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

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  • 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.

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Comments

Evie
May 23 2015 11:45
red and black riot wrote:
who excludes people based on their gender/ethnicity or anything and is at the same time called a 'diversity' officer

As has been stated many times, excluding white people and men from a BME women and non-binary peoples' event is normal practice, and happens not only in SUs but in many public sector places of employment. (Also, holding events for BME women and non-binary people only does not mean never holding events where white people and men are invited - in fact the meeting that's caused all this fall out was a follow up meeting to one that was open to everyone.) All Bahar has done is hold a meeting where BME women and non-binary people are able to speak with confidence and with each other - how this is a 'failure' to do her job is beyond me.

red and black riot wrote:
She should be warned by Goldsmith's Uni not to do it again

An elected SU officer isn't employed by the University, but by the SU, elected by students. And you're actually calling for bosses to discipline a worker on the basis of a right wing media attack against her - in the name of class?

(Also, whatever problems there are with sab officers is irrelevant to why she's being attacked.)

tigersiskillers
May 23 2015 12:00

I for one, having seen the 'killallmen' hashtag, have been living in fear, constantly looking over my shoulder for the inevitable feminist deathsquads.

plasmacutter
May 23 2015 12:12
Quote:
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??

Please re-read my last post. I suggest you re-take your english courses if you still believe this is what I was saying.

This will be my last time posting in a thread full of hipster bigots claiming to be "progressive"

D
May 23 2015 12:21

I don't agree with everything she has said, for example that women cant be sexist or non white people racist, but there is nothing wrong with holding a meeting with permitted attendance based on being a sufferer on the issues in question - in this case racism and sexism.

I don't see how it is any different from say a meeting for people suffering from a mental disorder or physical disability/disease requesting non sufferers not attend because it would help the sufferers feel more comfortable expressing themselves or whatever.

As others have pointed out you could find tweets/comments from almost anyone that were bad and not only that but she has apologised for it anyway.

The campaign against her is just bigots looking for an intellectual justification to vent their bigotry IMO.

DekuScrub3
May 23 2015 12:27

I dunno. I'm an animal protectionist, and I think if I wrote a piece of ironic misanthropy, like "#killallhumans" people would fly off the handle, including leftists.

But then again, I'm also a socialist and "eat the rich" is kind of the same "killallwhitemen"

Fleur
May 23 2015 12:49

Just a short video explaining how racism against white people can be a real thing.

Meanwhile if a bunch of men are quaking in their boots for fear of people using an ironic hashtag, I would cordially invite them to just grow the fuck up.

no1
May 23 2015 13:07
red and black riot wrote:
[...] who excludes people based on their gender/ethnicity or anything and is at the same time called a 'diversity' officer [...]
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.

Anarchists believe in self-organisation and freedom of association, which automatically implies the right to exclude some people. For example, when workers decide to organise as workers, the first that happens is that bosses and scabs get excluded - even the presence of sympathetic bosses could only be detrimental because by definition they have a different perspective. Similarly when women decide to get together to organise against sexism (and without wanting to sound too binary), it can be quite important to exclude men - even sympathetic men are affected by sexism in a completely different way. If black people get together to fight racism, it can be very important to exclude white people, because even dedicated anti-racist whites are impacted by racism in a fundamentally different manner.

Your position is a betrayal of basic anarchist principles, your denying solidarity to Bahar implies that you do not think that women or black people should be allowed to self-organise, that men/white people must always be able to disrupt or at least give their stamp of approval.

The reason that the reactionary right is bullying Bahar is because they hate oppressed groups fighting for liberation. It's pretty eye-opening to see some "anarchists" ligning up behind the Telegraph and the Mail on this one.

xxzxcuzxme
May 23 2015 14:17

The question was asked simply in the hope of a degree of logical consistency from yourself, plasmacutter, something I assumed you'd be quite keen on since you've been critical of (supposed) logical fallacies in previous posts.

boozemonarchy
May 23 2015 19:14
plasmacutter wrote:
This will be my last time posting in a thread full of hipster bigots claiming to be "progressive"

And your valiant defense of white men's right to attend the meetings of self-organizing minorities will never be forgotten. Well, at least until the next atrocity committed against this marginalized group brings the Fedora Squad out of the woodwork and some new hero rise to the occasion.

