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

Josh...
May 24 2015 22:26
Fleur wrote:
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.)

Nah I do an Arya Stark and say their names every night, hoping an assassin with Lucy Parsons face will kill them in their sleep... Sorry I'm a nerd. tongue

snowflake
May 24 2015 22:45

any white male student who didn't get her 'irony' is likely to be discouraged from seeking her help about welfare issues - which is her job. I think she has been massively unprofessional and wouldn't vote for her - but that's up to the students at Goldsmiths.

noclass
May 25 2015 01:01

@Khawaga, you wrote:

Quote:
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.

It is important to be true. It is not true that liberation from class society has been only for white male. There have been great none white women and men who not only contributed to the cause of liberation from wage-slavery, but they were killed for it. Falsification is always against liberty from wage-slavery.

Many want to work for liberation from patriarchy and from racism to climb the ladder of bourgeois ranks. This is why in any movement against racism and sexism, it is important to include the element of anti wage-slavery. Not being able to relate race issues and sex issue to wage-slavery, is lack of knowledge.

noclass
May 25 2015 01:00

@Joseph Key
You must understand that I comment about the article, what you are saying is not in the article. I cannot comment on personal report. Ideas in the article needs to be handled based on the article itself.

Khawaga
May 25 2015 01:07

No1, I wrote "mostly been about liberation for (white) male workers", not that it has been "only for white males". That's a rather huge difference between what I wrote and what you read. I take offence that you say I have "falsified" history.

But I would argue that despite the many great struggles by women and non-white folks, at least in the Western world the worker's movement, the anarchist movement is very white and very male at least up until the 1970s. While things have improved somewhat since then, in my experience "the movement" is still dominated by white men. All this outcry from these poor men that can't go to meetings I see, in some ways as a good development, in that it reveals that male dominance is (hopefully) on the wane.

Quote:
Not being able to relate race issues and sex issue to wage-slavery, is lack of knowledge.

This is a silly statement. There are lots of activists that are very knowledgeable about race,gender and sex issues, and will fucking tell you about how much they know, but when push comes to shove, they don't practice what they preach. Hence, it is not lack of knowledge, but rather something ideological that is reproduced in our daily relationships and behaviour. There are a few men that I used to know that could hold their own against a prof in feminist theory; they turned out to be really good at sexually harassing women.

abandini
May 25 2015 07:23

Other posters have tackled this well, but I think adding this simple framework could be useful for this discussion.

When a disenfranchised group works independently of the group that has disenfranchised them, that is called organizing.
When a dominant group calls for baring the participation of a disenfranchised group, that is called exclusion/racism.

That is an important distinction, and one that a lot of people have a hard time accepting because if you of that dominant group, it means acknowledging some of your own privilege and learning to be an ally. I'm sorry if this is difficult for you, but if you are interested in liberatory politics, this is essential work. And trying to argue that this organizing technique is flawed because it doesn't center on eradicating wage-slavery seems to be missing the whole fucking point. Or put otherwise- reinforces why this technique is necessary.

fidel gastro
May 25 2015 07:49

I'm not familiar with the Intersectional Left as it has been called on here and actually, reading this is the first time I've come across that term. I just Googled it so will research.

fidel gastro
May 25 2015 07:36
Joseph Kay
May 25 2015 07:50
fidel gastro
May 25 2015 08:52

Ooh, nice one, thankyou. Will read.

Le Sigh
May 25 2015 09:35

@plasmacutter:

Quote:
I remind you she is a "diversity officer", actively silencing people based on their sex and race, the opposite of promoting diversity!

How can you be so obtuse? What do you suppose is the impetus for a diversity officer in the first place?

Certain groups of people are marginalized within the general population. Efforts are made to correct for this. And your response is to demand that they reproduce within their own dialog spaces the very demographics under which they are marginalized?

Pull your head out of your ass.

jef costello
May 25 2015 09:42
boomerang wrote:
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).

