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Violent Protestors Are the Praetorian Guard of University Administrators

Posted on Saturday, December 16, 2023
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AMAC Exclusive – By Walter Samuel

University of Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania President Elizabeth Magill resigned under pressure this month following severe backlash for her refusal to condemn calls for genocide against Jews in testimony before a congressional panel. But Magill did not lose her job because she was unable to tell Congress whether calling for the genocide of Jews was prohibited without context.

Instead, she was fired because she accidentally let slip the rules by which Penn’s draconian speech code and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) system operated – a system based not on the nature or severity of offenses, but on whether the administration found it advantageous to prosecute them.

The truth that Magill inadvertently revealed is that speech codes and DEI have never been about protecting minorities or the vulnerable. Rather, they have always been about protecting those in power, whether in universities, corporations, or the government. DEI is a weapon that administrators and executives have wielded to ruthlessly solidify their own power.

One of the things that most terrified millions of Americans about the Black Lives Matter protests was not the idea of confronting racism, or the flag. It was seeing the flag on the lapel of their supervisor at work, and the desk of their HR director.

Theoretically, anyone had the First Amendment right to express their disagreement with urban riots. In practice, however, any such dissent would have to be made in the context of an HR director with a Pride Flag on the left side of the desk and a BLM one on the right.

When a professor suspends class and urges everyone present to take part in a protest chanting “from the river to the sea,” Jewish students can theoretically opt out. In practice, however, they would be expressing disagreement not with peers, but with their professor, the individual responsible for their grades.

While Jewish students could theoretically tear down Palestinian posters, much as pro-Palestinian activists are tearing down photos of the people Hamas has taken hostage, they would do so at serious risk to their safety. Any disciplinary hearing would also be held in front of the student conduct body which has issued a statement denouncing Israeli as an “apartheid state.”

Modern left-wing activism, whether it operates under the BLM, LGBT+, or Palestinian flag, is ultimately not about any of those groups resisting the “establishment,” nor is it about liberation. What gives those symbols power is not the solidarity activists feel with the downtrodden, but the solidarity it gives them with the powers that be.

In this, it shares a historical antecedent not with the anti-slavery and Civil Rights movements, but with the historical opponents of those movements.

The argument that the nature of speech is contextual is not limited to Marxist Critical theory; it was also embraced by Clarence Thomas in Virginia v. Black when he differentiated an individual right to burn religious symbols in general from the Ku Klux Klan’s practice of burning them on the front lawns of African Americans, Catholics, and Jews.

MaGill’s conflation of a single act by individual students expressing an opinion in a debate, with thousands of students using genocidal slogans to intimidate dissenting peers, Jewish and non-Jewish, backed by the full support of faculty and staff echoed historical Klan apologies. Magill sounded less akin to Hitler than to a Southern governor deploring the Klan’s methods while pleading an inability to do anything about them and opposing anyone else taking action on the basis that it would be an “intrusion” on individual rights (or in this case, non-existent “academic freedom”).

The Ku Klux Klan is a remarkably good analogy for the behavior of the present pro-Palestinian movement on American campuses as well as for the response of the “powers that be.”

The Klan claimed to be a social organization and claimed that its activities were protected speech. They argued that burning a cross might be repugnant to many, but was not inherently threatening.

This was, of course, absurd. When the Klan burned a cross on someone’s lawn, the men in hoods were local businessmen, school principals, sheriffs, or judges. The message was clear – if the Klan were to resort to violence, there would be no help from the authorities, as the local authorities were the Klan.

The Klan’s methods also echoed traditional and modern antisemitism even before it added Jews along with Catholics to its list of targets. The Klan insisted it did not target all African Americans, just allegedly “uppity” ones who had the temerity to try to vote, buy a home, run a successful business, or simply be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The goal was the political and social subordination of African Americans, to ensure they would not dare exercise any of the rights guaranteed to them by the U.S. Constitution.          

The same is true of what is being done to American Jews on college campuses today. The goal is to ensure that they are unable to express themselves in any manner other than public displays of fealty to the far left.

It is not just pro-Israeli activism that is targeted; Jewish centers are picketed, and a Menorah was even vandalized at Yale’s campus. The Mayor of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, refused to attend a Hanukkah event unless any reference to Israel was removed from the entire program. She took offense at the promotional poster including the words “ Am Yisrael Chai!” meaning “the people of Israel live,” and a raffle for Israeli bonds.

In short, Jews are not even allowed to express their religious views openly without those events carrying a rhetorical yellow star.

While those chanting “From the River to the Sea” are quick to note that some individuals of Jewish descent agree with them, by conditioning the category of “good Jew” on a willingness to show 100 percent ideological allegiance to the left, they make clear that Jews can only exist as political serfs. The “good Jews” are, according to the left, those waiting for the latest talking points from TikTok that they should repeat and always in fear they may displease their masters and earn the stigma of “Zionist.”

This social subordination, the furthest thing from “liberation” imaginable, reflects that, rather than a revolt, the pro-Palestinian activism, like the DEI regime and the Klan historically, are instruments of repression wielded by those in power against those on the bottom. 

The Klan was never an insurgent group. To paraphrase the “critical” Left, it targeted the enemies of the power structure –  African Americans who wanted freedom and equality, then Jews and Catholics who dared to compete in business or politics.

Even more importantly, it could not have functioned in opposition to the power structure. If it had targeted the local sheriffs, judges, or other officials, it would have been crushed instantly. This does not mean it did not target an occasional brave sheriff, judge, or local official who stepped out of line, but this only occurred when they became a threat.

