Annie, sorry as I said earlier if my post was a little intense, its been a long hard week because of the white supremacy, but also because of the liberal mis-reaction and over-reaction to it. I almost always agree with your interventions here over the years, so that gave me pause too… For many years I bought into the ACLU logic of defending hate speech because I know restrictions will be disproportionately levied against less powerful voices. The problem is that speech is already and always has been unequal in de facto practice. Further, institutional structures make speech and power extremely uneven. The tepid response of police in Charlottesville during nazi violence stands in stark contrast to the free speech rights of people in Ferguson, Baltimore, etc, who we both know (and detest) were met by tanks and other war materiel, and training in Israeli ‘practices’. The speech rights of ann coulter and spencer are better protected that those of BLM activists, and certainly of those who express pro-Palestine speech.
Steve and Annie, if I read your post wrong Steve, my bad. I took your initial statement that you did not know about the fascism on campuses to be diminishing of the credibility of this statement, rather than just surprised to learn it here. Probably because you followed it with “In any case…” But if I misread this, my bad.
However, the defense of Jewish students feeling uncomfortable on campus is a very freighted issue right now. While I am still very concerned about Antisemitism and support any reaction to it on campus, there is literally a well funded movement looking for and finding some Jews who will claim to feel uneasy because of BDS or anti-zionist speech, or even the presence of Palestinians in their spaces, and using this supposed concern for free speech to shut down the speech of social justice. This is a tactic shared by the new Right and white supremacist movements. Disingenuously fighting for ‘claimed’ and ‘supposed’ civil rights.
I am glad that national debate has opened up around the ACLU and its tactics, and glad it is shifting to think harder about them now that they have been even more coopted.
The 1930s Germany reference is that most Jews then and there were trying to assert rights from within a system that did not see them as human, but which they hoped they could reform. Jews as a group may not be there yet in the US context (or they might, depending on how we understand and guess the reality of trump’s actual power), but people of color are pretty much there it seems, and have been, and therefore all social justice fighters with commitments to these issues are also in similar territory. I share this 1930s point of reference because I am legitimately alarmed by the comparisons.