In the nearly-6,000-word memo, Powell called on corporate leaders to launch an economic and ideological assault on college and high school campuses, the media, the courts, and Capitol Hill.
The objective was simple: The revival of a Royalist-controlled so-called "free market" system.
Or, as Powell put it, using Royalist rhetoric, "[T]he ultimate issue...[is the] survival of what we call the free enterprise system, and all that this means for the strength and prosperity of America and the freedom of our people."
The first area of attack Powell encouraged the Chamber to focus on was the education system. "[A] priority task of business -- and organizations such as the Chamber -- is to address the campus origin of this hostility [to big business]," Powell wrote.
What worried Powell was the new generation of young Americans growing up to resent corporate culture. He believed colleges were filled with "Marxist professors," and that the pro-business agenda of Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover had fallen into disrepute since the Great Depression. He knew that winning this war of economic ideology in America required spoon-feeding the next generation of leaders the doctrines of a free-market theology, from high school all the way through graduate and business school.
At the time, college campuses were rallying points for the progressive activism sweeping the nation, as young people demonstrated against poverty, the Vietnam War, and in support of Civil Rights.
So Powell put forward a laundry list of ways the Chamber could re-retake the higher-education system. First, create an army of corporate-friendly think tanks that could influence education. "The Chamber should consider establishing a staff of highly qualified scholars in the social sciences who do believe in the system," he wrote.
Then, go after the textbooks. "The staff of scholars," Powell wrote, "should evaluate social science textbooks, especially in economics, political science and sociology...This would include assurance of fair and factual treatment of our system of government and our enterprise system, its accomplishments, its basic relationship to individual rights and freedoms, and comparisons with the systems of socialism, fascism and communism."
Powell argued that the Civil Rights movement and the Labor movement were already in the process of re-rewriting textbooks.
"We have seen the civil rights movement insist on re-writing many of the textbooks in our universities and schools. The labor unions likewise insist that textbooks be fair to the viewpoints of organized labor." Powell was concerned the Chamber of Commerce was not doing enough to stop this growing progressive influence and replace it with a pro-plutocratic perspective.
"Perhaps the most fundamental problem is the imbalance of many faculties," Powell pointed out. "Correcting this is indeed a long-range and difficult project. Yet, it should be undertaken as a part of an overall program. This would mean the urging of the need for faculty balance upon university administrators and boards of trustees." As in, the Chamber needs to infiltrate university boards in charge of hiring faculty to make sure only corporate-friendly professors are hired.
But Powell's recommendations weren't exclusive to college campuses; he targeted high schools as well.
"While the first priority should be at the college level, the trends mentioned above are increasingly evidenced in the high schools. Action programs, tailored to the high schools and similar to those mentioned, should be considered," he urged.
Next, Powell turned the corporate dogs on the media. As Powell instructed, "Reaching the campus and the secondary schools is vital for the long-term. Reaching the public generally may be more important for the shorter term."
Powell added, "It will...be essential to have staff personnel who are thoroughly familiar with the media, and how most effectively to communicate with the public."
He then went on to advocate that same system used for the monitoring of college textbooks be applied to television and radio networks. "This applies not merely to so-called educational programs...but to the daily 'news analysis' which so often includes the most insidious type of criticism of the enterprise system."
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