Counter Wokecraft: Why I Wrote It and Why You Should Read It

I’m a professor of engineering at a large progressive university. I’ve written and just released a short book with James Lindsay called Counter Wokecraft: A Field Manual for Combatting the Woke in the University and Beyond. I’ve written it to help academics who believe in traditional liberal values to counter and overturn the Woke juggernaut at whatever level of academic machinery they can.

For over a decade I watched as my department, faculty, university, and funding agencies were overtaken by the Critical Social Justice, or Woke, perspective. I began consciously working against the perspective six years ago.

Since that time, I have observed the strategies and techniques used by the Woke to advance their agenda. I have also tested strategies and techniques to thwart their advances, sometimes successfully and sometimes not, sometimes alone and sometimes with like-minded allies. By 2019 I came to appreciate the degree to which the Woke juggernaut had consolidated its power over the academy, and this forced me into a different level of action. I devoted enormous resources to researching the CSJ perspective and its historical and philosophical antecedents. I was especially interested in documentation on how the perspective could be challenged. Unfortunately, I came up empty-handed with respect to the latter and felt compelled to share what I had learned. As a result, I began blogging every week for six months with the intention of compiling the blog posts into a book—the book that became Counter Wokecraft.

The book is designed for readers who recognize that there is a problem in their university but who don’t understand what that problem is, or what to do about it. As such, the first part of the book serves as primer on the Woke perspective. It simply and clearly explains the Woke worldview with a focus on the Woke ethos (overturn and replace the traditional liberal view of the university) and political project (the retributive redistribution of resources from “oppressor” to “oppressed” identities—or equity). An important implication of the Woke ethos is a fervent belief in activism as a central role for academics, as well as the belief that the ends justify the means when seeking to advance Woke goals. This section also describes the different types of participants encountered in university environments, from the Woke to Woke Dissidents.

The second part of the book analyzes the collection of principles, strategies, and tactics used by the Woke to entrench their perspective—in other words, wokecraft. The success of the Woke relies primarily on three things: First is the weaponization of positive-sounding, commonly understood words that have double meanings, or Woke Crossover Words. These words (e.g., critical, diversity, inclusion) are brandished like Improvised Explosive Devices. They are slipped into documents and decisions, justified by their commonly held meanings, but are later used to justify Woke interventions based on their radical Woke meaning. Second, there is a general insistence on informality, which is then exploited to manipulate decision-making by preventing, for example, secret ballot voting. Third, there are a number of woke bullying tactics that are used to prevent people from resisting Woke advances. These range from coercion through consensus to cancel-culture attacks. Together, these tactics are used to exaggerate support for, and quell dissent against, Woke advances. They are used to further entrench the Woke perspective in academic departments, faculties, universities, funding agencies, and governments through the Grand Tactic: Woke Viral Infection.

The crux of the last chapter is how to counter wokecraft. This involves disarming Woke tactics that quell dissent and manipulate decision-making, and thereby preventing the Woke perspective from becoming entrenched. Essential to this whole process is recognizing who is Woke in any given situation, which is explained in the first part of the chapter. This makes it possible to identify allies and to work with them to have the largest impact. Working together involves a double-column offensive. The first column seeks to sow doubt in participants about the Woke perspective, particularly its prescriptions. The second involves amplifying and enabling dissenting opinions, while at the same time instituting the formalization of decision-making processes that allow all participants to voice their opinions.

Counter Wokecraft can surely be enriched and expanded—and perhaps someday it will be. For now, I think it is an important starting point for academics who want to take back their universities from the jaws of a caustic, anti-liberal, and anti-scientific worldview that is destroying them. I hope you will agree.


Image: Olga Tutunaru, Public Domain

Charles Pincourt

Charles Pincourt is a professor of engineering and author of Counter Wokecraft: A Field Manual for Combatting the Woke in the University and Beyond. He also writes at the Woke Dissident Blog (https://woke-dissident.github.io).

5 thoughts on “Counter Wokecraft: Why I Wrote It and Why You Should Read It

  1. It seems like you’re just mad that you weren’t able to persuade a majority of people to your line of thinking on some issue. That’s not coercion, that’s just democracy. The fact that you lost some kind of election doesn’t mean that democracy is coercing you. It just means you lost.

    If you were to overrided the majority consensus somehow, that wouldn’t be you defending yourself from tyranny, that would be you imposing your own tyranny upon other people.

    It’s clear from your statements that you don’t believe in democracy, or even republicanism. What you believe in is fascism. I thought people were being hyperbolic when they first characterized trump and his supporters as fascists. It’s clear from observing the behavior of people like you that this label is 100% accurate.

    America is a democratic republic, not a fascist military dictatorship. If you don’t like that then I suggest you move elsewhere. It seems that this country doesn’t represent your values. You should consider moving somewhere where achieving a democratic consensus is not considered a priority, like China or Saudi Arabia for example. If you don’t practice what you preach then your words are empty and hollow. So go do that. Stop making excuses. You aren’t welcome in this country. People don’t need to agree with you, and they’re free to express dissent. That’s called freedom of speech. Remember that.

  2. I noticed the start of what is now called Woke in 1969 when I asked two questions in a class on the first day. After class three semi-large males threarened me saying, “This is an easy A, don’t f–k it up, mfer.” It was my 11th year on that campus and the first time Imet anyone who wanted an easy grade. as a result of that encounter I switched from a lab to teaching English. A gang of four tried to sabotage my PhD in 1982. I always was a popular teacher because I allowed student to disagree with me and each other and tried to teach them how to argue without quarreling. that attitude in anathema to the woke, who demand subservience from their coffles of students. It appears that most STEM teachers paid little or no attention to the hegemony of wokeness because they were doing their own thing as well as they could. Now the woksters have decreed that STEM is racist and logic is white supremacy.,

  3. Before the era of Woke, an informal alliance of faculty tended to disrupt faculty meetings in my school. The rest of us referred to them as the ‘furious four’. Sound familiar? This is not to say the four were always without legitimate grievances. They faced the same problems as the rest of us, but the rest of us did not feel the need to bang tables and scream.

    My son has taught for a dozen years in a high school. He notes that the Woke in his school are the ones who formerly formed his school’s ‘furious four’.

    We can’t say if this is a also true at our university (we retired a few years ago), but we suspect the Woke are simply disaffected faculty with a new creed.

  4. I would another problem – enthused leadership and the illusion of creating a ‘just’ society. If a president sees him- or herself as leading a ‘transformative’ (oh, what a perversely used word) approach, then there is a enabling that may overcome hiring and course decisions.

    1. So true Joe. In my institution, what should properly be called communitarianism is the Kool-aid that’s been imbibed for many years now. Communitarianism is a kind of wokeness, where the false consciousness is acceptance of the basic goodness of the U. S., and the supposed truth is that it’s fundamentally flawed by “individualism”. Who’s against “community”? It’s created a great many useful idiots –many of them sincere religious folks– who have no clue it’s deeply postmodern and anti-Western. Many of them are now alarmed by CRT, but they’ll never see that communitarianism paved the ground for it.

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