Persecution and threats against student activist escalate

Bahar Mustafa - Golsmiths Student's Union Welfare & Diversity Officer

A London student union officer has received death threats in a month-long campaign of harassment, after she organised a meeting for minority students.

Bahar Mustafa, 27, is the Welfare & Diversity Officer of Goldsmiths Students’ Union. Ms Mustafa organised a meeting for black and minority ethnic (BME) women and non-binary people, and asked that white people and men did not attend.

A Goldsmiths student, who is understood to have recently been a member of the xenophobic right-wing UKIP party, claimed that this was racist against white men.

The story was spun as ‘white men banned from anti-racism rally’, and subsequently picked up by student paper the Tab, the Evening Standard and Daily Mail, amongst others. Supporters of Bahar refuted the claims in a statement:

This is not, as has been suggested in the press, anti-white bigotry. Nor is it discrimination, in any sense of the word. The event in question is not a job or scholarship from which white people are barred from applying. It is an organising meeting involving just over ten people, convening to feed back into wider organising meetings.

However, the campaign against her subsequently escalated, with attempts to have Ms Mustafa - who is an elected student union officer - ‘sacked’. She has also received death threats, and has been reported to the police.

Following the media coverage, an assortment of Men’s Rights Activists, British fascists, and participants in the misogynist hate campaign gamergate descended on the twitter hashtag #SupportBaharMustafa with a torrent of abuse.

This effort to ban minorities from meeting without white men present is the latest in a wider campaign portraying left-wing and liberation movements as a totalitarian threat to ‘free speech’ on campuses. Former genocide-denying Marxist turned right-wing contrarian Spiked magazine recently published a ‘free speech ranking’ for universities, with red, amber, and green categories.

Supposed ‘threats to free speech’ which landed universities in the red category include bans on on-campus fascist activity, “zero tolerance” policies on sexual harassment, and recognition of transgender people. Sacking of elected officers for speaking freely is not mentioned.

Posted By

Anonymous
May 22 2015 12:29

Share


  • This effort to ban minorities from meeting without white men present is the latest in a wider campaign portraying left-wing and liberation movements as a totalitarian threat to ‘free speech’ on campuses.

Attached files

Comments

DekuScrub3
May 22 2015 20:16

Yes, Evie, I understand the intent. But it draws it's force as an insult from traditional conceptions of masculinity which seems to me to ultimately undercut the feminist project in the long run.

deedoubs
May 22 2015 20:34
Quote:
Do you think (genuine question) when, for example, a union publishes an article on a wage dispute that the Union should give the bosses side?

You know, even as early as grade school you are taught to figure out 5 key things when looking into any story.

What has happened.
Who it has happened to
When it happened
Where it happened
and perhaps most importantly...
Why it happened.

This article completely left out the issue of why Mustafa was facing such abbrasiiveness. When there is a union dispute, it's implicitly understood why the boss is on the side that he is on... after all, he is working for the profit of his company. Here there is a complete and total failure to explain the cause of the criticism Mustafa is receiving. And this right here isn't even an issue of communism vs capitalism, it's simply a matter of someone who claims to be fighting racial/gender/etc hatred while indulging in it.

It seems to me that we have a lot of people these days who approve of bad journalism when it favors their politics. Well, as someone who has no particular political leanings that leaves me in an interesting place because all I see is garbage. I want to see an end to sensationalism. I don't care where that sensationalism comes from.

Ed
May 22 2015 20:55

Can I vote plasmacutter for poster of the year?

plasmacutter wrote:
Even if you operate under the bigoted assumption whites and men are by nature racist/sexist, excluding them is STILL racist and sexist itself

Even by your own logic this makes zero fucking sense.. if we operate under the assumption that whites and men are by nature racist/sexist (which we don't but let's just roll with this bad boy and see where we end up), then excluding them means you are excluding racists and sexists.. which is actually kind of the very minimum you'd expect from an anti-sexist and anti-racist organisation! I could be wrong and the main problem with the civil rights movement was that there weren't enough racists involved (you know, in the name of balance and fairness).. or the Suffragettes should've recruited amongst men who thought women shouldn't be allowed to vote.. but I don't think so..

Silliness aside, there's actually a very good reason why sometimes white people/men aren't allowed to come to these meetings and it's nothing to do with all men/whites being racist of sexist; it's because people are discussing personal, sometimes upsetting, experiences.. they might be talking about behaviours that white people/men do and having them there could end up in discussion getting bogged down in defensiveness where white people/men feel they're being attacked/criticised.. they're obv discussions that need to happen but to insist that white people and men MUST be present at EVERY meeting about racism or sexism is, well, fucking mental..

plasmacutter wrote:
So, let's review:

She's a race and gender bigot.
She's doing the opposite of her job.
She's abusing her power.

