Stand with George Ciccariello-Maher

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In case you haven’t heard, academic George Ciccariello-Maher is embroiled in a Twitter controversy manufactured by right-wing trolls. The academic jokingly tweeted: “All I want for Christmas is white genocide.” Note the term ‘white genocide’ was invented and promoted by white supremacists. It was clearly designed to mock hysterical racist fears, not to advocate violence. But the tweet was seized upon by trolls. And now Drexel University (his employer) has cowed to the eruption of phony outrage. It’s worth remembering that this could happen to any of us. A throwaway remark, or a crass joke can easily be misconstrued online. And … Continue reading

No-platforming Peter Tatchell

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No-platforming has a bad rep. It’s become one of those swearwords in the media, used with little regard for its meaning or its purpose. The press would have you believe no-platforming is equivalent to a ban. On the contrary, no-platforming is a tactic originally designed to not allow fascists to organise, march or speak, as they are trying to smash democratic movements. It was not a call for a ban by the state or a public institution. Incidentally, student unions are neither and can invite or disinvite speakers at will. The Left understands that any such ban would harm social movements. If … Continue reading

Saudi Arabia is Going to Execute a Poet

There are few occasions on which the United Nations is able to disgrace itself more effectively than when it comes to making appointments to committees and sinecures. Iraq, for example, was due to take the chairmanship of the special committee on disarmament in 2003; a move prohibited not by any common sense on the part of the U.N. but because the US-led intervention in that same year made such an appointment impossible. Iran has recently been re-elected to a seat on the U.N’s Commission on the Status of Women. Robert Mugabe, the subject of a wide-ranging travel ban, was asked … Continue reading