Keep Alt-Right Superstar Milo Yiannopoulos Out of Portland

{{ UPDATE: After the phone jam began PSU called to let us know the event was cancelled.}}

Trump fanboy Milo Yiannopoulos, a far right ideologue and mouthpiece of the Alternative Right, is bringing his hate-filled speaking tour to Portland State University on January 18th, 2017. In light of the resurgence of racist and fascist activity on campus, the university's decision to provide a platform for such unbridled bigotry is one we at Rose City Antifa cannot ignore. We are announcing our intent to shut this event down and inviting our allies to join us in making PSU a fascist free zone!

Yiannopoulos is one of the many online trolls who successfully capitalized on the Trump campaign to bring fascist and racist ideas into the mainstream. While his presence on the web can be traced back to the GamerGate controversy, Yiannopoulos rose to cult fame through his work at Breitbart, where he used his identity as a gay man to express overtly islamophobic views under the facade of queer interests. Similar to Trump, the core of Yiannopoulos’ support has come from places like 4Chan, Reddit, and other online bastions of the Alt-Right. However, since being banned from Twitter for his anti-black harassment of actor Leslie Jones, Milo has been searching for a new platform off the web for his hateful ideology. In fact, on his current book tour Yiannopoulos has used the frame of “anti-political correctness” to push dangerous narratives about a wide array of marginalized groups. Some examples of his hatred on tour so far includes such spectacles as dressing in drag to mock a sexual assault survivor; calling to keep trans folks out of the LGBT movement and encouraging their harassment; and calling BlackLivesMatter a terrorist group.

In this context, his college speaking tour should be recognized as an effort to embolden Alt-Right internet trolls into real world political organizing on college campuses. In light of the success of the Trump campaign, the Alt-Right is looking for opportunities to turn their momentum into an organized political front.  This event is a particularly important as an opportunity for Yiannopoulos to connect with a large audience, and for a large number of Alt-Righters to connect with him and others at the event. This is an opportunity that we cannot give them. However this isn’t the opinion shared by all. We know that PSU President Wievel won’t stop this. Indeed, his call for calm and understanding in the aftermath of the Trump Presidency is a bitter reminder of his earlier commitment to “Free Speech” when he emailed the campus that:

When speech becomes offensive, we at PSU don’t respond by banning it or censoring the speaker. Instead, I encourage you to provide countervailing views, engage in debate…

As the last year has demonstrated, in practice, this kind of free speech and discussion has meant near impunity for racists and sexists to target marginalized students on campus with little recourse for those who are harassed. We believe that an educational community should not accommodate fascist ideologies. We believe it is the responsibility of on-campus, and surrounding communities, to shut down this kind of organizing in order to ensure that there is no platform for fascists in Portland! This is a call to action to stand against fascism, the militarization of campuses, and in solidarity with those communities who are most at risk from this kind of neofascist “Free Speech”! We encourage those interested in taking a stand now to use the letter template below to demand PSU not host Yiannopoulos. For organizations interested in signing onto our coalition we encourage you to reach out to us as fight_them_back@riseup.net. No Pasaran!

(///) RCA (///)

Feel free to draft your own message or use the letter script provided below. You can share your thoughts directly via the PSU Conference and Events contact page. For those interested in delivering their message over the phone or  to the President himself we have provided that information as well.

- PSU Conference and Events Contact Info

Phone: 503 - 725 - 2663

Email: conferences@pdx.edu

- President Wievel’s Office

503-725-4419 voice

president@pdx.edu

- PSU Media Relations Coordinator, Suzanne Pardington Effros

503-725-8794 tel

spe2@pdx.edu

 

Dear Director of Conference and Events,

I am writing to express my anger and frustration at the University’s decision to host notorious racist, sexist, transphobic speaker Milo Yiannopoulos this January. I am also notifying you of a growing inter-community coalition to keep Milo off campus and of my support for them. In light of the increasing hostility towards marginalized groups on campus, and the continued inaction from the University to protect the interests of these students above the vague principle of “Free Speech”, it should be beyond clear that this event must be cancelled. At this point it is well within the University’s control to rescind this invitation and issue an apology to the community at large and prevent students from being forced to take the initiative to keep their campus safe.