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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
The Eagle

Resisting organized resistance

The Right Campus

I never expected to have an anarchist panhandler begging me for spare change on AU's campus. So I was quite surprised when I walked up to the Ward Circle Building two Sundays ago and asked the student-activist panhandler what brought such a large crowd of anarchist activists to AU. He gave me a hilarious non-answer of a response: "I don't know." Welcome to the Conference of Organized Resistance.

The conference appears to be an annual winter staple at AU, featuring numerous radical workshops, far left-wing speakers and the latent scent of marijuana from Mary Graydon to the Ward Circle building. For the last two years, AU has financially subsidized the organization's activities by letting it use campus buildings for no cost. Only a small fraction of the attendees were AU students. Basically, our tuition dollars were used to give their extremist agenda a platform.ÿ

Fervent anti-capitalists who advocate resistance against legal, democratic government comprise much of the conference's leadership. The conference itself is a Michigan Militia of sorts for the left. It hosted lectures justifying property destruction and promoting physically destructive means of putting banks out of business. It referred to totalitarian Communist nations such as Cuba and North Korea as "free." One would think and hope AU would disassociate itself from such nonsense. That couldn't be further from the truth. The University rightly created a ruckus this fall when tuition-paying students defaced the Quad during Hurricane Isabel. But when hundreds of non-AU students make a mess of campus buildings, AU not only doesn't raise a peep but rents the campus out for free.ÿ

Participants at the conference haphazardly walked around to the various workshops and heard numerous speakers. The workshop titles were almost as amusing as they were disturbing. One session defended the destruction of property in a conference titled "An Analysis of Politically Motivated Property Destruction as a Legitimate Tactic." The "Mothers Alliance for Militant Action" workshop featured a woman who bragged about her "revolutionary three-year-old" child. Members of the Richmond Radical Ra-Ra's taught "Radical Cheerleading." My personal favorite was "Econ 101 for Radical Dummies" taught by AU economics professor Robin Hahnel. The course unintentionally is a slap at the participants, most of whom lack any coherent economic argument for their revolutionary agendas. Sadly, it was one of the few courses that remotely approached any sort of educational value. ÿ

I chatted with many of the conference participants who were tabling in Ward Circle's basement. Many of the booths were awash in contradiction. An anarchist, anti-war bookseller recommended several copies of George Orwell's books on his shelf - an odd selection, I thought for this particular conference. Orwell was a refreshingly independent left-leaning thinker and essayist of the 1930s and 1940s who harshly condemned communism with his classics "1984" and "Animal Farm." He was a vigorous opponent of both fascism and communism, arguing that both inevitably lead to despotism. He fell out of favor among leftist intellectuals for his independent-minded thinking. ÿ Down the hallway, some followers of Marx and Lenin handed out their newsletter to interested students. After telling me about the exploitation of workers under capitalist systems, I spotted a cup of coffee he had been sipping. "Fair-trade coffee?" I asked. It was not, he admitted, acknowledging he was complicit in the process. I then strolled along to the Palestinian activist booth, and listened to their almost visceral hatred of the Jewish state. After listening to their anti-Israel rants, I asked their positions on suicide bombings and if they agreed Israel had a right to exist. They side-stepped the questions and asked me to leave if I continued to insist on introducing some relevant facts to the discussion.ÿ

In fact, bashing Israel was a favorite pastime of the radicals. Rachel Corrie, a Palestinian activist who was accidentally killed when squatting in front of an Israeli bulldozer, was the poster-child for the conference. There was no mention made of the thousands of Israeli civilians murdered and severely injured because of Palestinian terrorism - an odd omission considering the conference's alleged concern for human rights. In fact, at last year's conference, suicide bombings were justified. This is nothing new, to both conference organizers and AU administrators. They undoubtedly saw the group's antics last year when participants deemed Israel an apartheid state and encouraged divestment from Israel. Left-wing activists have virulently attacked Israel and excused Palestinian terrorism with great frequency lately. (How many Free Palestine signs have been seen at anti-war rallies? Also, does "free Palestine" mean Gaza and the West Bank or from the river to the sea?) One wonders why these same activists do not defend Israeli victims of terrorism, to at least present a facade of balance to the proceedings.

AU must draw a line in the sand when agreeing to lend its classroom space for non-academic activity. When a conference advocates property destruction, defense of totalitarian regimes and promotes ahistorical revisionism, school administrators must realize it is not worthy of implicit campus sponsorship. These groups are welcome to promote their cause, but not with a free ride from the University. The conference may not faze AU, but if Orwell had seen what has become of the socialist movement, he would be rolling in his grave.

Section 202 host Gabrielle and friends go over some sports that aren’t in the sports media spotlight often, and review some sports based on their difficulty to play. 

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