I'm not sure I agree with this, it is annoying to have people who don't seem 'real' claiming heritage discrimination etc but I don't really think anyone has the right to define someone else's experience. I imagine it's got to be pretty difficult to have an element of your identity thatno-one can see or acknowledge. A person might look white but not feel that way, defining identity entirely as how it's seen from the outside is a pretty bad thing.
I've had people from well-off backgrounds who went to private school telling me that I don't get it, which while it has some truth is also completely galling. I'm not a fan of separate organising (which this incident does not seem to be) but I can see why it is needed and why it works. So while it does get my goat when someone who has and will benefit from more privilege than I ever will tell me about my white privilege I also don't think that we can make generaliations and I think as long as it is in good faith.
I also remember the massive racism against mixed race kids at my school which came entirely from the black kids (there were barely any white kids) so when I see a statement like that (and I admit I don't have much context) I am deeply unfomfortable and quite frankly I would be wary of organising with someone who would use their power as a 'real' person of colour against someone as soon as they got the chance, are they against oppression or are they against being oppressed?

Le Sigh
May 25 2015 09:54

@workingclass:

Quote:
She is a racist. A posh middle class racist. A posh middle class white racist pretending to be "black". Look at her!

I don't know her racial background and I don't care. As she was quoted in Salon, "racism and sexism describe structures of privilege based on race and gender." Whatever color her skin is, her words there are correct. So-called "reverse racism" is based on a fallacy called "false equivalence" which pretends that all races experience or are equally likely to experience racism. This is plainly false, there is no such equivalence, and so when minorities who are the targets of racism speak out against racism they do not themselves become racist by doing so, no matter how strongly they might condemn racists from majority groups.

Phil0old
May 25 2015 10:08

We appear to have two groups of anti libertarians arguing the toss here. One group wants to be able to exclude people because it is their right to do so and the presence of those they wish to exclude would change the meeting in to a pointless one. The other group wants to be able to exclude others when it suits them too.

For the record

1) If a number of men/women/fish wish to have a meeting/club/shoal and to exclude others on any basis they agree upon then they should be able to do so or they have no liberty.
2) If other men/women/fish wish to judge their reasons for doing so and decide that they would not wish to attend such meetings/clubs/shoals or associate with such men/women/fish they should be free to do so or they have no liberty

I may not agree with your opinions but I would defend to the death your right to hold and express them!

Phil - Non Left Wing Anarchist

Battlescarred
May 25 2015 10:30

I'm organising a meeting of workers. To be inclusive, I'm inviting the bosses along too.

tigersiskillers
May 25 2015 11:37

Back in the olden days people used to slag off Libcom (whatever Libcom is) for going on about class when what was needed was to be an active activist doing anarchies. Now everyone's a class warrior slagging off Libcom for recognising that not every prole is male, white and straight. As others have said, the spectacle of people using class as an identity describing this as identity politics is pretty tragic.

noclass
May 25 2015 12:46

@Khawaga

My bad reading, I apologize.

Most of the scientists and most of the communist intellectuals have been male and have been white. It was good that in a racist society, like for example US, white workers revolted against white capitalist in the past. Most of the great thinkers of communist and anarchist movement have been white males. I support all movements against racism and sexism only if I see it is not for becoming a "free" capitalist. I have to see element of anti-capitalism in order to support a movement.

Quote:
There are a few men that I used to know that could hold their own against a prof in feminist theory; they turned out to be really good at sexually harassing women.

We don't judge by few. There are huge class of reactionary women and reactionary none white capitalists who commit crime against humanity everyday in Western culture and none Western culture.

Quote:
Not being able to relate race issues and sex issue to wage-slavery, is lack of knowledge.

Is not a silly statement. In my experience I have seen hundreds who are aware of racism and sexism against them, but don't know anything about wage-slavery. Many of them, I have seen, join capitalist party to liberate themselves from racism or sexism.

