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Stop the attacks on David Palumbo-Liu


The Campus Antifascist Network calls for an end to the serial and libelous harassment of Stanford University Professor David Palumbo-Liu perpetrated by Fox News, the Stanford Review, and the alt-right.

Our network represents over 2,000 students, faculty, and staff in hundreds of campus communities around the country, many of whom have also been targeted for virulent campaigns of harassment, stalking, and intimidation for their opposition to fascist and white supremacist groups whose activities have made our educational institutions unsafe. After the horrific murder of Heather Heyer and fascist attacks on peaceful clergy, students, and community members at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA in August 2017, as well as numerous other instances of hate-motivated violence, the exponential growth of our organization and shared experiences among members of our network is a testament to the patterns of incitement, intimidation and suppression of dissent that have accompanied the attempts of fascists, under the guise of “free speech,” to gain legitimacy for their inherently racist and genocidal ideology.

We stand in solidarity with Professor Palumbo-Liu and support his fight against ethno-nationalism, white supremacy, and the creeping threat of normalized fascism. These threats have existed for decades but have reappeared with renewed force in a coordinated campus campaign. Hate-group watchdogs such as the Southern Poverty Law Center have documented escalating patterns of hate crimes, incitement, and violence from fascist and white supremacist groups on hundreds of US campuses and communities – including a rise in hate crimes on the Stanford campus, a direct factual contradiction of claims made in a Stanford Review hit piece against Professor Palumbo-Liu. Another recent report revealed that white supremacists committed more murders in 2017 than any other extremist group in the United States, more than doubling their toll from 2016. Groups affiliated with the “alt-right” – funded by right-wing backers such as Turning Point USA and Young America Foundation – use blatantly racist, Islamophobic, anti-indigenous, anti-Semitic, transphobic, misogynist, and ableist messaging and iconography to recruit to their ranks and provoke conflict; using McCarthyite watch lists and manipulative media tactics straight out of Goebbels’ playbook, they conflate “academic freedom” with “free speech” in order to attack faculty, silence dissent, and suppress the rights & freedoms of anyone who dares to stand in their way.

Professor Palumbo-Liu is not the first, nor the only, professor whose rights to speech and academic freedom have been targeted for suppression; he joins a growing list of faculty members – including Keeanga Yamahtta-Taylor, Johnny Williams, George Ciccariello-Maher, Dana Cloud, Amanda Gailey, Adam Miyashiro, Mark Bray, and many others – who have been singled out for harassment, censure, and institutional exclusion for their contributions to an urgent and necessary public dialogue about fascist groups and the threats they pose to our campus communities. Campus administrations, in their uncritical acceptance of the right’s manipulative framing around “speech,” have consistently failed to protect the safety and human rights of faculty, students, and staff who must face these threats on a daily basis, and have repeatedly aired their concerns to no avail.

While we recognize the need for, and right to, self-defense for individuals and communities who are directly targeted by fascist violence, the Campus Antifascist Network does not advocate, and has never advocated, for initiating violence. Our mission statement is clear. CAN has diverse political views on multiple issues, but we are united in our commitment to stopping fascist intimidation from taking root in our campus communities. In addition to protests, we encourage the development of educational and political spaces on campuses for teach-ins, reading groups, workshops, and strategy sessions on the history of fascism in its many guises and how to combat it.

In its philosophy and tactics, CAN honors a proud popular tradition of anti-fascism that many Americans seem to have forgotten, and which the alt.right seeks to erase entirely: the coalition building, education, and community work of the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League of the 1930s, involving writers such as Dorothy Parker and F. Scott Fitzgerald; the Jewish Labor Committee of the 1940s who sponsored refugees fleeing the Holocaust; coalitions that rose to confront Joe McCarthy in the 1950s and George Wallace in the 1960s; LGBT-led campaigns against the Christian Right in the 1980s; and beyond. Albert Einstein and Langston Hughes were antifascists, as was the great Billie Holliday. Fighting fascism, white supremacy, and antisemitism for these people were not just progressive virtues, but mandatory acts of political empathy, human decency, and common sense.

We ask that the press honor the right to speech for the victims of fascist violence and intimidation, and allow targeted students and faculty to speak out about our lived experiences.

Campus Antifascist Network

The Campus Antifascist Network (CAN) represents over 2,000 faculty, staff, and students united in their opposition to fascism. We have diverse political views on multiple issues, but are united in our commitment to stopping fascist intimidation from taking root in our campus communities, and consider mass counter-mobilizations and broad-based coalitions as key to the fight against these forces. For more information, visit:

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10 Responses

  1. festus on January 29, 2018, 1:47 pm

    “Hate-group watchdogs such as the Southern Poverty Law Center..” The SPLC as a watchdog? Lost me right there.

    “..singled out for harassment, censure, and institutional exclusion..”; Now that is a much better description of how SPLC — and the rest of The Lobby — operates.

  2. Misterioso on January 30, 2018, 4:01 pm


    ACLU, Jan. 30/18

    “In First, Judge Blocks Kansas Law Aimed at Boycotts of Israel”


    “TOPEKA, Kan. — The American Civil Liberties Union won an early victory today in its federal lawsuit arguing that a Kansas law requiring a public school educator to certify that she won’t boycott Israel violates her First Amendment rights.

    “A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of the law while the case filed in October proceeds. It is the first ruling addressing a recent wave of laws nationwide aiming to punish people who boycott Israel.

