06
Feb
10

“Political trials have a way of leading to more political trials.”

Since we’re all being very apropos lately,  I thought I’d share that quote by Ludmilla Alexeyeva from her memoir, The Thaw Generation: Coming of Age in the Post-Stalin Era.

The ASUO Senate finally approved a resolution condemning the Pacifica Forum for fostering a “negative climate” on campus. It didn’t call for kicking the forum off campus, mainly due to the hard (and frankly surprising) stand that many senators took to defend the forum’s First Amendment rights. Predictably, comments on the Daily Emerald’s website call for the resignation of the two senators who didn’t vote yes on the resolution. And you can bet the protesters will not forget those who spoke out in defense of free speech when student elections roll around in spring.

Also, a good article in today’s Register-Guard quotes Gabriella Anelauskaite, a UO student and daughter of Pacifica Forum regular Valdas Anelauskas:

Anelauskaite, who said she agrees with much of what is said during Pacifica’s meetings, came under fire after a letter from her was published in The Register-Guard in which she described the protest as “an orgy of prejudice, intolerance and hatred directed toward Pacifica Forum.”

After the letter was published, she said students on campus have harassed her for defending the group.

Well, so much for fostering a “safe place for all students.” It’s unfortunate that she shares her father’s worldview, but as a University student, is she not part of the community? (Given the myriad accusations of harassment and menacing being thrown around, you can decide for yourself how much credence to give her claims. The safety argument, by the way, has been pretty thoroughly debunked.*)

In any case, Alexeyeva’s quote cuts to the heart of the argument for not kicking the Pacifica Forum off campus — a point which excitable student activists are either too dull to grasp or would like to conveniently ignore.  That is, when the state (or in this case, the mob) is allowed to purge itself of undesirable elements, the net just keeps getting cast wider and wider. Those who argue against kicking the forum out are not defending the forum’s ideas:  We are defending ours and, for that matter, everyone’s right to express unpopular points of view.

* “Undifferentiated fear or apprehension of disturbance is not enough to overcome the right to freedom of expression.” – From the Supreme Court ruling in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District

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