And Here’s Our Side

By Cynthia Little, Class of 2005Judging by last week’s 5-pronged attack against the ISO, perhaps some people are a bit confused as to our intentions and strategies. Let me clarify. We disagree with everything Dinesh D’Souza had to say, and decided to collectively let him know that his prejudice is not welcome here. Historically, this is the only way ideas like the ones D’Souza spouted have ever been successfully countered.Ultimately, we want to counter and end racism, sexism, homophobia, war and colonialism, all of which D’Souza highly advocated. I believe one of his statements was that non-western cultures are “insignificant.” Would anyone like to stand up here and defend that statement? Maybe John Long, the author of one of the anti-ISO articles would. After all, he is a fascist and a former member of the National Alliance. (He also can’t spell.) Now I think Mr. Long’s article speaks for itself on why we need an alternative to his philosophy, but I would just like to point out that barking like a dog is not exactly what most people would call “merely… offering to translate for the audience” what a speaker was saying.Unfortunately, this lunatic was not the only type to attack us. So-called liberals making personal (not even political!) attacks against those of us who are trying to make a difference were adapting the same hostility as the fascist! Is this the state of the Left? No wonder there was a war in Iraq! No wonder we haven’t won marriage rights for gays and lesbians! No wonder women’s rights to choose are under attack! No wonder – alright.One of our main organizational strategies is therefore to unite with others who think D’Souza is a hack and want to see him gone. Yet somehow we were accused of not listening and not knowing the “other side” of our arguments. Umm, excuse me, but have you EVER turned on CNN? The “other side” is everywhere. It dominates the media and it dominates our lives. Every waking hour we are surrounded by the other side telling us who to go to war with, who we can or can’t marry, etc, etc. So I don’t want to hear about how we “don’t listen” or that we “need to know both sides of an issue.” We can’t help but know both sides, and knowing the side D’Souza brought to campus is why we became activists in the first place! This is why we sell Socialist Worker newspaper outside of the library – for people who knew there were no weapons of mass destruction, and for people who want an alternative to the other side.But according to Julian Brizzi, the other side keeps things “interesting,” and therefore should be promoted. Wow. Would you have found D’Souza’s racism *interesting* during the time period when there were unprecedented lynches of Blacks? Do you find it *interesting* that 718 US soldiers and countless Iraqi civilians have been murdered? Well good for you. Because we find it disgusting – and the first step in getting rid of disgusting policies is NOT to bring this jackass who advocates them to campus.D’Souza is not an intellectual. He was not here to debate, or to persuade anyone of anything who wasn’t already swayed by his politics. He was here to deliver right-wing propaganda, thereby mobilizing the right, and manipulating everyone else into thinking that he was some kind of grand spectacle, superior to normal people. Obviously Matthew Silverman fell right into his trap. And by the way, where was Mr. Silverman? His article, other than being an anti-ISO rant, argued that no one challenged D’Souza intellectually. So easy to criticize from the sidelines, isn’t it? I certainly didn’t see Silverman making any challenges. But what I would really like to see is D’Souza actually trying to debate ISO members, or anyone with a spine and left wing politics, where we were given more than 30 seconds to speak, and he was not given all the time in the world to respond. That would be a bit more fair, don’t you think? He will not do this, however, because this is not his purpose. D’Souza’s purpose is to mobilize the right. How do we respond? We need to mobilize the left and fight back. Therefore I strongly encourage anyone who was as disgusted by D’Souza as we were to help us build an alternative to these backwards politics. In fact, we have a public meeting Wednesday, May 5th at 7:30 in Lafayette 100 on why you should be a socialist, which will include lots of time after the talk for questions, discussion and debate.