Yesterday, Donald Trump’s former adviser Steve Bannon, a professional promoter of racism and white supremacism, spoke at the Oxford Union.
Bannon’s invitation to speak was never intended to be a forum for scrutiny of his racist views. Like all of his extremist ilk, Bannon does not debate and does not respond to queries or to criticism. Whenever he is given a public platform it is solely an opportunity for him to encourage bigotry, racism, antisemitism, white supremacism and to spout a torrent of fabricated conspiracy theories.
Oxford Union president Stephen Horvath invited Bannon to enable him.
Dr. Moudhy Al-Rashid, postdoc at Wolfson College, Oxford reminded the Oxford Union mob to check their privilege.
“And before the ‘but free speech’ crowd tries to weigh in, check your privilege. It must be nice to remain safe from the policies enabled by racist, homophobic, xenophobic hate speech, but for the rest of us, this isn’t about the marketplace of ideas. It’s about our lives.”
Oxford Union’s decision to grease the wheels of Bannon’s hate machine was a decision derived from privilege. Multi-privileged students at Oxford, wallowing in inherited comfort, are able to espouse whatever deceptive nonsense about “free speech” they want because they are not the targets of Bannon’s racism and white supremacism.
The association of “free speech” with liberal philosophy appeals to those who perceive the world from lofty safe viewpoints where consequences of divisive rabble-rousing are rare visitors. But, their privileges were attained via the benefits of division and othering. Their campaign for liberalism is a conscious illusion.
Like every other mouthpiece for racism and white supremacism Steve Bannon is a coward, intellectually and physically.
In every public appearance his intellectual cowardice is displayed via evasion and deflection. Morally and rationally, his views cannot be defended. For him to allow even the slightest inspection face-to-face or to explain logically his perspective would be catastrophic for the structure of his idealism; any self-inspection of his philosophy would change it. Perpetual cowardice is his defence mechanism to avoid disruption to his beliefs.
Bannon’s physical cowardice was on show throughout his appearance in Oxford. With the collaboration of Oxford Union, his invitation to speak wasn’t publicised until a couple of days beforehand and only members of Oxford Union were allowed to attend; both those conditions are very unusual for Oxford Union events. Bannon travelled to the location in a police van and entered surrounded by police and by his own mercenary thugs; the latter entered the building with him.
Police actions included closure of roads, driving the van containing Bannon recklessly into a crowd causing injuries and assaults against peaceful protesters.
Privilege and racism are partners
Privilege is maintained via division of the enemies of the beneficiaries of privilege. Racism is a common tool used to create division. The privileged’s collusion in the dissemination of racism is cognizant.
Afroze Zaidi-Jivraj on Bannon