What then will become of you? Perhaps you'll find yourself in the trenches defending the bulwark of internet Atheism against the religious hordes. More likely, given your performance in this thread, you'll engage the feminist conspiracy to deny 'nice guys' sexual access to women. Either way, onward to glory!

Farewell sweet knight!

Sharkfinn
May 23 2015 16:21

DekuScrub3 wrote:

Quote:
I dunno. I'm an animal protectionist, and I think if I wrote a piece of ironic misanthropy, like "#killallhumans" people would fly off the handle, including leftists.

You are aware of this horrifying piece of misanthropy from the vampire castle of the anarchist milieu?

https://libcom.org/forums/libcommunity/kill-humans-use-them-rut-16062011

Or this:

https://libcom.org/forums/general/kill-humans-use-them-rut-part-ii-16052013

And yet no one has received any death threat over this! Libcom should be called on this shit and I think everyone posting and/or enjoying those threats should be fired from their democratically elected positions. Calling all leftist: in the name of humanity, we must do something about this!

DekuScrub3
May 23 2015 16:49
Sharkfinn wrote:
DekuScrub3 wrote:
Quote:
I dunno. I'm an animal protectionist, and I think if I wrote a piece of ironic misanthropy, like "#killallhumans" people would fly off the handle, including leftists.

You are aware of this horrifying piece of misanthropy from the vampire castle of the anarchist milieu?

https://libcom.org/forums/libcommunity/kill-humans-use-them-rut-16062011

Or this:

https://libcom.org/forums/general/kill-humans-use-them-rut-part-ii-16052013

And yet no one has received any death threat over this! Libcom should be called on this shit and I think everyone posting and/or enjoying those threats should be fired from their democratically elected positions. Calling all leftist: in the name of humanity, we must do something about this!

Read most socialist/anarchist criticism of animal rights activists or radical environmentalists, and you'll always find them digging up some quote from the 1980s where an ALFer or an ELFer refers to humanity as a cancer or something....and then said socialist/anarchist criticism will go on and on about the horrors of misanthropy.

boomerang
May 23 2015 17:10
no1 wrote:
Anarchists believe in self-organisation and freedom of association, which automatically implies the right to exclude some people. For example, when workers decide to organise as workers, the first that happens is that bosses and scabs get excluded - even the presence of sympathetic bosses could only be detrimental because by definition they have a different perspective. Similarly when women decide to get together to organise against sexism (and without wanting to sound too binary), it can be quite important to exclude men - even sympathetic men are affected by sexism in a completely different way. If black people get together to fight racism, it can be very important to exclude white people, because even dedicated anti-racist whites are impacted by racism in a fundamentally different manner.

This is really well said! It's what I had been wanting to say on this thread but didn't because I wasn't sure I'd be able to articulate my thoughts on it well. Thankfully, someone else had the skill to do so!

I would only add that "the right to exclude some people" doesn't apply to cases when it's those in a privileged position excluding those who are in an oppressed position. So whites organizing a meeting that excludes people of color is unacceptable and reactionary.

Why?

Well, when people of color organize and exclude whites it's because they want to address racism and want to do so in an environment where they don't have to deal with the potentially hazardous complications that can come if white people (allies or not) are around.

But if white people organize and exclude people of color, it can only mean they're up to no good!

Sometimes double standards are justified. Not always, but in the case of exclusion, yes.

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.

On this, she clearly passes as white...... up until the point that people hear her name. Especially in this era of Islamophobia, white people or white passing people with Muslim names will get viewed and treated as nonwhite by A LOT of people. The status of whiteness is lost because the name and the current context of Islamophobia racializes her.

Race is a slippery and strange thing, being a social construct and all. My friend who is black and would not be seen any other way in North America or UK went to Jamaica and when we talked on Skype he told me that there he was not considered black. He was considered brown, which on the hierarchy of oppression/privilege there is below whites but above blacks.

