

    The complete opinion can be found here: http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/comm/free_speech/tinker.html

    Second, if you think that thirteen-year-olds aren’t discussing politics, and aren’t capable of drawing their own conclusions from information presented to them by a wide range of sources (including teachers and parents, but also including television, the internet, friends, etc.), then you clearly haven’t spent a lot of time around thirteen-year-olds lately. Here’s a fourteen-year-old with some strong political opinions that might be more up your alley: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/08/fashion/08conserve.html
    Here’s a homeschooled boy whose father says he’s never really been into politics…hmm.
    Additionally, isn’t it the role of parents everywhere to share their values with their children? Just because their values aren’t the same as yours doesn’t give them less of a right to impart them to the next generation.

    Finally, “Capitalism will fail” is hardly a “complex conclusion about politics and economics”.

  70. 70Dave Surls on Jun 28, 2009 at 4:04 am:

    “The Constitution says that Congress (and the States) may not abridge the right to free speech.”

    No, it doesn’t say that.

  71. 71Starless on Jun 28, 2009 at 5:18 am:

    #69 “Anonymous”

    First, children and students most certainly do have first amendment rights.

    In a purely technical sense, yeah, children have first amendment rights. In practice, they are virtual slaves to their parents and prisoners to schools. Children can be locked in a building where they are told where to go and what to do, who they can and cannot associate with, what they can and cannot wear, what they can and cannot say, when they can and cannot eat, and even when they can and cannot go to the bathroom. This is all done legally and without the children’s consent. This is not necessarily bad, but neither is it a situation where a child is able to fully exercise his or her “rights”.

    A child who says, “go fuck yourself,” to a parent or teacher can be punished for it and will not be able to run to the First Amendment for cover anywhere short of the ACLU.

    Second, if you think that thirteen-year-olds aren’t discussing politics, and aren’t capable of drawing their own conclusions from information presented to them by a wide range of sources…then you clearly haven’t spent a lot of time around thirteen-year-olds lately.

    I’m certainly not Michael Jackson, that’s for sure.

    Additionally, isn’t it the role of parents everywhere to share their values with their children? Just because their values aren’t the same as yours doesn’t give them less of a right to impart them to the next generation.

    I don’t think I ever said they didn’t have the right to do so and I don’t think I ever said that private schools don’t have the right to do so, either. What they are doing, though, is a disservice to their children. When you only impart dogma, left, right, middle, up, or down, to children, you short-circuit critical thinking. In a perfect world, IMO, all schools public and private would be metaphorically agnostic when it comes to politics. A teacher could say, “event X happened” but they couldn’t say “event X happened and that was good/bad”. Instead the teacher would provide the student with the tools to come to his own conclusion. This isn’t a perfect world and private schools have the right, more-or-less, to teach whatever wacky theories they want. The trouble is that those wacky theories often leak over into the realm of public education.

    Finally, “Capitalism will fail” is hardly a “complex conclusion about politics and economics”.

    Exactly.

  72. 72Peter the Alaska Kid on Jun 28, 2009 at 9:11 pm:

    I’m glad Fox News is always there to make the most important events their top stories.

  73. 73Starless on Jun 29, 2009 at 4:28 am:

    #72 Peter the Alaska Kid

    FoxNews is no more idiotic than ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, or MSNBC.

  74. 74Tony on Jun 29, 2009 at 5:03 am:

    lol peter, id rather watch fox news then NBC’s round the clock coverage of “obama the savior of mankind”

  75. 75Adriana on Jul 27, 2009 at 1:52 pm:

    I live in Berkeley. I buy bottled water. No one has ever commented to me at the grocery store. This mostly seems like ridiculous exaggerations or individual circumstances. The other day I had coffee. The table next to me initially had two young men who were quite Republican and derisive of Obama and Berkeley itself. Then they left. The table then had four older folks who were quite left wing (and also derisive of Obama :). Go America! Free speech, many opinions, even in Berkeley.

    I am not a communist. I do beleive full-blown capitalism – letting only costs rule the day – clearly isn’t working. I have no solutions.

    The average 13 year old I encounter – left or right – seems much more politically aware than I was a their age. I can only admire them for trying to think of new paths in the complex world they grow up in.

    I find an analysis of a “best friends” tile in Farsi quite disgusting though. If a child/young adults wants to create art in some other language – be it Farsi, Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Italian, etc – isn’t it just great that they are bilingual and creating and not out doing drugs, stealing, shootings things, or watching TV?

    Would it matter if it were Arabic? I didn’t realize Arabs weren’t allowed to use their own language here in the US? (Free speech, remember that constitution? Doesn’t matter which language it is in.)

    There are far better things to worry about. It’s a shame that this is how people spend their time.

    -Adriana

  76. 76Anon on Aug 26, 2009 at 10:59 am:

    I don’t think anyone else has noted this: that atom-like symbol in the upper right tile that depicts the hammer and sickle is a symbol for the American Atheists, an organization which has been accused of evangelically promoting atheism while deriding other religions. http://www.atheists.org

  77. 77Kinoclub on Oct 11, 2009 at 12:34 am:

    Адекватная и интересная статья. Добавляю RSS. Автору спасибо

  78. 78Lydia W. on Oct 11, 2009 at 11:14 am:

    This is utterly ridiculous, these kids were in my class (My tile is the one saying ‘Lydia DAVITA’ with blue and green stripes) and they were just fascinated by communism. BPC had absolutely nothing to do with what our tiles said. We were allowed to put anything we wanted on them as a memento of good times we had at the school. There was certainly no ‘indoctrinating’ of communism, or anything for that matter. People are looking far too into this, sure I can agree that ‘capitalism will fail’ are strong words for a kid attending such a costly school, but honestly the makers of these tiles (who I shall of course not name) were simply following their beliefs.
    As for the ‘mysteries for the ages’ of ‘Tasty Fish’ and ‘hand’ these were just silly inside-jokes one of the makers of the tiles had with the rest of the creators. Honestly people should just be glad that the children of today’s America are pursuing free speech and finding their own way in this conventional, confusing world.