Much like a professor who dares question orthodoxy, or Larry Summers when he presided over Harvard, targeting members of the elite who step out of line reinforces the power of the elite as a body.

According to the Daily Pennsylvanian, 99.7 percent of all political donations made by Penn faculty between 2021 and 2022 went to Democrat candidates. While Republican and conservative students are as free to engage in speech or make complaints as Democrat and liberal ones, they know that any complaints will be heard by faculty who overwhelmingly agree with the latter.

More importantly, however, campus liberals understand that their power depends on the climate of terror they have created. By encouraging witch hunts of dissidents, university diversity administrators leave everyone – faculty, students, even university presidents who step out of line – in fear.

DEI stands as one of the most successful campaigns of reactionary power in history. There is a reason that administrative positions and salaries have exploded at universities at the same time as other faculty salaries have stagnated or seen cuts. Staging constant struggle sessions eliminates the more independent-minded faculty, and if your entire faculty just repeats left-wing slogans, you can hire almost anyone based on how little they will work for.

If the current campaign drives out older, pro-Israel faculty to make way for pro-Palestinian grad students willing to work for 70 percent less, that is a win for the administrators. In turn, the prospect of seizing the jobs of pro-Israel or even politically neutral faculty provides a subconscious impetus for sabotage and pressure campaigns from grad students.

DEI cannot be inclusive because DEI bureaucrats justify their existence by power and conflict. Like Southern governors under Jim Crow, college presidents are not outraged at what is happening, but embarrassed that the incidents have come to national attention, and perhaps mildly aggrieved at the lack of discretion shown by activists with whom they wholeheartedly sympathize.

But make no mistake – those chanting genocidally are merely tools of those in power. Why else would they have been recruited by admissions offices based upon their activism in high school and granted extra credit along with recognition and status on campus for their behavior?

There is a solution, and it is one remarkably like that proposed by the university presidents themselves. While they had no intention of contemplating political neutrality, upholding content-neutral codes of behavior in which professors are required to teach the classes they are assigned and not allowed to encourage protests would go a long way toward restoring order – as would imposing real disciplinary consequences. Classifying the destruction of property, the obstruction of events, and threats to peers as “activism” allows DEI officials to decide which views are wholesome “activism” and which earn disciplinary behavior.

Removing the “context” would break the power of DEI administrators, making it impossible to hide selfish ambition behind convenient appeals to principle.

We need to recognize that university administrators are not innocent bystanders, but the perpetrators of the current campus climate. In a world where employment and the very livelihoods of students depend on the whims of admissions officers, students would never risk engaging in behavior that risked genuinely offending those in charge. They are choosing to tolerate violence, and like Pontius Pilate or Southern governors during Jim Crow, pretending to wash their hands of the consequences.

 

Walter Samuel is the pseudonym of a prolific international affairs writer and academic. He has worked in Washington as well as in London and Asia, and holds a Doctorate in International History.

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Lieutenant Beale
Lieutenant Beale
5 months ago

There is no such thing as a “violent protestor”
You are either a protestor or you are a criminal.
The first amendment clearly calls for peaceful assembly.
Violence, arson, vandalism, looting, assault, menacing, etc are CRIMES.
Capiche?

Harry
Harry
5 months ago

Simply put we must put and end to the elitist move toward communism before it’s too late, it may be already.

Rik
Rik
5 months ago

America now has a class of people that are only interested in dominating and ruling others! This is COMMUNISM plain and simple!

Ira 1213
Ira 1213
5 months ago

Universities are a very destructive “Cult” of American values and way of life – they have become worthless towards their original purpose of teaching people how to think and make judgements for themselves

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
5 months ago

SHUT DOWN THE IVY LEAGUE

Pete from St Pete
Pete from St Pete
5 months ago

DEI, BLM and Critical Race Theory are all calls for racial and social discrimination. I thought we had killed those snakes a long time ago.

Charlotte Mahin
Charlotte Mahin
5 months ago

Parents who continue to allow their kids to attend these universities and colleges (and not just the Ivy League schools) are throwing fuel on the fire. Until funding and enrollment declines in large numbers, these radical administrators and professors will continue to indoctrinate our kids to hate everything that is good and truthful. Power and Money are the only things that seems to matter to the so-called progressives in this country and if the money is cut off, they will lose power.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
5 months ago

When white supremacists had separate but equal it was called segregation; when liberals have all black dorms, its called “DEI”. And yet they are one in the same! Men competing in women’s sports, “what is a woman?” the unanswerable question… I don’t need to watch “South Park”. We’re living in it!

susabella
susabella
5 months ago

Passion without wisdom, to quote Gutfeld

anna hubert
anna hubert
5 months ago

Parents abdicated their duties decades ago in effort to be pals with their children There are no adults just teens running amok Universities caved in to demands of spoiled clueless brats playing adults Kids are minding the candy store Useful idiots are in for a shock

porterv
porterv
5 months ago

Iran under Mossadegh was the blue-print, The CIA sent agent provocateurs with suitcases full of cash into the country to finance rioters and eventually replace Mossadegh with the Shah. This is how they replaced successive governments including Ukraine, Now they are using the same technique here. You can call them BLM, Anti-fa, or student protesters, they are bringing down another country; what Obama called “the fundamental transformation of America.” Incidentally, Minnesota is now becoming North Somalia.

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