Antifascist Stanford Professor Accused of Being a Terrorist by a Right-wing Campus Publication

February 12, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

In an op-ed piece in the Guardian, Stanford Professor David Palumbo-Liu says he has come under attack for being a member of the Campus Antifascist Network. Palumbo-Liu states, ‘Last month, the Stanford Review, a rightwing publication co-founded by Peter Thiel [a billionaire Silicon Valley venture capitalist who supports Donald Trump] 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.”

Palumbo-Liu writes, “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.”

He goes on. “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.’”

Besides combating fascism, Palumbo-Liu has been involved as a scholar-activist working on issues such as sexual assault and Palestine. Palumbo-Liu has received threats, like other professors who are opposing the fascist Trump/Pence regime.

Palumbo-Liu says that Stanford University administrators have done nothing to come to his defense. Sev­­­en hundred members of the Stanford community have signed a letter in support of Palumbo-Liu, and seven Stanford Law School professors who teach classes on constitutional law sent a letter to the Stanford Daily supporting Palumbo-Liu stating, “We are concerned that the article (in the Stanford Review) advocates for the resignation of a professor based on his constitutionally protected speech regarding issues of public concern. Free expression of ideas is the lifeblood of an open society as well as a university. We are concerned that these values of open discourse and free debate be preserved and defended.”

As Raymond Lotta said in his January 2017 speech (“It IS Fascism—and the University Must Be a Zone of Resistance”) at the Social Emergency Forum at the Massachusetts Institution of Technology:

But now the stakes and challenges are raised qualitatively. Because of what this (Trump/Pence) regime represents AND the fact that the university will be targeted on a whole other scale: for educating and protecting undocumented immigrants... for facilitating scholarship that challenges the official narrative of “America’s greatness” and Trump’s sick vision of making “America great—read that as ‘white’—again”... for granting academic positions to professors from “suspect” countries and cultures.

The university must be turned into a zone of resistance. Not sealed off from but opening into society—setting an example and inspiring others to act—and joining with others in mass resistance. People cannot fall into—and it behooves everyone to follow out—the logic of “preserving” what we have or “my work.” That is the politically and morally unacceptable logic of turning inward and turning your back on what is demanded of us at this perilous time. It is the logic, whatever one’s intentions, of complicity, of going along with horrors you never imagined possible but helped make possible—because you didn’t raise your head and you didn’t raise your voice when the costs were high.

Defending David Palubo-Liu and other professors who are under attack by the fascists is an important element of opposing the fascist Trump/Pence regime on the campuses and building a mass movement to drive these fascists out of power.



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