Revolution Books condemns the shameful collaboration of Drexel University with the "Alt-right" fascist terror directed at Prof. George Ciccariello-Maher

Statement sent to Drexel University on the recent action by Drexel regarding Professor George Ciccariello-Maher, former UCB graduate student in Political Science. 

In the face of a deluge of vile and violent threats against Prof. George Ciccariello-Maher from fascist "alt-right" trolls raging at him for calling out the frustrated white male entitlement that is so much at the core of Trump’s whole regime, did Drexel University rush to defend his personal safety and his right to academic freedom? Did they immediately issue a public statement calling on people to have his back declaring that their professors will not be bullied into silence? NO! They decided to punish the victim, putting Ciccariello-Maher on administrative leave (thereby also punishing his students). This is not just cowardly capitulation, this is active collaboration with white supremacist terrorism.

Think about what precedent this sets, and what this means for academic freedom. These fascist trolls can target any professor with the aim of shutting them down, and the university will just do it for them!

In fact, this dynamic is already in effect all across this country. White supremacist, misogynist, xenophobic intellectual operatives—financed, backed, and serving powerful interests all the way up to the White House—are targeting college campuses in order to normalize fascism and beat down ethnic studies, radical politics, critical thinking and science, as part of the fascist remaking of society as a whole. And too many university administrations and local governments are aiding and abetting this.

The University of Wisconsin has a new policy to suspend or expel students who disrupt campus events. Middlebury College and Claremont McKenna College have already issued draconian punishments to students for protesting fascist speakers. When Ben Shapiro and Milo Yiannopoulos came to UC Berkeley recently, the administration gave the College Republicans thousands of dollars, bent the room reservation rules for them, and spent nearly a million dollars turning the campus into a militarized police state, forcing students out of their own buildings and arresting activists for carrying cardboard signs. The city of Berkeley passed “emergency” measures to suppress protest, including reinstating the use of pepper spray. Accommodating the fascists and punishing the people standing up to fascism… all in the name of “free speech” and “safety”!

Most university administrations are run by liberals, not fascists. But they are terrified of the fascists—Remember Trump’s threats to defund UC Berkeley if it doesn’t allow fascist “free speech”—and so they are conceding to the fascists. Now Drexel is throwing prof. Ciccariello-Maher under the bus. This is despicable in its own right, and it is a losing strategy in the face of fascism. If you feed the fascists, they don’t go away, they get stronger.

Think about the experience of the Judenrat, the Jewish council that was in charge of managing and policing the ghettos in Nazi Germany. Some were sycophants sucking up to power out of a selfish (though ultimately futile) desire to save their own ass. But many sincerely believed that working with the Nazis, rather than frontally opposing them, was the best way to mitigate the worst of the horrors for the Jewish people as a whole. In reality, they just ended up enforcing Nazi authority and paving the road to the death camps. Or think about Pastor Niemoller and his famous poem which begins, “First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out because I wasn’t a communist…” and ends, “Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up." This sort of distancing—whether to preserve oneself or one’s institution—is not only morally bankrupt, it strengthens the momentum of fascism as it targets group after group.

Revolution Books in Berkeley has also been targeted by these same kind of “alt-right” fascist stormtroopers that are targeting Prof. Ciccariello-Maher. About 40 people who came for Milo Yiannopoulos’ so-called “Free Speech” week stormed the bookstore, pounding on the store’s windows, making threats, calling people “commie scum,” while chanting “USA, USA, USA.” Some of these fascists returned to threaten the bookstore three more times, and the threats continue.

Revolution Books will not be intimidated. We will not be deterred from our mission of being the cultural and intellectual center of a movement for an actual revolution, or from the urgent fight right now to drive out the fascist Trump/Pence regime beginning Nov. 4. We have called on people to stand with the store, and many important voices have spoken out in support. When the fascists returned to attack the store, a number of people showed up, linking arms in defense of the store.

Earlier this year, when hundreds of progressive professors were put on a right wing “Professor Watchlist,” thousands more sent in their names to be added to the list. The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has called on faculty and administrators to stand up to these attacks. This is the type of spirit that’s needed in the face of fascism. Standing united and having each other’s back. Not shameful, and deadly, collaboration. Revolution Books stands with George Ciccariello-Maher. Drexel should do the right thing and immediately put him back in the classroom.