UCLA: Challenging the Sandbox Bullies and Opening Up the Debate

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From the Revolution Club, Los Angeles

A minor positive shitstorm sort of fell into our lap at UCLA when a Revolution Club member was censored at an open mic poetry event on campus, called The Word on Wednesdays, for laying out a brief polemic on intersectionality and reading a poem he wrote about the violence faced by women throughout the world. The audience at the event was comprised mainly of people of color and LGBTQ+ people, whose argument in favor of the censorship boiled down to “you’re a white man and its wrong for you to speak about trauma you have never experienced.”

And so, they dropped a boulder on their own feet! We hit back against this absurdity, coming back the next day with flyers of the poem, posting them up everywhere and engaging in some debate on social media:

NJ like New Jersey‏ @njlikenewjersey Feb 28

A man.... reciting a poem to speak on behalf of women?? You lost me.

Revolution Club Los Angeles‏ @revclub_la Feb 28

Replying to @njlikenewjersey @tuneintorevcom

That’s because you’re lost already. That’s where identity politics takes you, bickering over who has a right to speak about what oppression rather than how to end oppression.

We got a bit of a buzz going, mainly within the social circle around The Word, but also reaching beyond that. We went out to Bruin Walk, a central area on the campus, with some agitation around the incident and the problem with preventing people from stepping outside of their direct experiences. This challenged about 20 people to come up to debate and listen, including a woman who was at the open mic, who made the argument that the system must be changed from within, promoting the snake oil of the Green New Deal and its main peddler, AOC, up against revolution.

We gave the advocates of intersectionality and the narrative curators of The Word an opportunity to defend their paltry framework and help clarify the differences between their road for “change” and our road for human emancipation. On the day of the debate, we wielded our polemic on intersectionality and went back and forth with a handful of people who stopped to engage, most of whom were partisan and thought intersectionality and revolution could coexist.

Although no one from The Word came to debate, a contributor to FEM magazine (a feminist campus publication) felt compelled to write an article about what happened. Leaving aside the distortions of what happened, the gist of the argument in the article was that a white man reading a poem about the women of the world in a room full of people of color amounted to us “colonizing” their “safe space.”

In the midst of this, the Revolution Club was featured on the front page of the Daily Bruin (the campus newspaper) for a rally we held in Westwood on International Women’s Day, commemorating the 40th anniversary of Iranian women’s rebellion against the forced hijab.

We wrote a biting response to the FEM magazine article, exposing these arguments and challenging people who really want to get free to learn more about the way out of this mess. Campus is in finals now and then on break, but we plan to take this out to students once they’re back to break open further debate around intersectionality vs. revolution. The articles here include the FEM attack and our reply, and a snapshot of a day on campus.



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