On Christmas Day, the far-right media machine began an assault on George Ciccariello-Maher, a radical left anti-racist professor who teaches at Drexel University.
Breitbart News reported on a Christmas Eve tweet from Ciccariello-Maher: “All I want for Christmas is White Genocide.” Soon after the Breitbart post appeared, other right-wing media outlets picked up the story. By the next day, Ciccariello-Maher was being denounced on openly fascist sites like the Daily Stormer.
Following the lead of the alt-right, mainstream media such as Time and CBS repeated the story. Ciccariello-Maher and Drexel University were subjected to a deluge of hostile emails and messages, Ciccariello-Maher himself receiving death threats.
The university disregarded the fact that the term “White Genocide” comes from white supremacist conspiracy theory aimed at inciting fears that white people risk becoming extinct because of immigration, abortion, and interracial relationships. The university failed to recognize the satirical nature of Ciccariello-Maher’s tweet, how it was deploying the term against those who popularized it.
Instead, the university allowed itself to be cowed by Breitbart-incited fanatics. It issued a statement saying that Ciccariello-Maher’s tweet was “reprehensible” and that it had arranged to meet with Ciccariello-Maher to discuss the matter further.
Responding to Drexel’s announcement, Ciccariello-Maher stated: “White supremacy is on the rise, and we must fight it by any means. In that fight, universities will need to choose whether they are on the side of free expression and academic debate, or on the side of the racist mob.” The Party for Socialism and Liberation agrees.
The election of Donald Trump has emboldened the far right. When the mainstream media repeats the right’s attacks, it becomes their instrument. When universities bend to the bullying tactics of the far right, they embolden the fascists and help them gain mainstream credibility.
In the weeks and months to come, it will become imperative for us all to stand in solidarity with those involved in anti-racist and anti-capitalist struggle. Standing together, we can turn resistance into revolution.