Pete’s Week

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I’ve not denied any holocausts, and I even invent extra ones
Students can’t do anything. Put ‘student’ in front of any art form – journalism, comedy, drama – and you might as well switch it for ‘dismal’ straight off. We’re all just preening, scrabbling amateurs, harping on into the void; maybe someday, they’ll let us try it for money. Students are useless. So, I don’t like being told what to think, say, do, or listen to by students. This means I don’t like No Platform policies, in any form. I could just mock all the old arguments for it, but even the best ones have been crushed more times than Krishna Omkar, and the worst ones aren’t much more than ‘how would YOU like it if Hitler killed YOU?’ You wouldn’t, you see. You’d be dead! Deep stuff. My main objection is more personal. I don’t like OUSU banning fascists for one simple reason: according to them, I am one. This came as a shock. I’ve never killed anyone; I’ve not denied any holocausts, and I even invent extra ones, just in case I might be forgetting some. I’m not homophobic, or racist (some of my best gays are black). I didn’t deserve this.This began in my first year, when I founded the ‘Oxford Uni. Society Union’ (‘OUSU’) – half drinking society, half juvenile satire. We copied the ‘real’ OUSU in some respects – we all called ourselves ‘Vice President’ for the sheer gurgling heck of it – and improved on it in others, in that we chose our President by Rock, Paper, Scissors. A few months down the line, we thought it a masterstroke to take ‘OUSU’ to Freshers’ Fair, stand around in our t-shirts, and demand to be taken seriously. In the end, we lasted about two hours: arriving back from lunch, everything on our stall had gone, confiscated. I’d included a reference somewhere to ‘cock-guzzling corporate whores.’ Clause 12 of their regulations banned this, they said, and out we were turfed.Later on, I was to find that the clause was one to ban groups that ‘advocate, incite or perpetrate… violence against ethnic, religious, cultural or sexual groups,’ the precise words of the No Platform policies, old and new. They’d used this to clear us out: I was a fascist, and a violent one at that. I wonder what cultural or sexual groups we were supposed to have ‘incited violence’ towards – IB interns with semen-heavy diets? Are they even a sexual group? Since then, it seems our letter of complaint got lost. Four months after handing it to the organisers in person, there’s no reply. This, kids, is the problem, put simply. The ‘fascists’ we’re against are whoever OUSU say they are, and at times we’ll disagree. Censorship might make sense sometimes: but if anyone gets to decide, it should never be students. Students are useless. Let fascists talk: take it from me. I am one.

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