Nothing really, I just love how they write "let's reivew" as if it's the conclusion of some in-depth investigation that readers may have lost the thread of when actually it's just a restatement of their initial points..

In case anyone cares about my opinion on this, I can kind of imagine this woman having politics that would annoy me (elected student union officer??) but it's just so obvious that everyone against her is arguing in bad faith that it's just ridiculous.. there's so little aggro with most casually racist and sexist stuff (Dapper Laughs made it onto ITV ffs) that all the fuss when it's white blokes having the piss taken out of them via hashtags or not being allowed to go to meetings they don't want to go to just shows it up for how ridiculous it is.. like, where was plasmacutter (and prob more importantly, the Mail and the Standard) during the Dapper Laughs saga? Where was the outrage, the demands that Dworkinite feminists MUST be invited in the interests of fairness?

Sharkfinn
May 22 2015 21:22

Minority ethnic caucuses are standard practice in the "real world". Why would a white male even want to got to an internal BME women's meeting? Safe spaces or freedom of speech have nothing to do with the issue at hand. I would say come off it, but its pretty obvious that the 4 new posters here are just trolls, spreading the hate campaign.

Bahar hasn't done anything but she happened to be in the wrong place at a wrong time, when a misogynist Evening Standard columnist, with no consideration to fact checking, journalistic ethic or conscience, was looking for something convenient to rant about to fill a blank spot on that evening's paper. Because of social media and racist junk newspapers this has spread into a national hate campaign waged by racist white men with massive sense of entitlement and victim-hood complex.

This line of posting (Oh but she's definitely guilty of something, what about my freedom of speech, wah wah) is just another weapon of that campaign, intended to raise suspicion in the mainstream observer that there's something worth noting about this case after all, by finding nonsense from the twitter-sphere and treating it like it was an issue of global importance, making it look like there's something to it by going on about it everywhere all the time. This behavior also has a dual purpose of silencing other feminist and anti-racist online through this harassment -that's the only freedom of speech issue here.

There's nothing racist about minority ethnic meetings or safer spaces, this is a character assassination campaign pure and simple, intended to intimidate feminists. In summary: FUCK OFF!!!

gram negative
May 22 2015 21:30
DekuScrub3 wrote:
I also just wanted to add that how she piously identifies herself as a POC over and over again is kind of funny considering she looks about as white as me.

you do realize that you can't simply determine a person's ethnic background based on the fairness of their skin, right? I'm pretty fair, but my father for instance is very dark - does that magically make me white (not that fair skin doesn't have material benefits)

also, for all the people complaining about being shut out of that meeting - call your own meeting then! it really isn't that complicated; however, that would assume that the people criticizing her are doing it in good faith, rather than for their pet ideological causes.

fingers malone
May 22 2015 21:40
plasmacutter wrote:

She has not simply utilized harmless hashtags. She has actively excluded whites and men from university events.
.

I've seen quite a few people saying that men might have wanted to attend this event to 'learn' about black women's oppression. If that was actually sincere, they could either a. Organise a meeting on the subject, and attend it b. attend a public meeting on the subject, there are many c.NOT have reported Bahar to the cops.

(Edit: cross post)

DekuScrub3
May 22 2015 22:15

Maybe I'd feel more sympathetic to her if I was in Britain. Sounds like it's a much bigger story there than it is here. (US)

gram negative
May 22 2015 22:32
DekuScrub3 wrote:
Maybe I'd feel more sympathetic to her if I was in Britain. Sounds like it's a much bigger story there than it is here. (US)

uh, you were the one who was making this out to be evidence of libcom's lack of editorial ethics

DekuScrub3
May 22 2015 23:15
gram negative wrote:
DekuScrub3 wrote:
Maybe I'd feel more sympathetic to her if I was in Britain. Sounds like it's a much bigger story there than it is here. (US)

uh, you were the one who was making this out to be evidence of libcom's lack of editorial ethics

Not sure I get the connection. Even if I feel bad for someone at the receiving end of a Twitter mob, if Libcom is going to bother reporting on it I'd still like to know what it's about. But whatever.

Fleur
May 22 2015 23:34
Quote:
if Libcom is going to bother reporting on it I'd still like to know what it's about.

There is always google. I often find it a useful tool when it comes to educating yourself.

DekuScrub3
May 22 2015 23:36
Fleur wrote:
Quote:
if Libcom is going to bother reporting on it I'd still like to know what it's about.

