The Oxford Union and Racism
The Oxford Union (not to be confused with Oxford University's Student Union) is, according to Wikipedia,
“Britain's second oldest University Union (after the Cambridge Union Society) and it has gained a worldwide reputation for its debates, having trained politicians from Britain and other countries”.
At the end of last month, Oxford Unite Against Fascism demanded that the Oxford Union “recognise that inviting fascists to speak is also a reflection of the institutional racism that exists within the Oxford Union”.
The Oxford Union has faced the ire of Unite Against Fascism (UAF) before when it hosted Tommy Robinson (his first visit was cancelled), Nick Griffin, David Irving, and Marine Le Pen.
Apparently the Oxford Union (when the thumbscrews were tightened during a recent anti-racist inquisition) confessed to its racism. Or, if not to its racism, then to its lack of fanaticism and zeal when it comes to “fighting racism”.
These accusations of “racism” are flying around (as they tend to do in universities) partly as a result of the “colonial comeback” controversy in which the Oxford Union dared to joke about colonial times in the form of a cocktail drink. Apparently, the joke -- according to the University Student Union's Black and Minority Ethnic Students' and Anti-Racism Officer (what a mouthful!) -- was “highly offensive”. Indeed PhD student Adam Cooper told the Telegraph:
“Oxford still has a problem with racism. I think racism is widespread at Oxford and I think this kind of poster is a crass example of how unashamed that racism is. I can't think of anything worse than a cocktail that celebrates enslavement."
To top all that, Triska Hamid wrote this on Twitter:
"This is perhaps one of the least shocking incidents of colonial #racism to have happened at Oxford Uni."
You see, in a progressive society (or in British and American universities) there's no place for humor. There's only a place for piety and intolerant political correctness. In the past, such people as the 16/17th century Puritans, Stalin, and the Khmer Rouge had similar views to Oxford Unite Against Fascism. They too saw laughter as impious or counterrevolutionary. You see, it's abundantly clear to all puritans that such a joke would inevitably lead to the genocide of all black people and other ethnic groups in the UK... Well, if not one single joke, then perhaps two or three... Don't you know the theory?
(Many British students today remind me of the National Socialist students of early 1930s Germany and the Chinese student Red Guards of 1966 and 1967.)
Partly as a response to the “colonial comeback” comeback, the Union offered this statement:
“With these commitments we join the pre-existing movement to address the pernicious problem of racism.”
The Union went further than that and humbly apologised with the following words:
“The Standing Committee commits to eradicating racism and addressing the issues of institutional racism that it has recognised.”
The first quote mentions “the pre-existing movement”. Which movement is that I wonder? The Trotskyist movement that is Unite Against Fascism (or at least the movement which includes Unite Against Fascism)? Whatever the case is, the Union's President, Olivia Merrett, has bitten the bullet and said that the Union shouldn't “issue any further invitations to fascists to speak”.
Oxford Unite Against Fascism itself has puts its case explicitly. It said that the Oxford Union mustn't give a platform to any “far-right” groups or individuals or to those who have “anti-immigrant and Islamophobic views”. (Clearly UAF will deem UKIP to be “anti-immigrant”... as well as sections of the Conservative Party.) Oxford UAF's Kate Douglas said:
“Fascists express the most extreme forms of racism and for the Union to refuse to recognise this would show the Oxford Union’s apology to be insincere and their commitment to anti-racism to be a sham.”
This is all part of the ubiquitous (or universal) “no platform policy” which UK Trotskyists and communists want to impose on quite literally all right-wing groups and individuals outside the Conservative Party.Indeed, it's a milder contemporary version of the Bolshevik Gulag.
Debate, Theory, Politics
So Unite Against Fascism is having a go at the Oxford Union again. Basically, the main problem UAF has with the Oxford Union is that's it's not a Trotskyist outfit. It follows that if the Oxford Union doesn't have the same views as UAF on race, “fighting racism” and whatnot, then that means that the Oxford Union itself must be racist.
The logic of UAF's position is excruciatingly crude and laughable. Because the Oxford Union has invited people who UAF deems to be “racist” and “fascist” (some of the invitees have been racists; though not always right-wing racists), then it must follow that the Oxford Union itself is racist (surely fascist too?). Indeed Oxford UAF has called it “institutionally racist”.
That's the theoretical position of Oxford Unite Against Fascism.
But don't expect sophistication from UAF. The views it upholds are monumentally infantile and deeply hypocritical. The activists of UAF have almost zero skills when it comes to self-analysis and self-criticism.
For example, although UAF has a big problem with right-wing extremists being invited to the Oxford Union, it has no problem whatsoever with Islamic, Leftist and other kinds of extremists being invited to the same place. Take these names which didn't even cause a storm in teacup from hypocritical Leftists: Malcolm X, Yasser Arafat, Gerry Adams, O.J. Simpson, Pervez Musharraf, Sheikh Masina, and Zakir Naik.
The Oxford Union is a debating society. Hence it believes in debate. If the views it debates weren't controversial, then there wouldn't be much point in debating them. The Oxford Union may as well invite people to offer the motion than the earth isn't flat or that 2 plus 2 equals 4.
The Oxford Union doesn't “recognise” these “most extreme forms of racism” (as Oxford UAF has it) because it wants to debate them. If such views aren't debated, then they'll never be truly understood and therefore never effectively counteracted.... or, for that matter, endorsed.
You don't show your sincerity about extremism by adopting extreme views and banning everyone. You do so by debating the issues and convincing people.
UAF activists think that because all their views are based on Marxist or Marxist-derived theories (which were probably concocted in Kings College, Goldsmiths, or the London School of Economics), that this alone makes their positions sophisticated. (Apparently these theories scrape away the “false consciousness” that's a result of “capitalist propaganda from the mainstream media”.)
Apart from the fact that most UAF are only dimly aware of the theories which lead to their absurd and hypocritical views, the theories themselves are primarily designed to further various political causes. They're not ways of understanding the world or social reality. Just like many conspiracy theories, Marxist theories are designed to achieve certain political ends. They're also tailor-made to suit various political agendas. Thus the UAF or Marxist theoretician first decides what political results he wants, and then he designs the theory which will be best suited to bring that result about.
For example, take the Marxist theory that results in the proposition that “only whites can be racist”. That has nothing to do with the fact that, well, only whites can be racist. What it's to do with is the desired political results such a theory will help bring about. The theory, you can assume, is designed to bring about a “non-racist society” and to help stop “the oppression of people of colour”. It's believed, in tandem, that saying that “blacks can also be racist” won't help further those particular goals. Thus an arcane and convoluted theory (which only very few Leftists can fully articulate) is designed to further the “liberation of black people from capitalist oppression”. It's not meant to be true. It's meant to work.
Everything that's just been said can therefore be applied to Oxford Unite Against Fascism's theoretical position on the Oxford Union's purported racism. It's all theoretical trash designed for various purposes which are deemed to advance both the revolution and anti-racism. Basically, at this moment in time, anti-racism itself is literally the best weapon in that revolution.