- Former adjunct lecturer at several New York-area colleges & universities
- Member of the Union for Radical Political Economics
- Co-founder of Smash Racism D.C. — a local branch of Antifa
- Considered President Trump a fascist
- Supports violence as a means of advancing his agendas
- Claims that "fascists" should not have free speech
- “The solution to American gun violence is more dead cops.”
Born in 1988, Michael Isaacson earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Philosophy from the University of Mary Washington in 2010; a master’s degree in Economics from Howard University in 2013; and a M.Phil. degree in Economics from The New School for Social Research in 2018. His areas of scholarly focus include macroeconomic theory, economic methodology, and anti-capitalist economic theories. A former associate editor of the New School Economic Review, Isaacson is currently a member of the Union for Radical Political Economics, which seeks “to construct a progressive social policy and a human-centered radical alternative to capitalism.” He is also a member of the International Association for Feminist Economics, an organization dedicated to “empowering and improving the well-being of women and other under-represented groups around the world.”
Isaacson’s employment history is as follows:
- – Research Associate at the Center for Urban Progress (Washington, D.C.)
- – Adjunct Lecturer at Howard University
- – Blog Editor for the New School Economic Review
- – Math and Economics Tutor at The New School (NYC)
- – Adjunct Lecturer at New York University
- – Long Island University
- – Instructor at the New York Public Library
- – Staff Writer with JEI Self-Learning Systems, Inc. (Englewood Cliffs, NJ)
- – Present: Freelance Copywriter in the Greater New York City Area
- – Present: Digital Consultant with Justice 4 Demi (Bridgeton, NJ)
Describing himself as an “anti-fascist” and an “anarcho-communist” who wants to “tear the system down, root and branch,” Isaacson is a co-founder of Smash Racism D.C. — a local branch of Antifa, the Marxist/anarchist militia movement that equates conservatism with fascism and aims to bring down the United States by violent means. He also seeks to advance his political, economic, and ideological views on his blog site, which is titled Vulgar Economics.
In a September 14, 2017 interview with the Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson, Isaacson was asked whether Richard Spencer, a prominent white nationalist, had a right to speak in public. Isaacson replied: “Richard Spencer is a danger to society. When he speaks in public, what he is doing, he is publicly recruiting people to his very violent movement, very violent ideology…. I don’t think he has a right to speak in public unopposed, and that is ultimately what the purpose of Antifa is, to show up and oppose him.” Isaacson added that “communities have the right to defend themselves against threats to their community” – i.e., threats by people who “have explicitly said that they want to eliminate those people from our society.”
On April 6, 2017, Isaacson tweeted: “How to stop war: Shut down weapons factories, Kill superior officers, Overthrow capitalism.”
In 2017, Isaacson wrote a zine entitled “You Can’t Punch Every Nazi,” which he describes as “a handbook on how to identify when someone has been dabbling in fascist ideologies and how to confront them in a caring way to pull them away from this damaging and dangerous social sphere.” He also expresses alarm over the fact that “almost half of the voting public in the United States voted for a man [President Donald Trump] I consider a fascist.” As evidence of Trump’s fascism, Isaacson cites the president’s calls for “a halt to Muslim immigration, a Mexican border wall, a crackdown on ‘crime,’ a crackdown on ‘illegal aliens,’ … [and the way] he encouraged fans to commit acts of violence, mourning for a mythological past golden age when such violence was condoned.”
In an August 20, 2017 Twitter post, Isaacson articulated his belief that violence is a wholly legitimate means of trying to advance the cause of “anti-fascism.” “Violence is what protects your ability to be nonviolent, he wrote. “If you can say the troops fight for your freedom, you can say the same of antifa.”
Isaacson revisited this theme in a September 2017 interview with The Hill, adding that First Amendment protections should not apply to people whose views are “fascist.” Eleven months earlier, in October 2016, Isaacson had posted a tweet that offered some insight into how broadly he defined fascism: “Anti-communism is code for fascism,” he wrote.
In September 2017, when Isaacson was an adjunct professor of economics at the New York City-based John Jay College of Criminal Justice, he came to widespread public attention when the website Far Left Watch and other conservative sources found and published a number of his past tweets in which he had expressed his murderous hatred for police officers. Some examples:
- “The solution to American gun violence is more dead cops.” (December 5, 2015)
- “If pigs [police] are protected by hate crime law, you might as well kill them anyway.” (July 6, 2016)
- “Dead cops are good” (July 18, 2017)
- “What’s even the point of a cop that isn’t dead?” (August 15, 2017)
- “I hear their police stations catch on fire with an accelerant.” (August 17, 2017)
- “I hope somehow Assata [Shakur] comes up in lecture so a student defends her saying she didn’t kill a cop so I can say she probably did and it’s good” (August 22, 2017)
- “Some of y’all might think it sucks being an anti-fascist teaching at John Jay College but I think it’s a privilege to teach future dead cops.” (August 23, 2017)
- “Off the pigs.” (This phrase, which is a call for the murder of police officers, was posted alongside a photo of several officers in riot gear.) (August 29, 2017)
On September 15, 2017, the president of John Jay College, Karol Mason, said she was “shocked” and “appalled” to have heard Isaacson’s “abhorrent” rhetoric about police officers, and she placed him on administrative leave.
Also during his time at John Jay, Isaacson taught a course called “Introduction to Economics and Global Capitalism.” In that course, he incorporated socialist ideology into his official grading curve policy, whereby students’ grades were based partially on “class effort.” Wrote Isaacson: “Few academic or professional endeavors are the result of individuals acting alone. Since the pursuit of knowledge is a collective pursuit, I have developed a grading system to reflect and encourage this. All graded assignments will receive grades reflective of not only individual efforts, but also class effort. Grades will be normalized, then redistributed across a normal distribution with a mean of the class median grade and standard deviation equal to one-fourth of the interquartile range. It’s okay if you don’t understand what that means.”
As of 2018, Isaacson was no longer employed at John Jay College.
Further Reading: “Michael Isaacson” (Everipedia.org); “‘You’re Presenting a Fallacious Argument’: Kennedy Battles ‘Dead Cops’ Tweet Professor” (Fox News, 9-8-2017); “About [Michael Isaacson]” (VulgarEconomics.com); “Criminal Justice Professor Justifies Antifa Violence and Jokes About Dead Cops” (Daily Caller, 9-14-2017); You Can’t Punch Every Nazi (Michael Isaacson, 2017); “Antifa Activists Say Violence Is Necessary” (The Hill, 9-14-2017); “The Antifa Professor Who Celebrates Dead Cops Has a Communist Grading Policy” (Daily Caller, 9-25-2017); “Professor Who Tweeted about ‘Dead Cops’ Suspended” (NY Post, 9-15-2017).
- “The justification is that Nazi ideology at its very core is founded on violence and on wielding power by any means,” he said. “There is the question of whether these people should feel safe organizing as Nazis in public, and I don’t think they should. I don’t think anyone should think that someone who is intent on politically organizing for the sake of creating a state-sponsored genocide — I don’t think is something that we should protect.”