There is always google. I often find it a useful tool when it comes to educating yourself.

a+ sarcasm

gram negative
May 23 2015 00:00
DekuScrub3 wrote:
Not sure I get the connection. Even if I feel bad for someone at the receiving end of a Twitter mob, if Libcom is going to bother reporting on it I'd still like to know what it's about. But whatever.

well, it seems disingenuous to me to say that this is not a 'bigger story' and then continually harp on your claim that this story is the evidence of bias.

DekuScrub3
May 23 2015 00:29
gram negative wrote:
DekuScrub3 wrote:
Not sure I get the connection. Even if I feel bad for someone at the receiving end of a Twitter mob, if Libcom is going to bother reporting on it I'd still like to know what it's about. But whatever.

well, it seems disingenuous to me to say that this is not a 'bigger story' and then continually harp on your claim that this story is the evidence of bias.

Uhhhh, still don't really get it. But I gotta go to bed. Peace

xxzxcuzxme
May 23 2015 01:11

I would like to believe the people complaining over this, signing petitions and/or wringing hands online, are also so staunchly against (and as vocal) '(gentle)men only' clubs such as Boodles and Brooks (both exclusive men only clubs in London). Sadly the evidence does not seem to show this to be true, the vitriol and nonsense seems to be in this case a true one way street.

autogestión
May 23 2015 01:25
Quote:
EDIT: Nice attempt at genetic fallacy and ad-hominem "Joseph Kay"

Fallacy fallacy?

http://existentialcomics.com/comic/9

plasmacutter
May 23 2015 01:29
Quote:
xcluding racists and sexists.. which is actually kind of the very minimum you'd expect from an anti-sexist and anti-racist organisation!

Actually, the expectations from an anti-sexist and anti-racist organization is to promote tolerance, and promoting tolerance means engaging those who are foreign to the concept in order to win hearts and minds, but hey, if we went with your approach there'd be no need for a civil rights movement. Those who opposed racism could have just locked themselves away in "Jonestowns" in the back-country, put their fingers in their ears, and screamed "LA LA LA" while the rest of the world kept on being racist!

Quote:
there's actually a very good reason why sometimes white people/men aren't allowed to come to these meetings and it's nothing to do with all men/whites being racist of sexist; it's because people are discussing personal, sometimes upsetting, experiences

The silent implication here is that white people/men are malevolent creatures waiting to enhance their torment.

Quote:
they might be talking about behaviours that white people/men do and having them there could end up in discussion getting bogged down in defensiveness

Or it could result in a handy group of white people/men denouncing/explaining those behaviors, showing the wronged individual they're neither alone, nor that this behavior and the outlook motivating it are a racial monolith among white people/men.But hey, who needs to build bridges of understanding when you can lock out the party complained about and form a huge circle-jerk

Quote:
to insist that white people and men MUST be present at EVERY meeting about racism or sexism is, well, fucking mental

Hello mr straman, shall we set thee alight? (hint: that's NOT what was being 'insisted')

plasmacutter
May 23 2015 01:41
Quote:
Fallacy fallacy?

Fallacy fallacy is not a fallacy. It's an invention of the intellectually dishonest who use fallacies to advance an intellectually dishonest argument.

EDIT: In response to fingers malone:

Yes, I do support an end to exclusion based on gender or race for any organization, and this includes "gentlemen's clubs". This does not mean these clubs should be compelled to change their activities or the formats thereof, but if women wish to attend, they should be allowed.

fidel gastro
May 23 2015 07:33

My understanding of this is that this women describes working class white people as "white trash" on Twitter and lives in a big house and has a well paid job as a 'diversity' officer (despite the fact that white people and men are excluded). My girlfriend's daughter (who is very much a Feminist like all of us in our family) was ranting about this the other day although we obviously don't have any truck with nationalists, fascists and MRA's threatening to kill and rape people and obviously that complicates things and makes the whole thing an even worse situation. By the way, this woman is white herself. I think she should get a warning and be told not to do such things again and if she continues then she should lose her job. Thats my, possibly limited, understanding of this. Though by the sound of it, my girlfriend's daughter has a good understanding of it and I trust her opinion.

Joseph Kay
May 23 2015 07:34

This is not about where she lives (which seems modest anyway), what she said on twitter (that comment was said in anger, she apologised, the guy she said it to accepted the apology and "had totally forgotten about the episode until this piece of ‘journalism’ was brought to my attention"). It's also not about the fact she used "violent imagery" in her election campaign (the latest 'revelation': pictures of Xena, Warrior Princess. Shocking.). Maybe tomorrow they'll find someone who claims Bahar pulled their hair in school when she was 9. Also irrelevant.