    “The law, which took effect on July 1, requires that any person or company that contracts with the state submit a written certification that they are ‘not currently engaged in a boycott of Israel.’ The ACLU is also currently fighting a case filed in December against a similar law in Arizona.

    “’The court has rightly recognized the serious First Amendment harms being inflicted by this misguided law, which imposes an unconstitutional ideological litmus test,’ said ACLU attorney Brian Hauss, who argued the issue in court. ‘This ruling should serve as a warning to government officials around the country that the First Amendment prohibits the government from suppressing participation in political boycotts.’

    “In his opinion, U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree wrote, ‘[T]he Supreme Court has held that the First Amendment protects the right to participate in a boycott like the one punished by the Kansas law.’”

    • annie on January 30, 2018, 4:18 pm

      wonderful isn’t it ;) i read this earlier today. it’s my understanding mondoweiss will be publishing something soon. i’m so ready for the supreme court case.

  3. Stogumber on February 2, 2018, 5:31 pm

    The problem of Antifascism is its dishonesty – pretending that the methods of the opponent (incitement, harassment, watchlists etc.) are essentially different from one’s own methods. This denial of facts prevents any agreement, any general code of conduct, any general rule of law, between both conflict parties. In fact, Antifascists represent a political faction which thinks that agreements, codes of conduct or impartial rule of law are unnecessary or unhelpful.

    This is based in a particular philosophy which would as well be applicable to the Palestinian/Israel conflict. Insofar everyone has to decide here and now if he supports or doesn’t support this wordview.

    This is a rather crucial question. And if the pro-Palestinian movement has to split about this, it ought perhaps better to split now. Before the tradition of dishonesty and cynicism infests the whole movement.

    • Mooser on February 3, 2018, 12:47 pm

      “Stopgumber”, you’re not supposed to take the Nunes Memo as a model for your comments.

  4. Stogumber on February 4, 2018, 6:20 am

    In my eyes, at least, honesty is important. We will never get mutual agreements or universal rule of law, if we don’t consciously excoriate the widespread human feeling that “When I do it to you, it is essentially different from when you do it to me”.
    And this affects the debates about the Israelian-Palestinian conflict, as well. So, if we all have to draw a line, why not do it here and now?

  5. just on February 8, 2018, 9:53 am

    The good Professor speaks out:

    “I’m a Stanford professor accused of being a terrorist. McCarthyism is back …

    Today anyone can be accused of anything, without basis in fact or evidence, and that accusation can be instantly trumpeted over the airwaves unchecked by any journalistic standard. That is the painful lesson I have had to learn this year.

    As a scholar-activist working on issues such as sexual assault, Palestine, and anti-fascism, I am used to receiving abusive messages and being publicly maligned. Now, however, attacks on me have reached troubling new heights.

    Last month, the Stanford Review, a rightwing publication co-founded by Peter Thiel and based on my university campus, wrote that I have helped set up an “organization [that is] undeniably a chapter of a terrorist group” and demanded my resignation. Their article was picked up by groups like JihadWatch, Campus Fix, Campus Reform, Fox & Friends, and other rightwing media outlets.

    The organization I belong to is called the Campus Antifascist Network. We advocate for organized resistance to fascist violence on campus, and for educating our communities and others as to the nature of fascism today. We claim solidarity with a proud tradition of anti-fascism dating back to the early 20th century.

    The group was founded shortly after the election of Donald Trump, and responded to the steady rise of a well-funded rightwing campaign on college campuses. We do not – and never would – advocate – for initiating violence.

    The attack on me is part of a broader phenomenon noted by the American Association of University Professors, which claims that college campuses are the new battleground for conservative groups, far-right organizations and white supremacists. These groups are all trying to intimidate faculty and students, to recruit members, and to attract publicity. Not just careers and reputations are on the line – often personal safety is as well.

    Today, we are seeing the resurgence of a wretched phenomenon we thought we had put behind us – McCarthyism, which involves “the use of tactics involving personal attacks on individuals by means of widely publicized indiscriminate allegations especially on the basis of unsubstantiated charges”.

    Professors are more than hesitant about fighting back against accusations that emanate from organizations supported by the likes of Peter Thiel or Charlie Kirk, who founded Turning Point USA. …

    CNN ran a story on the increasing numbers of professors like myself who have faced death threats for their political statements and activism. But it’s not just political progressives and radicals who are being hit. Scientists are under attack, too. Michael Mann, a professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University, has received death threats for his work on climate change.

    Despite this new and alarming phenomenon on campus, university administrators seem loth to aggressively protect their faculty. My own university has left it to me to press charges, and has chosen not to make any public comment on the Stanford Review’s defamation of my character, despite an open letter supporting me signed by nearly 700 members of the Stanford community.

    Besides those who signed letters of support, six constitutional law scholars from the Stanford School of Law wrote a letter to the editor of the Stanford Daily declaring that there was no evidence that I had advocated violence, nor that I am a member of a terrorist group. These then were my sources of support, not the university. Yet this has not stopped the attacks on me.

    I don’t have the resources to bring a libel suit – I cannot out-lawyer a newspaper that has an ally in its founder and major contributor to the university, Peter Thiel.

    The troubling question is: who does?”

    • Talkback on February 9, 2018, 2:56 am

      David Palumbo-Liu: “As a scholar-activist working on issues such as … , Palestine, … college campuses are the new battleground…, far-right organizations and white supremacists …”

      That’s one way to describe certain supporters of a certain state with a certain national character.

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