News is coming hot and heavy these days on fallout from October 4th (Bwog’s new name for the Minuteman Protest), so we thought we’d do a little digest on the latest.
Item # 1: The Republicans are going ahead with their event Wednesday evening featuring ex-PLO jihadist Walid Shoebat, along with a former Lebanese terrorist and a member of the Hitler Youth. The headliner–whom Princeton didn’t even allow to speak–may even be more wacko than Gilchrist, and this time, they’re not taking any chances. If you want to go, RSVP soon at the CU GOP website, where you may reserve and print out one (1) ticket in advance–but you might be lonely. Chabad brought Shoebat to Columbia in 2004, but this time around Hillel hasn’t even put it on their online calendar, and word is that other student groups are planning on boycotting the event entirely. “We want pretty pictures of empty chairs,” said one Bwog source. “Forty people attend, and the thing collapses.”
Item # 2: We’re not sure where Karina Garcia is getting the 3,000 figure for letters sent to PrezBo in support of the protesters–University Spokesman Robert Hornsby couldn’t confirm the number. Then again, he also wouldn’t answer any of Bwog’s other five questions, saying only that the administration “will make no further comment at this time.” Ah, stonewalling.
Item # 3: Even though YouTube has gone corporate, they’re still providing us with lots of fun new video. Here’s what we’ve found:
Working Families Party
The Columbia University Working Families Party strongly condemns the violent attacks by members of the Minutemen against Columbia students during the protest in Roone Arledge Auditorium. The tapes clearly show that violence was instigated by Minutemen supporters and there is no excuse for that under any circumstances whatsoever. Blaming the protestors for violence they did not cause is wrongheaded and absurd. The protestors were the victims and not the initiators of the violence, and we call for a full investigation against the aggressors. Furthermore, we salute those students that did not resort to violence even after being attacked, and believe that the Minutemen must be held accountable for their actions.
Furthermore, whatever one might think of the tactics of the protestors, we support the inalienable right of a student to protest when their conscience demands it. The Minutemen are a racist vigilante organization whose previous speeches would violate
Columbia’s own policies against hate speech, and the protestors were standing for antiracist principles. We call on the administration to refrain from punishing the protestors for standing up for their beliefs.
World Can’t Wait: Stop the Harassment of Protesters at Columbia
No human being is illegal. The Minutemen, an armed vigalante group, had no intention of engaging in serious academic debate when speaking at an event hosted by the Columbia University Young Republican Club. The group’s platform of normalizing racism and taking up arms to preserve white supremecy is a dark path that the world has seen before. Images of night riding Klansmen and Nazi storm troopers comes to mind.
When students dare to take action against groups such as the Minutemen and remain unapologetic in the face of administrative threats and right-wing media campaigns, they must be defended and their voice must be supported. On the night of October 4th, students unfurled a banner that read: “No one is ever illegal,” in both Arabic and English, on stage during a speech by Minuteman founder Jim Gilchrist at Columbia’s Roone Auditorium. The moral clarity embodied in this simple act of resistance is urgently needed on college campuses across the country. What would it have meant if Columbia’s student body remained silent as the founder of an armed vigalante group spoke at their school?
Following the protest and cancellation of the event, the media has gone on a rampage to vilify and grossly distort the protests while New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has publicly criticized Columbia University’s President Lee Bollinger for not moving fast enough in reprimanding the Minutemen protesters. The terms of debate surrounding the Minuteman protests at Columbia University are utterly intolerable and need to be dramatically altered. It is an alarming and disturbing sign of the times when the press labels an openly racist armed vigalante group that operates in the public eye as merely “controversial”. As debate rages over the Minuteman’s speech, it must be acknowledged that the Minutemen speak through guns and through actions fueled by bigotry and intolerance.
The discourse and debate over the Minuteman protest has been completely abstracted from the context of a country currently undergoing radical changes in governing laws and norms that date back to the very foundation of this country. It cannot be ignored or denied that the Minuteman’s appearance comes at a time when the Bush administration is rounding up thousands of immigrants and is moving ahead with the unprecedented legalization of torture. Isn’t the Minuteman’s appearance coming at a time when the government has just shredded the constitutional right of due process and the President of the United States has vetoed stem-cell research based on religious grounds? It would be out of step with reality to narrowly equate the Minuteman Project with the Bush agenda. But so would discussing the Minutemen disconnected from the facistic direction the United States is moving under the Bush administration.
The attacks and possible disiplinary action directed at the student protesters by Columbia University are part of an increasingly repressive atmosphere that is aiming to rid American universities of critical thought and dissent. From the professors who have come under fire for expressing progressive or oppositional views, to the Bush administration’s attacks on objective scholarship when it challenges its aims – this must be brought to a halt. We demand that the students under investigation for protesting Minuteman founder Jim Gilchrist face no threats of expulsion or any disiplinary actions! The World Can’t Wait – Drive Out the Bush Regime!