    Also the ‘marijuana’ leaf was actually supposed to be a Japanese Maple leaf.

  79. 79Davita on Oct 12, 2009 at 11:38 pm:

    Right on Lydia you tell them!
    This Fox news story was the biggest bunch of BS I have ever read!
    You people are talking about this issue like you know the facts… AND YOU DON’T! That is not even a pot leaf! Seems to me that if Fox was to do an accurate story they would have found out more about that kids that actually did the tiles! This is news at its worst. Shame!
    All the kids that made the Communist tiles are “A” student that are smarter than any of you right wing idiots will ever be!

  80. 80MM on Oct 14, 2009 at 9:20 pm:

    I can’t believe how much you people are reading into this.
    It’s not like every single kid in the whole school made a tile with a communist symbol on it. It was just four guys who really believe in something and they wanted to get the word out. Since when are people not allowed to do that? I mean, you guys are doing the same thing they are in this blog, saying “there’s not a single American flag on there. Parents must be proud.” It’s just plain ridiculous! These are 8th grade kids. They’re not trying to create a conspiracy against the government or anything. And if you think that 8th graders can’t form their own opinions, then you certainly have a lot to learn.
    This Fox News article is the most ridiculous thing I have ever read. Whatever happened to freedom of speech and beliefs? We’re Americans. We have the right to believe what we want. You right wingers do the exact same thing, coming around to protests and telling us that we can’t have abortions or marry people the same sex as us. It’s unbelievable.

  81. 81Anon on Oct 15, 2009 at 10:54 pm:

    I enjoy the fact that liberals simply think that anyone who disagrees with them is ignorant. To their supposedly “open” minds, it is inconceivable that someone can go from being liberal to conservative (as I have), or better yet, be completely aware of all of their beliefs and still reject them with reason.

    I consider myself to be a more open-minded and tolerant supporter of free-speech than those liberals who try to shout down and talk over any of the “ignorant” people who disagree with them, rather than listen to an alternate point of view.

    A true liberal is skeptical of everything, including liberalism. Please keep that in mind rather than simply substituting one dogma that you despise with another and fooling yourself into thinking you are without dogma.

    And ad hominem attacks are always in bad form. If you consider yourself intelligent, please at least learn how to make a decent argument that relies on something other than rhetoric and that appeals to something other than emotion.

    Davita: Right on Lydia you tell them!
    This Fox news story was the biggest bunch of BS I have ever read!
    You people are talking about this issue like you know the facts… AND YOU DON’T! That is not even a pot leaf! Seems to me that if Fox was to do an accurate story they would have found out more about that kids that actually did the tiles! This is news at its worst. Shame!
    All the kids that made the Communist tiles are “A” student that are smarter than any of you right wing idiots will ever be!

  82. 82Davita on Oct 18, 2009 at 4:21 pm:

    All I am saying is if Fox is going to write an article about Black Pince Circle School they should know all the facts before they claim that a Japanese mapple leafe is a pot leafe.

  83. 83Davita on Oct 18, 2009 at 4:22 pm:

    *maple
    *leaf

  84. 84C on Sep 14, 2010 at 11:15 pm:

    Since I moved out to Berkeley, I wanted to see this with my own eyes. I went by the school today, and I couldn’t find the tiles in these photos. I asked some of the parents on the sidewalk, and they very nicely pointed out that they weren’t there anymore, and emphasized that the leaf was not a marijuana leaf. I didn’t want to come across as creepy so I didn’t take any photos. However, I can report that the communist tiles are no longer there and have been replaced with blank white ones. As to whether the school removed them or someone smashed them, I have no idea. I did see one hammer and sickle in another tile, but I couldn’t read the text to see what the context was.

  85. 85N on Sep 24, 2010 at 7:53 pm:

    @C, the tiles were being threatened to be smashed, and the new school year was starting, so the head of school decided to just take the tiles down for the safety of the kids. the kids in question were called up and pretty much said they didnt care about them anymore, and so thats pretty much what happened

  86. 86شات كتابي on Sep 27, 2010 at 11:14 am:

    Yes, it is. And, I’ve already explained why.

  87. 87j on Jun 3, 2012 at 9:20 am:

    I am glad to see some evidence of younger people opening their minds. Right wing idiots can scoff and whine all they want. But people are waking up and realizing the truth; that capitalism is a corrupt system by nature. The marijuana leaf shows the school is not censoring the kids. Its great that drugs and communism are being more and more tolerated.

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  89. 89Non-PC Atheist on Nov 20, 2014 at 11:47 am:

    https://news.yahoo.com/happens-wave-isis-flag-berkeleys-campus-181512428.html

    *Ami Horowitz went to the UC Berkeley campus and waved the Israeli flag and the flag of the terrorist group ISIS.
    *Students said nothing when they saw Horowitz waving the ISIS flag and yelling justifications for the group’s actions.
    *Students were outraged at the sight of the Israeli flag, yelling f**k Israel.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCBINSWCiAE&list=UUXIJgqnII2ZOINSWNOGFThA

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