Quote:
and will fucking tell you about how much they know,

You cannot intimidate me by your language, it take more than that.

boozemonarchy
May 25 2015 13:06
Phil0old wrote:
I may not agree with your opinions but I would defend to the death your right to hold and express them!

And the award for best non-sequiter goes to this most honorable emissary from the Ron Paul subreddit.

The debate so far has not been concerned with the abstract 'right' of people to hold shit opinions or not. We are gonna need you to go back to the OP and give it another shot.

noclass
May 25 2015 13:02
Quote:
I'm organising a meeting of workers. To be inclusive, I'm inviting the bosses along too.

The point is that you cannot say all whites and males are racists or sexists. If bosses claim that they support communism, you cannot say they cannot attend. Engels was from capitalist family and used to manage his father's business. You couldn't tell him not to attend communists meeting. He used to financially help Marx. Both Bukharin and Kropotkin were from rich families. I have had rich communist friends who were from Iran and Kurdistan. Many of them executed.

noclass
May 25 2015 13:31
Quote:
As others have said, the spectacle of people using class as an identity describing this as identity politics is pretty tragic.

I don't get much of what you are saying. If you mean people abuse "class", I have to say when it comes to domination, everything can be abused, as we experienced in Soviet Union. We can see feminism can be used for domination, black liberation can be used for domination. But the fact that wage-slavery is central has not change. Ultimately, all abuses end up supporting capitalism and wage-slavery.

bastarx
May 25 2015 13:54
noclass wrote:
Quote:
I'm organising a meeting of workers. To be inclusive, I'm inviting the bosses along too.

The point is that you cannot say all whites and males are racists or sexists. If bosses claim that they support communism, you cannot say they cannot attend. Engels was from capitalist family and used to manage his father's business. You couldn't tell him not to attend communists meeting. He used to financially help Marx. Both Bukharin and Kropotkin were from rich families. I have had rich communist friends who were from Iran and Kurdistan. Many of them executed.

If my boss claimed he supported communism til he was red in the face but wanted to attend a meeting where we were organising a strike against him we could, would and should say he cannot attend.

For all that Engels did for the workers movement he likewise would have been excluded from meetings organised by the workers in his factory.

jef costello
May 25 2015 14:03
noclass wrote:
The point is that you cannot say all whites and males are racists or sexists.

No one did, apart from those defending their right to go to a meeting there's no chance they ever would have attended.

noclass wrote:
If bosses claim that they support communism, you cannot say they cannot attend. Engels was from capitalist family and used to manage his father's business. You couldn't tell him not to attend communists meeting. He used to financially help Marx.

Yes you can. If someone is a boss then they are not a communist, they are exploiting workers.
Years ago when there was a student strike I attended some of their meetings, I would never have voted because I was a teacher and if I'd been asked to leave I would have. I cancelled classes in solidarity with the stirke and I would have been a bit annoyed to be treated like that, but if they felt that my presence would make organising more difficult then they should have asked.

Phil0old
May 25 2015 14:04

The OP (as opposed to some quoted tweets)
I quote

"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."

End of quote

I uphold your right to your incorrect opinion, because you are entitled to be wrong. I ignore your ad hominem attack because I expect you don't know any better. You are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

Did you want to say something else?

Phil

Steven.
May 25 2015 14:04

A lot of people have already said what I think better than I could (like boomerang, Ed, Joseph Kay…) but I just wanted to add my two cents as well, just to say that yes I'm not a fan of twitter controversialists or anyone who has anything to do with student politics, however this is a vicious attack by the right wing press, run by billionaires, and racists and sexists on the internet on someone purely for trying to provide a space for women of colour to talk about their experiences. And this is completely outrageous, and something we should stand against.

