Anyway, I have had to re-sign this loyalty oath every time I lapse in my UC employment or go work for a different department, which is often. It has two parts to sign, one about promising not to overthrow the government and one which I am less affected by but more worried about, that states anything I invent or discover is patented and held by the University of California. Since I'm not a scientist, it doesn't really affect me, but it seems really sketchy, you know? The loyalty oath is just plain silly ---- would someone who was really trying to overthrow the government be stopped by the thought that they would be breaking their word? I mean, come on, like real terrorists or commies or whatever wouldn't just lie and do whatever they had to do to get their job done?
But it's nice to know that, should I ever want to take the trouble of actually joining the Communist Party ---- if that even still exists, post 1989 or whatever ---- I can now safely do that. Or, more relevantly, I can engage in whatever activities my union sponsors without fear of it being mislabled as communism and being fired that way. Although I already had a variety of union protections. But whatever.
What sucks about this legislation is that it doesn't seem to help out the people who were recently fired for refusing to sign the loyalty oath ---- not Communists, but Quakers. And since the Guardian article only mentions making it legal to be a communist, and not to refuse to swear to things, this bill doesn't appear to solve that problem. It's the swearing, not the overthrowing, that these Quakers are refusing, people! Get with the program and fix the legislation! If you want to read about loyalty oaths from the perspective of an actual Quaker academic, go to the Rebel Letter. Or keep reading here for the highlights of the Guardian article:
The California Senate yesterday passed legislation that would delete membership in the Communist party as a reason for firing a public employee, a Cold War-era prohibition intended to root out communists.
Democratic Senator Alan Lowenthal called communism a "failed system," and said his bill - Senate Bill 1322 - was intended to protect "the constitutional freedoms that we have fought so valiantly for," including freedom of political affiliation.
California is the only state that allows public employees to be dismissed for membership in a political party.
In addition, current law requires that any organisation that applies to use a public school facility can be asked to sign a statement that "the applicant is not a communist action organisation or a communist front"....
Republican senator Jeff Denham warned: "the Communist party is not a dead organisation ... and [is] actively repressing human beings in Cuba and China in brutal ways.
"The state has every right to hold school employees accountable for their political standing, especially if that employee belongs to an organisation that favours the violent overthrow of the government," Denham said during the debate on the bill.
The legislature cannot repeal California's loyalty oath, which was added to the state constitution by voters in 1952, but its current use was debated yesterday.