She is being attacked because she organised a meeting for minorities, and everything else is shit they're slinging after the fact. Your girlfriend's daughter may very well dislike her. I've never met her, she might be a dick. But solidarity isn't based on whether you or some third party likes someone, it's based on an injury to one is an injury to all. Like Fall Back said:

Fall Back wrote:
I don't give a fuck whatever shit those seeking to attack her have dragged up. It's irrelevant to why she is being attacked, and irrelevant to whether she deserves solidarity.

I've defended union members who are Trots and/or complete arseholes, not because I personally or politically like them, but because that's solidarity 101.

JoeMaguire
May 23 2015 07:37

Who should warn her? Her employers?

I get that people don't like the misandry humor of intersectional left, but this case isn't about that. It's about people disputing that minorities, or more generally, groups, have the right to organise against things that effect their community. Which is bollocks.

xxzxcuzxme
May 23 2015 07:57

Plasmacutter, if you believe those men's clubs should not 'be compelled' to accept women as members, then should that also not apply to this event??

Juan Conatz
May 23 2015 07:57

Seems pretty cut and dry to me. Spaces that exclude members of dominant groups in favor of providing a forum for oppressed racial and gender minorities is perfectly acceptable. I've never seen an argument saying otherwise that is convincing. Most of them are based on ridiculous cries of "reverse racism" that at best, are incredibly naive, and at worst, borderline white nationalist. The other arguments against these spaces I've seen come from a liberal, colorblind ideology that assumes that a so-called post-racial society exists or a "we're all in this together" class reductionism. If some of these new posters can provide an objection to these spaces that isn't based mostly on these things, I'd be interested to see it.

Now, if the meeting was a General Membership meeting or decision making meeting that had these exclusions I could understand the uproar, but I haven't seen anything to indicate that.

All this other stuff about Twitter matters little to me, as it seems apparent that this is a secondary issue and controversy. Plus, I don't take ironic hashtags seriously, nor am I going to explicitly throw vocal support being a right-wing reaction to someone on the left, even if I disagree with them.

DekuScrub3
May 23 2015 08:09

I guess part of what annoys me is that feminists like her never seem to talk about class. Like ever. We hear about race, gender and the infinite varieties of sexual identity, but getting them to talk about economic stuff often seems like pulling teeth. They always talk about white men as this homogenous entity which implicitly feels like it ignores class.

And then with the ironic misandry...she's going out of her way to troll people. The outrage on the part of the left that people were annoyed by this seems equally performative as the right wing outrage about the minority meetings.

Joseph Kay
May 23 2015 08:21
DekuScrub3 wrote:
I guess part of what annoys me is that feminists like her never seem to talk about class. Like ever.

Apart from in her manifesto ("I promised to challenge dominant structures like patriarchy and racism, and I promised to campaign for more counsellors for students, and fight for workers’ rights at Goldsmiths"), and in defending herself ("I am passionate about the liberation of all people from systems of oppression, and would rather spend my time­-off organising with students and staff for better conditions"). But don't let facts get in the way.

DekuScrub3
May 23 2015 08:37

Fair enough. I'm probably projecting.

DekuScrub3
May 23 2015 09:10

Edit: nvm, I don't want to continue this thread unnecessarily

xxzxcuzxme
May 23 2015 09:46

There's two points here which seem to be (unnecessarily) intertwined. One is the hashtag and its usage/meaning, the other is the organisational/meeting space. The first one seems to be somewhat a side issue to the main point, which is the meeting at Goldsmiths. People put a lot of bull on Twitter (and other social media), and sarcasm/in-jokes can often appear as stated facts or deeply held opinions. Personally, as a women (for what difference it makes), I think that hashtag is fu*king stupid, not only for the misunderstanding that can arise from its usage (or intentional misrepresentation as with some media sources on this 'story') but (most importantly) for, as DekuScrub3 points out, the fact it appears to lump a huge group of people as one homogenous entity, based only on their gender/ethnicity.

The main point is here is not about hashtags, but the more immediate and real issue of organisation, which other commenters on this thread such as JK have covered/explained well.

fidel gastro
May 23 2015 10:44

@Joe Maguire and Joseph Kay-Yeah her employers should warn her. I don't see why I should anger up my blood over some over-payed, careerist bureaucrat who excludes people based on their gender/ethnicity or anything and is at the same time called a 'diversity' officer- especially with that hashtag and what she said about white working class people- wether she apologizes or not. She should be warned by Goldsmith's Uni not to do it again. You may want to give solidarity to someone like that but to me it's clearly a waste of time, especially if they are going to do such an awful job and get paid for it.

radicalgraffiti
May 23 2015 11:29

you really are liberal arnt you

Serge Forward
May 23 2015 11:42

She seems a bit too trendy lefty for me but after seeing some of the bigoted drivvel spouted by her detractors, then I'd back her any day. This thread has turned over a rock and some right fucking maggots have wriggled out.