Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Spenser Rapone was hired by the University of Texas as a professor. It has been corrected to note that he is attending the university’s graduate program. The article has also been corrected to note that The New School is based in New York, and is not part of the university.
The University of Texas accepted a man known as the “commie cadet” as a graduate student in the university’s history department.
Spenser Rapone, also known as the “commie cadet,” was removed from the U.S. Army on an “other-than-honorable” discharge after he posted photos praising communism during a West Point graduation ceremony. Rapone has since started attending the University of Texas as a graduate student.
During a May 2016 graduation ceremony, Rapone was photographed opening his dress uniform to show a T-shirt with a red image of socialist icon Che Guevara. Guevara is a Marxist revolutionary who played a major role in the Cuban Revolution. In a second image, Rapone is seen raising his fist and showcasing the inside of his hate which reads, “Communism will win.”
Rapone echoed this sentiment on Twitter.
Communism will win
— Spenser Rapone (@SpenserRapone) January 2, 2017
According to Army Times, an investigation into Rapone’s online behavior uncovered that the former cadet used his online presence to advocate for a socialist revolution and disparage high-ranking military officers. Rapone was reprimanded for “conduct unbecoming of an officer.”
West Point released a statement after Rapone’s photos caused an uproar on social media. “In no way [do Rapone’s actions] reflect the values of the U.S. Military Academy or the U.S. Army.”
Speaking to The Associated Press, Rapone said that he considers himself a “revolutionary socialist.” He encouraged members of the armed forces to stop fighting on behalf of the United States, or as he calls the country, “the agents of imperialism.”
“I consider myself a revolutionary socialist,” Rapone said. “I would encourage all soldiers who have a conscience to lay down their arms and join me and so many others who are willing to stop serving the agents of imperialism and join us in a revolutionary movement.”
In an interview with Jacobin, Rapone said that he does not believe that the U.S. military fights for “freedom,” “truth,” or “justice.”
“I was always told growing up that the U.S. military protects the innocent, that we fight for freedom, truth, and justice,” Rapone said. “It didn’t take me long to realize that my experiences did not reflect that in the slightest… We were just persecuting and terrorizing some of the most exploited people on Earth with one of the most technologically advanced militaries in history.”
Rapone’s University of Texas biography states that he has a continued interest in socialism and conducts research on the subject. In particular, he researches “Ba’thism,” which is a fusion of socialism and Arab nationalism.
“[Rapone’s] research is primarily concerned with the question of the spirit and soul in modern thought,” his biography reads. “Specifically, he seeks to reconstruct and historically situate politico-theological ideologies such as Ba’thism and similar thought-forms in the Arab World and beyond.”
His biography fails to mention his military service or his “other-than-honorable” discharge.
Rapone’s interests are in “Modern Arab intellectual history, Modern Middle East and North Africa, metaphysics, consciousness, political theology, decolonization, [and] violence.”