[Marxism] Leftists protest Columbia meeting for Minuteman
ok.president+marxmail at gmail.com
Thu Oct 5 14:04:39 MDT 2006
The best way to fight these things is to "fight speech with speech". Trying
to rush the stage is not an act of free speech -- these kinds of things are
going to be perceived as censorship and intolerance.
On 10/5/06, Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com> wrote:
> (I don't think that it is a good idea to rush the
> stage in this fashion. It confuses non-leftists
> students about your cause and allows the administration to victimize the
> Minutemen Protestors Rush Stage
> Gilchrist's Speech Cut Short by Ensuing Brawl
> Laura Brunts
> Posted: 10/5/06
> Protestors took the stage minutes after Jim
> Gilchrist, founder of the Minuteman Project, came
> to the microphone in Roone Arledge Auditorium
> Wednesday night, sparking a chaotic brawl
> involving more than 20 students, other attendees, and guests.
> Two students in the International Socialist
> Organization unfurled a yellow banner reading,
> "No one is illegal!" which prompted other
> protestors to rush the stage. Gilchrist
> supporters then clamored on stage while the
> speakers were ushered out of the auditorium.
> "We were aware that there was going to be a sign
> and we were going to occupy the stage," said a
> protestor who was on stage and asked to remain
> anonymous. "I don't feel like we need to
> apologize or anything. It was fundamentally a
> part of free speech. ... The Minutemen are not a
> legitimate part of the debate on immigration."
> Columbia security officers and presidential
> delegates, University employees who regulate
> events, broke up the brawl and closed the
> curtains, forcing 350 attendees to leave the
> auditorium and eventually the building.
> The Columbia University College Republicans
> hosted Gilchrist and two other speakers from the
> Minutemen, a vigilante group that patrols the
> U.S.-Mexico border for illegal immigrants.
> No one was arrested and University spokesman
> Robert Hornsby said that he could not discuss the
> consequences for those involved because the
> investigation is ongoing. Immediately following
> the event, Hornsby said that students would be
> dealt with under Dean's Discipline, but the
> response for those from outside Columbia was still undetermined.
> "The specific facts surrounding the incident are
> under active investigation by the University, so
> it is premature to make any official statement
> regarding facts that are yet to be determined,"
> Hornsby told Spectator last night. There were
> dozens of video and digital cameras in the room,
> and much of this footage belongs to Columbia
> groups, but Hornsby would not say whether this
> footage would factor into the investigation.
> The brawl was the culmination of audience dissent
> which grew louder and more aggressive.
> Marvin Stewart, an ordained minister and member
> of the Minutemen board of directors, was the
> first speaker. Audience members shouted
> interjections throughout his address, calling
> Stewart, who is black, a hypocrite for supporting
> the Minutemen. Stewart responded by becoming
> louder and telling the audience that they did not
> know anything about government.
> During a long pause, one audience member shouted,
> "In Spanish please!" which brought on an enormous
> wave of stomping feet and applause from the
> audience. Stewart countered that "one of the
> requirements of citizenship is that you speak
> English," before he was completely drowned out by
> the noise of the audience. Many attendees stood
> up and turned their backs on the speaker in
> protest and began chanting "wrap it up."
> Eventually Gilchrist and Chris Kulawik, CC '08,
> president of the College Republicans and a
> Spectator columnist, called Stewart off the
> stage. "I clearly had the false assumption that I
> was at an Ivy League school," Kulawik said as he introduced the main
> "Who's a racist now?" said Gilchrist, putting an
> arm around Stewart."I love the first amendment!"
> he shouted. "You're doing a great job, kids. I'm
> going to have more fun with this than with my prepared speech."
> But before he could get much farther, two
> students stepped on stage with a banner. Student
> protestors said that the demonstration was meant
> to be peaceful, but when students with the
> Republicans and other Gilchrist supporters came
> on stage, the confrontation turned violent. One
> student was kicked in the head and bleeding, students reported.
> The protestors occupying the stage included
> members of the ISO, the Chicano Caucus-which
> organized a protest beforehand on the Broadway
> sidewalk outside Lerner Hall-and some
> unaffiliated with either group. Neither student
> group officially sanctioned rushing the stage.
> "We don't condone the actions of members on
> either side. Either people on stage who were
> holding up signs, or people who felt that their
> speaker was being threatened by people holding
> signs," said Adhemir Romero, CC '07 and president of the Chicano Caucus.
> Romero released a statement late Wednesdy from
> the executive board of the Caucus. "We feel that
> it is important to discuss and bring to light
> important issues concerning immigration, though
> they should be done in a peaceful manner," it
> said. "While we do not agree with Mr. Gilchrist
> and his organization's views, we respect
> everyone's right to freedom of speech and regret
> that his opinion was not heard."
> "I think this demonstrated the immaturity of the
> protestors," Kulawik said afterwards. "It came to
> physical violence and rushing the stage, which is never appropriate."
> The protest that the Caucus originally organized
> occurred outside Lerner largely as planned. The
> event was publicized through the Internet and
> activist networks, and about 200 protestors, both
> students and others, came from all over New York to participate.
> "I wish that it was larger and I wish we could
> have a larger impact right away," Xiomara
> Maldonado, BC '08 and member of the Barnard group
> Mujeres, said of the protest. "Clearly, it [the
> protestors] is a very diverse group. It's not
> just Latinos, it's not just people of color."
> The violent clash between supporters and
> protestors at Wednesday night's event was much
> more than Kulawik expected, he said. He called
> the invitation of former U.S. Attorney General
> John Ashcroft last year "tame" in comparison.
> Even though Columbia Public Safety significantly
> increased its security for Wednesday night's
> event after the sidewalk protest was announced,
> Kulawik said, the security for the Ashcroft speech was much higher.
> During the Ashcroft event, Secret Service agents
> secured Lerner Hall while the NYPD deployed a
> contingent of dozens of officers, including an
> Assistant Chief, the third-highest rank in the
> force. At yesterday's protest, fewer than a dozen
> officers from the 26th precinct were present.
> Deputy Inspector Mike Cassidy said there was
> nothing unusual about the demonstration outside
> Lerner and that these protestors were very cooperative.
> Joanna Bernstein, Kate Linthicum, and Eleazar
> David Meléndez contributed to this article.
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