Berkeley, CA, Oct 28 – David Horowitz’s “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week (IFAW),” a deranged celebration of lies, ignorance, war and racism, crash-landed on college campuses Oct. 22nd. Many schools saw through this farce and were successful in preventing the events (Only 32 of the expected 200 schools actually went through with IFAW), but Berkeley was not so fortunate.</p?
Prior to IFAW, a student group coalition formed which quickly affirmed a pacifist stance. The leadership decided to address the events indirectly, so as not to obstruct the “free speech” of IFAW. Events emphasizing inter-religious unity and cultural diversity were planned, avoiding the political implications of IFAW in wartime context. Comrades and some other students proposed actively fighting and confronting racism but the liberal line won out. Laying to rest their claims of not being racist, and that IFAW was about “promoting scholarly debate,” the mostly all-male College Republicans harassed a group of Muslim women and their Caucasian friend, calling them “terrorists” and “race traitor,” respectively. Comrades invited students from a political film class to confront this racist movement.
IFAW consisted of a forum, a film screening and a rally. At the Monday kickoff forum, PLP members joined students and the community to protest Nonie Darwish, author of the anecdotal “Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror.” In her book and during interviews, she holds that “after 9/11, there is nothing America has or has not done that causes terrorism,” because “terrorism is the duty of every Muslim.” Darwish was greeted with jeers and was consistently disrupted.
Aiming to further deceive the audience, Darwish asked for the support of the American “left” in addressing the mistreatment of women in Islam. Outbursts continued, and Darwish later said this was the largest amount of protest she had ever experienced. Wednesday’s screening of “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West was made possible only through heightened police protection. On Thursday, the College Republicans held a pathetic 20-minute rally. They appeared shaken and were barely audible, even before students shouted them out! Actively confronting and fighting racism works!
IFAW is classic imperialist rhetoric. Concern is feigned in order to create public acceptance of “The War on Terror,” in which control of the mostly Muslim Middle East and its oil is vital to U.S. imperialism’s survival. This is a deliberate propaganda effort aimed at the fighters and engineers of tomorrow’s wars: students, whom Horowitz feels need extra encouragement.
There are over 1,000,000 Iraqis and nearly 4,000 U.S. soldiers now dead. The huge bipartisan-approved war budget and Dept. of Homeland Security safety precautions have resulted in rising tuition, cuts to healthcare and education, racist profiling, detentions, deportations, spying, and legalized torture.
This is an attack on the entire working class. This is “Imperio-fascism.” The stakes are too high, and we cannot afford to see IFAW out of context. Darwish was ignorant or evil enough to state on Monday that “the discussion had nothing to do with Iraq.” The College Republicans, supporting this isolationist argument, stated that protesters “confused the issues at hand.” Horowitz and his roster of opportunists (Coulter, Santorum, Pipes, Darwish, etc.) would have us believe that terrorism stems solely from Islamic fundamentalism, not American foreign policy, not extreme poverty, not growing inequality, not imperialism, not capitalism.
To rid ourselves of cockroaches, we turn on the lights. If not exposed, confronted, and combated, they grow. Similarly, allowing racism to go unopposed makes racists feel it is okay. Let’s not forget that there are consequences to speech and ideas. In the case of IFAW, they are war, racism and the death of millions of workers. This is not free speech, it is free murder. Oppositional ‘free speech’ is tolerated as long as it is accompanied by inaction, as only actions in the interest of the ruling class are allowed.
The events of IFAW show the potential of multi-racial unity and anti-racist action. PLP members and their student allies will build from this action. While this racist movement is important to confront, we must expose the more dangerous liberal-led movements. While openly racist republicans stab us in the front, wolves-in-sheep’s-clothing democrats stab us in the back! 99.999% of democrats have supported the war, and the presidential candidates will not take Iran off their sights. Come the elections, don’t vote, revolt! Join PLP in the fight for a society where the needs of the working class are primary and there are no imperialist wars for profit. Read, subscribe to, write to and struggle with Challenge, the revolutionary communist newspaper of PLP and weapon of the working class.