The Montana State Library Commission voted to separate from the American Library Association (ALA) due to the Marxist ideology of its president, Emily Drabinski. It’s the first state to disaffiliate from the radical organization.
As previously reported in the Daily Citizen, Drabinski issued a tweet – since deleted – celebrating her election, stating:
I just cannot believe that a Marxist lesbian who believes that collective power is possible to build and can be wielded for a better world is the president-elect of @ALALibrary. I am so excited for what we will do together. Solidarity!
The Montana Family Foundation (MFF), a Focus on the Family ally, issued a statement supporting the move. MFF Chief Legal Counsel Derek Oestreicher offered testimony in support of the Commission’s motion, stating:
While the office of the President of the ALA may have been historically “ceremonial,” it is clear that the political ideology and vision of Ms. Drabinski is being carried out by the organization as a whole.
Ms. Drabinski’s vision for the ALA is entirely inconsistent with Montana values, and the Montana Family Foundation is glad that the Commission is moving to withdraw from this organization.
MFF cited Drabinski’s declaration of her goals for the ALA:
Drabinski announced her vision for the American Library Association in a press release, where she stated there was “a lot of work ahead to build collective power” to combat the “consequences of decades of unchecked climate change, class war, white supremacy, and imperialism.”
During its July 11, 2023, meeting, Commissioner Tom Burnett read the motion to separate, saying:
I move that we immediately withdraw from the American Library Association and discontinue any further payments except for existing contracts to it or its subsidiaries.
Included in the motion was a letter, to be sent to the ALA, that read:
The purpose of this letter is to announce the Montana State Library’s immediate separation from the American Library Association. Our oath of office and resulting duty to the Constitution forbids association with an organization led by a Marxist.
Burnett explained, “Marxism stands in direct opposition to the principles of the Constitution of the United States.”
Brian Rossmann, a commissioner who was recently appointed by the Montana Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education, questioned the disaffiliation, stating:
The president of the American Library Association is largely a ceremonial role. The officer does not really have any authority to dictate policy. Even though she claimed on her platform, I guess, when she was running for office, that she would direct the organization to do so. She doesn’t have that authority; she’s only in place for a year. ALA itself is certainly not a Marxist organization.
How strange that a non-Marxist group would elect an avowed Marxist as president.
In a poignant testimony in favor of the separation, Anna Shamalan, who grew up in the USSR and immigrated to the U.S., said:
I grew up in a country that in real life practice implemented the theory of Marxism. Six out of seven of my grandmother’s siblings – her parents, her husband, her oldest daughter were all murdered by Marxists.
After listing other harms to her family from Marxist ideologues, she said the Commission should leave an organization that elected a socialist.
She makes a couple of important points. First, Marxist ideology led to untold suffering and the deaths of 100 million victims around the world. And second, even if the ALA president’s role is largely ceremonial, the members voted her into office knowing her political views, which were part of her campaign.
While several librarians spoke against the motion, pointing to the services provided by the ALA, most who testified approved the motion. David Ingram, a trustee for ImagineIF Libraries, supported the separation. He said the association, a taxpayer-funded organization, wanted to “reshape our society with a Marxist bent.”
Ingram pointed to publications and videos by Drabinski, with titles like “Teaching the Radical Catalog” and “Queering the Catalog,” that teach librarians how to “inject hard left politics and sexuality into their publicly funded work.”
The board voted in favor of disaffiliating from the American Library Association, with a vote of 5 to 1.
Related articles and resources:
Photo from Shutterstock