Almost everywhere in the US, Jews are white. In male US prisons, they're usually not white anymore. In female US prisons, they're usually still white.

Because of her name, Bahar has lived a non-white experience much of the time. Her white privilege exists in some contexts but not in others. I don't doubt that racial oppression has been a part of her life.

Don't get me wrong... it's a personal pet peeve of mine when people claim to experience the oppression that people of color do when it's clear that they don't.

I'm a mixed race white-passing person. Because race is a social construct, this makes me white, because I have all the white privilege that someone with two white parents would have. I know my experiences with race are far different from say my mom or cousins. It would be a huge insult to people of color and their oppression/experience if I tried to place myself in the same category as them. I wouldn't dare to do so.

I knew a woman, like me, mixed race but looked totally white. Now some white-passing people are only white-passing some of the time, depending on who's looking at them, and much like Bahar they can experience white privilege at some times and racial oppression as other times, depending on the situation. But for this woman I knew, there's no way anyone could look at her and not see a white person. She identified herself as a person of color and went on a lot about how white people just don't get it, etc. It annoyed me a lot!!! Apparently I wasn't the only one. When a person of color finally called her out on her bullshit and gave her a bit of a tongue lashing, I only felt a little bit sorry for her (because she clearly seemed so embarrassed).

DekuScrub3
May 23 2015 17:04

Good post, Boomerang.

autogestión
May 23 2015 18:10
plasmacutter wrote:
Fallacy fallacy is not a fallacy. It's an invention of the intellectually dishonest who use fallacies to advance an intellectually dishonest argument.

Sigh. Look up argumentum ad logicam. Although my accusation that you were committing this fallacy is open to question, fallacy fallacy is definitely a fallacy.

Joseph Kay
May 23 2015 18:38

It's also not a genetic fallacy. Genetic fallacy is a fallacy of origins, i.e. 'this idea came from academia, therefore you are an academic for using it.' Whereas given anyone can register here, indeed, anyone can register multiple accounts here, pointing out a spate of new users attacking Bahar, in an article about harassment of Bahar, is relevant. It doesn't automatically discredit what new posters say, but it is pertinent, and not a fallacy.

Refused
May 23 2015 21:19
DekuScrub3 wrote:
Good post, Boomerang.

psst, here's the part where you apologise for callously denying bahar's experiences of racism. i know it's hard but one day you'll have to take a woman seriously.

DekuScrub3
May 23 2015 21:47
Refused wrote:
DekuScrub3 wrote:
Good post, Boomerang.

psst, here's the part where you apologise for callously denying bahar's experiences of racism. i know it's hard but one day you'll have to take a woman seriously.

You're right. I'm sorry.

jef costello
May 24 2015 14:04
Serge Forward wrote:
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.

And a fair few good posters who I haven't seen before and some old lags who haven't been posting much. It always cheers me up when tigeriskillers posts.

Chilli Sauce
May 24 2015 14:24

And Refused!

fidel gastro
May 24 2015 17:02

I'm not against self-organising and I think some good points have been made about self-organising and such like on here. But I think what really pisses people off is someone in a paid bureaucratic position making stupid sweeping statements online that end up in the press- doesn't help people get behind you.

boozemonarchy
May 24 2015 17:36
red and black riot wrote:
I'm not against self-organising and I think some good points have been made about self-organising and such like on here. But I think what really pisses people off is someone in a paid bureaucratic position making stupid sweeping statements online that end up in the press- doesn't help people get behind you.

Seems like a 'she asked for it' thing. Given the circumstances (one of those super creepy internet misogynist campaigns), its prolly best not to toss this around.

Joseph Kay
May 24 2015 17:34

As a minor tangent, I think people should be careful transposing critiques of trade unions to student union sabbatical officers. Don't get me wrong, I have plenty problems with student politics in general, and student unions in particular, but there isn't a direct analogue between an SU sab and a trade union counterpart, and SUs aren't really in a position to mediate struggle in the way TUs are, as students easily go round them.

