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UC Berkeley students flunk quiz on communism

UC Berkeley students flunk quiz on communism

Antidote: Raymond Lotta speaks on campus Thursday: “Everything You’ve Been Told About Communism Is Wrong, Capitalism is a Failure, Revolution is the Solution.”

Berkeley, CA - Over the past two weeks, 170 UC Berkeley students took a quiz about basic facts on communism and capitalism. UC has a reputation as a center of radical thinking – but on average, UC students got a grade of 41% correct – they flunked on basic knowledge of what really happened in the revolutions of the 20th century.

At a time when capitalism is more and more an obvious failure and disaster, it is criminal that this generation of students is being taught that there is no alternative to capitalism, and lied to about the real history of the revolutions of the past.

There is an antidote to this ignorance. Raymond Lotta is coming to campuses around the country to give the talk “Everything You’ve Been Told About Communism Is Wrong, Capitalism is a Failure, Revolution is the Solution.” Lotta is one of the world’s foremost experts on revolutionary Russia and China and an authority on global capitalism and the current crisis. (See, for new webcast and

Lotta will be speaking at UC Berkeley on Thursday, Oct. 8, at 4 p.m. in the Lipman Room in Barrows Hall.

UC members of the Revolution Club, who gave the quiz to students, emphasized: “Last week, 5,000 students rallied against the budget cuts at Cal, but the results of this quiz reveal something deeper – that the quality of education needs to be examined and that’s why we want to challenge professors – give your students the quiz and come hear Raymond Lotta yourself. And to the students – spread the word and bring your toughest arguments because Raymond Lotta is taking on all comers.”

The quiz is called “Think you know about communism and capitalism? Then take this quiz...and think again”, and was developed by Raymond Lotta and the Set the Record Straight Project ( It follows, with answers and a tabulation of the results at UC Berkeley.

Think you know about communism and capitalism? Then take this quiz...and think again.

1. During the Mao years from 1949-1976, life expectancy
A) got worse, declining from 58 years to 52 years.
B) improved greatly, doubling from 32 to 65 years.
C) stayed the same at 58 years.
D) there is no data.

2. Mass protest occurred throughout the world in the 1960s. Which was the only government that encouraged criticism and rebellion against people in power carrying out oppressive and elitist policies?
A) U.S.
B) France
C) China
D) Australia

3. In 1949, when China’s revolution took place, only about 15% of the people could read or write. When Mao died in 1976, the literacy rate was about
A) 80%
B) 60%
C) 40%
D) Mao was anti-intellectual and didn’t care if the people could read or write.

4. In the last 20 years, governments in the Third World opened up their economies to high-tech agribusiness, bought grain and food goods on the world market instead of producing it themselves, and exported specialty agricultural products. These were policy prescriptions of the U.S. and other major capitalist powers, and of the IMF/World Bank. What is the situation today?

A) World output of food has kept ahead of population growth and hunger has been reduced.
B) The growth rate of food production has actually fallen below population growth and the number of hungry in the world is now at a historic high of 1 billion.
C) There has been no change in the situation since 1990.
D) Hunger has fallen because of Western aid programs to poor countries.

5. In which of the following countries was the expected social role of women in the 1950s to be mothers who did domestic chores and to be subordinate to men. (Hint: there is more than one right answer.)
A) India
B) Japan
C) U.S.
D) China

6. Before the Holocaust, the majority of the world’s Jews lived in east-central Europe. What was the only country in this region during the 1930s and World War 2 where Jews were not persecuted, deported, or exterminated--and where official government policy was to outlaw anti-Semitism and protect the rights and safety of Jews?
A) Poland
B) Soviet Union
C) Romania
D) Hungary

7. In 1927, with government backing and resources, a massive campaign was launched to free women from having to wear the veil that had been forced on them for centuries and to empower them to challenge traditional gender roles. Where was this?
A) Egypt
B) Morocco
C) Turkey
D) Soviet Union

8. When asked publicly if the death of half a million children from economic strangulation of a country following an invasion was justifiable—this government leader replied, “This is a very hard choice, but we think the price is worth it.” Who was this person?
A) Adolph Hitler’s foreign minister
B) Joseph Stalin’s foreign minister
C) Bill Clinton’s secretary of state
D) Slobadan Milosevic’s foreign minister

Correct answers are underlined

1. A 39, B 89, C 17, D 16  55% correct
2. A 38, B 24, C 67, D 27  43% correct
3. A 59, B 58, C 36, D 13  38% correct
4. A 14, B 109, C 15, D 11  73% correct
5. ABC 20 out of 127 answers  16% correct
6. A 21, B 73, C 47, D 14  47% correct
7. A 25, B 29, C 76, D 27  17% correct
8. A 24, B 31, C 61, D 39  39% correct


1. (B) Penny Kane, The Second Billion (New York: Penguin, 1987), chapter 5.

2. (C) At the start of the Cultural Revolution, Mao raised the slogan “it is right to rebel against reactionaries” and called on people to “bombard the headquarters” of capitalist roaders who were carrying out elitist and oppressive policies. Providing resources for posters and newspapers, free use of trains for students, and encouragement in the press were some key ways in which mass criticism and struggle were promoted. See “Decision of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party Concerning the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution” (Adopted on August 8, 1966), in Important Documents on the Cultural Revolution in China (Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1970).

3. (A) Ruth Gamberg, Red and Expert (New York: Schocken, 1977), p. 41.

4. (B) Andrew Martin, “So Much Food. So Much Hunger,” The New York Times, September 20, 2009.

5. (A, B, C) In socialist China women were encouraged to and did participate in all levels of the government, educational system, economy, and other aspects of society. And Maoists led the struggle to break further with the legacy from the old society of women’s oppression and tradition’s chains.

6. (B) The Russian Revolution of 1917 had brought political and social emancipation to Jews in a country with a history of virulent anti-Semitism and violent anti-Jewish pogroms. Equality of rights for Jews continued under Joseph Stalin during the 1930s and World War 2. By contrast, Jews in Hungary, Romania, and Poland faced organized fascist movements and institutional anti-semitism in the 1930s—and, later, death camps. See Arno Mayer, Why Did The Heavens Not Darken (New York: Pantheon, 1988).

7. (D) This took place in the Central Asian republics of the Soviet Union as part of the larger struggle for women’s liberation in the 1920s and 1930s A recent documentation is Marianne Kamp,The New Woman in Uzbekistan: Islam, Modernity, and Unveiling Under Communism (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2006).

8. (C) Secretary of State Madeline Albright made this statement in an interview on the CBS news show 60 Minutes (May 12, 1996) in response to a question about the suffering caused by U.S. sanctions imposed on Iraq following the U.S.’s invasion. On the humanitarian cost of these sanctions, see Unicef, Information Hotline, “Iraq surveys show `humanitarian emergency,’” Wednesday, 12 August 1999 (


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