As fallback and Evie pointed out, these types of meetings are commonplace. At my work we have self organised groups for black, female and disabled workers where we discuss issues which affect us personally, but we also hold union meetings open to all. This is important not just for the good reasons others have mentioned but also because there is often simply not time to discuss issues related to all different oppressed groups in meetings open to all, so if people aren't allowed to self organise autonomously then essentially it means these issues effectively get ignored.

Phil0old
May 25 2015 14:08

So only communists should attend communist meetings? So why is it that Communists, Anarchist Communists and all sorts of supposedly superior groups feel free to attend and disrupt meetings of groups with whom they disagree? Shouldn't they also stay away?

They share the hypocrisy of those they oppose.

Phil

noclass
May 25 2015 14:17

@Khawaga

Quote:
There are a few men that I used to know that could hold their own against a prof in feminist theory; they turned out to be really good at sexually harassing women.

There are few women who I used to know that used to come to communist meeting to find husband. As soon as they found one or they gave up, they never showed up. There were women who simply came to meeting with their husband to control them.

noclass
May 25 2015 15:06

@jef costello,

Quote:
Yes you can. If someone is a boss then they are not a communist, they are exploiting workers.

Then you can tell them in the meeting not to exploit, the meeting is a good opportunity for you since they have shown interest. You cannot say capitalists cannot become communists. You cannot say whites cannot become anti racism in Western culture, you can say men cannot become feminist. You cannot say blacks in US cannot become racists, you cannot say women cannot become sexist. If some show interest and concern you cannot accuse them of hypocrisy. You can only accuse them of hypocrisy if they act and behave contrary in long run and you do case by case, otherwise you are biased.

All capitalists should be welcome to become communist but they should be able to tolerate what it takes.

boozemonarchy
May 25 2015 14:29
Phil0old wrote:

Did you want to say something else?

Phil

Sure.

You don't have a response to my criticism of your post not having anything to do with the discussion on the thread? Just a random quote from the OP with no bearing on my issue with your post, some really annoying hands-on-your-hip lecturing that seems all too well-practiced, and finally some tough-guy challenge? You're a fucking embarrassment to your subreddit.

tigersiskillers
May 25 2015 14:35
noclass wrote:
I don't get much of what you are saying. If you mean people abuse "class", I have to say when it comes to domination, everything can be abused, as we experienced in Soviet Union. We can see feminism can be used for domination, black liberation can be used for domination. But the fact that wage-slavery is central has not change. Ultimately, all abuses end up supporting capitalism and wage-slavery.

I'm saying that in a lot of online reaction from 'the left' to this issue people are holding up a "working class" against people with concern for around race, gender etc etc, as if class was a positive sociological category to be promoted and defended rather than a social relation to be destroyed. They decry identity politics while falling back into it themselves.

noclass
May 25 2015 15:04

@tigersiskillers

Quote:
I'm saying that in a lot of online reaction from 'the left' to this issue people are holding up a "working class" against people with concern for around race, gender etc etc, as if class was a positive sociological category to be promoted and defended rather than a social relation to be destroyed. They decry identity politics while falling back into it themselves.

I agree, but, in my experience, in my environment so far, they don't have been majority. I have seen a lot that who wanted to abuse single issues to climb the ladder of bourgeoisie ranks, were so many, including leftist parties who were essentially reformists and wanted to be in parliament rather than removing state.

"working class" essentially means being wage-slave. As wage-slave, the dominating class deprive us of knowledge about our being, human community and history. This give them opportunity to put all kinds of wrong ideas in our mind to be able to direct us toward their interest which is maintaining their dominating position. This is why I emphasize that there must be element of anti-capitalism in movements to be fully supported, otherwise they should be supported conditionally and it is good to participate in them to give them that element. Blindly supporting anti racism or feminism won't help communism and in many case they take advantage of our soft heart. A very clear cut example is anti colonialist movements. Almost all of them used their own workers to achieved independent, then they joint international capitalists to exploit their own workers. Cube is exception, but they will do the same soon.