A sab is usually a full-time, paid union official, but serves a fixed annual term and is directly elected (and often recallable*). So it's probably most analogous to a TU rep with lots of facility time, who sits on the branch committee or something. Not unproblematic, but when targeted by the press, clearly as a means to attack actual organising imho.

I could say more about my (positive/negative) experiences of and problems with sabs, but I don't think it's relevant here as she's not under attack because the right-wing press have a problem with union representative functions.

* So far the complaining Goldsmiths student - singular, as far as I'm aware - has failed to get the required signatures (200?) to initiate a recall election, even though it's been national news for a month, which is indicative of how much this is right-wing astroturfing imho.

noclass
May 25 2015 00:54

Excluding whites and men was not a good idea because liberation from class society must be for everyone. However, she must be protected against harm and insult from vicious racists and sexists. Racists and sexists are poison of human community. They should be neutralized seriously. Capitalist politicians like to keep them to protect their class because sexists and racists are fools who can be easily directed against workers who want to free themselves from the yoke of the wage-slavery.

xxzxcuzxme
May 24 2015 18:32
Joseph Kay wrote:
* So far the complaining Goldsmiths student - singular, as far as I'm aware - has failed to get the required signatures (200?) to initiate a recall election, even though it's been national news for a month, which is indicative of how much this is right-wing astroturfing imho.

I think this largely sums it up. I'm a student at Goldsmiths and the first I heard of this- the petition to initiate a recall election- was from a non-uni mate who saw it mentioned as a biggish story in a right-wing newspaper. The words storm and teacup come to mind.

Khawaga
May 24 2015 18:55
Quote:
Excluding whites and men was not a good idea because liberation from class society must be for everyone

Yes, it must be for everyone. So far it's mostly been about liberation for (white) male workers. Cue male hysteria when it is no longer solely about them and when the "others" have figured out that having meetings on their own may actually be a way in which to make liberation from class society more inclusive.

Joseph Kay
May 24 2015 19:54
noclass wrote:
Excluding whites and men was not a good idea because liberation from class society must be for everyone.

Fwiw, I understand that what happened was:

There was an open meeting on the lack of diversity in the curriculum. Then there was a follow-up meeting for self-identifying BME women and non-binary people to discuss how the first meeting went. Anyone else was and remains free to organise other follow-up meetings. And I understand this is then going to feed back into further open meetings. So nobody's been excluded from that discussion, it's just a right-wing racist student with contacts in the press astroturfing a "scandal" out of nothing.

snowflake
May 24 2015 21:49

looks like there are more BME women than white men at Goldsmiths - hope the diversity officer looks after the interests of this minority group too

http://www.gold.ac.uk/statistics/

Chilli Sauce
May 24 2015 22:06
Quote:
So it's probably most analogous to a TU rep with lots of facility time, who sits on the branch committee or something. Not unproblematic, but when targeted by the press, clearly as a means to attack actual organising imho.

This.

Josh...
May 24 2015 22:19

A) She did nothing wrong.

B) She's on our side... Like early posters said, solidarity much? If that was my, or another anarchists/leftists arse in the dock for saying reasonable safe space policy I'd want to see people backing me up.
Jesus some on the left defend white man rapists for 'solidarity' and attack POC women for safe space policy? That's bloody hypocritical - Not tweeting ironic feminist slogans.

C) If I read one more fucker claiming 'reverse racism' or 'reverse sexism' exists I swear to god I'll do a Citizen Smith and write your sad little white man names in a book of wankers to be shot 'come the revolution'.

D) I'm a white working class cis male and I'm fucking daft most of the time... If I can see she's done nowt wrong, then do you just not understand basic intersectional theory and autonomy of oppressed groups? Or are you being ignorant on purpose so you can keep being sexist?

Fleur
May 24 2015 22:22

Josh wrote

Quote:
I swear to god I'll do a Citizen Smith and write your sad little white man names in a book of wankers to be shot 'come the revolution'.

You mean you don't already do this?

(Swiftly putting my notebook back in my handbook.)