Harassed by one of the most prominent bigots
November 15, 2002 | Page 4
Dear Socialist Worker,
Last Wednesday, one of American's most prominent bigots, David Horowitz, spoke at the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC). His talk, titled "How the Left Undermines America's Security," was a cover for his real agenda of insulting people of color, immigrants and women.
He called for racial profiling of Muslims and government monitoring of activist organizations--and made the ridiculous assertion that African Americans "owe America a debt" for ending slavery.
At one point, a member of the audience challenged Horowitz's claim that racism doesn't exist in the U.S. by asking, "What about lynchings in the South?" Horowitz flippantly replied, "So what about lynchings?" He then told the audience that those against Bush's war are "al-Qaeda's little helpers."
Horowitz had the nerve to begin his speech by claiming that the "campus Bolsheviks" were trying to shut him down and infringe on his right to free speech. But earlier in the day, Horowitz revealed his true feelings about free speech.
He arrived in the student center and saw a big sign at our socialist club table that read: "Racist, Sexist, Anti-gay. Don't let David Horowitz go unchallenged at UIC." After he unsuccessfully tried to have our registered student organization's table shut down, Horowitz took matters into his own hands.
He walked by our table again, and when one of our members asked if he had a problem with our freedom of speech, he said "Yes," and lunged at her--ripping down and tearing up our sign before running outside. So much for the "free speech tour of 2002."
In the end, the university did its utmost to protect Horowitz's ability to spread his lies. But nothing has been done to protect the free speech of students, faculty and staff who speak out against war and racism and for other progressive causes.
During Horowitz's speech, a member of UIC No War was arrested by campus police when she asked that a Horowitz supporter be removed because he was verbally and physically harassing her. Her harasser was left alone. This is the second antiwar activist that UIC has arrested since the start of the year.
Students are now campaigning to have the charges dropped. We can't let the bigots back us down.
Jessica Preston and Nell Crawford, Chicago